How Embracing Technology Can Help Your Small Business Thrive
Small business owners are some of the hardest working people around.
But working hard and working smart is not always the same thing. Especially when you consider that small businesses traditionally have a reputation for being slow to embrace technology.
If this rings true for you, it’s time to make some changes to increase efficiency and productivity.
Bookkeeping and Accounting
Keeping your books is an extremely important part of your business, but it doesn’t have to be done on paper anymore.
Information Technology (IT)
Setting up and maintaining your office technology infrastructure could be a full-time job.
Instead of trying to do everything yourself, or even worse, going without, hire a company to come in and take care of it. You will probably be able to find a single company that can set up and maintain your equipment and your network, as well as provide data backup and cybersecurity.
Collaboration and Project Management
Some of the biggest issues companies face revolve around collaboration and organization. It can be hard to make sure everyone on your team is rowing in the same direction.
Also, Google offers an incredibly wide array of helpful (and free!) collaboration tools including Drive (cloud data storage), Documents (cloud office suite), Hangouts (video conferencing), and Calendar (cloud-based calendar for individuals and groups).
Having the right system in place can be the key to resolving communication issues.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Customer Relationship Management apps like Salesforce will enable you to keep in touch with and learn more about your patrons and prospects.
It even offers easy ways to run reports and send out customized email templates.
If you don’t have a good website, you’re doing your business a serious disservice. Luckily, getting a nice website up and running is much simpler today than it was 5 or 10 years ago.
Instead of hiring someone to design a website completely from scratch, you can look into setting up a site through WordPress or Google.
Remember, it takes a professional to create a truly professional-looking website, but there are many free or inexpensive templates that will save you time and money.
Small businesses are always looking for new ways to reach customers and prospects. Email is cost effective, easy to do, and it works. Provide valuable, original email content and you can build brand awareness while bringing in new and returning customers.
There are a lot of full-service, web-based email marketing companies specifically geared towards small and medium-sized businesses including Constant Contact, MailChimp, ExactTarget, and Emma. Most of these services provide email templates, data and analytics, as well as the ability to segment and target specific customers to optimize your efforts.
Social Media and Online Advertising
A nice website is important to have, but if nobody visits it, it’s not doing much good.
Social media and online advertising are two of the most effective methods for generating traffic and brand awareness. If you aren’t advertising online, it’s time to start.
If you have the budget for it, consider hiring a digital marketing agency or a digital marketing specialist. If not, start small by setting up some social media profiles and a small-scale Google Adwords campaign.
Alternately, Facebook promotional campaigns can be effective for generating fan page ‘likes,’ and YouTube ads are a great way to reach customers as well.
Each of these services will help you increase productivity, efficiency, or customers, so you can focus on delivering a great product or service.