Using Technology To Help Your Small Business
When running a small business, you’ll be looking for all kinds of ways to reduce your overheads. Inevitably, increasing your efficiency as well allows you to free up more time to do the things that truly matter so you can give your business a chance to grow faster. With that in mind, here are eight ways you can use technology to help your small business and help you reach your potential sooner.
Launch A Responsive Website
The first stop when using technology to help your small business is to launch a base platform for all your business activities. With the proliferation of easy to use web building platforms, there really isn’t any excuse to not have a website. But it doesn’t stop there. With more than half of web traffic conducted on mobile devices, having a responsive website is also at the top of the list of priorities. Your website will then also serve as your first marketing tool, so make sure it looks good and represents your brand with integrity. It will also offer your customers somewhere they can contact you, find out who you are and what your business can offer them. If this is all done to a high enough standard then the website itself will act as a converting tool to even enhance your potential business prospects. So if you’re operating purely on a social platform or via word of mouth, you’re falling behind.
Work Remotely Rather Than Rent
It used to be that only an office space would suffice in order to create you business. However, the increased performance and capabilities of devices coupled with a decent internet connection will give you the ability to work from home, or anywhere in the world, for that matter. If you want to work with other people, collaborate with your team as it grows in size or just have somewhere outside of the house to concentrate and get down to business, the potential to now hot desk at a business hub is extremely easy. Work spaces are now more prevalent than ever before which helps also make their rates ultra-competitive, even here in Central London.
Use Time Tracking Software
Why not use time tracking software? The use of this kind of technology to help your small business will allow you to see where you’re spending your time, and how you can become more efficient. There are lots of free trials available, and there are various price packages depending on whether or not it’s just you who will be using it, a small team or a growing business. What are the benefits of said software? By monitoring your output as well as your team’s, you can identify failings in efficiency and efficacy. At first, it feels like a hindrance, but the time saved and time gained by improved output far outweighs the initial learning curve and invariably comes with learning to track your time.
Using Video Calling/Conferencing
Many small businesses don’t have the kind of cash flow that enables them to pay for transport such as trains, planes and cars to attend face to face meetings. So, rather than travelling for meetings, why not keep costs low by using a service like Face Time or Skype? You’ll still be able to look clients and business partners in the eye to gauge their reactions, but you’ll save lots of money on expenses too. In this day and age, there are dozens of free options that even give you the ability for multi attendee conferences as well as screen sharing, so excuses to not conduct meetings anywhere in the world are definitely running thin!
Use Secure Checks
A major issue with small businesses is that they struggle to afford the right infrastructure to guard themselves against fraud. Understandably, a lot of small businesses assume they won’t get defrauded due to the fact they’re not large enough, not visible enough or even not profitable enough to be a target. A devastating assumption as any victim of fraud will have you know. Using insecure payment portals could result in your small business falling prey to fraud, costing you more money than you can afford. However, technology can help here as well. You can spend a little bit of money to invest in secure business checks that can’t be tampered with, and in the long run, it’s a small amount of money to ensure your business is protected.
Digital Filing Systems
Another way to use technology to help your small business is to use it to keep on top of your admin. Again, these cloud storage services have now been incorporated into most device plans or even software systems. For instance, small business owners like yourself can store files in Dropbox, or if you’ve subscribed to Microsoft Office you are even given cloud storage with your software plan. This means you can access important documents remotely from any location and at any time. All you’ll need to do is come up with an organised filing system that you understand so that you can easily save, sort and share documents whenever you need to. Now, there are even features that allow collaborative workflows so that the entire can work on single files or documents at the same time further maximising efficiency.
Every organisation needs to be making the most of social media. No if’s, no but’s. It is an absolute must in using technology to help your small business get the exposure it needs. Take advantage of this kind of technology to build your brand, sell your product, or even as a mechanism for customer service. For instance, having conversations with your customers on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will allow you to solve their problems, listen to their feedback and see what they do and don’t like about services and products from your business. By then also leveraging your customers to share content or posts that you create, you automatically increase your following. With an increased following comes increased exposure, which then leads to an increased customer base. What does that all lead to? Increased sales at no extra cost. If you’re not using social media to it’s fullest, you are losing out on business and you will fall by the wayside as your competitors will.
Use Online Surveys
Finally, the use of online surveys can really help your small business. Use a platform such as Survey Monkey to gather customer feedback to help shape the direction you take your business in. You can ask questions about your products, your website design, satisfaction with customer service and anything else you want to know more about. You could even ask your customers where else they shop, how much they spend and why – revealing useful information about your competitors! Any increase in data and information is useful. Rather than stabbing around in the dark working off of only instinct, use your customers and their feedback to further increase the growth of your business.
As you can see, there are so many ways that you can use technology to help your small business grow and expand without breaking the bank. Take advantage of what’s on offer and grow your business from strength to strength this year.