New technologies are emerging all the time, but it’s rare that small businesses understand how to truly take advantage of the innovation that is available to them. If your mindset is stuck in the cumbersome and slow-moving technology of years past, it’s time to spring into the future and see what the latest technology can do for your business.
Customer Acquisition & Feedback
One way that your small business can leverage technology is to use tools like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to help you make a name for yourself to and connect with your present and potential customers. The rise of social media has presented unprecedented opportunities for companies to get an understanding of their customers likes and dislikes. Companies can then use this information to their advantage as they seek to grow and expand their brand. In addition to social media, tools like email auto respondents can also help you build a list of your company’s raving fans, giving you the ability to keep in touch with your customer base and garner solid feedback that can assist you in creating new & in-demand products and services tailored specifically to their needs.
Efficiency of Process
Simply put, technology can help small businesses operate more efficiently. This increase in efficiency means that you can get more done during the workday and make time for new projects. For example, using collaborative software like Dropbox and Google Drive can eliminate the need for chain emails or the confusion of having to work with multiple versions of a document. Applications like Google Forms can help you collect and compile data with ease. The key to leveraging technology to push your business toward the mark of efficiency is to figure out what you need to spend less time doing and to find apps or software that will help automate or streamline those tasks.
Don’t Waste Money: Software as a Service Offers Customization
Gone are the days where small businesses had to waste money purchasing technology they don’t need. Instead, they can leverage the Software as a Service model to try out new applications before they decide to purchase. If business owners do decide that a piece of software is right for them, the Software as a Service model will offer different options for customization so that they don’t buy more than they need. Furthermore, software applications that are offered as a service via the Internet (often referred to as “the cloud”) is often easier to use than their desktop-installed counterparts, cutting down on the need to hire IT specialists to maintain your systems or train your employees to use newer technologies.
Buying only what you need is an idea that now also applies to your infrastructure A virtual office can give you access to a dedicated business phone line, receptionist, and virtual address, they can even provide meeting room hire on those occasions when you need a meeting room, saving you money for those times you don’t.
Mobile technology is great for small businesses because it means that you don’t need to be at the office in order to get things done. With the advent of smartphones, tablets, and a host of new apps that work flawlessly across multiple platforms, you can now hold virtual meetings on Skype or bring in a special guest from abroad to train your employees via GoToWebinar. Also, since your customers are likely using this same mobile technology, you can also leverage it to find more ways to connect with them, including creating apps, making use of SMS campaigns, or even using QR codes in your advertisements.
Finally, the ultimate goal behind any small business’s use of technology should be scalability. In this age of social media and software as a service, and cloud computing, upgrading your company’s technology doesn’t require the commitment it used to. Consequently, small companies can now afford to implement changes to their technological infrastructure quickly and effortlessly, allowing them to implement new ideas, test the waters, figure out what works, and scale their winning projects all in a very short period of time. This, coupled with the ability to reach millions of people each day through social media and the mobile platform, can definitely help small businesses stay head of the curve, growing larger and faster without having to worry that their lagging technology is keeping them from achieving greatness.