11 Ways Technology Can Help Grow Your Small Business
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We are now living in the digital era, which is characterized by an absolutely dizzying rate of technical advancement. And in particular, it is having a significant influence that is transforming the way in which small firms operate. Because it was only a short time ago that you were unable to function in the same manner that major corporations do. You just did not have the financial means to purchase the necessary office space, software, or technology. However, the technology available to small businesses today is leveling the playing field.
Take a look at these 11 areas where technology may help your company save time and money, increase efficiency, and open the door to new development opportunities.
1.Work in the cloud
Forget about purchasing pricey IT servers, cumbersome gear, and onsite software. Cloud computing has become the standard approach for use by small enterprises.
A growing number of software manufacturers do not even offer a desktop version of their products. The cloud is the sole distribution method for their items. Users need only sign up for an online subscription to begin using the service.
Due to their low cost and adaptability, they are well suited for use by smaller companies. The costs are brought down. You won’t have to shell out money for things like installation, having someone travel to your location to update the software, or purchasing pricey backup systems or servers. It is adaptable and scalable, both of which are very necessary for rapidly expanding small organizations. Additionally, you are able to access it from any location. At any given moment, From whatever device you want.
Further easing the burden is the availability of solutions that may be fulfilled in a single location. Something like Google’s G Suite will provide you with all the essentials, in addition to a few extras on top of that. E-mail, Google Drive, and Calendar Docs. Sheets. Slides. You might also think about purchasing Microsoft’s Office 365 package, which offers you access to the cloud versions of Office, Outlook, and OneDrive.
2. Get on social media
It is crucial to set up a social media plan that is both successful and efficient. It may help you generate brand recognition, communicate and engage with the customers you already have, and expand your consumer base all at the same time. Additionally, it has the potential to assist in driving visitors to your website, and it enables you to promote on all of the primary channels.
You also have the option of selling your wares on social media. Using Facebook Shop, you are able to display your whole product inventory on your page. Shoppable posts are now available on Instagram. Pins on Pinterest may be purchased.
Additionally, Facebook Messenger is being used more and more as a means of contact for customer care.
You could be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Do I really need a website if I can communicate with my customers, give customer service, market my products, and sell my commodities on social media?” This is a perfectly reasonable question. But you do.
3. Get a great website
When it comes to information technology for small businesses, your company’s website should serve as the central hub of operations. geared towards assisting you in any and all of your digital marketing endeavors. You still need to have one, despite the fact that the functionality of social networking sites is constantly improving.
Despite all of the positives that come with using social media, you are still at its mercy. Remember social networks like MySpace, Flicker, and Periscope? All gone. What about all those modifications to the algorithm, the ones that drastically cut down on your reach all of a sudden?
You are the owner of the website that you have. You have complete command over the content, the message, and the branding of the website. What about all of the other stuff that you’re producing? Whether this takes the shape of a post on your blog, a description of a product, or something altogether else, it is important. It is in need of a house. It is necessary for people to be able to locate it.
You need a destination to direct people to if they enjoyed what you posted on Twitter or Instagram and want to see more. Whether or not they are just curious and want more information, or whether or not they are ready to make a purchase,
It is not difficult to do either. Even if you have no prior experience with website creation, you can create a website quickly and easily using website builders such as Wix, Go Daddy, or WordPress.
4. Optimise your content for voice
SEO strategies that may help your website rank better on Google have been around for quite some time. Neither of them are digital assistants powered by artificial intelligence like Siri or Alexa. What is relatively new, however, is the manner in which those two worlds are suddenly coming into conflict with one another.
The manner in which consumers hunt for information is changing due to the rise of voice search. Why? When we perform searches using our voices, they are often more conversational and lengthier than what you would type into the Google search box since more and more of us are searching with mobile devices and smart speakers.
5. Inbox management
The sheer number of emails that we send and receive may make it quite difficult to keep track of everything in your inbox. There is a good chance that this speedy and handy way of communicating is, in fact, slowing you down and reducing your output.
According to a study that was conducted not too long ago by McKinsey, we spend one-fourth of our time at work going through our respective inboxes. A quarter. The Huffington Post laments the fact that the typical worker in the United Kingdom gets 122 emails each and every day. However, they are quick to stress out that this is only an average. If you are an entrepreneur or the owner of a firm, there is a good chance that you are getting much more than that.
It should come as no surprise that a plethora of applications are available to assist you in dealing with an excessive amount of email. We came upon this wonderful compilation of the top ones.
They are compatible with a wide variety of email service providers and provide useful features such as the ability to manage multiple email accounts, the capability to automatically recognize important messages, and the speed with which you can filter, delete, store, and organize your email messages.
6. Email marketing
You’ll hear from a lot of people that email marketing has already died out. Not at all. According to recent studies, there will be 5.6 billion email accounts in existence around the globe by the end of 2019. In addition, the return on investment (ROI) for email marketing initiatives is an astounding 3,800%. That is all there is to say.
An email marketing campaign that is carried out correctly may raise awareness of your brand, personalize your sales pitch, bring in new customers, and help you retain the clients you currently have, all while boosting the amount of money you make from those customers.
You have the ability to do a lot, but in order to be successful, you need to look into purchasing email marketing software. An excellent compilation of some of the most well-known ones can be found here.
Using these programs, you will be able to create and send professional-looking emails to a client database. Many will interface with e-commerce systems like Shopify and WooCommerce to provide online buying options. In addition, some of them, such as ActiveCampaign, will also enable automation for marketing and CRM.
7. Nurture your customers
It wasn’t that long ago that customer relationship management solutions were exclusively available to the largest and most powerful companies. It was quite costly to put them into effect. It was difficult to make use of them. However, since CRM systems may now be hosted on the cloud, companies of any size are able to reap the advantages that come with using such a system.
What exactly are the functions of CRM systems? They are more than simply a standard address book. a place for you to record the names and email addresses of visitors to your website who clicked on the “subscribe” button. They assist you in maximizing the effectiveness of your conversations with your clients. Improve your sales efforts. Develop connections that are more productive. Enhance the quality of your service to the consumer.
You may have been using a spreadsheet up until this point, right? However, given the expansion of your company, that spreadsheet may have become quite cumbersome to utilize in recent times. It is not simple to analyze, update, or synchronize the data. It’s likely that you have vital client information dispersed across several locations, including that spreadsheet, your email, and your mind. It’s possible that it’s written down on scraps of paper.
In a word, the data that is most relevant to you is dispersed over different platforms and numerous individuals. Because of this, it will be quite difficult to put any of that knowledge to good use. As a direct consequence of this, the quality of the conversations you have with your clients is, at best, inconsistent.
The ties you have with your customers are essential to the development of your company. Therefore, it is essential that you tend to their needs and concerns.
According to research that was just released by McKinsey, effective cooperation has the potential to increase corporate productivity by anywhere from 20 to 30 percent. That is a major deal. We are fortunate since there is a wide variety of technologies geared toward small businesses that can assist us in being better at what we do.
Communication software such as Slack makes it possible for members of your organization to talk with one another, connect with one another, and exchange files.
The ability to collaborate on many projects is made much simpler by project management platforms such as Trello. Work may be organized and tracked, tasks can be delegated, alerts can be sent, and much more is possible.
As the trend toward remote work becomes more prevalent, video conferencing solutions also play a role in the equation. You are able to record conversations, share your screen, and with some of them, you can even alter the backdrop of your video conference.
9. Better customer service.
You can’t survive without your customers. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to do all in your power to enhance the experience they have.
It’s likely that you already have a business page set up on Facebook. However, have you ever thought of using Facebook Messenger as a means of communication? According to findings from a study conducted by Nielsen, consumers who connect with companies often use texting as the second most common method of contact.
You may use it to make buying easier, to raise awareness, and to deliver prompt support to your customers. Messenger assists in problem resolution for customers in an average timeframe of less than one minute.
The use of chatbots is also becoming more common. The latest generation of conversational bots mimic the behavior of actual people and provide a response to a particular question posed by a consumer. They make use of emotional intelligence and are able to empathize with the people with whom they are conversing. They are so intelligent that they are even able to modify the phrases, facial expressions, and tones of their voices depending on the context.
When you can’t be there yourself, bots may fill the void. You really really need to get some rest. And they may boost client self-service while lowering operating costs. This is due to the fact that they provide a form of communication with your clients that is not only inexpensive but also highly repetitive.
10. Manage your money
You probably already have a good idea of how vital it is for your company to maintain a steady flow of income, whether you run a small business or are self-employed. A recent survey conducted by Xero indicated that cash flow problems are the cause of the failure of 50,000 companies in the UK each year.
This sector of the economy provides access to solutions that are not only simple and inexpensive to implement but also straightforward to use. These solutions may assist you in managing your cash flow, expanding your client base, and eventually growing your organization. You now have the ability to handle your money in the same manner that your bigger rivals do.
You will have a comprehensive understanding of your finances with the assistance of small company technology products such as QuickBooks and Xero. A solitary program that enables you to manage your accounts payable and receivable, produce invoices, check balance sheets and profit and loss statements, and examine comprehensive transaction histories all in one place.
It is impossible to overestimate how important financial software is for small firms, given the fact that managing their cash flow is one of their primary concerns.
11. Wearable tech
This may seem like an odd inclusion in a post about small business technology, but according to moderately successful businesspeople like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson, exercise has played a key role in their company’s success. This may seem like an odd inclusion in a post about small business technology.
Exercise not only helps us lose weight, prevent depression, and protect ourselves from heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and diabetes, but it also improves our memory and thinking skills and keeps us more focused. All of these benefits come in addition to the fact that exercise helps us stay focused.
All of these things are necessary for establishing and expanding a successful firm.
Make small business technology work for you
The digital era presents a wide variety of technological tools and solutions for small businesses, many of which may significantly contribute to your company’s growth. Everything from email marketing to financial chatbots and beyond. There is a good probability that some piece of technology now on the market may assist you with whatever it is that you are having trouble with.