Published on November 15th, 2019 | by Vasyl Kafidoff0
10 Ways to Use Technology in Small Businesses
Technology made our lives easier in many ways. Yet it is exciting to see how it gives new opportunities to small businesses and startups. It allows the optimization of many processes and the use of digital communication to increase productivity. That’s why it is beneficial to incorporate all relevant means to endorse commercial success and attract more customers. Here are 10 ways technology can be used to boost small businesses.
#1. Remote Work
One of the main commercial advantages of the Internet is that it allows working remotely almost on any project. For a small business, it reduces disbursements on renting an office or other working space and attracting specialists. Today an entrepreneur can give tasks from any part of the world and have them delivered without any troubles.
It is also much simpler to find individuals to cooperate with. For instance, there might be highly-qualified specialists working on your project outside the country or even continent. Otherwise, it would be almost impossible to hire them, but due to the Internet, it is easy. It increases hiring possibilities dramatically and reduces costs.
There are also many co-working spaces if the team needs to come together. It is much cheaper than actually renting an office and providing it with all the necessary supplements.
Photo by Blake Wisz
#2. Project Management and Productivity
Project management can be tricky sometimes, especially when working with several professionals. One needs to follow all processes and deadlines. However, technology has a lot to offer here too. There are various opportunities in terms of project management, starting with simple solutions like Trello, which allows creating dashboards and tasks.
There are also many more advanced and expensive options in terms of business management. For example, Microsoft Dynamics Nav is an ERP and CRM system that allows optimizations of various processes, time management, billing, etc. The choice of solution depends on the type of industry you are working in and the needs of the business.
In terms of productivity, many apps track times, set tasks, allow accessing remote files, etc. They help to stay focused and remain on work matters.
#3. Communication with the Team
Long gone are the days when all the meetings were held in a conference room. Thanks to different programs, like Skype, it is not necessary to be even in one city to have a meaningful conversation.
It is easy to make a call between all team members, show presentations, share documents and files simultaneously. Needless to say, one can always reach another professional almost instantly.
And shared documents that several team members can work on together are also an amazing advantage. It is very simple to be a paperless business now. It is also great for cost reduction and environmentally- friendly.
#4. Learn About Your Customers
The digital presence of any business is a must today. The majority of customers prefer to search and learn about the producers or service providers first. According to statistics, 72% of customers who did a local search visited a store within 5 miles.
But having a webpage is also essential to learn more about your customers. Understanding the target audience and their needs and demands are the keys to a successful business. It is quite easy to do, for example, use Google Analytics for all the data on visitors, their location, demographics and their actions on a website.
It is free software that shows what people visited your page and helps to understand what they are looking for. Many other programs help to find the proper keywords, get better ranking and optimize the SEO performance of the page.
Software like AnswerThePublic shows searches and related topics according to the keywords. It helps to better understand what people are looking for and what gaps in the market are there, in terms of information or a product.
#5. Automation of Tasks
To save time and energy one can use programs that automating programs. It is especially great for handling several social media accounts on different platforms. Many apps allow planning and scheduling posts that will be later published.
It is easy to use an auto-posting app or even a WordPress plugin, like NextScripts. By doing so, one can plan out all the posts for a week and do it ahead to not get distracted. And social media presence should be constant, so it is better to have a clear schedule.
Some apps also help to schedule a blog post, emails and even answer the customers’ comments.
#6. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing strategies allow targeting and attracting a wider audience. The possibilities are endless, starting with optimizing your website and up to paid social media advertising campaigns. Here are just several options to consider for digital marketing:
- Making a secure and fast website and providing several payment options for online shopping to make products more affordable;
- Starting a blow regarding the products or services you provide to show expertise;
- Use social media to engage with the audience and humanize the brand;
- Run paid ads on Instagram or Facebook to bring new customers.
You can also use CRM to create clients’ database to run loyalty programs, email marketing or giveaways.
#7. Showcase Products
Technology helps to give a customer a better understanding of a product and its functions. The most effective way to showcase products and services is to create helpful videos. More than 70% of people prefer video content before any other type.
A great video can show how the product is used, how it solves everyday issues, show the dimensions in real life, etc. It is an amazing visualization tool that will grab customers’ attention. It is especially good for online shopping, as everyone wants to know what they are buying before making a purchase.
Photo by Tim Mossholder
#8. Reduce Disbursements
One of the key issues of any small business is budgeting. Running the traditional one can be very challenging in terms of disbursements. However, technology can help to make it easier.
First of all, you can store all the information in cloud solutions. It is much cheaper than having your servers and personnel to work with them. It is also very safe – there is always a copy of all data. It is usually stored in different places so even if a remote server will be physically destroyed; the cloud information can be restored from the backup.
You can also reduce disbursements by attracting freelance workers. Of course, there should be a team that works on a constant basis, but some tasks can be delegated to independent professionals. It is cheaper to pay for a project than to hire a specific person for full time. You can also save money by using online invoicing systems and budget tracking.
#9. Social Media
If you are not using them yet, it is high time to change that. The majority of brands have a strong social media presence. There is no need to have an account on every platform, choose the ones where most of your audience is.
One of the most fast-growing platforms is Instagram. It has one billion active users per month, so the audience is enormous. It is a fascinating promotion possibility. And it is connected to Facebook, so you can promote your services or products on two platforms simultaneously.
Running a business is connected to sensitive information and it is crucial to use all relevant means of security. Luckily, numerous software solutions help to prevent hacker attacks, industrial espionage, etc.
You need to know what information is accessible for particular people to eliminate any breaches. Use encrypted payment methods for customers and passwords for employees. It is also essential to care about customers’ security using https protocols for a website and secure shopping experience.
Technology is amazingly helpful for running a small business. It makes processes faster and easier, starting from communication and up to security. It also helps to reduce costs in terms of rent, paperwork, hiring, etc. It allows work more productively, stay focused and attract more audience all over the world to enjoy your products or services.