Technology for small businesses is an indispensable part of their daily use because technology makes work much easier and contributes to business growth. According to a study, 59% of small businesses said cloud computing helps their businesses to be more agile. However, most small businesses only use technology for front-end, such as marketing, but not for their back-end processes, such as business operations, human resources accounting and logistics. There are more savings to small businesses if tech tools are also used to streamline their business processes which could help small businesses to grow.
What technology is needed for small businesses?
Small businesses need technologies that helps with their marketing to survive and thrive. Business benefits more with efficient processes, reduced operating costs, improved scale, and increased production times when using technology for their business operations.
Technology for small business marketing
1 – Go mobile and use apps
The phone is the most widely used tool by people today. When looking for the most convenient way for customers to interact with your business, mobile devices, as well as mobile apps, can be helpful as it is the simplest way to allow customers to access your information, products, service, and business location.
Another way is to use text messaging for your marketing outreach.
2 – Mobile payments
Enabling mobile payments to ensure a feasible payment experience, with the use of e-wallets, that no longer require customers to pay in cash. This makes it convenient for customers as they don’t have to search for an automatic teller machine (ATM) to withdraw cash before they can go shopping.
Making your business mobile-friendly is evermore important in today’s gadget-driven world, and when you try this strategy, you will be fully convinced of its effectiveness to reach customers.
Technology for small business productivity
Maximizing business operations efficiency through the use of productivity tools is one of the best business growth strategies you need to use. Cloud-computing can be implemented for productivity, and in this way, you can determine your performance and track your team’s progress.
Cloud-based computing allows users to access, via the internet, software and data stored on a computer servers located away from the user’s office. The main benefit of cloud-computing is that it makes technology feasible and inexpensive as possible, as small-businesses no longer have to invest in expensive computer hardware, or employ additional staffs for computer maintenance, as these are done by the computer companies at their offices.
The benefit of the cloud platform is that your team can manage your business operations from anywhere, from check account balance, data storage space, and accessing and sharing them remotely online.
Using cloud-based software, where software-as-a-service (SaaS) is now the norm, where software such as accounting, human resources (HR), customer-relationship management (CRM), and project management, are available online. SaaS also helps small businesses with to reduce critical capital requirement, as SaaS systems are billed monthly instead of upfront costs to pay for their software solutions.
Small business technology solutions to track your progress
To run a successful business it is necessary to identify the direction your business is taking. Running a small business is a long-term initiative where you need to constantly track and monitor your business’s productivity and growth. Today’s technologies have tools you can use to analyze your growth metrics in real-time, that will enable you to make changes to your business plans and operations where necessary.
Measuring Customer Acquisition and Retention
Customer acquisition costs and customer retention have impact on the sales revenue of a business. This can be done measuring advertising costs to convert customers to purchase. Typically, this is done via online websites, and e-commerce platforms.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software that helps your sales and marketing departments to understand your customers, identify new opportunities, automate marketing processes, and improve customer support.
Measuring Financial Performance
Measuring the business financial performance is of great importance. This can be done via accounting software that measures monthly profit and loss, gross margins, overhead costs, o the variable cost, and inventory size.
Measuring Employee Productivity
There are now tools to measure employee productivity online, with the use of employee monitoring tools that track the employees’ use of the computer.
How technology can help small businesses to grow
Technology can help small business owners make full use of their limited capital in smarter, more effective ways, and can also lead to businesses being more adaptable, and enjoy cost-savings.
Collaboration tools and remote work
Using collaboration tools enable file-sharing and track project progress which are very useful for small businesses. Collaboration tools also enable the work to be done remotely. Staffs no longer have to work in the office to collaborate on a project. The office is always with you today when you use the cloud platform which is accessible from a phone or laptop, you can read your staff, check your data, very simple.
When employees can have their own space they become more effective because some people like to organize their own time and they feel trapped when they have strict working hours.
Remote work is bringing a halal environment and that has a positive impact on employees who have need to perform their prayers during working hours. Also, one important fact that contributes to halal is preventing men and women from mixing in the same room. Sexual harassment in the office is a big issue for women around the world and they are often exposed to it, but having the option to choose remote work technology sounds like a very useful
For small businesses, remote work means cutting overhead costs as they no longer have to spend on office leases, office renovations, and high utility bills.
Communicate with your team members and customers
Being available online and sharing ideas can lead to easier ways of finding solutions. Small businesses are based on relationships so if a digital tool can facilitate contact with another human, then it has done its job. The key to success is successful communication and today’ssocial media is a great enabler.
Digital marketing for small business
Small business owners need to be wise about how they utilize digital technologies for maximum impact to improve their marketing efforts.
Website for digital presence
A good website is an essential and very important part of the vast majority of businesses. When customers search the web that they have access to all the information about your business. A strong web presence is essential for today’s business not only for success but often simply for survival, too.
Having user-friendly, mobile responsive, and optimized for search engines such as Google willallow your business to stay on the path to better success. If you don’t keep up with the modern world, it can cost you both time and money.
Social media for branding and customer experience
Social media is not only about reaching out to potential customers. It’s a great way to present your brand, and a great tool for customer service, and get customer feedback. According to a study by Oberlo, 71% of customers who had a positive experience on social media share the brands to their friends and family. Social media is also a great business strategy tool because people today use their phones a lot to read, search online andwatch videos which helps a small business improve their customer engagement. Each social media platform have their own strengths for communication with their audience.
Instagram – is great for building branding for the business, due to their beautiful images.
Facebook – is great for updating information about the business.
YouTube – is a great platform for educating users on how to use their products with video.
Cyber security for small business
With the heavy use of technology, it is critical for all businesses to make sure that the data and systems are protected against cyber attacks. Many small businesses are not aware of the importance of cyber security to protect their data and software from unwanted trouble.
When choosing software, always run a security check to make sure that file-sharing will be protected.
What’s at Risk?
Cyber attacks can damage your business if they get access to access to client lists, credit card information, company’s banking details and product designs
Customer data are confidential, and the most important thing is to keep customers’ trust. Every business owner should be careful when it comes to this.
Key to cyber security
As a business owner, the number one key to make sure that the technology used is secure against any potential attacks is to train your staff. The staff needs to know the basics of tech safety, such ans making sure they don’t share corrupted files, or click on scam emails.
Installing firewalls against unwanted digital visitors, antivirus software, regular backups of data and securing WiFi access and computer access with IDs and passwords and authentications are some of the the best practices of ensuring cyber security for the small business.
Tech game-changer for business
Business owners need to be aware of technology trends that will impact the future of doing business. These include Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, and Blockchain. Their advantages are many, and some of their advantages are yet to be discovered.
Blockchain offers great opportunities because everything is done digitally, where payments do not have to go through a banking system. It is available on a large number of platforms, it is only important to stay online. You don’t have to be in the office to handle your responsibilities, it’s essential to access one of your platforms and the job can be done. Artificial intelligence in many ways can boost your business, it can serve as predictive maintenance, as a risk prediction platform, can be used in automating delivery robots, and many other things.
To summarize, technology is an unavoidable part of today’s life, both in everyday life and business life. People who are potential customers are constantly online and this should be seen as an advantage and business should be presented on social media. Most people in the world use social media in which can be used by businesses for marketing. Today, work is possible to do from home thanks to cloud computing.
Ultimately, technology helps small business by providing tools that improve cost-savings to the business owner, while at the same time enabling the business to have a wider reach of its customers.
Nedma Aganovic is from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her Engineering degree is in Petroleum Drilling and Exploration. She is also a writer where gained experience in writing creative, business and research articles. As a student, she was working as an online teacher.