Technology and small/new business go hand-in-hand. Technology can really help with managing business efficiently and handling growth. The premise is fairly simple — most technology solutions offer a level of automation that can handle increased workloads, giving you the ability to take on new business, expand to more regions and enter new markets.
With limited funds at your disposal, how do you make the best use of your resources when spending on technology, and more importantly how do manage the use of technology. If you are grappling with such issues, here are a few handy tips to help you.
1.Don’t compromise on quality technology – Your business might not rely on state-of-the-art kit but your productivity does rely on your communication channels not breaking down. Computer and network glitches can cost you financially and in manpower. Find out exactly what you need and get a second opinion.
2.Ensure your website is in top shape – Sometimes it is the only contact your client or customer will have with you. Often it’s the first and last point of contact. Make sure it’s easily navigable, know your traffic sources and ensure you have an efficient data capture form.
3.Outsource if needed – As a growing small business, make use of the expertise and economies of scale that vendors can provide when appropriate. Instead of building additional departments, you can orient your workforce around your business expertise so that your long-term human capital costs align with your long-term sales strategies. By utilizing strong service-based outsourcing firms for operational needs — like IT, accounting or HR — you’ll spend less time hiring, maintaining and evaluating fringe staff. This will give you more time to focus on your strengths.
4.Data collection and analysis – Advances in computing technology have driven the growth of large-scale data collection and analytics. Gain key insights into your business by utilizing the right tools — a proven strategy for creating greater value from the same set of resources.
•Web Optimization: A strong web presence is mandatory for the majority of today’s small businesses. Site monitoring tools like Google Analytics allow you to monitor web traffic, view patterns and better-understand your most effective Internet marketing strategies so that you make the most of your Internet reputation.
•Project Tracking: Understand resource expenditures on business projects by utilizing various project management tools available to track time and cost allocation.
•Sales Monitors: Spreadsheets are familiar and straightforward but leave a lot to be desired in terms of providing actionable insight. Cloud-based solutions such as Salesforce can show you when, how and where your customers are spending, leading to better knowledge about how your business development team is doing.
5.Make sure you’re mobile – Business won’t wait for you to be back in the office. Smartphones and tablets are rapidly overtaking desktop use in the workplace. The workforce is more mobile than ever and your business practice needs to reflect this. Ensure you are contactable and can do your transactions on the run.
6.Security is key to tech success – Data breaches can cost you a lot – in terms of money, time, reputation, brand value and more. Ensure that you have a strong password policy, secure networks and that utmost importance is placed on protecting data. Your employees should be made aware of how vital it is to keep data secure.
7.Take advantage of teleconferencing – As geography becomes less and less important and travel more expensive, reliable teleconferencing services are more and more vital. There is a range of online services, some free and some with paid-for add-ons, such as conference recording, presentation sharing and moderation controls.
When implemented correctly, an innovative technology strategy can play a key role in helping small businesses take a step towards their next phase of growth, and increase their size and scale of operations without overstretching resources. Technology helps small businesses and start-ups do more with less and better positions them to compete with larger organisations.
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