Businesses of all sizes are growing more dependent on new technological solutions that help them strengthen their product development, marketing, and customer engagement activities. Technology also helps businesses have an advantage over their competition. Knowledge is the first step to the multitude of advantages that follow.
Adopt new technologies to streamline your business
Most businesses have already adopted some technology for things like tracking finances, websites, online catalogs, and inventory management. Many of them have realized that technology like a cloud-based phone system will help streamline your business process and help your business grow. However, technology continues to evolve. There are now some types of technology that big businesses are using, and which small businesses can adapt to fit their needs, including:
- Real-time, on-demand video for marketing,
- Online customer relationship management (CRM) systems,
- Customer care to "re-personalize" their customers' experience,
- Tablet-based systems for employees to provide instant, personalized responses to customers' needs,
- Subscription-based software as a service (SaaS) – including various services on a "pay by the drink" basis, which will help minimize your initial investment.
Use the Internet to finance your business
Crowdfunding has made it possible to sell small amounts of equity to many investors online. The JOBS Act legislation has helped this become "the thing to do" since its security laws allow for a wider pool of small investors with fewer restrictions.
Many people believe that eventually enough regulations will be issued to transform crowdfunding into an acceptable funding method instead of simply a "fad." For this to work long-term, companies must learn how to inspire investors by painting a vision of authentic products and services.
Embrace social media and expand your sales
Having an effective strategy to use on social media platforms will greatly enhance your branding and visibility. It'll also help you interact with your audience and drive more traffic to your website (obviously you'll need a great design and meaningful content to convert this traffic). This means more than simply supplementing your current sales efforts. It means view social media as your primary vehicle for sales activity.
It's important to make this transition today as traditional print advertising is losing ground to the Internet where social media is the most effective and cost-efficient form of marketing. To make this transition you'll need to identify where your potential customers are spending their time so you can create a strategy that piques their attention and offers them useful, compelling content and interaction they can't get elsewhere.
Take your business into the cloud
The cloud computing is probably the most significant technology paradigm shift for private companies today. It offers very reasonably priced storage with various solutions that can greatly reduce your capital investment in technology. It will benefit your business by allowing you to do tasks like taking and fulfilling orders and managing automated systems.
Spend money to create a mobile app
Today, when you look around you, it's obvious that the world is going mobile. Smartphone apps do more than play music and give you directions on a map. People are using their cell phones to conduct business. With a well-designed app you can get your name in front of your customers every time they use their cell phone.
Many of these apps are nothing more than a low-value "junior website." However, with high-value apps you increase the likelihood of people using your app daily. This is also a great place to offer special incentives.
Related article: The Challenges of Introducing a New Mobile App to the Market
Use productivity apps
Life Hack says while it's too expensive to hire a bunch of project managers, it's quite affordable to find a host of productivity apps to make your life easier. Some of the ones that are popular today include:
Many of these apps are free and you can sync with their desktop versions. Of course, there are also some that you must pay for based on the level of service you need. Nevertheless, once you've mastered them you'll be more effective when it comes time to get things done.
Related article: How Gamification in the Workplace Impacts Employee Productivity
Use analytical tools
There are many analytical tools that you can also use. These tools will help you learn about your business' strengths and weaknesses. Since most of them are based online, you can set up them within a matter of seconds. Once configured, you can determine things like the percentage of visitors to your website who are using their mobile browsers or check your page load speeds.
Measuring your business' key performance indicators is important and limitless today thanks to all the digital technology you now have at your fingertips. As the old saying goes, "knowledge is power," but today there's also a new saying that's equally as true: "applied knowledge is even more powerful." This is what analytical tools offer you: the ability to quickly make smart decisions.
Run better marketing campaigns
When you run a digital marketing campaign you can easily ensure it's highly targeted so you get immediate results that are easily testable. You can also have two-way conversations with your customers. This is great because it lets you receive a higher ROI returns on marketing spend than you'd receive with more traditional types of advertising. Another reason why this type of marketing is much more attractive to small businesses is that you don't have to wait until the end of your campaign to review its results.
Related article: The Life Cycle of Online Ads: from User Preferences to Ad Revenue
Use technology for easier communication
Today's technology has also made it so that both domestic and international communication is effortless, lightning fast, and very affordable. You'll no longer experience the barriers that in the past would prevent you from collaborating with someone overseas.
Incorporate web-based payment systems
With a variety of web-based payment systems available, it's easy to send and receive payments. Many of these platforms will seamlessly integrate into the popular accounting programs you're already using. This has enabled small businesses to gain access to entirely new customer segments. It's also helped businesses of all sizes offer their products and services to a broader audience simply because they can accept other forms of payment.
This is a guest post by Justin Kemp. Justin is a tech-savvy guy who loves to explore and implement the power of business applications and software. He is currently working as a senior business analyst and lives in NYC. Besides being a tech addict, he is also an avid traveler.