Are you running (or hoping to run) a small business? Well, if so, you’ll be looking for all kinds of ways to reduce your overheads.
Perhaps you’re hoping to maintain high levels of efficiency too, freeing up lots of time to do the things that really matter so you can give your business a chance to grow.
So, have you given any thought to how technology might help you? Well, if not, here are eight ways technology can help your small business…
Work remotely rather than renting office space
Think running a business means renting an office? Think again! Technology (such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and desktops) coupled with a decent internet connection will enable you to work from home, or anywhere in the world, for that matter. If you want to work with other people, collaborate with your team as it grows in size or just have somewhere outside of the house to concentrate and get down to business, hot desk at a business hub.
Use FaceTime or Skype
Many small businesses don’t have the kind of cash flow that enables them to pay for transport such as trains, planes, and cars to attend face to face meetings. So, rather than traveling for meetings, why not keep costs low by using FaceTime or Skype? You’ll still be able to look at clients and business partners in the eye to gauge their reactions, but you’ll save lots of money on expenses too.
Use secure checks
Another thing small businesses struggle to afford is the right infrastructure to guard themselves against fraud. Understandably (though incorrectly), small businesses assume they won’t get scammed due to the fact they’re not large enough, not visible enough or even not profitable enough to bother with.
Using unsecure payment portals or standard checks when paying your suppliers (for example) could result in your small business falling prey to fraud, costing you more money than you can afford. However, technology can help you here, too. You can spend a little bit of money to invest in secure business checks that can’t be tampered with, and in the long run, it’s a very small amount of money spent to ensure your small business is protected.
Use time tracking software
Why not use time tracking software too? This kind of technology can help you see where you’re spending your time, and how you can become more efficient. There are lots of free trials available, and there are various price packages depending on whether or not it’s just you who will be using it, a small team or a growing business.
Use digital filing systems
Another way technology can help you is by using it to keep on top of your admin. For instance, small business owners like yourself can store files in Dropbox so you can access important documents remotely from all locations. All you’ll need to do is come up with an organized filing system (such as by creating a series of folders) that you understand so that you can easily save, sort and share documents whenever you need to.
Launch a website
Another way technology can help you is by allowing you to create an online presence. Use a site such as WordPress, Wix or Shopify (depending on the nature of your business) to create a website. Your website will then serve as a marketing tool (so make sure it looks good!), and it will also offer your customers somewhere they can contact you, find out who you are and what your business can offer them.
Make the most of social media
Small business owners should also be making the most of social media. Take advantage of this kind of technology to build your brand, sell your product (and if that’s something you’re considering doing, you might want to learn about some helpful browser extensions like these), or even as a mechanism for customer service.
For instance, having conversations with your customers on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will allow you to solve their problems, listen to their feedback and see what they do and don’t like about services and products from your business.
Use online surveys
Finally, another way that technology can really help your small business is via the use of online surveys. Use a platform such as Survey Monkey to gather customer feedback to help shape the direction you take your business in, asking questions about your products, your website design, satisfaction with customer service and anything else you want to know more about. You could even ask your customers where else they shop, how much they spend and why – revealing useful information about your competitors!
As you can see, there are so many ways that technology can help your small business. Take advantage of what’s on offer and see if your business grows from strength to strength this year.