Nowadays, business owners are less likely to question the extent to which technology could enhance and streamline their business. It’s clear that every industry has been changed and enhanced by everything from email to AI. Instead you might be wondering how it’s even possible to do business without relying on technology.
One of the best things about advancements in tech is that they aren’t reserved for only the biggest multinationals. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises can all reap the benefits of tech without much upfront investment. Even if you’re more analogue than digital, there are a few key ways you can harness the power of tech to take your business to the next level.
The idea of having a business without any online presence seems impossible, especially after the pandemic. Access to the internet and social media channels has given small businesses new opportunities to find and retain customers. But beyond your acquisition or marketing strategies, tech is really the key to running your business on the inside.
With improvements to computer processing speeds and storage capabilities, running our businesses digitally has made communication a breeze. New technologies are always being developed and finessed to take this even further - who knows what business will look like in the future? Email took over hard copies of memos and now Slack or Microsoft Teams enable us to fire off short questions with ease. Communicating about work is significantly faster, easier and reliable. Not to mention the options of video conferencing software that can connect people from all across the globe.
Productivity apps allow teams to collaborate virtually too. Work management platforms like Monday, Asana, Trello or Basecamp bring projects and people together. Everyone has a clearer view of what’s on the agenda and who’s working on what. Being able to log all requests, updates and review processes gives better visibility and helps to prioritise tasks. Businesses can usually use these apps for free up to a certain level of add-ons and they can be synced to desktops.
Cloud platforms like Google Drive also allow users to collaborate at the same time on documents or presentations. So you could give contractors or suppliers on another continent instant access to your work. Some organisations will want to explore more secure Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). These allow sensitive data to be protected and accessed anywhere with a verified login. Virtual or off-site technology also minimises hardware maintenance costs when you grow
It’s hard to think how remote working would have happened without this technology. But if you have employees based permanently in different locations, it will remain particularly useful. Even surgeons are now overseeing operations on other continents by participating in virtual operating theatres.
Better communication and collaboration ultimately mean one thing: increased productivity. Tech allows us to improve production processes by streamlining how things are done. Repetitive, paper-based tasks like inventory management or even payment processes can be simplified and sped up through technology. Digital CRMs and inventory software takes the pain out of these processes and helps teams across the business understand and solve issues.
On top of this, advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), training and learning can also be done virtually from any location too. That means you can run fewer sessions and personal feedback can be automatically generated for each individual.
In a manufacturing setting, automated processes and machines can also save you money in the long run by cutting down your need for staff. One of the most advanced examples of machine production is Tesla’s new Model 3 plant. There are very few workers involved in the process (they’re mainly there to observe and correct issues). The majority of the work is done by machines that communicate with one another.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to embrace digital marketing. Google Ads, Facebook Ads and more can build your brand for unknown customers and remind existing or prospects that you exist. Investing in your digital presence is key. Likewise, email marketing campaigns take you directly into the inboxes of your target audience. Just make sure you use your data carefully to make sure you’re not going after the wrong people.
With the pandemic, customers are more interested than ever before in a user-friendly and clear website. Now, many simply expect a higher calibre. Monitor your online traffic and improve your web pages with platforms like GetSiteControl and Google analytics. Promote your business and customer offers in banners or pop ups on your website to interact with customers and boost user engagement. Google analytics is also a great tool to target specific audiences that are with your competitors to boost your own and increase market share.
Good customer service is another form of marketing, especially because of review platforms like Trustpilot, Checkatrade and TripAdvisor. Faster response time, more accessibility across different platforms from your website to social media and even text or chat bots can make a huge difference. Check out our recent blog post on how to boost your customer service for more information and ideas.
Technology has streamlined processes, opened up business opportunities and tied teams together. Keeping an eye out on the latest tech advances and platforms can help not just boost your internal capacity but also improve your customer experience. And that means higher retention rates, better reviews and longer term success. Technology has never moved at a faster pace, so make sure you don’t get left behind.