When properly harnessed technology has the ability to change lives for the better – the world over. As a point of illustration, you need only compare the technological progress made over the last 50 years with the prior 500 years of advances to appreciate its impact on society. However, modern technology’s reach doesn’t end with the general public.
In fact, its impact extends far into the business arena — to the extent that technology has the potential to make or break most businesses; this is especially true for small businesses.
Does this mean that technology can negate the effects of bad business fundamentals, poor management, or inept leadership? Absolutely not! However, it does mean that small businesses who at least score average in most areas can benefit immensely from the tech sector. Namely, it can help them grow and become more effective.
Here are a few ways that businesses can scale technology for growth.
1. Store Data on Cloud
Storage is in the cloud is a practice that has completely upended the old ways of storing data. Ten years ago companies who managed large quantities of data had to FTP large files when they wanted to send them. Likewise, businesses could not manage data without investing in numerous high capacity storage devices.
In contrast, today it’s as easy as hosting the data via an online storage account and sending an invite link to share it with peers. Indeed, the implications of being able to store data in the cloud are staggering.
For example, cloud storage makes it possible for users to:
- access their data from anywhere in the world
- perform backups automatically
- store unlimited amounts of data
- collaborate on a single document in real time
If you’re a small business owner, you can use the benefits above to give you the speed to compete with larger businesses.
2. Social Media
Social media allows small businesses to do several things that were nearly impossible to accomplish as an SME only 25 years ago. Namely, it allows you to observe nearly every aspect of your audience’s behavior; this gives you a wealth of insight into what your customer’s motivations are. In turn, you can use this knowledge to become a better seller. Additionally, social media gives you a platform to build your authority. Social networking platforms have made it easier than ever to do both.
What this means to you as a small to mid-sized business is that you can wield just as much marketing firepower as more established brands at a fraction of the cost.
3. Productivity Apps
While it would be nice to have an army of project managers at your beck and call, the reality is that it would cost a small fortune to do so. But the good news to small business owners is that thanks to digital innovation, you don’t need hundreds of productivity experts to stay productive. As a matter of fact, all you really need is a mobile device armed with the right productivity apps.
A few of the most popular ones include:
What’s more is that many of these apps can be synced with their desktop versions and are completely free or offer a free level of service.
The nice thing about using and mastering these applications is that doing so automatically enters you into the small percentage of businesses that are highly effective at getting the right things done.
4. Analytical Tools
There are numerous analytical tools that you can use to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Thanks to the Internet many of these tools can be deployed within a matter of seconds. For instance, you can gauge the percentage of visitors to your website that browses your site on their mobile browsers – or – you can assess your page load speeds. When it comes to measuring your company’s key performance indicators, they sky’s the limit. Digital technology puts all of this at your fingertips.
If you’ve ever heard the adage, ‘knowledge is power’, then applied knowledge is even more powerful; this is exactly what analytical tools afford you. Namely, the ability to make wiser decisions in a shorter amount of time.
5. Better Marketing Campaigns
Digital marketing campaigns have the potential to offer highly specific targeting, immediate results, easy testing environments, and two-way conversations. More importantly, they tend to offer higher returns on marketing spend than some traditional forms of advertising. These characteristics make digital marketing much more accessible to small businesses than other types of marketing.
One of the reasons online marketing appeals to smaller businesses is that unlike print, radio, or TV advertising, you don’t have to wait until the campaign is over to review campaign results.
6. Technology Yields Ease of Communication
Recent technological advances have done made communication effortless. Not only is it ridiculously easy to communicate in this day and age but communicating with your peers is both lightning fast and incredibly affordable; this applies both to domestic and international communication.
As business owners, modern communication has removed the barriers that used to make doing business overseas nearly impossible. As such, today collaborating with someone who lives abroad is as simple as Skyping that individual.
7. Web-Based Payment Systems
Web-based payment systems make it easy to send or receive payments. And they do so while offering a host of payment options. Many of these platforms even offer seamless integration into the popular accounting programs.
As a result of this newfound payment flexibility, small businesses can gain access to entirely new customer segments. Ultimately, this means more clients that you can offer your products and services to just by virtue of accepting another method of payment.