Your business needs the best technology. But all too often, small businesses think of technology as a tool which is primarily the tool of large companies who can afford that sort of thing. A small business may have a website or use Google Drive or QuickBooks, but there is so much to technology or software than these basic things.
The good news is that with cloud computing and other technology, small businesses have more access to technology’s benefits in ways that they may have never considered. Here are merely a few examples that could make all the difference for you.
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Marketing and social media
Your business almost certainly has a website, and it may have a Facebook or Twitter account. But there is having those accounts, and then there is making a real attempt to market using the Internet and social media.
There are no shortages of guides, whether online or offline, which detail how you can create a strong social media marketing strategy. But social media is the epitome of the idea that doing something good now is better than doing something perfectly later. Put out silly tweets or videos which show something about your business, instead of trying to carefully craft the perfect message. Social media marketing is something that requires a steady stream of content, and not all content is going to be a hit. But by making post after post, you show your business to be reliable and interesting.
Furthermore, do not forget the impact of mobile and video, as that is where most people consume social media these days. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, and to take regular videos as part of your social media feed. Social media marketing is an important part of any business’s marketing strategy and is yet another example of the increasing importance of technology.
Improving Production through greater flexibility
Workplaces across the world have been dealing with very sudden changes over the past year and more thanks to COVID, with the most obvious trend being how many are now working from home. Even dental firms, such as Dr. Hal N. Arnold, have had to figure this out. There is a real possibility that more people will work from home even when the pandemic is completely over, and we will see how this affects the workplace going forward.
The key here is that regardless of what changes have or will occur, technology offers businesses a real opportunity to adapt to sudden circumstances. Businesses that did not have the capacity to work from homes such as restaurants or salons have suffered far more than those which did. Technology offers greater flexibility in how a business works and greater flexibility means greater adaptability and by extension productivity.
Better Data, Better Decisions
New technology such as the Internet of Things means that every business is collecting far more data than ever before. Big data is not just the province of big companies who can afford server farms, but rather every company that wants to learn about their business.
And what makes Big Data so important is the wide number of ways in which it can be used. You can use Big Data to better understand your market. You can use data to better track customer satisfaction and get a better idea of what works and what does not, such as with surveys or polls. You can use it to track inventory so that it is not stuck in the warehouse for too long.
Which approach works best is up to you. But companies can now rely on database providers such as MongoDB in a variety of ways to get the best information. Keep in mind however that data is only as good as the analysis which results from it, and the best Big Data strategies rely on a mix of human thoughts and computer data processing.
How coordinated are the different departments of your small business? Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing, or is there chaos as every department deals with their own objectives without thinking of the business’s greater good?
Technology can make communication easier both within your business as well as outside parties. Consider setting up a regular email newsletter both internally and externally. The internal newsletter can inform workers about new changes in policies and personnel, ensuring that everyone knows about major changes. The external newsletter can go out to customers, advertising the latest deals and talking about what the company is doing. For all the hype around social media, businesses should remember that email remains the primary way through which most people communicate with businesses, customers, and co-workers.
Security and Protection
Some businesses may feel worried about relying too heavily on technology due to potential security threats, such as the recent incidents where gas and meat businesses faced serious problems due to hackers demanding ransomware. But from another angle, eschewing technology because of the risk of hacking is like eschewing driving because of the risk of accidents.
No method or server is 100% secure, but proper cybersecurity steps can greatly limit potential risk. The FCC lists a few basic steps such as securing your Wi-Fi networks, running the latest security software, and training employees in basic cybersecurity practices.
Furthermore, those who are still worried about the risk fail to realize that technology can in fact make their business safer. Cloud computing and data backups mean that a business’s data is almost never lost. Better cameras and alarms offer physical security, something which is often neglected in favor of cybersecurity. Do not let news reports of hackers deter you from the potential of technology.
Having the best technology is not as important as other factors as having a strong business plan or the best employees. But in a world where a small business needs every advantage to get ahead, good technology can be the difference between failure and success. The above examples are just a few ways in which technologies such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and others can make a significant difference.