Technology is just about inescapable nowadays. You probably use a smartphone in your personal life with many apps downloaded for convenience. There’s a good chance you also have a tablet and a television and a programmable microwave. With technology being so overrepresented, there is no excuse not to leverage it for your small business.
If you aren’t fully taking advantage of technology to run your business, then you are a step behind the competition. There are many ways that you can save time and money by automating or using cloud services. Plus, technology can allow you to provide a better experience for your customers, which is what running a small business should be all about. The happier your customers are, the happier you will be. Here are some of the best ways that you can embrace technology in your small business.
Customer Relationship Management System
Your customers are the reason you have a business. It’s their hard-earned money that they entrust to you to provide them with a product or a service that they want. Without customers, you don’t have a business. That’s why you need to be able to have effective relationships with them. To do this more effectively, you should make use of a customer relationship management tool (CRM). This type of software helps you track all of your interactions with your customers and your leads and gives you what you need to better connect with them.
A CRM will show you who is buying more, who is buying less, and who hasn’t bought in a while. You can track when you’ve spoken with someone, what marketing materials you’ve sent their way, and what other interests they might have that you’ve discovered. You can use this data to personalize your marketing and improve the customer experience.
One of the most important tasks that you can never get behind on is your financial tracking. If you are using a spreadsheet or even pen and paper, then you are probably having trouble keeping up. Accounting software will help keep everything in order and is easily scalable as you grow. There’s no need to buy new notebooks or have a spreadsheet with seemingly millions of columns and tabs.
Try to choose an accounting solution that integrates with other tools, such as accounts receivable tools and your CRM. That way you won’t have to enter data more than once, and your data will always be accurate. If you are not good with numbers and accounting, then it is vital that you hire someone who is to help, even if you have the perfect software.
Hybrid Customer Solutions
Consumers are doing more and more shopping on the internet every year. If you run a brick-and-mortar retail shop, this change in the consumer behavior can make things difficult for you. This will only be exacerbated in the coming years as people remain uncomfortable browning and shopping in physical spaces. However, you can leverage the power of technology to create a unique experience for customers to hopefully attract more and more of them. Plus, it could save you money.
One thing that consumers are not able to do when shopping online is to try out products. They can’t test clothes for size, and they can’t get a sense of how an item works, how big it is, or if the color matches the rest of the decor in their home. An enterprising business could create an experience where a customer could come to a location, try on clothes, get a look at other items, and then order them for shipping. The items can be stored off-site and shipped the next day. Bulk warehousing is generally cheaper than retail stores, so the business owner will save money on those costs, and provide a great experience for the customer. This is just an example, as there are many ways to provide a little extra.
Speaking of cost savings, one of the biggest expenses that a business has is its location. You need to pay for rent, utilities, maintenance, cleaning, and insurance, for example. Plus, you need signage, security, and several other extra costs on top of it all. With communication and project management tools, you can seamlessly move your operations to a remote model.
Your entire team could work from home, or a coffee shop, or from another country. You will always be in touch, and sharing documents and task delegation is simple with the right cloud-based tools. The best part is, you do not have to pay for any of the costs associated with a physical location. You will still have to get insurance, such as a basic bop coverage plan and anything else specific to your business type. However, this will be much more affordable than covering an entire building or office space.
If you sell products, then it’s imperative that you keep close track of your inventory at all times. Just like with your finances, if you are using pen and paper or a spreadsheet, you are behind the times. Technology has made inventory tracking and management easier than ever. You can have your scanners integrated with your inventory software. That way everything that’s scanned, whether it’s going in or out, will automatically update your inventory system.
Property inventory management will ensure that you are efficient with your inventory and do not make the mistake of over or understocking. Your customers will also appreciate the ease with which you can track products and let them know exactly what is in stock in real-time. If you are lucky enough that you are scaling up, having a software solution already in place will allow your growth to happen smoothly with no complications.
Technology has the power to change the direction of your small business for the better. If you are still operating your company using outdated tools and methods, then you are going to find yourself falling behind the competition. They will be able to operate more efficiently and provide better customer experiences. By embracing technology, you can let your small business operate as if it were a big business, and reap the rewards as a result.
About the Author
Bryce Wilson is a business professional who is always looking for new opportunities and likes to share his knowledge with others in the field. He has been working in the industry for over 10 years and has a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed. Create. Cultivate. Consume. Learn. Explore.