The modern day digital age that we are all living in has brought countless inventions, innovations, and technological advances. These advances not just make our personal lives easier and more convenient but also our work life extremely smooth. These go on changing our world slowly and gradually as each individual and business starts to adopt them and adapt to them with moving times. Every day, tons of new innovations take place but only a few really stick that are important. For an entrepreneur, it is important to understand these advancements in technology in small businesses. It is a fact that those business owners who fail to make use of latest technologies often fall behind in comparison to those who adopt innovations at the right time. The following are the top five technologies that have become a must-have for any small business these days.
1. Customer relationship management (CRM)
Since businesses are all about relationships, how well one builds on them may determine how one moves forwards and grows. A CRM is basically cloud-based software which can provide several benefits to businesses including increases in revenue, customer retention, CRM usage growth, lead conversion, and decreased marketing costs etc. Make sure you, as a small business, first try out a few different CRM software and then decide on the one which seems most suitable and the best value for money.
The best CRM softwares: Zoho and Salesforce consist of full-featured and premium features CRM programs. Simple and easy to use: Insightly is another alternative for small business mainly because it’s simple and easy to use and compared to other CRM software it costs a penny. Insightly gives you advanced features like integrated project management and Powerful Integration with email, Google Apps, and Office 365.
2. Payment processing
If you go to a store whether online or physical and cannot find your desired payment method, thus having to give up on buying something necessary, it only leads to frustration. This puts the brand in concern in a bad light. As a business owner, turning down customers due to lack of suitable payment options is always a negative thing. These days, all customers opt for those payment methods which are most convenient to them and, as a business owner, you must offer them the flexibility to choose their desired method. Make sure you offer them options like credit card terminal and online payment gateway. Most people avoid carrying too much cash and credit cards; online payment is often considered safer and more hassle free. Some online payment gateways that you can include are PayPal and Securepay.com etc.
3. Social media
It may have started as a platform that allowed friends and family to communicate and remain in touch, but social has slowly taken the form of one of the biggest and most effective business communication tools. Social media can be used not just for marketing by big and small businesses but also for maintaining contact and receiving feedback from customers. It is a great medium to attract customers, connect with new ones, and convert them into leads. It is interesting to note that 63% of small businesses believe that social media helps to find and maintain more loyal customers. Social media is, basically, a great tool to engage customers and a fully engaged customer has more emotional attachment with a business. The tool can hence be used for direct marketing as well as to establish an indirect connection and hence promote the business.
It may sound a very basic thing but a website is extremely important for any business, irrespective of how small scaled it may be. It is actually surprising to know that many small businesses do not have a website. Not only does a lack of a website kill the company’s visibility to a large extent, but it also creates an impression that the business may not be digitally advanced and hence not trustworthy. A website is one of the most powerful marketing tools since it reaches out even to those customers who are located outside the current neighborhood and thus helps cover a much larger ground it terms of marketing and promotion. In today’s times, any new customer first checks out the website or webpage of the business it is going to get tied to and it is from the website that he/she either decides to try out the business or not. Make sure that you have an efficient and mobile friendly website which has a substantial social and listing presence.
5. Location-based tools
Another technological advancement that every business needs in today’s times is a location-based tool. These days, customers make use of location-based tools to find businesses and services nearby. Thus, it is important to localize the web presence for maximum access. There are many good location tools out there and some of them include social media, Yellow Pages, Citysearch, and Yelp, among others. To make use of these platforms, you will need to enter your exact business type, address, and contact details. Also, don’t forget to give the products and services that you offer and how one can reach you in terms of your directions. This will help you receive queries and will hence prove to be useful for your business.
If you wish to grow as a business, it is important for you to either use all of the above-mentioned technologies or the maximum possible. Without these tools, you are likely to be sidelined by the other similar and large sized businesses that are moving ahead with technological times. There are many companies that offer you technology related products and services - stores like Staples, for example, can provide solutions for businesses or all sizes.
Staples.co.uk is a web platform which is known for its high quality range of stationary products as well as technology related items. Some of the technology oriented products that you can purchase from it include computers, drives, printers, digital cameras, phones, eReaders and many others. Purchasing these items for your business can be an expensive affair and hence it is best to make use of vouchers to save money. Make sure you properly enter the voucher code to redeem it on the website.