How to Use Technology for Small Businesses
Let’s take the stress out of small businesses…
From software to appliances, technology can be a small business owner’s best friend. It can help you work more efficiently, find more customers, and save money while doing it.
Technology can help small business owners leverage limited capital in smarter, more effective ways.
And yes, there is a small transitional process from the old ways to the new ways, but the good news is that the benefits often outweigh the short-lived challenges, and people often wonder why on earth they never changed to digital technology before.
Here is How You Can Use Technology In Your Own Small Business….
We often hear, “WORK SMART, NOT HARD”.
My opinion of Small Business owners is that they never stop working, due to……. “no work, then no pay.” Or at least for me, that was the case lol.
Entrepreneurs, starting out, are extremely committed and hardworking, they do not always understand when to stop.
So how on earth does one work SMART and not Hard?
Let me lift the blinds here for you…
Small Business Owners, in today’s world, have so many TOOLS available to enhance their potential into being a successful Business Owner.
If only they knew about them, as well as their usage and benefits.
The point to my blog is to briefly introduce you to a few of these key solutions, and hopefully get you started on the right track so you can then go further on your own.
There are many different tools and methods available, but like I said I will just cover a few briefly based on the most common ones.
Tech Software Tools for Small Businesses
These are the Tools I would recommend that are basically on your doorstep.
If this was your cell phone, then these tools should be listed on your speed dial:
- Social Media
- Google AdWords
- Email Marketing
Online Advertising for Small Businesses
The aim of running your own business is to make your product and brand known out there so you can supply paying customers, at the same time serving them with professional business etiquette.
Facebook is one of the cheapest and easiest ways of getting your business out there, without the door to door selling and marketing.
Tweets, with various striking comments, are great ways of getting awareness out there too.
Then the famous and well used YouTube, and advertising clips are a must.
Social Media for Small Businesses
This is the best place to introduce people to what you have. And you can use social media to conduct customer service too.
Social media platforms to consider using:
Your aim is to get your product out there, in a professional manner. Use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. to not only promote your business, products, and services but also to build authentic relationships with them, as good relationships means customers who come back, as well as referrals too.
Word of mouth is always a free advertising tool, so focus on building good relationships with the people, even the ones who don’t buy from you, if you have established a good rapport with them, then they are sure to refer their friends and family to you.
Think of ways to create engagement on these platforms!
Google AdWords Campaigns for Small Businesses
Think to advertise online!
Digital marketing is the best way to move traffic to your site, as well as bringing in new leads to turn into customers!
Yes, this is expensive in the beginning, but the return on investment is well worth it.
And it ends up being cheaper because you reach more people, not only faster, but on a global scale too. You want someone who knows what they are doing, otherwise, this may end in a very costly disaster for you.
Trust me when I say this, you need to know what you are doing, and if you have not studied it or have years of experience in it, then you ain’t no digital marketing expert my friend.
Take it from someone who has been there and lost millions.
Rather step back and let the pro’s do it!
There are many available digital marketing companies, if you need some help in this department then click on this link and speak to our team of digital marketing experts at RAS DIGITAL MARKETING.
Email Marketing for Small Businesses
When it comes to keeping in contact with your customers, email marketing is the best way to communicate and build customer loyalty. The email marketing platforms below will increase your brand recognition and credibility with customers and prospective customers.
Develop an efficient email management process that makes it easier to stay on top of the messaging and communication process.
Emails can also reach customers specifically for your products. There are templates available with all the itemized info needed for you to reach your specific customer’s needs.
Below are a few software platforms to consider:
- RAS Digital Marketing has a complete mail journey program, basically, we do everything for you.
Customer Relationship Management for Small Businesses
I know we don’t like to admit it, but most of us business owners need a little extra help to stay on track, and I don’t mean your morning coffee.
Online project management software provides a way to efficiently organize and manage complex projects from start to finish.
A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, ensures that clients and projects are kept on a tight and close leash. Leaving little room for error and things to get lost in the system.
Customers are what your business is about!
So, one must nurse each customer, as they are the heartbeat of your business.
There are various apps, Google will have many listed, like Salesforce being just one of them. Templates will be available, leading to record-keeping built for your own likes and dislikes.
Using these Tools will enable you to learn more about your prospects, leads, and customers. You can send out customized email templates as well.
It is important to remember that how you manage your customer information can set the stage for your entire lead generation process.
The tools below will help you create and manage your pipeline like a fully oiled working machine:
- Zoho CRM
Software Tools to Grow and Integrate Your Small Business
Software Tools delegate different departmental responsibilities. These are out there to support your needs for teams and groups.
One of the obvious goals of most business owners is to get more done in less time. It is why the productivity tools below are useful to every business owner.
These software services increase efficiency by centralizing requests, resource availability, issue tracking, communication, document management, and scheduling.
Google again has many options to search for. Perhaps start by exploring some of the available software products like:
Below are different helpful tools relating to teamwork. Google each one to see which will benefit you the most:
- Drive, is a cloud data storage
- Calendar, is a cloud-based calendar for individual groups
- Hangouts, is for video conferencing
- Documents, is a cloud office suite
Cyber-security for Small Businesses
Since nearly all businesses require some sort of network connection, it is critical that owners protect it.
Cyber-security is vital, as you can cause huge havoc if your infrastructure is infected. Your network needs to be maintained and secured, at a non-stop-ongoing basis.
You also need backup data with this 24/7. You cannot afford to lose info which you have collected over time.
One of the first lines of defence is anti-virus software. It guards computers and networks against dangerous viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, and other malware.
Without this protection, business owners could soon find themselves with an infected computer, which could lead to stolen information, down networks and lost productivity.
Financials for Small Businesses
Everything that we use to do manually can now be done on your computer at much faster speeds, as well as taking up less space, due to not needing a filing cabinet, and the data is way more secured that way, as long as you keep saving and updating.
No need for General Ledger, journals, diaries or other paperback systems anymore.
Salaries and wages are also done on various online systems now, such as Pastel and Payroll.
Invoicing is done by a click of a button as all the information of the client is in the computer system already.
Here are a few tips:
- Use an online invoicing service to reduce the costs of collecting payment from customers
- Use online budget tracking to keep on top of—and reduce—your expenses
- File your taxes more efficiently online
- Create a new income stream by selling your products online
- Use comprehensive accounting software to streamline your business finances
Accounting for Small Businesses
Simple software for accounting is available, and integration is what makes these programs so powerful, as they all interlink with other processes, including invoicing, payments, and payroll.
These programs are fairly easy to use, so you could either pay someone to do it for you or just teach yourself.
Below are a few more examples:
- Quickbooks Online
- FreshBooks etc.
Before You Go…
The business tools mentioned above, are basic, but are the most used ones by small and medium businesses, another important one that we did not mention was digital marketing.
If you have any great apps or business tools that you use which you think others could benefit from too, then please leave the name, URL and usage of it in the comment section below.
Common, let’s pay it forward and help others too. Be that person!