Technology: Enhancing Small Businesses
Technology can be a blessing for small businesses, allowing them to compete against large conglomerate corporations, propelling them to the next level of business. Technology allows many small businesses to further market their offerings and track their systems. Allowing for meticulous record keeping, technology systems help consolidate databases, emails, blogs, websites and marketing tools.
Small businesses can utilize simple technology or more complex, extensive technology, depending upon skill and comfort levels. Companies can use social media marketing technologies or online advertising.
There are a number of recommendations for small businesses that are considering jumping – or taking the leap – into advanced technologies. Some of the following tips may prove valuable, including:
- VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) – Companies should consider setting up a VoIP business phone, helping them utilize their broadband Internet connection to its fullest capabilities. With low costs and fixed monthly user rates, this valuable high-tech telecommunication system can save companies thousands of dollars. Hosted VoIP systems are also available and have reduced start up fees, allowing all equipment to be safely stored offsite in a virtual Cloud PBX.
- Databases – Developing a good database that highlights and stores customer information, sales histories, purchasing records, supplier information, production records, payroll records, sales figures, inventory lists and expense ledgers is vital to a company’s successful productivity. Many systems allow these files to be cross-references and linked to other databases, allowing easy tracking of orders and consumer products.
- Websites – Having a professional website that doesn’t scream small-business start-up is worth the extra money. A website should be easy to navigate, have well-written content and clearly state products offered and a location. Consumers like to feel comfortable with companies, so providing a well-written brief background, history, product information and unique services statements are great objectives. Such as the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” a website that highlights products with detailed, professional pictures is bound to attract more consumers. If a company has a storefront, include a picture for a more personal, intimate shopping experience. Creating online mapping and links, as well as directions, email addresses, phone numbers and live chat services are also extremely beneficial.
- Blogging – Blog frequently to highlight new, unique content on a website. Well-written posts introducing new products and services, as well as how the business’ industry is ever evolving is extremely helpful. Allow customers to respond, as this provides an interactive forum. Some companies may want to consider the benefits of creating Facebook and Twitter accounts, analyzing whether these will be beneficial for the business.