Technology is not something you should fear, but something you should embrace. This is exceedingly true when we look at small businesses. It’s easy to think that technology is killing a lot of businesses. Some people argue that technological advancements are getting rid of many jobs and ruining various industries. But, the simple truth is that it’s doing a lot more good than harm.
In fact, your business should start learning how to embrace technology more and more each day. It’s no secret that the most successful companies out there are all riding the techno wave with joy. There are many ways a small business can and should use technology to its advantage – and we’ll look at the top ideas in this piece.
Alternative Payment Solutions
One of the most underrated aspects of modern technology is the way it’s revolutionized payments in the business world. We started off with just cash-in-hand as the only payment method. Then came debit/credit cards, which opened up the realm of online payments. Nowadays, we have fast online payment systems like PayPal that let you buy things securely in a matter of seconds. We also have contactless payments, which is the really big and exciting thing around right now.
For me, every small business should embrace technology by opening itself up to alternative payment solutions. Technology has come on leaps and bounds in this sector, and you can now purchase card readers that attach to a mobile device and work as a point of sale. Even if you ran a mobile business where you went door-to-door or sold stuff on the street, you could accept card and contactless payments. When you do this, you open your business up to so many different people. It’s become rare for people to pay in cash, everyone finds it easier to just have their phone or card with them. This small change will lead to more sales, I can guarantee you of that.
It’s the same for online payments too. If people buy things via your site, you should have secure payments set up, and you should embrace the technology available to you. I mentioned PayPal already, and I’ll mention it again as it’s the main online payment system out there. By having a PayPal option – or possibly Apple Pay as that’s gaining popularity – you make life easier for consumers. They’re immediately more likely to actually pursue with the payment as they don’t have to go and fill out their card details.
Or, here’s a thought, you could even think about accepting cryptocurrency payments from your customers. I’ve seen a few small businesses do this already, and it could well be something to keep your eye on if this new wave of digital currency becomes more mainstream. Again, all it’s really about is providing customers with different ways of paying for things, which improves their experience and helps you attract more attention.
Build Custom Apps
Web applications, mobile applications; they’re both everywhere these days. The whole ‘app’ world is definitely something a business should embrace. There are multiple ways you can do this, and the most simples is to develop a mobile app for your company. Most consumers own smartphones or tablets nowadays, meaning there’s a big market for downloadable apps. We’ve seen businesses come up with all sorts of ideas regarding these applications. Some like to make an app version of their sites, others use apps to house loyalty programs, and so on. Your business should embrace mobile app technology as it helps to bring your brand into the pockets of many consumers. You tap into the all-important mobile market, which can open new sales channels and increase your promotion.
The second idea revolves around web apps that you can create to help your business, rather than to target consumers. Again, there are plenty of things you can do with custom web application development, with one idea being to build a research app. This is something I heard about recently, and it basically means you develop an app that lets you collect market data and bring all your research together. Things like this will help your business massively, and there are many other applications you can develop with a proper software development company helping you. Another idea is a web app that functions as an online store; these are popular nowadays. Here’s one more; a web application that you use to assign work to your employees and manage everyone’s workflow every day. The main thing I’d say here is that you should only look to have custom applications developed if you feel like existing ones just won’t do the trick. This could be because you have a very specific thing you want to use it for, or you may feel like other offerings include too much bloatware that you’ll never use, rendering them an unwise investment.
The bottom line is that your business should embrace technology by looking to build custom apps that will benefit both consumers and your organization. Mobile apps will help you branch out into new territory and ensure you don’t miss out on the millions of people that probably only use their phones instead of desktop computers. This idea of developing your own custom software is also so useful as it can help improve your productivity every single day.
The Digital Marketing Revolution
It almost goes without saying that every small business should use digital marketing techniques right now. Technology has revolutionized the marketing world, and the benefits are there to see for everyone. There’s not one person who can honestly stand up and say that digital marketing hasn’t made it easier to promote a business directly to its target market. We’ve been blessed with so much technology that allows this to happen, so you should embrace it.
One specific area you should focus on is online marketing. Really get to grips with social media technologies and SEM. These two things can combine to pretty much make up your whole marketing campaign. In fact, if you’re on a budget, I’d say invest in these two areas before you do anything else. Not only that, but use all the technology that’s been born as a result of the digital marketing revolution. I’m talking about detailed analytics software that lets you see so much information about your web traffic sources. Content management systems that help you keep track of all your website content and link it between your social media channels. There is so much digital marketing technology for you to play around with, and it’s all brilliantly useful.
But, not only that, you should embrace future digital marketing technologies too. The two big things on the horizon are VR and AR. It’s thought that augmented reality marketing campaigns are the next big thing in digital marketing. So, embrace the changes as they come, and adapt to suit the current climate – your business will thank you for it!
Business Management Software
Next on the list, we have business management software. What does this encompass? Well, it pretty much means any software that helps you manage your business. This is different to what I earlier mentioned about developing your own applications as you’re utilizing things that are already available to buy and download. If you’re running a small business in 2018 and beyond, then you absolutely need to embrace business software, or you’ll fail. It’s as simple as that, and there can be no arguments.
You see, a piece of business software can help you stay in control of various elements of your business. I think two of the most popular ones are accountancy software and HR software. If you use accountancy software for your business, then it lets you balance the books, keep track of your finances, and ensure that every employee is paid on time. It does all of this, pretty much automatically. The time you save is so valuable. Not only that, but it helps avoid mistakes that are caused by human errors, which lead to setbacks. The same can be said for HR software; it helps you manage your employees. You can track when they come into work, allow them to book days off, and use it as a system for filing complaints or queries.
What both these examples also show is that you can save your business so much money by using the right software. With these two, you probably only have to hire one or two new team members to operate and look after the software. If you didn’t have it, you may need to bring in a whole team to form an accountancy squad or HR department.
There are two ways a small business can approach technology. It can run away from it, or it can embrace it. I’ve given you some examples of how your small business can make the most of modern technology. It’s clearly a beneficial thing, and if you truly want to be successful, then technology needs to be your friend. We’re living in a world that’s dominated by tech, so you better start using it!