By Erin Swan
Small businesses account for approximately 90% of all businesses in America, but most of them don’t take full advantage of all of the technology available for improving their businesses. From social media marketing to working remotely, modern technology has reshaped the way we do business today. But if you’re not employing modern technology to its full extent, then you’re not getting all of the potential perks it can offer. Here are just 5 ways that technology can help your small business, and how you can take full advantage of these benefits.
Finding New Clients
The internet and social media have completely reshaped the way businesses find and interact with their customers. Marketing through platforms like Facebook and Twitter is the new norm for businesses of all sizes, and it’s actually the most effective way to do it. The majority of consumers today turn to social media for referrals to new businesses, and they’ll trust a recommendation from a Facebook friend more than they’ll trust a commercial on television.
If your company doesn’t have a strong social media presence, then you’re missing out on a great tool for finding and engaging new customers. Not only should you have accounts on major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but you need to post on them regularly to take full advantage of this piece of technology. Respond to customer comments, post updates, and run special promotions on these platforms to get the most benefits from social media.
These days, more people are performing searches for goods and services on their smartphones than on their computers. What does that mean for your small business? It’s simple—your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices. If your site is not mobile-friendly, potential customers will leave the page within seconds, because it’s not worth their time to try to navigate the site on their smartphones.
Getting your site optimized for mobile devices is fairly simple, and there are many companies out there who can do it for you quickly. It is a simple—and very much necessary—investment for your business to make in order to pull in new customers from this smartphone generation. Customers today are on the go, so your site needs to be able to go with them.
Better Project Management
It used to be that collaborating on a project with coworkers meant frequent meetings, lots of emails, and the occasional sticky note. Even then, delays in communication could slow a project down, and sometimes work would be duplicated. But nowadays, there are countless project management tools available to make collaboration easy.
If you’re not already using one of these tools, then you’re likely wasting time on the projects you’re handling. Explore what’s available and find something that works for your team. When you start collaborating and managing projects electronically, you’ll find that you save time in every step of the process, enabling you to spend more time on improving your business.
Whether you have coworkers who are away from the office or are partnering with another company overseas, technology makes physical distance almost entirely negligible. While you could always just have a conference call, advancements in technology have made it possible to have face-to-face meetings with people across the world. You can even use screen sharing to show a video or PowerPoint presentation to your distant business partners.
If you’re still just using the conferencing ability on your office phone for these kinds of meetings, then you’re not reaping all of the benefits of this technology. Easier, clearer communication prevents confusion and makes it easier to drive your point home. Rather than trying to explain your product to a potential customer or business partner over the phone, you can share a video or slideshow presentation that better illustrates the benefits of your product. This kind of communication can help you to quickly grow and improve your business.
Telecommuting, or working remotely, is becoming the new norm in today’s technology-driven society. As we’ve already mentioned, there are several technologies available that make it easy to collaborate and communicate with coworkers who are away from the office, but there are a few other technologies that are vital to making telecommuting truly effective.
Programs like eFileCabinet make it possible for you to store, search, and share documents no matter where you are, which means you don’t have to worry about going into the office to find the contract or document that you need. Plus, all of your employees will have access to the documents as well, which means they can work from anywhere, and you can easily share the files with your clients for quick, easy communication.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal about telecommuting anyways?” Simply put, it enables you and your employees to be productive no matter where you are. You don’t have to sacrifice on productivity when you’re traveling or stuck at home with a cold. You can work from anywhere and anytime, which means your business is always growing and improving.
Want to learn more about how technology can help your small business? Todd Rowe, Managing Director of Channel Sales at Google, will be speaking on this topic at the Edge 2015 User Conference in Las Vegas. Be sure to reserve your spot at the conference now in order to learn about this and other best business practices for your small business. Click here to learn more about Edge and to register.