It has long been said that small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. This remains true today, as these smaller institutions offer personalized services to local areas, they hire and train many individuals, and they create high-quality custom products that cannot be offered through mass-production facilities. The existence of small businesses boosts community education levels, supports the local economies, and creates opportunities that are needed in smaller areas.
This staple of the American economy is seeing some struggles. Many small businesses are not staying up-to-date with some of the latest technological advances that have come about. Missing the advantages of these business tools has led many small businesses to struggle: They tend to have trouble keeping up with their competing markets, getting their payments on time, hiring the right people, and receiving the materials they need.
Payment technology is one of the most important tools for small businesses to be taking advantage of. Fewer people are carrying around cash with them, which means businesses need to have the ability to capitalize on credit and debit card payments. Many late payments from clients can cause the owner of a small business to have to postpone important orders, or late payments from the client could even cause late payments on the building lease or utility bills. The following is a list of payment technology tools that can help minimize these struggles:
- Scan to pay: This is an excellent tool that can make it easier for clients to pay without having to write a check, or remember to pay when the first of the month comes around. The small business simply has to send out their weekly or monthly bill along with a message about their gratitude for the patronage. The document will include a QR code that can be scanned by any smart phone. The QR code will link the client up with the bill, where the payment can be made right then and there.
- Square: This is an app that can be put on any phone with the intent to make payments via credit and debit cards through the phone. Receipts can be sent to the customer’s e-mail address of choice. The app comes with the ability to type in credit card information, or offers the option to purchase a scanner accessory that can be inserted into the charging port. Having a way to process cards on your phone can make it a lot easier for clients to pay for their received services and wares wherever you may be.
- PayPal: This is an Internet-based service that will allow you to send and receive invoices via the computer. Daniel Thomas with BBC News says, “Platforms such as PayPal now have app versions too, reducing a merchant’s reliance on cash or card.”
There are many other apps and programs that can help increase the ease of sending invoices and receiving payments as they come due. When you don’t have to track down clients to receive your payments, you will save a lot of time, things will work more smoothly, and your company will be much better off.
Marketing is especially important for small businesses. These small entities of the merchant world have to compete with the larger entities that spend more in their marketing campaigns in a month than a smaller business can generally make in a year. The following marketing tools can help small businesses find and capitalize on their niche:
- Social media: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and so many other social media platforms can help a small business really get their name out there. There is just no other way to reach so many people in so many walks of life without having to pay much.
- Business website: Business Vibes states, “You may think your small business website is impervious to rapidly changing technology because your clients don’t care about your website, book your services in person, or are too busy to do anything about it. But none of those reasons really matter if you’re competing in an online world.” This is where your SEO searches will lead, so your website should be regularly updated with your current news, services, and prices.
Data Organization Tools
Big data management is something every industry is having to figure out, and that is no different for the small business world. Sales statistics, demographics, marketing information, and more can all be tracked, input, and used to optimize the way a small business functions.
When it comes to this need, there is really only one tech tool needed, and that is a good Document Management Software (DMS) platform. A program of this nature will make it easy for you to keep track of vital information in a personalized and organized fashion. The information will then be easy to locate, refer back to, and analyze for use in profitable ways. On top of all of this, DMS technology comes with the ability to keep all of this sensitive information very safe and secure.