For your SMALL BUSINESS to survive this competitive world, it must use technology to speed up its services and also to serve its customers on time. Technology can be of great benefit to your small business and most of these technologies are not expensive yet they play a big role in business growth and expansion. As a small business, you have to work so hard to meet your customer’s expectations, but you must also focus on expanding your business and increase on your customer database.
Being small does not mean that you will always be small, yes, it is good to start small and master the game and the market you’re targeting. I believe every small business has a little bit of fear of competing with the big boys in the market, but you use technology to compete with well established companies. The trick in this is to know how to use the technology in your hands to deliver the best products and also to serve your customers on time. Below i have a list of technologies you can use to help your small business survive and grow gradually.
- 1. Internet: Every small business will need to use internet to accomplish various tasks. Internet is wide and its functions are unlimited. So as a small business you can take advantage of these unlimited functions of internet to grow your small business. Internet can help you study your competitors, you can use internet to establish your business online and reach more clients, internet can help you market your small business to targeted markets using small budgets, internet can make your small business global and this might led to business growth. To have internet in your business is very cheap now days, you can easily subscribe to unlimited broadband internet for as low as $60 per month, so as a small business this is not a big expense compared to what you can benefit from this internet technology.
- 2. Tablet Computers: Gone are the days of desktop computers, i don’t mean that they are not useful any more, actually every small business should at least have 1- 3 desktop computers depending on the tasks which require computer use in that business. Tablet computers have become so popular in the business world, they are portable and they come with almost every application a desktop computer has. Tablets can be used in mobile video conferencing, so as a small business owner, you will find it easy to communicate with your team using video conferencing application on your tablet. Just imagine holding a business meeting with your team or business partners while on plane or train, this saves you too much time and it cuts down the hassle of preparing for those early morning meetings.
- 3. Business Intelligence applications: I guess many of you have heard of the term ”Big Data” , to some extent , small businesses might find big data applications expensive, but the good news is that some business software developers like Sisense have started developing big data services that can be used by small businesses. With this success, small businesses will be in position to derive more insights about their clients, their marketing campaigns and also get to know their financial status. Sisense.com works as a business intelligence software. It enables small business get information out of the transaction statistics which is collected on their e-commerce websites. The information collected by Sinsense software, can be used to measure business growth.
- 4. Social Media Marketing Tools: With the increasing usage of social media networks by small businesses to reach targeted markets, their is a need to use social marketing tools to ease the job of promoting your small business on all top social networks and also be in position to track the performance of your campaigns. For example, you can use Salesforce.com to create social campaigns and also track the performance of every campaign. As a small business this will save you time and money, your Salesforce dashboard will help you see which campaigns and keywords are working better , and which ones to edit or drop. Many times small businesses lose money while advertising on social networks simply because they use wrong keywords and promotions. So with salesforce social marketing tracking tools, you can start with a small budget and measure which keywords and promotions are performing better.
- 5. Cloud Storage and Data Security: As a small business you need to secure your data safely and also be in position to access that data from any where. Today, we have many cloud data hosting services which every small business can take advantage of. For example, Box.com and DropBox.com, these two cloud data hosting companies will give you free storage of your business files and this data is encrypted so that no one gets access to it. You can access both Dropbox.com and Box.com storage facilities on your mobile phone or tablet using their mobile applications, so this will make it easy for you to access your business data from anywhere. It is very important to backup your business information, in case a disaster strikes your business, your data will be safe in the cloud.
- 6. Video Collaboration Application: Communication is a very important factor in every business. Your small business will need to upgrade its communication technologies to simplify and speed up information flow and decision making. You can use Video chats and video-enable IP telephony to communicate with your employees, business manager, or business partners. Face-to-face communication makes more sense when it comes to business communication. You can easily use these video chat for free. For example, if you install SKYPE on your computer or tablet, also the other parties should have SKYPE accounts and software installed on their gadgets; this means you can both call each other at zero cost.
- 7. Freelancer Tech Experts [elance.com] : Small businesses can not afford full time tech experts, on average, to hire a full time tech expert, you will need to pay them between $3500 – $5000 per month , this is quite expensive for a small business. So the best thing every small business should do is to hire freelancer tech experts to complete specific tasks. You can find these tech experts on Elance.com, many experts are using this platform, simply post a job then various experts will tell you how much they can take to complete that task. Elance is safe, money is paid to Elance.com, and the expert will only get paid when you approve the task is complete, if the expert fails to deliver the work, your money will be refunded back to you.
- 8. Website & SEO: After creating a website for your small business, you will need to promote this website to reach targeted clients. However, search engines have too much traffic which can help your business grow. Organic traffic from search engines is free yet it is the traffic which always turns into sales, because people will come to your website after searching for your product or service. So having a well designed website will not do the all magic, you need good content on your website which search-engines will rank, also make sure you write your web content basing on the keywords you want to target on. You can also set a small budget and hire a Search Engine expert to optimize your website. After ranking in all search engines, you will see massive traffic coming to your website and sales will skyrocket.