Small businesses don’t have the capital — human or financial — that larger firms do. When working with limited resources, it’s important to work as smartly as possible. There are many information technology innovations out there that promise to solve the problems small businesses face. In fact, there are so many that it can be tough to know where to start.
The adage “work smarter, not harder” may be cliché, but it’s highly applicable to this topic. Look for technology solutions that you could implement into your business that will help you work smarter. To help you get started, here are 15 ways technology can help your small business succeed.
Sales and Marketing
1. If you haven’t done so yet, create an online store to sell your products. This is a dead simple way to create an additional income stream and reach new customers. To be clear, creating your own eCommerce site from scratch isn’t dead simple. Rather, we recommend outsourcing your entire eCommerce site operations to one of the many firms that specialize in that area.
2. Leverage the power of Google and social media by targeting your advertising spend on those platforms. For a tiny fraction of the cost of a TV commercial, you can reach thousands of targeted potential customers using social.
3. Create a website. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or a “large small business,” you absolutely need a website. Customers who can’t find you online are far less likely to find you in person.
4. Start a blog on your website. Post regularly on topics your potential customers will be interested in.
5. Invest a little time into learning some basic principles of search engine optimization so that your blog posts will do double duty. They will help keep loyal customers loyal, and they will also help your search engine rankings. The latter helps more and more customers find you.
6. Check out digital, online invoicing systems. These can save you time, money, and effort in collecting customer payments. They can also bring an air of professionalism that many solopreneurs lack.
7. If you have a physical presence, implement a payment system with card-reading capabilities. Not only do systems like Square or Clover give your customers payment flexibility, they also help build your reputation as a tech-savvy company.
8. Use focus apps like focus booster or Focus Keeper to help you focus in on the most important task at hand. Apps like these reward you with short breaks after periods of intense work, keeping your work more balanced.
9. Got too many tasks that need to be done? Productivity apps like ToDoist can help you stay focused on which tasks are most important. You can also track your progress in completing tasks.
10. If your team has grown beyond just a handful of employees, you’ll benefit from project management tools. Online project management tools like Monday, Basecamp, Asana, and Teamwork offer various methods of tracking and planning work.
11. Store your company files digitally, in the cloud. Employees can then access them anywhere, from any device.
12. If your team reaches a large enough size or deals with enough documents, invest in a document management system to tag, organize, and store all those digital files.
13. Collaboration tools can go a long ways toward increasing office productivity. Slack is a popular tool. It’s free for small teams, and a business version is available for purchase once you reach a certain size. Bonus tip: If your small business uses Microsoft Office 365, check out Microsoft Teams. It’s like Slack on steroids.
14. Video chat our web-based audio conference calls are a huge win for small businesses with remote employees. There are tons of solutions in this category, including Skype, Teams, Hangouts, and GoToMeeting.
15. Combine cloud storage and cloud office suites (like G Suite and Office 365) for the ultimate in collaboration and productivity. Host your documents and presentations in cloud storage. Multiple users can simultaneously edit documents in real time on either of these platforms, too.
Depending on where your business is on its technology journey, some entries on this list may seem overwhelming. That’s OK. Find a few tips on the list that seem manageable to implement, and start with those. Once you see the benefits of those first few, you’re ready to add in more.