A Natural Fit: How Technology Can Help Small Businesses Compete
According to Goldman Sachs, small business owners generally see technology as integral to competition and growth. Unfortunately, many of those entrepreneurs feel constrained by factors that set bigger companies apart, including cost, accessibility, and adaptability.
Nevertheless, many start-ups find ways to employ technology that helps them collaborate and communicate better with employees and customers. The important thing is for business owners to recognize that technology is a valuable business tool that can help them stay competitive.
Making Technology Fit
A report published by Inc.com revealed that many small businesses find ways to afford and integrate project management platforms with messaging and scheduling for better coordination, adopt video platforms that integrate with virtual offices and clients, and utilize customer relationship management (CRM) programs that make it possible to both track and leverage customer interactions.
Clearly, some small business owners are aware of what technologies are available, understand how they can help, and find ways to pay for them. For others, it comes down to whether they can get comfortable with technology and accept that it’s not beyond their means or ability to adapt.
If you’re uncomfortable with automating your systems and processes, talk with other business owners who’ve employed technology successfully and find out how they tailored it to their particular needs. Here are a few technology investment ideas that just may be a good fit for your business:
Advances in voice search technology are opening up new ways for users to find content and product information online. Customers are increasingly using smartphones and other mobile devices to perform voice searches because it’s familiar, easy, and comfortable.
Consider investing in technology that can handle and process voice queries, which tend to be more conversational and longer than typical online search-bar queries. It’s just one more way you can make it easier and more convenient for customers to find you.
Your point-of-sale (POS) systems represent a tremendous asset for an online business that wants to provide customers with a memorable shopping experience, one that’ll keep them coming back. The right POS system allows customers to
check out quickly, makes it easy to track inventory (even across different locations), and helps ensure that payments are transacted securely.
Some technologies can even help your business generate profit. For example, drop shipping is an efficient way to make money because the upfront investment is minimal and, with no need for inventory space, there are very few practical logistical concerns. If you’re looking to expand into additional product lines, consider bedding, electronics, jewelry, pet supplies, watches, and many other items that your customers will love.
Integrate Social Media
If you’re looking for an alternate yet inexpensive way to reach potential customers, look no further than the power of social media. It’s how billions of people communicate every day, and it’s also a powerful venue for doing business online. Snapchat and Instagram, in particular, offer businesses a robust platform for selling products and services to people whose primary means of interacting with others is through social media.
Facebook has also become a popular business tool for small businesses, many of which consider Facebook Messenger as an effective and cost-efficient marketing and communications asset. And with more than 1.3 billion users, it’s a ready-made source of customer prospecting.
Sometimes, successfully integrating technology means finding the right tool at the right price point. If it means doing a better job of finding motivated customers and operating more efficiently, it’s a good investment — and one you can’t afford not to make. After all, you can rest assured your competitors are looking for ways to make technology work for them.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
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