Are you hesitant to embrace technology for your small business? This just might just convince you to give it a try or, at least, lets you have an open mind about it.
There are many who use current technologies to promote their small businesses. Social media, in particular, has become the most popular tool. As we said in this article, though, social media isn’t enough. There’s more to everyday technology that can actually push your business to achieve its full potential.
How are we to put it into context, though? Well, here’s a screenshot of the question we asked on Google:
Here’s what we can infer from it: the trend of small businesses integrating technology to their businesses is on the upswing. While it’s safe to assume that those in developing countries aren’t as connected online as other developed countries, it will only be a matter of time before all businesses adapt to new technologies other than just social media channels. After all, many of the technology we’re using online now became more affordable (if not free) and easier to use with time.
But then again, there are still the leftovers who like to do things the old-school way. There’s nothing wrong with that. But to be technology-averse in this time and age of doing business means potentially missing out on a lot of opportunities, both in terms of growing your business and streamlining your business process to make your work less labor-intensive.
Think about this for a minute, though: increasing numbers of small businesses are using technology for their operations. Who’s to say you can still run your business the old-school way, say, ten years down the line?
On the other hand, if you adopt current technology a decade after everyone else did, would it ensure your business’s survival? Or will you just delay the inevitable and close up shop after you can’t compete anymore?
So yes, this is a roundabout way of saying you will eventually need technology if you want your business to survive.
Now, if you want a “starter pack” to get the ball rolling, read our list of free apps for entrepreneurs here. For this piece though, we’re discussing why and how it is important for small businesses to adopt technology as integral parts of their operations.
Of course, it won’t come as a surprise that tech today does more than just make you look, well, “high-tech”. Here are some key points that would make you realize that technology is important to everyone, regardless of what your business is.
It makes communication easier
Come on, you surely have a Facebook or Instagram account by now, right?
Social media became popular mainly because it allows everyone to get in touch with family and friends, no matter where they’re from and whatever device they are using.
It’s understandable why businesses need social media in creating brand awareness and gathering market insights. But these channels, especially Facebook, enable businesses to communicate directly and in real-time with their customers. Businesses can get quick feedbacks and assist their customers faster via sites like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
From a business-to-business perspective, technologies such as Skype, Zoom (for meetings), social media sites, Gmail, Google Drive, and other similar apps help businesses coordinate faster. For instance, meetings can be organized online instead of traveling for a one-hour conference.
For internal messaging in a company, regardless of the size of your business, there is an app called Slack. Clever naming aside, this is a messaging service app that really is tailored for teams. And as any good messaging app does, it allows anyone in the team to send and receive both user-to-user and user-to- group thread messages. And speaking of ‘threads’, you can divide them into channels where you can designate one according to project. As admin, you can also add and remove members.
You get to save up on business resources
Nothing says “this is a place of business” like having stacks of papers dwarfing your desk. Unfortunately, the days of appearing busy is long gone. In its place are sleek laptops, probably a pen and small notebook, and a cup holder for your coffee or tea.
For longtime business owners, you might be aware how little office supplies’ expenses can add up over time. What if you can eliminate these unnecessary spending by just having a stable internet connection and a laptop (or two)?
Indeed, this might be the primary reason why the internet is so useful for small businesses today: it actually saves you money on what you might otherwise spend on physical resources.
Nothing demonstrates this more than the leaps made by cloud technology. For people who might have encountered “cloud” for the first time, here’s a simple definition from PC Magazine:
“In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.”
So, as long as we’re connected to the internet, we’re already using cloud technology. The different uses for this are, of course, endless. The most popular form of this technology might be in the cloud storage apps, where the data you upload on the service remains accessible, even if you delete the file from your physical hardware. For instance, Google Drive, Google’s cloud storage service, offers a free 15GB cloud storage capacity. How’s that for a start?
For retailers, there are inventory systems you can use and sign up to on the internet.
Now that we’ve established how you can save on resources by integrating technology in your small business , what’s next?
Technology helps businesses to scale
Any businessperson worth his or her mettle knows that growing their businesses should always be on the back of their minds. You might not achieve it today, but you believe that the opportunity is always there. Well, what if we tell you that the internet can hasten those opportunities?
Indeed, the internet has broken geographical barriers, now businesses can do negotiations with other businesses in any part of the world.
Furthermore, with business apps and softwares, you can now accept more orders or attend to more customers because your staff can process and access data faster.
Just like any tool, how effective the internet can be for your business is all up to how you use it. So make sure you plan your digital transformation really well.