For any small business to thrive and compete with the bigger names in their industry, it is essential that they embrace new technology. Technology has always played a huge role in business, but the advances over the last decade have transformed the landscape.
When harnessed by small businesses, technology can level the playing field and help a small company to provide a high-quality product/service to their target customer and streamline the operation. But new technology can also be confusing and daunting because it is so advanced, so with this in mind, read on for guidance on how a small business should be using technology to improve the operation.
One of the most obvious ways that a modern day company can use technology is to increase the efficiency of their operation. The technology that you use will depend on what industry you are in, but there are sure to be apps, software, equipment and machinery which can be incorporated into your daily operation. You can increase efficiency by using new technology by:
- Automating various tasks
- Reducing errors
- Speeding up the process
- Improving the quality of the end product
- Reducing stress and freeing up time for employees
It can be challenging to find technology that will increase efficiency in the workplace especially when it is constantly evolving. The best way to find new technology for your small business is to:
- Subscribe to tech magazines, newsletters, etc.
- Join online communities
- Speak to tech specialists
- Carry out research
- Research your competitors to see what technology they are using
Increase Brand Awareness
One of the biggest challenges that small businesses face is making their target customer aware of their presence – this is particularly true if you are operating in an industry with household brands. Fortunately, modern-day technology can level the playing field and help you to compete against larger brands by increasing your brand awareness.
Effective strategies for doing this include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Pay per click advertising
- Regular use of social media
- Email marketing
- Influencer marketing
Increasing brand awareness can take time for results to show but with patience you should soon start to notice results. This can be a time-consuming and complex area, so many small businesses find it helpful to use an internet marketing agency to handle their advertising. It should also be viewed as an ongoing process.
Use Data To Make Informed Decisions
One area of technology which is surging in popularity and expected to be an enormous part of the business in the coming years is the use of data. Being able to collect vast amounts of data and then interpreting this information can help a business to overcome problems, improve their operation and boost sales. This is also a highly complex area of business and therefore requires a range of skills:
- Predictive modeling
- Statistical data mining
- Parametric estimation
- Model diagnostics
An online applied statistics degree teaches key skills and knowledge that will enable you to analyze and interpret data in any industry. This will be an incredibly valuable skill over the coming years as more and more companies look to learn from data to make improvements to their operation.
Being able to easily connect with staff, customers, suppliers and anyone else attached to the business is vital to success. Fortunately, this is easier than ever in today’s technologically advanced age. Communication can be instant no matter where you are which allows everyone to stay informed and on the page at all times. A few examples of this include:
- Smartphones and tablets
- Social media
- Video conferencing
- Cloud computing
This has led to the rise of remote working which can be beneficial both for employers and employees. As an employer, it means that you can easily stay connected with staff at all times and reduce costs through a reduction in energy usage and the ability to use a smaller business site. For the employee, working from home provides great flexibility and can do wonders for morale.
Not only this, but the increase in connectivity can also make it easier for a small business to outsource certain tasks to specialists. This can help them to reduce costs (more on this below), free up time and connect with specialists from all around the world.
One of the most effective ways to maximize profit is to reduce business costs. Every business has various costs that they must factor in, but technology can often be used to reduce these costs, and even the smallest change could have a significant impact in the long run. A few effective ways that tech can be used to reduce business costs include:
- Switching to solar power
- Going paperless
- Using energy-efficient appliances
- Remote working
- Using automation to increase working hours and efficiency
Of course, one of the major issues with bringing in new technology to your business operation is that it can be incredibly expensive. While this is true, there are always ways that you can save money when it comes to using technology in your business operation. These include:
- Leasing instead of purchasing (also allows you to upgrade when new tech comes out)
- Buying second-hand/refurbished equipment
- Encouraging staff to bring their own devices to work (BYOD)
- Use open-source software
- Look for alternatives to the larger, household brands
Using a combination of these strategies should help you to save costs on technology while still being able to use the best possible tech for your industry.
Technology has the ability to transform a small business and allow them to compete with the biggest names in its industry. The exact technology that you can utilize will depend on your industry, but these are all highly effective strategies which should help any small business to improve and find greater success. It can be hard to keep pace with all of the latest tech news and developments, but if you can stay informed, it could help you to stay ahead of the competition.