In today’s world, business and technology go hand in hand. Without proper technology, growing a small business is almost impossible. Not only does the proper use of technology allow you to become more efficient in daily processes, but it also allows you to remain competitive, regardless of the size of your business.
“There are a lot of ways to use technology to save money and improve your efficiencies,” says Ron Sturgeon, a successful entrepreneur, author, and small-business consultant. “Every small business needs a good plan to become successful, but it also needs to have the right tools and technology in place and then must learn how to use them effectively.”
What do successful small businesses do, and how do they implement technology more effectively? Here are seven strategies that have helped other small businesses thrive — and could help make your business more efficient, too.
1. Use Tech Tracking Tools
Measuring performance and keeping track of key performance indicators (KPI) have always been crucial to success. “As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” Sturgeon says. With the growth of technology tools, today’s business owner has access to analytics that provide insights into everything from social media participation to online ordering patterns. Use these to see what’s working and make tweaks to change what’s not working.
2. Get in the Cloud
Cloud computing provides both cost savings and greater access. By utilizing the cloud, you can save the hardware costs associated with physical servers as well as slashing related maintenance costs.
In addition to cutting costs, the cloud delivers the ability for workers to access information at any time from an array of devices, which means business travel becomes more productive and efficient. Migrating to a cloud-based program like Office 365 Business or Google’s business-oriented G Suite all but eliminates paper files, promotes productivity, and stores all your valuable information in a secure, accessible environment.
3. Mind Your (Social) Media
Social media is a powerful tool for reaching customers, but it also needs a good plan to make it effective. Create a goal for your social media plan, and research where your customers are spending their time. You don’t want to invest a lot of time in Snapchat if your audience is more likely to be on Instagram or Facebook. Once you know where your audience is, you can tailor a plan for reaching those individuals. Remember that social media is about engagement, not selling, and it’s a terrific way to build interest in what you have to offer.
4. Stay at the Top of Search Engines
If customers are using the internet to find you online, then your search engine ranking is crucial. Stay high in rankings by implementing the right keywords that customers use to find your service. Try Google Adwords to help you identify the best keywords if you don’t know them. Make sure your social media accounts are linked to your website, which helps improve your search engine rank, and take time to learn how SEO, or search engine optimization, works for you.
5. Give Away Wi-Fi
If you’re a retail storefront or a coffee shop, the promise of free Wi-Fi can be a compelling way to increase foot traffic. Offering free Wi-Fi allows you to gather information about customers through a sign-in page, which then gives you the chance to market to them. Free Wi-Fi can also be a valuable tool for building word-of-mouth advertising.
6. Create a Mobile App
Whatever your business, a mobile app is a great way to stay in touch with customers and provide a necessary service. It builds customer loyalty and can improve brand image while also attracting new customers. Make sure your mobile app fills a need your customers have, and set clear goals to help them on their buyer’s journey.
7. Stay in Touch
Email has become ubiquitous in today’s world, but it should not be overlooked as a valuable tool for communicating with your customers. Design an email marketing strategy that reaches your target customers by having something valuable to say.
“Don’t just send emails for the sake of sending emails,” Sturgeon advises. “Give them something valuable, and use a compelling subject line that lets them know it’s something of interest. There’s a lot of noise out there, but with the right approach, you can use your emails to rise above it.”
When you’re making the most of technology, it’s important to also make the most of your office environment. The right furniture for your business not only provides a stylish look but also ensures that employees and customers are comfortable, providing a better all-around experience. At CORT Furniture Rental, you’ll find everything from desks, office chairs, and conference room furniture to inviting reception and lounge furniture. Create a space that shows you’re as forward-thinking in your design as you are in your technology.