With 28.8 million small businesses in the United States, competition can be really fierce. This means that in order to stay on top of your game, you’ll need to find a way to utilize your time more efficiently. Technology can help your business in many ways, from providing means to increase productivity and building stronger relationships with your customers, to facilitating business communication and improving user experience.
You might think that a small business doesn’t have the budget to access cutting-edge technology, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Very often, the tech solutions that will help your business stand out from the crowd and stay there for the long haul are just a click away!
We’re offering the best (and simplest) ways technology can help you to run a successful small business.
1. Make Your Business Easy to Find with an Awesome Website
Unless you are a small business owner who isn’t interested in growing your business, you absolutely need a website.
Technology has changed the way people search and find businesses. Today, more than 90% of consumers go online to find a local business and 30% of them won’t even consider a business without a website. In other words, if you don’t have a website, you might as well not even exist.
But having any kind of website isn’t enough. It needs to be a great one. Why? Because 75% of consumers have admitted to judging a company’s credibility based on its website design. People are more likely to do business if they trust your company, and your site is the first place they’ll go to check for reviews and credentials.
Luckily, building a website is easier than ever; it doesn’t cost much and you don’t have to know how to design or code.
Having a good website will not only allow you to promote your products, but also provide something of value to potential customers, engage with them, and build your brand.
2. Improve Your Reputation with a Mobile App
According to research conducted by eMarketer, mobile-device users spend about 2 hours every day using mobile apps, as opposed to only 26 minutes browsing the web on their mobile devices. In 2017, app time made up almost 20% of total media time.
Add to this the fact that more than 80% of users search for products and services online and more than 25% of them search for the apps related to that service/product.
It’s not hard to conclude that mobile apps have become necessary for businesses of all industries and sizes. A mobile app can help you engage with customers, improve your reputation in the market, and drive sales.
3. Expand Your Reach with Social Media
Social platforms are an effective way to build strong relationships with your customers, while at the same time making a positive impact on prospects. Find out where your target audience is present and make sure to share valuable information related to your business. This helps build trust and showcases your expertise.
4. Rely on Online Invoicing Systems
Programs like Wave, Invoicely, and FreshBooks allow you to create and send invoices and estimates, track time and expenses and accept online payments. These programs are easy to learn, even for those with no background in finance. They’re affordable and easily accessible online from any mobile device or computer.
5. Use Project Management Tools
When you’re managing clients’ documentation and appointments, it’s crucial to have everything well organized and easily accessible. A project management system such as Basecamp, Jira, or Hive, as well as calendar systems like the ones from Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar, are great to keep everything in order.
If you own medical practice, you’ll need practice management software. This software allows doctors, therapists, chiropractors, and other specialists to easily maintain electronic health records, keep track of patient information online, and establish online billing.
6. Set Up an Email Strategy
Sending an email newsletter on a regular basis is a great way to communicate with your customers, but also to convince them to buy more. When planning your email strategy, focus on understanding what your customers are interested in, what they would like to learn about, and create valuable content without sounding too salesy.
The key to every successful email strategy is having a great email marketing tool such as Mailchimp, Reach Mail, or GMass. These email tools allow you to create personalized emails, schedule mass emails to be sent later, and track opens, replies and clicks.
7. Improve UX with Chatbots
Research has shown that over 80% of customers look for help when shopping, and what better way to be of assistance than through chatbots? Since you can’t be present 24/7 to answer customer queries, chatbots are a great way to ensure high customer satisfaction.
For instance, OptinMonster saw an increase in conversion rates by eleven times through live chat, as well as 85% satisfaction rating from live chat representatives.
Designed to ask specific questions in order to understand the customer’s problem, live chat is the best solution to optimize the user experience and, ultimately, improve sales.
8. Use Cloud Services
Many contemporary businesses work with remote employees, clients, and freelancers. Cloud solutions like Google Drive and Dropbox provide flexible collaboration and ease in communication no matter where you are. Using these cloud solutions is much simpler and more affordable than any other option. They can be used as collaboration platforms where team members can share and change documents, store large files, etc.
9. Improve Productivity with Time-tracking Software
Time-tracking tools like HubStaff, Timedoctor, and Timely help you optimize your team’s work capacity. A time-tracking software allows you to create clear and visible tasks, set and monitor deadlines, and track progress. The software captures time, calculates wages, and issues invoices routinely, thus making the whole billing and payroll process automated.
10. Build Better Customer Relationships with CRM
Customer Relationship Management software allows you to build strong relationships with customers, increase conversations, and boost revenue rates based on customer data coming from multiple channels (website visits, social interactions, phone calls, etc.)
Most CRM solutions like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive are designed to be used by teams so that you can delegate tasks and monitor results. Companies use CRM to analyze customer data, carry out loyalty campaigns, create sales funnels, etc. Using CRM software from day one helps you build a loyal customer base, expand your business, and manage it more efficiently.
The latest technological advances give small businesses ways to boost productivity, save expenses by automating tasks and processes, great options for effective communication, etc… Companies and organizations are using the latest apps, tools, and software to transform their businesses with an aim to gain competitive advantage. Regardless of the industry or company type, the advantages of technology for running and managing small businesses are countless.