It wasn’t that long ago when the idea of bringing your own smartphone or tablet to the workplace or using them to shop online from the comfort of your lounge was unthinkable. Technology has changed the way consumers well, consume things and they can do it all quickly at the touch of a button.
It’s inevitable that technology for work and play will continue to evolve and converge rapidly, so it’s up to you to stay up to date so your business can benefit and reap the rewards. Here’s how you can:
Be where your customers are – online
With 49 percent of Australians owning a smartphone, technology provides a new dimension to how you do business and how consumers do business with you. They’re increasingly shopping for products and ordering services from their mobile or tablet and in turn, you’re expected to be able to access their records and process their orders instantly. So if you haven’t already, set up a business website to not only retain customers, but attract new ones.
Think of technology as an investment
It’s typical for a small business to put technology investment in the back burner when you’re less likely to have a large amount of cash in reserve. Streamline and future-proof your day to day operations such as accounting software, email, office applications and file storage by moving them to the Cloud. Nowadays, many Cloud-based IT solutions avoid the need to spend money upfront but bring immediate benefit. When it comes to laptops, Ultrabooks, smartphones or tablets – purchase the device with the best features and the highest-spec processor and memory you can afford. This means that it will still be able to operate well in a few years’ time.
Hot tip: Don’t forget, the $6,500 instant tax write-off for new assets can assist in the investment of equipment that improves business productivity and cash flow.
Social is the new word of mouth
Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites are so popular with consumers that small businesses should take advantage of these platforms too. Why? It’s where word of mouth travels online. Best of all, the majority of them are free or inexpensive, and can be monetised. Investigate how your small business can utilise online ads on Facebook, polls via LinkedIn, promotions through Twitter and more. Think of social networking as a new method of communication and a great way to help build your brand.
Changes in the economy and in your industry and emerging consumer and technology trends will likely impact your business. So keep up to date with these developments. In an online era, it’s not enough to quickly flick through the business pages and attend the odd networking event. The proliferation of news websites, social media and IT means a whole new skill set is required to stay on top of developments affecting your business.
If you find that it’s all a bit overwhelming, a bit of research can help. Consider seeking advice from IT consultants, business advisors, other business owners as well as friends and family on what technology they’re using and what they recommend. Read reviews and product information from trusted “how-to” websites and magazines and participate in community forums relevant to your industry as another source of info and advice.