Optimising your small business for the digital age
Close-up of touchpad in businessman hands during meeting
Wed 18 November 2015 - 10:30 amBusiness Tech | BYOD | Cloud | Digital | Digital | eCommerce | Expert | Hot Tips | Small Business | Social Media | Social Media | Tech
Small businesses are more numerous and more competitive than ever before. In fact, according to one article, a new business is started every minute. Here are some technologies helping small business owners compete in today’s market.
According to Forbes, the cloud is here to stay, and small businesses that don’t utilise all the money-saving capabilities it offers are going to be at a distinct disadvantage. There is now cloud data management software and services specifically designed just about every profession. Cloud-based systems save the time and money spent on IT infrastructure, software updates, and training. They also offer mobility in the form of easy access from multiple locations and devices. Cloud-based services also expand to accommodate growth. Improvements in security and high-level encryption methods have allowed professions that must comply with international privacy laws, such as banking, healthcare and dentistry to utilise the cloud. All patient data is stored and classified safely, doctors can organise their appointments easily and there’s no fixed fee, rather, you pay for what you spend.
Social Media Presence
Creating and maintaining a presence on social media has become a necessity for small businesses that want to stay competitive. Statistics show that the majority of marketers use social media an average of six hours per week. In addition to attracting new customers, social media is also an important aspect of establishing a reputation within your local business community. Many people prefer to shop with and support small businesses rather than mega-stores because they enjoy personalised service and a sense of community. Social media is an excellent way to nurture and expand that sense of shared community, as well as announce special offers. Engaging on social media has been shown to produce an average of 68% more traffic to business websites. That’s a huge boost!
The Power of Point of Sales Systems
There are a lot of advantages to utilising point of sales services for your business. With a POS, every sale provides data that you can use to more efficiently manage your business, be it retail store, a gas station, or restaurant. Moreover, the software presents the data in detailed sales reports. You’ll have all the information about exactly which products sold the most, and the least, which makes controlling your inventory for minimum waste and maximum profit easier and less time-consuming. You’ll be able to determine whether certain items are more popular at certain times of the year and which items should go on sale to make room for the more popular ones. You’ll also have information about how well your sales staff are performing because each register can be linked to a main terminal for easy access and analysation of sales data. Handheld devices can also be wirelessly connected to the main system.
With the number of people shopping online using their phones and tablets quickly surpassing those on home computers, it’s important that your website be mobile friendly. If you aren’t sure how your website translates on mobile devices, Google provides a free online testing tool. While in the process of updating your website, it’s a good idea to check it for SEO effectiveness. Increasing your visibility and making your business more accessible are important reasons for having a website. Many people shop on the web and utilise the information they find there before leaving home. It’s important that your website provides a phone number customers can call to check on item availability, as well as clear directions and parking information.
One of the benefits of automated marketing services is that you can maintain regular contact with your existing customer base while you are busy attracting new customers. You can also create and send special offers to selected groups of customers based on their previous purchases. Customers love personalisation. Consistency can be difficult for small business owners to maintain because there are fewer staff, with more responsibilities assigned to each person. The ability to automate recurring events allows you to maximise efficiency. Regular emails to customers and even social media updates can be scheduled in advance to help your business maintain a constant online presence in multiple locations simultaneously. With automated marketing, you really can be in two places at once.
Technologies like these are one reason that small businesses created 108,000 new jobs, just in March of this year. Those who utilise them may soon find that their small businesses aren’t so small anymore.
About the Author:
Philip Piletic is an aspiring writer and blogger with a love for business, finance and technology. His goal is to give useful advice and help people adapt to ever evolving world of today.