Technology changes the way people interact with the world. Communication is faster than ever. Traveling from point A to point B is made simpler by real-time directions. Even the objects that run in the background of your life like thermostats and refrigerators are getting smarter. Just as technology is changing your personal life, it can also change the way your small business works. Incorporating modern technology can greatly improve the way your business functions.
If you are not involved with social media, you are missing out on an opportunity to target your potential customers. There are millions of people around the world who are connected to these platforms. Most of these sites make their money through advertisements. Unlike traditional print or television advertisements, ads on a social media site can be much more targeted. You can restrict your advertising to the people who are the most likely to respond favorably to your message. Ads can be displayed based on factors like geography, gender or age bracket. People who might never know about your business will suddenly see it in their social media feeds. With targeted ads on social media, you get the highest return on your advertising investment.
Customer Service and Feedback
Another way to use social media is to handle customer service and receive reviews. Instead of just advertising, you can set up social media accounts that represent your business. Some businesses take this idea so seriously that they have an employee dedicated to maintaining their social media presence. When your business receives positive reviews, other users will see your reputation grow. It is important to remember that they will see negative reviews as well. However, a negative review gives you the opportunity to make a direct connection and apologize. Remember that in using social media, most of your interactions with customers will be public. An inappropriate response to a complaint can haunt you for a long time.
One of the places where technology makes a big difference is in productivity. While there is still value to a face-to-face gathering, many group meetings can be handled in the virtual world. If a client wants to learn about the progress on a project, they do not need to make the trip to your office. Instead, they can link to a video conference to get the latest information. Many virtual meeting services allow you to work on documents together during the meetup. This is especially helpful if you just need to check in with a client or employee for a few minutes rather than needing a full-fledged meeting. This is also helpful if you have workers with flexible hours. When there is a necessary meeting, they can attend from a remote location.
Lost data can be a catastrophe for your business. You depend on having customer information that is easily accessible. By digitizing your files, you have several ways to store and retrieve them. Files stored on a server also make it easy to share information within your organization. It’s important to have servers with cloud backup so you can avoid losing your business completely, especially if you operate in an area prone to natural disasters. Another advantage of storing information in the cloud is that it can be accessed from any location. If a remote employee needs information about a product, he or she can retrieve it while at home or during a meeting with a client.
Many businesses are moving away from a nine-to-five schedule, giving their employees greater flexibility in when and where they get work done. Clients expect businesses to be nimble and mobile, answering questions on-the-spot. Remote connections are empowering these trends. With the right configuration, employees can access their work computers from their home computers. Remote connection platforms make this kind of connection even more helpful. They allow employees to register devices and connect to your network with desktop computers, tablets or smartphones. The extra encryption provided by the platform improves the security making certain that no one outside your business sees the interaction.
It costs money to have a physical location for your business. While you know about expenditures like employee salaries and supplies, you may not think much about the costs involved in maintaining a building. Smart technology powered by artificial intelligence is lowering the cost of building operations. Smart thermostats go beyond the savings of programmable units by learning the patterns of your staff. They can control the temperature of zones in a more efficient way so you are not wasting money warming or cooling empty spaces. Smart light switches will lower your electricity bills by dimming lights in empty rooms. Smart locks can improve security by only giving access to those with a recognized device. Incorporating smart technology makes the background parts of your business run smoothly.
Harnessing the Gig Economy
When people think of the gig economy, they often think of individuals using their cars or a spare room to make extra money. However, there are many other ways to put the skills of others to work for your small business. Several online platforms exist to connect businesses with freelance workers, such as Guru, Upwork, and Freelancer. If you are looking to update your website, you can find a freelance designer to handle that single project. If you are looking to spice up that website with a regular blog, a freelance writer can provide articles at a reasonable rate. Rather than hiring someone on retainer or on an hourly basis, a small business can handle simple projects at a reduced cost.
Embracing technology to its full extent will expand the boundaries of your reach. It will change the way you interact with customers, communicate with employees and get things done around your business. While it may be comforting to avoid new trends and stick with what you know, ignoring the technological world will put you several steps behind your competition. Integrating new technologies into the life of your business is a critical way to help it thrive in the modern world.