We have certainly already been rather dependent on technology in our everyday lives – we use it to find out things, to help us pass the time, to learn new skills, to stay connected.
With everything that is going on in the world, technology will likely become an even more integral part of our lives. It has an immense power to help our businesses run more efficiently, and perhaps even at a lower cost.
Let’s explore the ways in which a small business can rely on tech to streamline its operations:
There are hundreds of tools out there that can help you be more productive at work. While some certainly have features that are more suited to larger conglomerates, small businesses can still benefit from them:
- Invest in a time-tracking software that will help you stay on top of your own time, and help you manage your team better. It can help you figure out how much time is needed for which tasks, who is most efficient at what kind of work, and how best to delegate.
- You can also use project management or task management apps to help you track everyone’s progress, assign tasks, and overall manage the workload on a day-to-day basis.
- There are email management tools that will help you streamline your morning inbox review – anything from labeling incoming mail, to setting reminders and autoresponders will certainly help you spend less time on correspondence.
A better grasp of your finances
Tech can also help you deal with your finances better, saving you perhaps a trip to the bank or a call with your accountant. Bearing in mind that you will most likely still need an expert on board for some of your financial tasks, here is what you can use tech for:
- You can use an online invoicing app to help you keep up with your payments, and make sure they are all made on time.
- You can use a budget tracking app to ensure you are staying on track, and that you are not spending more than you should (and to also alert you there is more money available than you may have thought).
- There are bookkeeping and accounting apps that can help you with these tedious tasks, although this is where you might want to use a professional to help out, as making a mistake can cost you significantly.
- There are payroll and insurance apps that can help you take care of your staff and your own obligations to them.
Customer service and customer information
When it comes to customer service, you will still need to rely on the human touch for the best possible results. However, there are ways tech can make things easier:
- You can use chatbots and autoresponders on your website, allowing your customers to ask questions even when you are not around, and help out if they can.
- You can rely on a mobile form builder to help you gather the information you need from your customers about your products or services, or the experience they have had shopping or working with you.
- You can set up an online help desk where people can get in touch with your team and ask the questions they need to ask.
- You can use scheduling software that will allow customers to set up a time to talk to you about your product or service, or even to get additional information about your offer.
Of course, tech can help you market your business online. Again, this is an area where it is important to remember that you can’t rely on the software alone. True, it can provide some incredible insight into the behavior of your customers and leads, but you still need to be the one who interprets this data, and decides how to use it.
Your marketing also needs a bit of human touch, but here is what software can do:
- Help you gather information about your customers online: on social media, on your website, and so on.
- It can help you run ads on social media, ads on search engines, or across other platforms.
- It can help you collect email addresses and other valuable data about your customers and leads.
- You can use all kinds of software to research anything from the way your competitors are attracting customers, the keywords you should be trying to optimize your website for, to content ideas you can use on your blog and websites you might want to collaborate with.
Finally, there is another area of small business operations we need to touch upon: remote work. Whether it becomes a necessity or remains an option, remote work is a way into the future, and no matter what happens in the near one, it probably is the distant future of work. Here is how tech can make it easier on you:
- You can use remote desktops to access all kinds of files across different devices, saving you time and virtual space.
- You can store everything on the cloud, eliminating the need for paper, and reducing the chance of an important piece of information getting lost.
- There are chat and video apps that can help you stay in touch with your team, and facilitate a warmer environment.
- There are apps that can help you stay connected with your work phone and fax no matter where you are.
In short, there is hardly anything tech can’t help you do. The only thing left for you to do is the things humans do better than machines: be creative, be inventive, and put all of the different pieces together to create a thriving business.
Of course, you don’t need to have dozens of apps to make your business work – you can only choose to use the ones you actually need and that make sense. In fact, cluttering your workspace with too much technology will have an adverse effect, so only use what you need. And always remember that you are in control and in charge of the tech, not the other way around.