Small businesses play a huge role in creating jobs and driving innovation within our economy. Technology is key in helping these businesses maintain relevancy. A company’s use of technology can either be damaging or helpful.
Here are seven ways to help increase revenue and job growth by leveraging technology:
Mobile, mobile, mobile. That’s where it’s at. This can’t be said enough. Many sectors – such as the retail industry – are dominated by mobile. It’s the primary way people shop online. For businesses and their owners, going mobile can help reduce office expenses, strengthen continuity throughout the company and provide access to a greater talent pool. Mobile integration can also allow employees to work remotely when needed, instead of missing work completely if, for some reason, they can’t make it to the office. Employees can communicate constantly and respond to customers’ needs quicker.
Your website is often one of the first things consumers will see. This is where you want all your important information in plain sight – contact info, product or service specifications, company alerts or updates, etc. Your website should be current and easy to navigate. You want your customers to be able to find what they are looking for without going in circles within your site.
According to a 2013 Microsoft survey, more than 90 percent of consumers said they would rather take their business elsewhere than work with a company that uses outdated technology. Now, more than ever, consumers are tech savvy. It can be frustrating to a customer to deal with slow networks or programs that are incompatible with their devices when they are used to quick processes and results. Using an outdated system can slow down productivity, cost you returning customers, and tarnish the reputation of your brand.
Why should the big companies get all the top dogs? Well, they shouldn’t. There are ways for small businesses to gain the upper hand. Sometimes the culture of a small business is what people want. Many talented professionals are looking for a close-knit, family-type work environment. Maybe it’s a flexible work schedule that they are more interested in. Play off of whatever your company’s strengths are. Advertise openings on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and take notice of any feedback left about your hiring process or company on these sites.
Social media isn’t about letting people know that you just grabbed ice cream from the store. It’s about connecting with people. Share relevant content, photos and videos, and encourage others to do the same. Your small business can use social media to gain customer insights, improve your visibility online and drive new leads. Use it to find out what people are saying about your business. That’s free data for you to acquire and analyze. Does it get any better?
The little things matter. Business owners often put their focus on the big data and forget about the small, yet very important data. Consumers like and have come to expect personalization. They want to matter. Engage with customers. Ask them to submit reviews of their order or visit. Give them incentives to say something good. Have customers fill out short surveys that will include their contact information so you can send a personal invite to a special event or discounts on their birthday. Leverage the opportunity to be personal with your clients and customers.
Not many businesses have been successful all on their own. There is nothing wrong with collaborating with other companies in your community. Get together to plan events that might bring awareness to your brand. Promote these collaborations online through email, social media and your community newsletter.
Technology is advancing in so many ways and can help small businesses advance just the same. It’s up to business owners and employees to take advantage and utilize all the capabilities that technology has to offer.