Ways to Use Technology to Efficiently Run Your Small Business

Ways to Use Technology to Efficiently Run Your Small Business

The old saying about working smarter instead of harder has a parallel in the programming world: the most productive coders tend to be the laziest ones. Instead of following the example of their colleagues and doing everything manually, they’ve taken the time to learn how to automate routine tasks. Can you apply this principle to your small business? Read on to find out about ways you can use technology, along with a one-time investment of time and/or money, to reduce the work, delay and error in getting product out the door.

Communicating With Customers

Videos

Have you ever considered posting a video to Youtube? Assuming that your business already has a web page (on which you can embed the video), many of your customers will still prefer to see rather than read about what you do.

Verbally explaining and physically showing how you conduct your business is a far more effective sales technique than a few lines of text, and will improve both the search ranking and appearance of your website. Confident, professional presentation will give each potential customer the feeling that the boss is talking directly to them.

Social Media

Customers will expect you to have a Facebook page, if only to see at what times you are open and where you’re located. It’s also easy and cheap to incorporate elements like feedback surveys and a company blog into this page. For the latter, the key concept is professional  – post pictures of your new product lines, not your cats and kids, and don’t yell at complaining customers online where the whole world can see.

Saving Money

Invoicing and Ticket Management Software

There are few things as potentially damaging as mis-invoicing customers, having to manually check which accounts are still outstanding, or even forgetting to invoice a client altogether. Many free or paid software packages are available to help you keep track of time and inventory spent on a particular job, organize jobs by priority, let you see your receivables at a glance, receive credit card or online payments, keep track of how many employee hours go to servicing which clients, and even more.

Inventory Management

Again talking about free software which you can customize to fit your own needs, you really don’t need to invest in a full-service ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite for a small business. However, automating the process of allocating stock to certain jobs or orders, knowing exactly what should be in storage, and what you should and can afford to re-order at which time will save effort, missed deadlines and all the man-hours small businesses spend on doing manual stocktakes. You can even invest in point of sale software that will manage inventory for you.

Online Outsourcing

If you need a non-core task performed, such as designing a flyer, updating a website, customizing one of the pieces of software mentioned above, or writing a specialized mobile app to your specification, looking for freelancers online can often mean significant savings. With low overheads, freelancers from all over the world can afford to offer the same services as local companies at a fraction of the price, while online marketplaces typically guarantee that you won’t have to pay for substandard work.

Which of these technological tools are appropriate for your business depends on what kind of goods and services you offer, so doing your research is vital. One thing you can rely on, however, is that your competitors will be searching for any edge they can get, and the first to adopt any useful new tool will have the advantage.

Categories: Technology

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