When it comes to owning a small business, one of the largest and most important investments you will make is in technology. From retail to hospitality, all sectors of business rely heavily on technology. It is a major cornerstone of day to day operations, analyzing profits and losses, as well as increasing efficiency. Many small business owners get frustrated when it comes to investing in technology and at the many different options available. As if that weren’t frustrating in itself, there are the many competing schools of thought on small business tech. It is a common headache for small business owners of all industries. The bright side is that there are many resources available for learning the basic of small business tech. Here is just a few tips to get your feet wet and get you brainstorming.
You Get What You Pay For
When we say technology for small business is important, that is a huge understatement. Small business tech can make or break your company. Try to cut corners and underinvest on tech and your productivity will plummet and your customer service will suffer as a result. Why is tech so important? We live in a world of instant communication with untethered mobile devices and on-demand internet and texting. For example, if a restaurant’s computer system goes down, the ordering and payment will come to halt to the detriment of customers and employees alike. Customers take notice, get frustrated, and some may even refuse to come back!
The quality of technology you buy may cost you upfront, but will cost you much more in the long run if you go with cheap alternatives. We aren’t advocating raiding your savings, but you would be surprised what can be done with quality, affordable equipment, solid software, and determination. Do your research and invest in hardware/software that complement what you have in place but also do more than your old equipment.
Numbers Don’t Lie
If you really want to know how well your business is operating, numbers will tell you everything you want to know if you know how to read what those numbers are saying. Analytics, or the study of collected data, can paint a clear picture on how your company is functioning. It will answer questions you may have and some you may not have thought about. Knowing is half the battle and analytics help you better comprehend the key performance indicators of your small business. Analytics can help in many areas of business such as customer service, profitability, and marketing effectiveness.
Accessibility is Profitability
In business, these are the modern times of instant gratification. We no longer do things through catalogs or snail mail. Even online retail has changed with some services offering same day delivery on many goods. Our lack of patience has created the mobile society. In many cases, if you are not mobile, you cannot be profitable or at least you’ll miss out on what is not an insignificant amount of business. For example, an insurance agent these days must have their cell phone or laptop with them at all times. They may have a client buying a car on Saturday morning and needing a binder or proof of insurance. These are documents that cannot wait and your customers expect to be able to reach you no matter the time. That is just the nature of the beast. Even if your customers don’t purchase your products online, just having an online presence will make your company more appealing to potential clients
Look to the Cloud
Data is key to business. It literally is the core of your business information systems. Customer contact information, sales reports, and profit and loss statements are all examples of important data. Storing that data can be one of the most expensive small business technology expenses. With the advent of the untethered computer, more and more businesses are embracing offsite storage via cloud-based services versus old school hard drives. The drastic difference in cost is one of the main advantages but accessibility is another benefit. For example, a store employing a POS system for purchases no longer has to be tied to one computer. The POS system can integrate right into the cloud service and pull data from the cloud to perform functions. And POS systems aren’t alone in their benefit of cloud services. With the cloud, a company can also store important documents and other company information in one place. By embracing technologies like cloud-based services, advanced analytics, and POS systems your company can benefit greatly from technology as well as save money compared to older, time-consuming methods of day to day business
Creative Switching Designs offers many technology solutions for businesses and organizations. Call for more information about VoIP, call recording, network equipment, and cloud solutions.