Unlike a large business that has a separate department for each function, a small business owner is required to wear many different hats to ensure that the business runs smoothly. Without proper planning, it can be easier for owners to lose track of tasks that need their attention. One of the best tools at their disposal to improve efficiency is technology.
However, managing technology can often be hard for small businesses owners due to the high costs and expertise that it can sometimes involve. Hence, it is important to focus on the most important areas of the business where technology can be incorporated to increase productivity. Here are 7 ways small business owners can be smarter about technology:
- Security in digital payments
The introduction of new payment technology in the digital space has made it more secure for customers to make payments with no threat to security. Digital payments no longer require the customer’s personal details and have two-factor authentication for payments. With the increase in the number of online sales, this increased security makes it easier for customers to make payments while improving the authenticity of online merchants. The adoption of new payment technology by small businesses makes it easier to collect payments from customers while maintaining their credibility.
- Better transport of goods with the use of IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) network is the interconnectivity of everyday appliances via the internet enabling a business to send and receive data. IoT can be used to track shipments coming in and out in real time. This is incredibly useful to small businesses sending sensitive information.
For the retail industry, using sensors and smart tags with IoT can help a business track an item at each and every stage, even if it is sitting in a warehouse. This makes it easier to take stock and track inventory more efficiently, thereby reducing operational costs.
- It can be used for data collection and analysis
Around 96% of market leaders believe that Artificial Intelligence will take over statistical analysis over the next decade. Artificial Intelligence has made data gathering techniques available to both big and small businesses. While AI is incredibly useful to big companies to analyse large amounts of data, it can also be used by small companies to draw conclusions from smaller amounts of information.
The information gained through customer analytics can help small companies learn more about their customers and how they impact the business. It can help understand what attracts customers to the products and identify new market niches.
- Use technology to communicate with customers
One of the best ways for any business to grow is to communicate with customers to learn more about their likes and dislikes. They need to be able to engage with customers to quickly address any concerns and maintain the credibility of the business. An effective way to do this is thorough chatbots. Researchers predict that 1 in 4 will be conducted by a digital assistant in 5 years.
AI-based communication like chatbots helps small businesses provide customers with assistance 24/7 and immediately answer questions by potential customers. This allows small companies to generate new business while keeping their current customers satisfied.
- It can help improve the cash-flow management of the business
Management of invoices is one of the most effective cash flow tools used by small businesses as it can help them keep track of late payments. Cloud-based programs give owners access to funds from unpaid invoices to help them maintain liquidity.
Small businesses also find it easier to file tax returns using cloud tools that offer tailor-made programs allowing businesses to stay on top of their tax liabilities.
Cloud programs have also allowed small businesses to adopt bookkeeping programs which help lift the added burden and expense of maintaining monthly accounts. The resources put towards this can be used to increase productivity in other areas.
- It makes it easier to accept payments
Technology has made it much easier for companies to accept payments by taking the complexity out of the payment process and making it simple. In recent years, many small businesses have seen a massive increase in sales that has resulted in numerous payment processes. Under normal circumstances, this would be a huge burden on small businesses, but with the recent developments in digital payments, there are many payment solutions that have made the process easier for businesses. One such technology is an mPOS machine, such as those by Bijlipay, which is a POS machine that can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth. This device allows small business owners to accept payments securely on the go. The installation costs for the machine is relatively low and they are easy to maintain.
- It can be used as a marketing tool
A small business, regardless of the good or service they sell, can use technology to create and execute a marketing strategy. Using social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are great for promoting your business. Small businesses can utilise technology through video marketing and can create a powerful website to increase customer reach.
A small business owner needs to implement the latest technologies to help scale the business and remain competitive. Technology such as AI and Cloud computing has helped shaped the workplace by increasing productivity and reducing costs. You can incorporate the tech solutions listed above in your company to stay ahead in the business arena.