Of course, by now it is fairly evident to almost everyone that businesses using digital technology usually have an edge over their competition. In fact, a small business technology trends study states that such businesses can earn up to twice as much revenue as businesses that don’t leverage digital technology. So it can be somewhat surprising from an objective point of view when you notice that nearly 80% of small businesses don’t leverage digital technology, as per the same research.
Leveraging Simple Technology for Modern Small Businesses
One of the biggest reasons behind such an abnormally high segment of small businesses not adopting technology is quite simple: cost. Almost any business can afford a reliable high-speed internet service like Optimum internet, which is essentially the lifeblood of modern businesses. However, the best and newest technology can often be cost restrictive, especially for a small business looking to keep costs to a minimum.
Yes, if worst comes to worst, you can finance a new technological framework for your business using a bank loan. But that just spreads the cost of the overhaul over a long period of time, costing you even more than a lump sum payment. There are several cheaper alternatives that still make impactful changes to your business yet remain more cost-effective than an all-out overhaul. For example, these 8 simple ways:
- Using Virtual Assistants
- Upgrading Computers and Devices
- Replacing Your Old Router
- Leveraging Cloud Technology
- Automating Email Marketing Campaigns
- Using Internal Collaboration Tools
- Subscribing to a Faster Business Internet Package
Let’s examine these tips in more detail below.
Using Virtual Assistants
This is one of the cheapest and easiest changes you can make to your business right away. You likely won’t even have to buy one, if you have a Windows or Android device or an iPhone. Google Assistant, Cortana, and Siri are already right there on your device, so make use of them. If you can, you should also try using a smart speaker with a built-in AI assistant like Amazon’s Alexa. You can use these assistants to do things like maintain to-do lists, track appointments, listen to songs to relax while working, take notes and update your calendar. Just like a real assistant, but for free!
Upgrading Computers and Devices
Of course, this isn’t as cheap as a virtual assistant on your smartphone, but if your office devices are more than three years old, it may be time to consider an upgrade. This is not an expense but an investment in your business’ future. New equipment means faster devices, which translates into better efficiency. At the same time, new or upgraded software may allow you to better execute business processes. And let’s not forget that newer devices come with the most updated security suites.
Replacing Your Old Router
Like any form of technology, routers become obsolete with time too. Your 4-year-old consumer-grade router may be slowing down your business instead of helping out. The difference a newer, more powerful router can make is noticeable from day one. If your premises often experience patchy signal strength or dead spots, you can consider investing in a wireless mesh network for better connectivity.
Leveraging Cloud Technology
Cloud technology makes life a lot easier for businesses that can’t invest significantly in storage space and separate servers. Cloud-based services like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, and Box allow you to access your files from anywhere with an internet connection. It makes things much easier, particularly if you have remote workers in your team. Cloud-based SaaS is a much cheaper alternative to developing an in-house infrastructure.
Automating Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing continues to remain one of the most successful and effective ways to reach out to and cultivate relationships with customers. The problem is, most small businesses don’t have sufficient resources to dedicate someone just to sending and answering emails. Automating your email marketing campaigns is an obvious solution, and services like MailChimp and Drip can offer just what you need.
Using Internal Collaboration Tools
Small businesses have more flexible workflows and roles than other larger enterprises. This can often make for a chaotic situation in the workplace. Your employees may be duplicating workflows. There may be redundancies in the process. Tasks may not be tracked effectively. You may not have a concrete idea of who is doing what. Luckily, there are tons of internal collaboration tools available that you can use to create smooth and efficient workflows within your small business. Basecamp and Trello are two very good examples of software that help with project and workflow management.
Subscribing to a Better Service Package
Unless you work from home, your business will likely require more than a consumer-grade internet connection. So there will inevitably be a time when you will need to upgrade your existing internet service to one with more bandwidth and speed. This makes things like sharing large files, videoconferencing, and other activities much easier with multiple users. Bonus tip: I have a small waiting area in my office with a TV that plays business news on Optimum cable packages. It gives off a more professional air and can do wonders for your customer service perception. See what you can offer to the people who spend more than a few minutes in your workspace.