What goals have you set for your business’s future? Would you like to broaden your customer base, boost your income, and improve customer satisfaction? If so, a few tech-related investments could help you do all that and then some. Read on for a few ideas on how technology can take your business to the next level.
Invest in Reliable Equipment
When you’re running your business, you want to be sure you have the equipment you can count on, whether it’s a laptop, multifunctional printer, or business software. And if you’re on the go often, it’s critical that you have a smartphone that can handle many of your day-to-day tasks. A high-performing smartphone can handle video calls, emails, and numerous apps that can help you manage your business responsibilities. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S10 models offer very fast charging speed and performance. Or if you’re an iPhone user, the iPhone 11 has a large display and extra-long battery life and is able to download apps quickly.
Dollars and Sense
When it comes to investing in technology, a worry for many small business owners is money. Watching your pennies is smart, but many tech investments are inexpensive — some are even free — and they can pay for themselves pretty by making you more money than you invest. For example, there are websites that allow you to record your voice so you can create marketing and employee-training videos. Many of these services are free, and some also offer to transcribe your recording for a small fee.
For more expensive services, you can always turn to a small business loan. There is a loan for virtually any circumstance, even if your company is a fledgling or you’ve experienced hiccups in your credit history. Contemplate your situation carefully, as there is outside funding available to help — and more money to be made in the long run.
Expand Your Repertoire
If your business website is strictly informational — or worse, you don’t have a website — the time has come to expand to e-commerce. As Business 2 Community explains, e-commerce is taking the world by storm. In 2017, sales hit about $2.3 trillion; in 2021, that number is expected to reach $4.5 trillion. E-commerce takes in around 10 percent of shoppers’ dollars in the U.S. alone and sees a steady increase of roughly 15 percent every year.
You can’t argue with numbers like that, but many retailers are resistant since it might not seem to fit with their current offerings. However, drop shipping can be the perfect bridge into e-commerce. Consider different products that would supplement what you do; for instance, a daycare could offer everything from backpacks to baby clothes, or a pool supplier can sell swimwear and sunglasses. There is truly something to fit any business.
Help Is Available
Sometimes, small business owners avoid investing in a website because it’s beyond their comfort zone. They have expertise in their field, but when people start talking about back end development, they might want to back out of the conversation. However, there are several tech-oriented tools well within a layperson’s abilities.
If you still need to get on the web, there are free website builders to get your feet wet. The upside to this is that they tend to be reasonably simple to use, often providing drag-and-drop capability. The downside is that the resulting websites tend to be samey, and your end result may or may not perform well on your customers’ electronic devices.
For a higher-quality solution, invest in a freelance web designer to build something that is versatile and unique. This is a chance to tailor what your site looks like to fit your specific needs, as well as to your customers’ varied expectations.
Problems and Inquiries
Customer service isn’t what it used to be. Everyone is on the go, and with technology at their fingertips, shoppers’ expectations are rapidly changing. Typically, they no longer write you a letter or come to the store to speak to a manager when they have a need. In fact, Business Insider notes that some statistics indicate they are even moving beyond phone calls and emails. Customers want quick, simple customer service when they have a problem or question, and technology is coming to the rescue with automated help desks and chat boxes.
As automated options become a more comfortable way to resolve concerns, ensure your small business meets customer preferences. There are many choices out there, so explore reviews on various customer service platforms to select the ideal solution for your company.
Technology offers several opportunities to take your small business to the next level. Explore e-commerce, consider website improvements, and make customer service enhancements. A few tech-oriented investments can be some of the best money you’ve ever spent.