For many startups and small businesses, technology could provide the key to smoother operations and improved profit margins, but many entrepreneurs have no idea just how to implement tech savvy systems.
In competitive marketplaces, streamlining your business operations through the use of technology could be the competitive advantage you need to thrive in the short and long-term. Here are five ways to incorporate technology into your small business and minimize costs.
Capitalize on Cloud Computing
Cloud services provide a cost effective and efficient approach to managing your team and business assets. The ease of access offered by cloud computing ensures your management team can utilize and update data wherever they are; and even whilst working remotely your team can present a united front with new and existing customers. Cloud computing empowers startups to embrace flexibility to effectively meet growing organizational demands.
In addition to this, incorporated disaster recovery, automatic software updates, built-in security and enhanced document control ensures you get the complete solution you need to create a central hub for employees. The use of cloud-based services also gives you the opportunity to go paperless, which reduces the carbon footprint of your business, cuts storage and printing costs, and successfully restructures your document management system.
Deploy Rugged Devices
For startups operating in the field and outside the standard confines of an office, your technology choices will influence the accuracy of data collected and productivity of your workforce directly. Many businesses choose to utilize ruggedized devices (i.e., designed to withstand much more physical abuse than conventional devices) to improve operations.
The enhanced features and functionality of rugged handhelds, tablets and laptops ensure increased productivity and lower inventory costs and overheads. Rugged technology also ensures your workforce can take on any environment, with high performance systems able to operate reliably in the most extreme conditions.
Embrace Online Invoicing
Enhancing cash flow is the aim of every small business. Whether you are just starting out or have been in your respective field for some time, streamlining invoicing procedures will improve cash flow and minimize financial difficulties. There are a number of excellent and affordable accounting solutions available online, each of which aims to streamline the invoicing process, automatically record transactions and help you balance your books more proficiently. Not only will using small business accounting software improve day-to-day operations, it will also make that annual tax return a bit less of a headache.
Use Customer Portals
Utilize online customer portals to create a more interactive experience for customers and take the pressure off growing teams. Thanks to this systemic approach, you can provide customers with highly personalized, interactive service on the Web. Customers can receive answers to questions, complete transactions, submit support issues and query your knowledge base.
With an open line of communication, and a range of self-service options, you can boost customer satisfaction and retention. Customer portals also improve your online presence and actively educated consumers about your brand via the collaborative integration of content marketing and social media.
Collaborate with VoIP
Whilst travelling to meet potential customers, clients and partners is an essential part of spreading the word about your growing business, it pays to cut costs in the travel department. The use of VoIP (Voice over IP) services provides a cost effective solution allowing you to communicate with consumers and partners a little further afield at a fraction of the cost.
Brittany Thorley writes on behalf of Steatite Rugged Systems , a leading provider of business technology solutions. She actively assists small and startup businesses in their efforts in improve productivity and minimize operational costs.
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