Small businesses have to be very particular with the way they utilize their resources, especially when it comes to technology. If implemented properly, new solutions can increase agility and efficiency, but if implemented incorrectly, they can lead to substantial upfront costs and additional resources dedicated to management, maintenance, and upgrades. Let’s take a look at what small businesses must consider when prioritizing their technology investments.
A study by Capterra asked 699 small business owners to consider the types of technology they would consider necessary for operations. Here are the results:
We’ll go through each of these five to tell you how your organization can improve by deploying them.
There will always be risks associated with using technology. Most people use technology for good, but there are some out there who will use it for nefarious purposes to steal data for financial gain. You should invest in comprehensive security solutions that can mitigate the majority of threats.
Data security is a large market, for sure, but this just means you have a lot of great options to choose from. That said, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves before first discussing your users. If your team does not understand data security best practices, then your security solutions can only get you so far.
Some of the more well-known solutions out there include firewalls and antivirus systems, but we recommend that you also invest in a data backup and recovery platform. Frequent backups mean that your organization will be less likely to suffer significant data loss in the event of a disaster, like a hacking attack.
A solid web presence goes a long way in the business world. Even if they don’t have a dedicated website, they most certainly have social media accounts that let them share information about products or services rendered and interact with potential customers. A growing business requires that some time and resources be invested in creating a web presence in some capacity, particularly so you can establish authority in your practice.
A well-designed website that is both easy to navigate and informative can help to engage your potential customers. This is especially helpful if you want to use e-commerce to sell your products or services. You should consider your website to be the single stop where your potential clients can learn more about your business and your products.
The cloud is no longer a solution designed for businesses; everyday users also leverage the cloud to their advantage. The cloud provides access to important applications that make running a business easier and more efficient, and often at a cheaper rate than if you were to buy and license them outright. Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings are generally billed per license per month, so the large up-front costs of purchasing software are all but eliminated. The cloud can make your software solutions work like operational costs, and as such reduce significantly the amount of strain placed on small businesses.
Cloud computing also provides your business with more types of computing environments, like development platforms for application deployment, communications and storage, and even the ability to scale and secure such computing environments. Cloud platforms can be privately hosted by your organization, publicly hosted elsewhere, or hosted in a hybrid environment where the two types are melded together.
A CRM solution is an amazing tool that can help your business manage and track its interactions with customers or clients. It integrates with several parts of your organization to offer automated tracking of those who your business interacts with. Essentially, it eliminates the gaps in your customer conversion processes, making sure that as few as possible slip through the cracks.
Businesses tend to host their CRMs on-site or in the cloud, and they can work in just about any market. The reason why so many businesses—even those with limited resources—focus on CRM solutions is because they are so effective at keeping track of your customer base. With the right approach, they help to boost revenue, aid in customer engagement, and guide them through the sales process the whole way. They can effectively turn a one-time customer into a repeat customer.
Small businesses can use CRMs to take advantage of time-saving automation tools and make better, more educated decisions about how to process leads. CRMs are generally responsible for managing the sales workflow, and it’s great at doing such. It also helps you provide the best support to your existing customers.
Managing human resources can be difficult for businesses, but it can be made easier through the use of HR management software. HR software can be hosted either on-premise or in the cloud, and it helps you navigate the hiring process and other HR responsibilities more efficiently. It can effectively automate the more tedious and difficult parts of this department, such as the deployment of benefits, payroll, and compliance with local or federal employment laws.
HR software is also incredibly helpful on the operations and management side of the house, providing administrators key insights into how specific parts of the business are being managed. This provides an effective method of managing the onboarding and offboarding processes, as well as options that can help you put together different approaches to these challenges.
To learn more about how your business can implement innovative new solutions to promote operations, reach out to us at (703) 821-8200.