Many small businesses owners find that the fast-paced growth of the technology industry can make it difficult to know the right time to adopt new tools. But few understand that waiting too long, or lagging too far behind the curve, can have a real negative impact on business. According to recent report from Boston Consulting Group, Lessons on Technology and Growth from Small-Business Leaders, “…research shows technology leaders far outperform their peers in the marketplace,” and, “created jobs almost twice as fast as other small businesses. Technology leaders also increased their annual revenues 15 percentage points faster than companies with lower levels of technology adoption.”
In order to stay competitive, create jobs and increase revenue, small businesses need to seriously consider technology trends and how to leverage them. In addition to growing the bottom line, here are five ways small and mid-sized companies can use technology to grow their businesses.
There are numerous cloud-based technologies that can help a small business grow by more efficiently reaching customers and creating leads. Low-cost applications exist to help manage contacts, accounts, pipeline and opportunities. More robust software may include marketing applications to create more revenue generating email campaigns and providing analytics to help get the right message to target audiences. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can also be used to promote products and services. Many of these technologies are often low cost or even free.
Small businesses can grow using new technologies developed specifically to help
raise capital. There are many crowdfunding platforms that enables the world to invest in your product or services. Some of the technologies only allow for qualified investors to invest in the business taking an equity or a debt stake into the business. Last, there are platforms that help organizations find angel investors or advisors.
Be more collaborative and productive
The market for productivity software has grown significantly in recent years, creating great opportunities for small businesses. There are many project and task management applications which help employees stay on top of their duties and which provide visibility back to management. There are free online document management systems to save, share and find files. These same systems eliminate the need for paper and can help small businesses save on overhead costs. Many small businesses use web-based teleconference software for webinars, video conferences or internal remote employees.
Improve the customer experience
Customers are the cornerstone of any small business, and new software and technology built to improve customer experiences and interactions can make a big impact at low cost. Customer support technologies can help customers find solutions through text, messaging, forums, online libraries or even by telephone. Other analytics software exists to gauge the loyalty of the business’s customer relationship or to increase longevity. Last, there are web based call centers to help organizations respond to a greater number of customers and decrease response times.
Save on IT spending
Cloud-based technologies help businesses grow with technology by providing state of the art tools without the high cost usually associated with huge enterprise software programs. Web based technologies allow multiple users to collaborate in a single document or provide unlimited data storage. Cloud technologies eliminate the need for IT departments and the solution providers perform backups, tuning and upgrades as part of their offering. Small business owners can access their data from any location at any time. These tools are often free or pay as you go eliminating the need for long term contracts.
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