Modern technology has infiltrated almost every facet of modern-day life, changing everything from how we learn to how we shop. As a small business owner, you likely use several tech tools in your personal life. Are you harnessing the full power of new technologies in your business life, however?
Technology can simplify and streamline various business operations, saving you time, energy, and even money. You don’t have to run a cutting-edge tech company to benefit from these gadgets. Small businesses that utilize digital advancements earn twice as much revenue per employee, experience greater rates of revenue growth, and have above-average employment growth.
Whether you run your own plumbing business, own a flower shop, or work as a freelance event planner, you can benefit from these 10 pieces of small business technology.
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Whatever type of business you run, its success relies on customers. You need to generate leads and convert them into paying clients to make a profit. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a cloud-based software that lets you manage your business’s relationships with both potential leads and existing customers.
You can use a CRM to improve usage growth, enhance lead conversion, and decrease marketing costs. There are various tools you can choose from, allowing you to select a product that best suits your business size and type. Insightly offers a streamlined and user-friendly option for small businesses, for example. Salesforce and Zoho are also popular all-in-one platforms.
2. Payment Processing System
Payment processing is a critical business function across all industries. As a business owner, you want to make it as easy as possible to accept diverse payment options from your customers. This spares them frustration and boosts your business. If a consumer can’t pay with their preferred method, for example, they might go elsewhere.
A payment processing system allows you to prioritize customer convenience by accommodating diverse payment options, like online payment gateways (e.g., PayPal and SecurePay) and credit card terminals. Check out processing platforms like Braintree, a cloud-hosted platform that accommodates credit and debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, and digital wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay are all great options. Other options include Stripe and PaySimple.
3. Cybersecurity Solution
Digital tools make modern life easier, but they also invite new threats. Cybersecurity is a serious concern for any business owner. You want to ensure sensitive company data, like employee Social Security numbers, is protected. You also have to safeguard customer information, like payment details.
Data security solutions protect the integrity of your tech tools and systems from digital attacks. Computers, USB drives, servers, networks, and mobile devices all need to be secured. The proper protection safeguards your business information and finances against cyberattacks and threats. Comodo is one cost-effective solution well-suited to small business needs.
4. Project Management Platform
Keeping track of various project deliverables and deadlines is important if your business is going to succeed. This ensures the timely delivery of goods and services, which is critical to client satisfaction. Managing multiple projects can get tricky, however, especially when many people are involved. It gets even harder when you have staff working remotely.
Project management software is the solution. Tools like Trello and Asana allow you to see who is doing what and ensure projects are progressing on time. You can also use these tools to assign specific deliverables to individuals and follow up on tasks. Messaging functions within the tools allow you to ask and answer questions, so everyone is always up to date.
5. Inventory Management Software
If your business sells products, inventory tracking is likely one of your biggest concerns. You have to make sure you have enough goods to meet customer demand. You also want to avoid overstocking, which takes up valuable storage space and potentially leaves you with unsold products you can’t unload.
Inventory management software can help your business improve data analytics and reporting and streamline operational workflows. Once you have a cohesive inventory management software, it’s also easier to scale up as a retailer. Finally, inventory management software can support better customer service — for example, by making it easier to track products. Check out tools like LOCATE to support your inventory management needs.
6. Social Media
Social media isn’t just for sharing photos with friends and family; it has become a valuable marketing and communication tool for small businesses. You can use it to attract new customers, convert them to leads, and maintain engagement with existing customers. You can further nurture a positive customer experience and enhance loyalty by using social media to share deals.
There are many social media platforms to choose from, including Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Facebook. Instead of getting on every network possible, focus on one or two that best align with your target audience. For example, younger consumers are more likely to be found on TikTok, while older consumers are more active on Facebook. You can also use automation tools to post across platforms, saving time and effort. Hootsuite is a popular option.
7. Business Website
Your business website is one of the most valuable tech tools at your disposal. This is a space for you to provide consumers with critical information about your business, such as products and services offered, prices, and opening hours. By optimizing your website for search engines, you can also generate new leads for your business.
For example, if you’re a general contractor in San Francisco and optimize your website for that location, a person searching Google for “San Francisco general contractors” might find you. Your website is the digital storefront for your business. Failing to have a website makes your company look unprofessional and can be a turnoff for consumers. Use tools like ZenBusiness’s business website service to create a site quickly and easily. You don’t have to spend big bucks on a fancy web designer.
8. Location-Based Technology
Thanks to advances in mobile technology and GPS, consumers can use location-based tools to quickly find services and products in their vicinity. This is yet another way to attract consumers and boost your business’s success. A localized web presence is critical to ensuring your business appears in area-specific listings like Citysearch, Yellow Pages, and Yelp.
Make sure your business name, address, and contact information are consistent across these platforms. Additionally, check out Google My Business. Create a custom profile and link it directly to Google Maps to increase your findability via Google. You can also get valuable customer reviews via this platform. Such testimonials are a great marketing tool.
9. Customer Interaction Management
Again, whatever type of startup you run, its success depends on customers — and keeping them satisfied. There are many ways to interact with consumers these days, including chatbots, social media, review sites, telephone, email, and website contact forms. As a small business owner, it can be overwhelming to keep up with these communications.
A customer interaction management solution lets you track your interactions with consumers in one place. You enjoy better oversight of customer communications and can improve the consumer experience with more responsive, real-time communications. Tools like Genesys and Podium are both practical.
10. Additional Small Business Tech Tools
Depending on the type of business or industry, additional tech tools may prove beneficial. Here are some options worth considering:
A synced calendar app like Google Calendar lets you keep track of your own meetings and deadlines. You can also use it to coordinate with employees and clients.
Mobile Scanning App
Scanning apps like CamScanner let you quickly scan and send important documents using just your mobile phone. This saves time and allows you to stay on top of critical paperwork.
Third-Party E-Commerce Software
E-commerce platforms like Etsy offer another means of connecting with consumers. Using a trusted third-party platform also gives consumers added peace of mind in terms of security.
Use proposal software to automate proposal writing and follow up. Check out tools like Better Proposals to get started.
As a small business owner, you have to stay ahead of the competition. This means constantly improving your skills and your team’s skills. Online education platforms like Google Digital Garage offer free access to valuable knowledge.
Embrace small business technology
As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats. From project management to accounting and human resources, you have to juggle all kinds of tasks. It can get overwhelming. The above tools will make it easier to stay on top of everything. With resources like these, ZenBusiness is committed to helping you find success as an entrepreneur. Take advantage of our resources and services to support your business growth.