Whether you’re looking to create a more productive workforce or better connect with your customers, technology helps small business teams accomplish more with fewer resources and personnel. In many ways, today’s technology is the great equalizer—never before have SMB leaders had access to so many tools and applications that can help them outperform their more sizeable competition.
With so many tools and resources available, it can be difficult to determine which tech opportunities will help your small business the most. That’s why we’ve shared a few insights for small businesses looking to update their tech usage in order to work more effectively on the day-to-day.
Invoice more accurately
If you’re looking for a solution to your invoicing woes, look no further than an internet-based invoicing software. While some invoices are promptly paid off, there’s a good chance that your business struggles to manually check on invoices that are either overdue or partially paid. Having a professional invoicing system will not only help you keep track of each invoice your business is due but will also help ensure that you get paid in a timely manner. Even better, by hosting your invoicing information online, you can easily collect relevant information for tax season and set up recurring payments for repeat customers. Aside from this, it will also help you with your finances like keeping track of any short term financing or lines of credit that you might have taken out.
Connect with Social Media
From responding messages on Facebook to sending out your daily tweet, you can build a better online presence through a social media management tool. Social media is one of the most powerful methods for businesses to connect with current and potential buyers. As a result, your customers often require instantaneous engagement from your business when it comes to their questions, comments and concerns. Designed with the small business in mind, these platforms allow you to collaborate with several of your team members to schedule posts and address customer inquiries in real-time. With the aid of messaging templates and knowledge bases, you can also ensure that your team’s responses are on-brand and have the right tone.
Consolidate your communication
In order to improve your communication with both internal teams and external customers, you can support all of your communication channels through a simplified unified communications platform. This technology streamlines your approach to team chats, web conferencing and even phone calls by hosting them in a single place, allowing you to scale with ease and switch between different communication channels to meet your current needs. For small businesses specifically, this type of tool is effective because it lessens the need for on-site IT support and maintenance, giving you the flexibility that comes with online communication without the hassle of having to manage it yourself.
Manage your allocations
Creating accurate billing statements is even easier with the help of a project time tracking tool for small businesses. Especially when your teams are bouncing between multiple projects for an array of customers, it’s imperative for small businesses to track the cumulative time spent on each task to ensure that your customers are paying only what they owe. Time tracking software can also help on the front end by helping you properly allocate resources for each project. By recording the amount of time spent working, you can begin to gauge how much time and how many people will be needed to deliver your products or services before the deadline.
Create a customer support system
Designed to better manage customer priorities, a small business help desk software offers a single digital space to track your customer inquiries and prevent any tickets from falling through the cracks. Help desks are no foreign object for larger companies, and many providers of help desk systems now offer solutions that target challenges that are unique to a small business customer base. Many come equipped with a knowledge base to help you understand and make use of the many features this software can provide, and depending on your subscription package you’ll be able to assign tickets to specific team members and automate certain requests. Not only does this help you remain better organized, but it can also help you address customer concerns strategically for reduced response times and higher customer satisfaction.
Remove the hassle of paperwork, contracts and confidential documentation by adopting a cloud-based storage and backup solution. Paper documents are difficult to store, organize and keep secure; they take up valuable office space and can be easily damaged by water, mold and office fires. That’s why many small businesses have decided to go paperless by migrating to a cloud-hosted solution. Because your information is stored through the internet, accessing these documents is as simple as searching for them, regardless of your current location. However, it’s important to do your due diligence and pair your cloud system with a backup and disaster recovery tool to keep data losses reversible.
Unify employee training
Since small businesses rarely have the time or extra staff that training new hires demands, many SMB owners now use an interactive learning management system to keep your trainees engaged while they learn and develop the skills they need to succeed at your organization. Perhaps most importantly, LMS software helps small businesses create a repeatable and uniform process for training new hires in each role, which helps prevent any accidental omissions of information and promotes a more logical sequence of training activities. As your business grows and you hire more people, having a concrete training strategy in place will help your employees become proficient more quickly without requiring additional work on your end.
Secure company data
Any small business looking to digitize their work processes should remember to secure their information with a cyber-defense platform. It’s certainly true that cyberattacks previously targeted larger, corporate entities, but as technology has become more integrated with small businesses, even smaller organizations have found themselves the victims of data breaches and hacking attacks. Phishing emails are one specific type of cybercrime that small businesses are susceptible toward, as it only takes a single click from one of your employees for the hackers to have access to confidential information. By educating your team on some cybersecurity best practices and proactively investing in cyber tools, you can ensure that your employee, customer and business information stays in the right hands.