Small business owners can become overwhelmed by the thought of training employees to use new technologies. However, the return on investment (ROI) could be priceless. Small businesses can use technology in a variety of ways that allow them to remain profitable despite competing with larger companies.
Technology can help small business owners automate tasks traditionally required hiring a designated employee or overloading an employee with multiple roles.
For example, many companies that previously had an Appointment Scheduler position were able to replace that role with calendar platforms or applications. These apps allow an individual to see availability for appointments and select the date and time that works best for them, rather than communicating back and forth to determine a mutually agreeable time. This process saves time. It also saves the money that would have gone toward the salary of an Appointment Scheduler.
Automated appointment scheduling is just one example, but there are several other technologies that can be beneficial to small businesses.
Learning Management System (LMS)
It can be challenging for small business owners to ensure that their employees are properly trained.
This is especially true if they must rely on people within the company to train new employees.
Businesses use technology, such as courses within a Learning Management System, to onboard and train new employees. As a result, it frees up current employees to focus on their own jobs.
This is significant within a small business environment that may have limited resources.
Cloud Document Storage
Document storage has evolved over time to become more efficient than ever.
Small businesses can use cloud document storage technology to store files rather than using limited physical space.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
These web-based apps use cloud storage that allows employees to create collaborative documents in real-time.
Employees can collaborate even when they are not physically together. As a result, this creates the opportunity for a flexible work environment that includes remote or hybrid work options.
Businesses also use web-based apps for project management, communication, and time tracking.
It is essential for small businesses to have an online presence. In addition, having a website is a form of communication with potential and current customers.
Within a website, small business owners can provide details about the services they offer, their products, and the business itself.
Live Chat or Chatbots
A website can also include a way for customers to easily communicate with a small business via live chat or an after-hours chatbot.
If customers have questions about a service or product, typing them in a chat box is easier than calling or even emailing the business, as chat features are typically instantaneous.
Live chats can also be easier to manage than an email inbox.
Having a social media presence is also an advantage for small businesses, as it can serve a variety of purposes.
Small businesses use social media technology for marketing and growing their customer base. It also can be used to build the company brand, connect with customers, and receive feedback through customer reviews.
Customers typically set up their devices to receive notifications from social media apps. Therefore, if customers are following a company on social media, then updates, such as promotions and sales, can be communicated to them instantly, as opposed to waiting for customers to access the company’s website.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Small businesses can use CRM technology to analyze data about customers, individually or as a group.
For instance, CRM can provide small business owners with insight about which products a specific client buys most or which products are most popular with customers in general.
CRM provides business owners with data to help make decisions and most importantly, to build relationships with customers.
If CRM detects that a customer has left items in an online shopping cart, it can be triggered to send the customer an email reminding them of the products they left behind or even offer them 5% off the items in their cart.
CRM has many tools built-in to help small businesses build and maintain their customer base.
Small businesses have many technology options to choose from that can increase their sales and expand their growth. It also can make managing a small business easier for owners.
When small business owners take the time to learn about technology tools that are available, they will see exponential benefits for their business and their employees.