Launching a small business with the right technology is a good start. Keeping up with new technology becomes a challenge, but should be considered part of your business plan. Streamlining operations with the goal of improving customer service is one of the top reasons companies invest in new technology, as well as cutting costs and gaining a competitive edge. Here's a look at how small businesses can keep up with technology today.
1. Define Your IT Strategy
The first step to planning your technological development is to define your IT strategy. At this stage, you should consider all the different types of devices and programs you'll need to run your business effectively and efficiently. Part of the solution on how small businesses can keep up with technology involves picking an IT partner who understands your business goals. It should be an expert on cloud services, cybersecurity, wireless networks, and computing devices.
2. Make Remote Work Possible
The pandemic ushered in a new era of remote work on a mass scale, which helped keep many businesses alive. Since remote work has proven to cut costs and even boost productivity, it appears to be here to stay. But you will also need to step up your cybersecurity due to the increased interaction with remote devices on your network. You will need to develop a policy for remote work security best practices and communicate it to your staff. Allow yourself and workers to create mobile offices so that you can work from anywhere at any time.
3. Adopt a Digital Workplace Environment
A new business should try to start out as digital and cloud=based as possible since it cuts upfront costs enormously. Going paperless is a popular eco-friendly idea as businesses are increasingly going more green. Several problems with paper documents - storage, organization, preservation, and legibility - are resolved with digital solutions. As long as you back up your data consistently, it will be much easier to find old digital files than paper documents stored in inboxes.
4. Get Appropriate Bandwidth
The next step to building a company that keeps up with modern technology is to invest in the right amount of bandwidth for your operation. If you do plenty of online collaboration with remote workers, you'll need much more bandwidth than a writer who shares articles online. Trying to get by on bare-bones bandwidth is usually a mistake, leading to frequent bottlenecks due to slower connectivity. Aiming for a fast seamless connection, which is what 5G provides, will help your operation be more productive.
5. Let Your IT Team Test New Technology
Some companies spend excessively on technology then not enough on training people to use it. Instead of letting workers try to figure out how to use new technology, you can save time by allowing your IT team to conduct tests to ensure the platform functions properly. They can then refine any technical issues before providing clear instructions to your employees on how to properly use the technology. Setting up a collaborative online environment can involve custom software development or you can choose an interactive platform already available on the market.
6. Establish an Online Help Desk
Businesses can use their social media profile as an online help desk for real-time customer service, helping resolve problems. Answering questions quickly can build loyalty, whereas consumers who don't get questions answered quickly may soon be visiting your competitors. Providing a real-time help desk builds your credibility as a brand that cares about its followers. Combined with customer relationship management (CRM) software, implementing an online help desk is an excellent strategy for building customer satisfaction.
7. Make Cybersecurity a Priority
One of the biggest challenges ahead for businesses in protecting themselves against cybercriminals. Even the most sophisticated cybersecurity solutions can still be hacked, but the odds of a breach decrease the more you build a solid defense against ransomware and other types of attacks. The best strategy against cybercriminals is a multi-layered approach that involves virtualization, firewalls, encryption, double-factor authentication, 24/7 monitoring software, and being dialed into a national network that keeps up with cyber threats.
8. Learn About Automated Solutions
Automation is one of the more advanced forms of technology that accelerates productivity in an operation. Find out which tasks create the most fatigue for workers, such as redundant actions, and figure out how to replace them with automation. In many cases, automation can be the solution for cutting costs, speeding up processes, and reducing or eliminating errors. Automating email responses has been popular over the years, although personalization has become a favored marketing trend as well.
9. Prepare for the Internet of Things (IoT) Explosion
The rise of IoT technology is something all businesses should at least be aware of. The purpose of an IoT device is usually to track physical activity and transmit the data to a central location where it can be analyzed. Find out what the relevant IoT devices are in your industry and consider if they will give you a competitive edge. The more data you collect on your operation and the market, the better chances you have at streamlining your business.
10. Research New Technology and Follow Online Influencers
Several emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, and 5G are expanding business capabilities. At the same time software unification is needed due to the proliferation of new applications utilized for enhancing existing systems. Today's startups should design their business network infrastructure for easy integration with new software. Be aware of mobile vs. desktop trends. The future of marketing will involve virtual reality and augmented reality as ways to experience products in a digitally simulated environment before buying them.
Staying current with new technology will help your business evolve in the coming decade. One of the keys to successful digital transformation is working with a digital marketing expert who already understands how small businesses can keep up with the evolving digital landscape. Contact us to talk about how we can be marketing partners and help grow your business online.