Choosing the right tools, processes and systems can make small businesses grow faster in the digital age. Today 5-person startups have access to many of the tools and technologies used by industry leaders with 5,000 employees. But how do you know the right tools to start with when you are doing business on a tight budget. Here are some of the most important tools you can incorporate into your business.
1 Social Media Marketing
All small business owners and managers need to leverage on the huge communities created by social media. Most social media channels allow you to market to a target demographic and get your messages across to those who are more likely to respond. With social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, you can promote your services and products to millions of users daily. These social media sites are more cost effective than traditional mass media like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. They are also easy to track, so you can know how well your ads are performing. With these social media channels, you can attract hundreds of qualified leads to your business website daily.
2 Cloud Computing
Innovative cloud technology allows small firms to compete globally and reduce the cost of information technology. Rather than spending a huge portion of your capital to set up bulky hardware, or server computers and buy costly software, you can subscribe to cloud based software service providers. Cloud technology companies bill users on a monthly or yearly bases, which is usually affordable for startup companies. Different types of applications are available via the cloud. From VPN to project management tools to accounting and customer relationship management, it is possible to find a service provider for all most all data-driven business operations.
Using cloud computing solutions offers small businesses a major competitive advantage because they are:
* Easy to access from virtually all locations with internet access.
* Scalable and flexible, allowing you to take on more users and clients as needed
* Automated and eliminate errors and redundant data entry.
* Offer better collaboration tools making remote work more efficient
* Handle a large amount of data and provide accurate analytics.
3 Business Website
A professionally designed website is no longer a fancy marketing tool but an absolute necessity for the serious business owner. More than 80 percent of your potential consumers will do a quick check on your business name or brand online. They want to know if you have an online presence and how other clients rate your service. So you have to provide information about your brand, products and services on your website. In addition, you should provide information that will solve problems for your clients in your business blog. This will make it easy to capture more qualified leads. Then you can follow up your prospects and take them through your sales funnel with email marketing.
Daily business operations include a number of mundane and repetitive tasks. Tasks like record keeping, online booking, communicating with new website visitors and answering emails about your products can be quite time consuming. With a relatively small team and just 8 hours of work daily, it is difficult to handle all these tasks alone. That’s why you need to use tools designed to manage such tasks effectively. For instance, chatbots are marketing automation tools that can help to handle routine conversations with your website visitors. These tools will take your response to similar questions in the past and provide instant answers to your visitor’s inquiries.
5 Mobile Technology
Today, 4 out of 5 small business owners make use of at least one mobile device for business related tasks. With the business apps on your smartphones and tablets, you can fix appointments and set up communication with clients. You can also do video chatting with your coworkers and customers. These devices have apps that make it easy to set up to-do lists and create important business notes. Also, smartphones make it easy to transfer funds using mobile banking applications.
Mobile devices may also be used to create and manage documents. Google Docs and Microsoft Office offer you applications for typing letters, creating spreadsheets and making simple presentations. You can use the sharp cameras and photo editing features to snap photos and make short videos and then send them to your co-workers immediately.
Using the right tools for your business will help you to optimize it for the current digital age. These tools and technologies will enable you and your coworkers to raise your productivity, save cost and increase your capacity to earn more revenue.