If you run a small business, your resources are very limited. You do not have the staff or funds to handle every problem that comes your way quickly. While many people romanticize the bootstrapping phase of their business journey, you can only maintain that level of stress for so long before it begins to affect your personal well-being and the morale of your employees. Thankfully, you can solve many of your recurring business issues with solutions that come from the world of tech.
Point of Sale Panic
For a small business, problems at the point of sale can be a serious issue. Every hour you cannot accept your customers’ payments is an hour of lost profits. If the checkout process takes too long, impatient customers may drop their merchandise and walk out the door. These kinds of problems are made even more challenging by the number of ways that customers can make payments today. To simplify payments, you might try working with a third party, POS specialist. These vendors are solely focused on the point-of-sale process so that you do not have to think about it. They will maintain the equipment and monitor your financial connections.
Many entrepreneurs have excellent business ideas but little experience in sharing them. It is hard to know the best way to get the word out about your current endeavor. In the past, small businesses were limited to regional marketing tools like newspapers, radio and television ads. Today, social media sites make much of their money by selling advertising space. Importantly, businesses that market on social media can have a much more targeted approach to advertising. When you place your ad on the site, you can limit its distribution based on geography, age and other information that users have submitted. You will get your business in front of the people most likely to appreciate it.
In addition to advertising, social media also offers a number of ways to make connections with your current and potential customers. When you have a social media account dedicated to your business, you can easily share the latest information about store hours and special events. You can offer special prices to a customer who makes connections with your account. Information about your business may appear in the media feeds of potential customers who are connected to that original customer. Social media also allows you to respond to customer praise and criticism directly. Keep in mind that many of your interactions in this format will be public. A hastily-written, angry response many haunt your business for weeks. At the same time, a thoughtful response can enhance your reputation.
Modern businesses run on technology. You need to keep your customer data safe and secure. Information needs to flow uninterrupted as you go about your daily work. Depending on your business, one of your first employees maybe someone to handle your IT issues. As your company grows, that single employee will not be enough to get the job done. You will also find that the cost of equipment to maintain your network and keep things secure will grow. Fortunately, there are many third-party services available to enhance the IT capabilities of small employers. Some businesses have moved data storage responsibility to third-party servers on the cloud. It can be prudent to have a cloud backup service on hand so that you’re prepared for a natural disaster or system failure. Other businesses use third-party vendors to handle some of their networking needs. When you outsource your technology needs, it frees you up to focus on more immediate tasks.
Lowering the Cost of Creativity
As your company expands, you will discover that there are smaller projects you must undertake to stay competitive. You need a dynamic website that encourages customer interaction. You need updated content that keeps you at the top of search engine results. However, you probably do not have time to write weekly blog posts. One way to approach this problem is to engage the work of freelance writers and developers. There are several sites online that serve as matchmakers between businesses and freelancers. This is a much more affordable way to handle small, creative projects. Instead of the cost of a part-time employee, you only pay for the content you need.
When you think about your business costs, you are most aware of things like supply costs or employee salaries. However, if you have a business location, you have expenses related to maintaining that space. There are many ways that smart technology can lower your overhead costs. Installing smart thermostats will lower your heating bills. These devices learn your employee habits over time, heating spaces only when needed. Motion-detecting light switches can also save you money on utility costs. They can keep the lights at a low level and brighten when someone enters the room. Smart technology can also improve your security. Using a smart lock, you can make sure that only people with registered devices get in the building. This kind of security service also keeps a log of who is in the building at any given time.
Modern workers expect more flexibility than in years past. If you want to attract the best talent, you need to give people the option of doing some of their work remotely. Many computers have a remote setting that allows a user to control a work desktop from another desktop at home. There are also a number of third-party services that help businesses maintain more secure remote connections. Employees can make safe connections on a variety of devices. You can also control what parts of the network a single employee can access remotely. If there is a security problem, these services also provide a log to see who was on the network and what they were doing.
If you want to compete in a crowded marketplace, you need to be willing to embrace the benefits of technology in every aspect of your business. New tech can make your business more productive, flexible and secure. By incorporating innovative technology, you are investing in the long-term growth of your business.