Many small businesses owners find that the fast-paced growth of the technology industry can make it difficult to know the right time to adopt new tools and technologies.
But few understand that waiting too long, or lagging too far behind the curve, can have a real negative impact on business.
According to a report from Boston Consulting Group, their research shows that business leaders far outperform their peers in their respective marketplace when adopting technology that creates better efficiencies, culture, and improved customer experiences. The same consulting group found that business leaders saw increased revenues by more than 15 percent annually, versus companies with lower levels of technology adoption.
In order to stay competitive, create jobs and increase revenue, businesses need to seriously consider technology trends and how to leverage them.
In addition to growing the bottom line, here are four ways companies can use technology to grow their businesses.
#1. Customer reach.
There are numerous cloud-based technologies that can help a small business grow by efficiently reaching customers and creating leads. Low-cost applications exist to help manage contacts, accounts, pipeline and opportunities. More robust software may include CRM software and marketing automation tools to create more revenue by generating email campaigns and providing analytics to help get the right message to target audiences. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can also be used to promote products and services. Many of these technologies are investments, fairly low cost, and SaaS-based which means you pay a simple monthly cost to use them.
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Small businesses can grow using new technologies developed specifically to help raise capital to grow your company. There are numerous crowdfunding platforms that enable the world to invest in your product or services. Some of the technologies only allow for qualified investors to invest in the business taking an equity or a debt stake into the business. There are also platforms to help organizations find angel investors or advisors.
#3. Collaboration and productivity.
The market for productivity software is red-hot! There are many project and task management applications which help employees stay on top of their duties and provide visibility to management. There are free online document management systems to save, share and find files. These same systems eliminate the need for paper and can help small businesses save on overhead costs. Many small businesses use web-based teleconference software for webinars, video conferences or internal remote employees. Tools like these make you more productive, efficient, and ultimately happier.
#4. Customer experience.
Customers are the cornerstone of any small business, and new software and technology built to improve customer experiences and interactions can make a big impact. Customer support software helps customers find solutions through text, ticketing tools, messaging, forums, or even by online chat. Other analytics software exists to gauge the loyalty of the business’s customer relationship or to increase longevity. Last, there are web-based call centers to help organizations respond to a greater number of customers and decrease response times. Whatever your line-of-business applications, the goal in using them should be to grow your company while offering customer experiences that instantly differentiate you in your marketplace.