It has often been the belief of small business owners, that technology is not a necessary fixture in their business. That the business can function just as well with little to no use of technology. For this reason, especially in Jamaica, many small businesses still operate on a pen and paper basis or using very outdated technology.
When I talk about technology in your business, i’m not talking about the latest generation of computing devices or even spending hundreds of thousands to hire top developers to create high end websites and business management software. I’m talking about using available tools to boost your business onto the competitive platform. These tools may be free or low costing and in return, used effectively can increase client retention and sales for your business.
As stated before, integrating technology into your small business does not need to be an expensive venture, so from this point i want you to remove the questions of costing and embrace these tips for ways technology can reenergize your business to help grow your customer base, improve productivity and increase efficiency.
1. Take to the Cloud – Many small-service companies still juggle a combination of paper, spreadsheets and calendars to stay organized. This system can present many issues — everything from searching through endless files for documents to making it tricky to share information. Utilizing cloud services can help alleviate these issues. Popular cloud storage services like Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive or Google Drive store your documents and data online securely, and allows you access to your files anywhere, from any computer. Use the cloud to create different folders for different projects, collaborate with employees, contractors or partners; and share files or images that are too big to email.
2. Social Media Marketing – A popular but often under used tool among small businesses, Social Media Marketing is a powerful tool for engaging clients. Regardless of the product or service offered by your business Social Media Marketing allows you to not only connect with existing and potential customers, it allows you to engage them in your business and if effectively use will convert your leads to sales. Social Media goes beyond just facebook posts, a well planned strategy, using multiple platforms has the ability to set you apart from your competition and build lasting relationships with your customers. Encourage customers to leave reviews/testimonials after visiting your store, using your services or finishing a meal in your restaurant.
3. Take your Business Online – Many small businesses grossly under estimate the necessity for a website for their business, while many shy away from the idea because of the misconception that it is a high investment venture. However. regardless of the nature of your business or the size of your business, a website is a compulsory fixture if you intend to compete with those businesses that understand the value being online has to business growth. If you own a retail business, make your products available online, either through a dedicated e-commerce website or through e-commerce marketplace such as Amazon, ebay or Etsy. Always remember that having a website makes you available to your client at their convenience, 24 hours a day regardless of where they are located.
4. Communicate via Email – When clients provide you with their details, its best to put them to use. Once customers opt-in to receive your emails, send a monthly newsletter, alerts about sales or new products, or special offers. Email success is all about frequency and follow-up. There are many low cost email marketing services online such as MailChimp, Vertical Response and iContact. By communicating with clients via email you update your clients on your business and increase the probability of repeat clients which are key to your business survival.
These are just starting tips for the integration of technology into your small business to improve your competitive edge and efficiency. If you are a small business and you have questions regarding the topic, you may contact Websol via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give us a call at (876) 480-3550.