It has never been easier to set up the building blocks for a new enterprise, thanks to myriad technology tools tailored for those who want to start their own businesses. The rapid expansion of cloud-based computing and other IT applications has put at entrepreneurs’ fingertips volumes of do-it-yourself expertise that once would have cost significant time and money to acquire. This development has in part been an answer to the needs of time-poor consumers who want instant access to information to help them make decisions quickly, wherever they are and whatever time of day it is. Here are five that SMBs can use to more efficiently run their business operations and drive growth.
Technology for seamless communication
It is vital for any business trying to build a customer base to have optimal communications platforms, such as company websites that seamlessly interface with smartphones and tablets which potential clients are using increasingly to research purchasing options. The first step is to have a user-friendly website. There are many web design programs that can help a small business create a clever site cheaply, or in the case of Google, for free. Last year, Google introduced search engine ranking rules that preferenced websites optimized for smartphones. Additionally, easy-to-navigate websites incorporating search engine optimization and blogs with rich content will also help businesses access and satisfy customers’ demands for the information they seek.
Technology for keeping track
To understand how customers are responding to your business – for instance, which of your products are selling better than others – there is no longer a need to wait until physical stocktaking is completed. Today, there are e-commerce platforms which will show businesses almost instantly how their products and services are performing in the marketplace. Armed with this up-to-the-minute monitoring, a business can act quickly to streamline its offering and stem losses, based on web-enabled analysis of its customers’ behavior, using technology tools.
Technology for works in progress
Managing human resources is also made more efficient using customer relationship management (CRM)/workflow software that guides both employer and employee towards better use of time and, thus, greater productivity. Such software automates reminders for sales forces to follow up on clients and service accounts in order to retain high-value customers.
Technology to maintain brand loyalty
Customer retention can be also be enhanced through the use of loyalty programs which reward members and keep them coming back. Technology tools such as Accentiv’ offer loyalty services through digital mediums that reward not just customers, but also sales teams and business partners, thus growing and consolidating a new enterprise’s turnover virtually effortlessly.
Accounting simplified with technology
Finally, use a cloud-based accounting program, such as QuickBooks, to help take the paperwork headache out of your accounting. With software that tracks expenses and sales, generates customized invoices and automatically updates the books, you’ll reduce errors and also have your financial information organized and ready for submission come tax time. With a little research into which solutions are best for their business, companies can make some processes easier and save precious time and effort in the startup stage.