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Nobody likes to be left behind. Whether it's following the current fashion trends or buying the latest video game's console, the planet is a fast-moving place that continually changes and evolves. The same can also be applied to the business world.
Keeping up with the technological advances in business is not easy - especially if you're hampered down by many other day-to-day tasks that need to be done. However, implementing modern technology will help significantly in boosting efficiency, performance and, ultimately, those profit margins.
That said, which modern technology should you place a particular emphasis on with your company? Well, read on for the technology your business needs today.
Mobile is a necessity
First of all, going mobile is the must-have technology for any business these days. If you're wondering why, take into account this statistic: in 2016, worldwide usage of mobile Internet surpassed the desktop alternative for the very first time.
If your customers are on mobile, it's simple - you need to target them on that platform. Along with that, there are also various ways your business can directly benefit from utilizing mobile. Take into account the following points:
- A mobile website and app - As people are often browsing via mobile, it makes sense to ensure that your website is optimized as being mobile-friendly. After all, you don't want someone leaving your site because they can't navigate it seamlessly. On top of that, and due to how widespread app usage is, it is also advised that you look into the possibility of creating your own app.
- Accept payments - With the rise of paid apps and specialist card readers, accepting payments via mobile is suggested as an alternative way of paying for customers.
- Use apps that are available - Along with the recommendation of creating your own app, you also have the possibility of using other business-related apps that are available. From managing your time to keeping those finances in check, there are many useful apps at your disposal.
- Be connected at all times - When compared to desktop, one of the big benefits about mobile is the convenience provided. This is because you can stay connected to your emails, documents, employees, etc. at all times - no matter what time or where you are located.
If you have any sense, you will already have social media platforms set up for your business. Beyond the standard choices such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you shouldn't ignore other social media options. In fact, it is important that you make a note of the latest platforms that are created. For example, Snapchat has had a steep rise in users and popularity in a relatively short period of time.
Having a social media platform is just the start, however. You need to ensure that it is regularly updated with content that your audience will appreciate.
Jump on the cloud
Due to the advantages it possesses, it should come as no surprise as to why businesses are shifting their operations to the cloud. While there are too many to list right here in detail, a small selection of these benefits include:
- Provides easy flexibility to scale up and down
- Inexpensive option as there's no need to purchase expensive hardware
- Boosts the ability for employees to collaborate whenever and wherever
- Adds an extra level of security
- Updates are made automatically
The best in security
As technology improves, so does the sophistication of malware attacks. While this is an unfortunate reality, there are still plenty of procedures to put into place to prevent your business from being hampered by hackers and unscrupulous software.
Alongside having your passwords are all secured and hack-proof, ensure you install reputable and recently updated security software. Plus don't think you'll need to spend an obscene amount of money to get such software - there are plenty of antivirus packages available free of charge.
A CRM system is an ideal way of keeping customer information stored and building on your relationship with them. After all, CRM does stand for customer relationship management!
So if you're still filing such info on paper, Post-it notes and even an Excel spreadsheet, you should seriously consider making the change to CRM. For a quick breakdown as to why, read the following advantages of using CRM as opposed to traditional methods:
- All customer info is organized and stored in the one place
- It delivers a greater level of service for your customers
- Simple to collaborate between employees/departments; easy to update data
- Offers more time to focus on other business tasks
- Select systems also provide useful metrics and/or reports*
Keep finances in check
We've already touched upon using Excel, and this was once one of the most practical ways for accountants to keep those numbers in order. However, with the rise of technology, using that type of method is now somewhat archaic - in a similar way to how Excel took over going the ledger book route.
Nowadays, there are specialist account software packages on offer that boast a wealth of benefits. These benefits include simplifying data entry, automating reports/analysis, automating tasks, reducing errors, saving time for other business tasks, and flawlessly linking with your online banking accounts.
If you have an expansive amount of data that needs to be uploaded to a new system - say a CRM, financial management solution or other cloud applications - a data loader is the best option to use. This doesn't have to be expensive, either. The Celigo data loader tool, for example, allows you to sync, migrate and import data free of charge.
Live chat capability
Communicating is vital to building and maintaining healthy relationships with your customers. While chatting via email, social media accounts and app notifications is beneficial in its own right, more and more businesses are moving towards the live chat option.
Admittedly this means you'll need to dedicate a sizeable chunk of expenditure towards having an employee on-hand to help on a regular basis, yet the fact you'll be able to help customers as soon as possible means that they will have a greater emphasis to purchase something from your business.
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