Whether your business is big or small, the right technology can make it more efficient, marketable, and profitable. But for small business owners, dedicating funds to technology upgrades can feel like a big ask. With payroll to fulfill and capital improvements to make, should flashy new tech really be a priority?
The truth is, business technology is about more than keeping up with the Joneses — although paying attention to what competitors are doing is always wise. The right tech can help businesses find new customers, improve the customer experience, and save money while doing it. That equals more revenue and higher profit margins for your business, and what entrepreneur doesn’t want that?
That’s not to say business owners should rush out and spend money on every new technology that catches their eye. Instead, focus your tech dollars on big-impact, low-cost improvements like these.
An Online Store
If your business doesn’t have an online store yet, what are you waiting for? E-commerce’s share of the retail sector grows every year, with 16.2% of all retail sales occurring online in the first quarter of 2020.
Whether you sell clothing, subscription boxes, or digital downloads, you can find an e-commerce platform for your niche. By using an off-the-shelf platform or plug-in to create your e-commerce store, you can avoid expensive web development expenses while still achieving an attractive, user-friendly online shopping experience.
Once you’ve built an online store, you need a way to draw customers to it. Enter video content. While written content is cheap to produce, video is more engaging. Not only is video the preferred content type on social media, but 54% of consumers say they want to see more video content from brands.
Video also offers impressive ROI: 88% of video marketers say they’re happy with their returns. If you’re not ready to produce video content in-house, hire Adobe After Effects freelancers to create animated videos. Not only is animation less expensive than live video, but animated videos are a great way to distill complex information into an easily digestible, sharable format.
The impacts of customer-focused improvements are easy to measure in increased sales and online engagement. But while the results are harder to see, upgrades that cut costs in your business’s back-end are always a smart call.
That’s where cloud computing comes in. Small businesses used to have no choice but to buy expensive software and host servers in-house, but with the rise of cloud-based computing, there are tons of options for low-cost, reliable, and scalable business applications. Whether you need to store and share documents, manage projects, or track your small business’s inventory, cloud computing can help you do it for less.
Now your software is mobile, but is your staff? Keeping employees tied to their desks sacrifices efficiency, especially as fast wireless networks make it possible to be productive on the go.
By upgrading from PBX or VoIP desk phones to a virtual phone service that relies on mobile devices, your staff becomes reachable no matter where they are. Not only that, but they’ll be able to access all the mobile apps you use to keep business running, ensuring your staff stays productive whether they’re in the office or not.
Budget-minded business owners may be tempted to implement a bring-your-own-device policy when going mobile, but think twice before taking this route. While BYOD saves money on upfront costs, it could expose your business to serious — and costly — cybersecurity risks.
From marketing to file storage, communications to collaboration, technology can improve every aspect of your business. The key is knowing where to spend your hard-earned dollars when it comes to your small business’s IT budget. While every industry is different, these four upgrades are sure to pay off no matter what business you’re in.
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