Technology has influenced virtually all aspects of daily life, including small businesses. Everything is online, from maintaining customer loyalty to filing your taxes. And if you aren’t keeping up with this new digital world, you may be hurting your business.
By Avery T. Phillips
Integrating new technology into your small business is an investment worthy of your time and money. Digital technology can help streamline your business’ finances, improve day-to-day operations, and boost your visibility to customers. Here are a few ways you can integrate more technology into your business:
Make a Mobile App
The usefulness and popularity of mobile apps is long-established, but have you thought about creating a mobile app for your business? It used to be the case that only huge companies like Starbucks and Target had their own apps. Now, a growing number of small and midsize businesses are doing it and are reaping all of the rewards that come with a mobile app.
Your own mobile app is a great way to market your business because it allows you to speak directly to your customers. They can access information about their personal accounts, see any news related to your business, or find deals and promotions. With a mobile app, you can tell your customers virtually anything they might want to know about your business.
When someone downloads your mobile app, your business becomes increasingly harder to ignore. Even when looking for another app, customers still have to see yours. You can even use push notifications to interact with customers directly.
If mobile apps aren’t in your wheelhouse, take the time to ensure that your business’s website is optimized for mobile devices. Google even has a tool you can use to check to see how mobile-friendly your website is. You may lose traffic and customers by not having a website that’s easily navigated on mobile devices, so if you choose not to have an app, don’t skimp on a mobile-friendly website.
Consider Cloud Accounting
The cloud has made storing everything easier, including your photos, documents, and financial information. From filing taxes to keeping track of your receipts, cloud accounting has truly revolutionized the way small business owners take care of their finances.
DeVry University notes some of the many benefits provided by cloud accounting: AI technology for answering questions, automated expense trackers, free tax filing, and permanently stored records. With cloud accounting, the record is more accurate and organized than with a paper-based system. Small business owners can save money by taking advantage of these online services instead of hiring someone to do it.
Of course, this is one of many ways small business owners can manage their finances. If you need help, you should reach out to a professional for assistance. If you aren’t comfortable storing sensitive information online, consider sticking to more traditional methods of managing your finances.
The Internet of Things
The internet of things (IoT) is a network of objects (that aren’t a computer or smartphone) that connect and share data with each other — examples include cars with connectivity capability, smart watches, and Amazon Echoes and Dots. IoT devices are becoming increasingly common across many industries — such as healthcare, manufacturing, and automotives — as well as in people’s’ homes. Best of all, small businesses stand to benefit from using IoT too.
Smart locks, security cameras that connect to your smartphone, and smart lights are all commonplace in many businesses. Not only can these help keep your office or brick and mortar store safe, they can reduce time spent opening and closing by being put on an automatic timer.
Entrepreneur.com says, “It’s all about outsourcing routine tasks, so you have time for the things that really matter. IoT isn’t stealing your job — it’s empowering you to do your job better.” Think of what tasks you want spend less time doing, and research IoT devices that can help alleviate some of that burden. You may be surprised about how much time and energy you can save.
There are many ways you can go digital with your business, and how you integrate technology is up to you. Try to figure out how you can make technology work for you. Whatever you decide to do, embracing digital technology is a surefire way to make your job easier and your business more successful.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @A_Taylorian with any questions or suggestions.