There are many ways that technology can help grow your business, from using social media to promote yourself to more advanced technology which can automate your services.
Technology can help to increase collaboration between your employees, as well as boosting your business effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
For example, it is likely that as a small business you may not yet have centralised office space and some employees may work from home. Having the right collaboration tools in place such as Slack, Zoom and others can help you keep track of employees’ activities and schedule team meetings.
You might also want to consider marketing solutions which go beyond basic email. It’s important to have a website, as customers expect this and it allows them to see what you offer and potentially even purchase your services or goods.
Overall, there are a number of benefits technology can bring, and it might even mean there’s less work to do.
The tech tools you need for your business
It can often be difficult to get your head around everything that needs to be done when starting a business. These are some of the best methods to kick-start growth for your small business.
Solutions such as GoDaddy and 1&1 IONOS are good for building your website.
GoDaddy starts at £6.99 a month for the web builder, with a one-month free trial. 1&1 IONOS offers six months free, and then it costs £9 a month thereafter.
Having a website is important as it lets people find out more about what you have to offer. If you’re going to advertise your business you need somewhere for customers to learn more, or even make a purchase. A website should be designed to provide everything the customer wants to know, from pricing to how services work.
A good website builder will include guided help on building a website from scratch. You can find out more about the best website builders here.
Just like having a website, social media is equally as important when it comes to building an online presence and promoting your business.
One of the best places to start is Facebook. There is no set price to advertise using Facebook, so you can spend as little as £5 / $5 a week for minimal exposure or more depending on how much exposure you want for the business.
To create an advert, you need to choose your objective, select your audience, decide in which location(s) you want to run your ad, set your budget, pick a format and then pay. Facebook for Business goes into more detail about how this works.
You need to have a Facebook account in order to advertise, but you can set up and use your own business page to create engagement. You can share your services, interact with people and ask customers to rate you using this free option.
You might find handling finances challenging, and maybe you don’t have the budget to employ an accountant. There are software solutions such as Sighted and Sage Business Cloud Accounting that help with the basics of account management such as invoicing, payment tracking and so on.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting pricing starts at £6 a month, with a 30-day free trial.
You can find out more about the best accounting software for small businesses here.
Adopting collaboration tools can help to build seamless interaction between employees. It is a good way to minimise the use of email, get faster responses and share files quickly and easily across one platform.
For many businesses, email can often be seen as a non-urgent form of communication and also something that can use up a lot of time. Adopting a collaboration tool such as Slack can help to change that and also speed up responses.
Slack is free to use, but the premium package offers more storage space for keeping more message history. This starts at $6.67 (£5.25) a month per user.
You might also want to consider Whatsapp for Business and Microsoft Teams.
Google’s G Suite is another option which – as well as Gmail (which can use your own domain name rather than @gmail.com) offers Google Meet, Sheets and Drive for cloud storage. Pricing starts at £8.28 / $6 a month, per user.
Evernote is a good option for sharing files and photos starting at £10.99 / $7.99 a month, per user. This is a good platform for small businesses on a budget as it also includes some free services.
There are also some other apps for small business owners you might want to check out.
How technology can automate processes
Automation is another option to consider. From automatic replies to enquiries to automated payment tracking and contactless payments it is all designed to make your working days easier.
Some platforms to consider are GoCardless, for automated payment and invoice processing, and IBM Watson AI for automated customer assistance. GoCardless is available for free.