As a rule of thumb, small business owners can’t afford to spend huge amounts of money on hiring a big number of people, advertise, or buy fancy equipment. But they can always invest in the right technologies.
What does the term ‘the right technologies’ mean? Well, it refers to software solutions and digital tools that can help you grow your business and make profits.
The problem is, with so many options out there, how do you know what technologies are best for you? Where exactly should you invest that extra cash?
Here are our top 7 suggestions you should consider.
1. Collaboration Tools
Today’s teams need a single tool where they’ll be able to consolidate instant messaging, email, texting, documentation, video, and voice. With a great collaboration tool, your employees will be able to coordinate and search activities from one place, which will result in improved responsiveness to consumer-related issues, as well as enhanced team productivity.
2. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
VoIP telephony allows you to make calls via the internet instead of using traditional telephone lines. Besides improved telecommunication, VoIP also offers automatic call forwarding and voicemail, which can help improve customer service quality and client communication.
Nec business phone systems are the latest VoIP Centric telephone systems that are unique and cost effective solutions as they deliver double system capacity and allow them to utilize it for 10 to over 800 users. They are designed to be both flexible and scalable for your growing business needs.
Furthermore, VoIP eliminates expenses related to international and long-distance calls, which makes it quite cost-effective. VoIP services also offer flexibility, which means that they can be used to facilitate internal collaboration and communication. If your employees have access to the internet and a computer, they can make calls, text, and fax from any location around the globe.
But with so many VoIP options on the market, it can be pretty hard to make the right choice. This detailed VoIP Phone Buyers Guide will help you choose the best VoIP service for your business.
3. Security Software
Besides the standard cyber-threats like viruses, malware, and data hacks, today’s businesses also face another important problem – ransomware. Research has shown that 1 in 5 small businesses have or will face a ransomware attack. But what exactly is it? Ransomware occurs when you unknowingly download a small app that locks the company files and then requires a ‘ransom’ to unlock.
In order to avoid these problems, you need to make sure your email security is updated. You can also consider subscribing to online backup software like Barracuda and Carbonite. These are pretty affordable and in case of an attack, you’ll be able to restore your files from your latest backup instead of having to pay a ransom.
4. Cloud-Based Data Warehouse
Today, businesses are heavily relying on data. Data is useful in almost every aspect of a business — product development, marketing, sales, support, and delivery. But while collecting the abundance of data can be difficult, storing it on a single balanced and secure platform can be an even bigger challenge.
A cloud-based data warehouse can help you accomplish this and many other things, including:
- Improved speed and performance
- Increased data storage
- More secure data
- Improved access and integration
- Seamless self-service capabilities for users
- Better disaster recovery
Considering all the benefits, it comes as no surprise that many businesses are moving to cloud-based data warehouses.
At the moment, customer relationship management is a fast-growing industry, and for a good reason. Having a quality CRM software will help you track emails, activities, notes, demographics, complaints, opportunities, and marketing campaigns for every single client that comes in contact with your business. You and all your employees will be able to stay on top of all customer-related data and effectively engage with your community. In other words, a high-quality CRM solution will increase the value of your company.
6. Project Management
If you aren’t using project management software for your business, you’re probably doing much more work than necessary, but not enough profit. This is because you’re wasting lots of time on the little things. A good project management system will juggle all of these little things for you, allowing you and your employees to focus on more important tasks.
Every single thing in your business can be considered a project – whether it’s hiring new employees, pursuing new clients, or even renovating an office. A good project management solution will enable your team members to create and share everything associated with a project – from emails and activities to reports and charts – all this from their desktops or smartphones. This way you’ll be sure that every task is tracked and no deadline is missed.
7. Accounting Software and Payables Automation
Today, there are awesome Xero cloud accounting apps like Freshbooks and Xero for small businesses looking for simple setup, fast access, efficient reporting, as well as all the other features expected of any accounting operation.
In addition, the new generation of financial tech products like Bill.com and Receipt Bank allows for fast and accurate capture of data from scanned documents. Afterward, this data can be presented for approval and/or automatic integration into an accounting app. As tech helps automate data entry, more work gets done by fewer people and much faster. This means reduced overheads and increased overall productivity.
As mentioned before, not every technology may fit your company’s needs or budget. However, the above-listed tools and software solutions are all very popular with small businesses, so if you decide to make an investment in some of them, you will find yourself enjoying a number of benefits in the years to come.
Infographic created by MXOtech, a cloud hosting services company