A wide range of new technologies are making it easier than ever to start and run a small business. From online businesses to local businesses to solopreneurs enterprises like freelancing and consulting, there is no shortage of ways to avoid the corporate rat race. Here are 5 types of technology that will have an impact on the future of small business.
Most small business owners just don’t have enough time in every day to do everything that needs to be done. With various types of automation, however, you can spend a few hours getting a number of weekly, monthly or even permanent tasks set up in advance and just let them go from there. From social media posting to sending out marketing emails to paying bills, automating tasks cuts down significantly on the number of tasks you need to do each day and makes sure nothing important falls through the cracks. Instead of having to compartmentalize your day into small daily tasks, you can compartmentalize tasks into a few hours each week or month.
2. Integrated cloud accounting
Small businesses used to have to repeat a great deal of work when it came to accounting. From invoicing to billing to inventorying to tracking daily, weekly or monthly sales, each task generally had to be performed separately and manually. Today, with a range of integrated accounting platforms, inventory management can be integrated with the same system you use for accounting, which can also be integrated with payroll and POS systems. Integration also helps provide incredibly detailed analytics to help you tweak your business for maximum performance and efficiency.
While most businesses once had to not worry about protecting their inventory, now most businesses have to worry about protecting information. Even online businesses or businesses that don’t sell a physical product have to protect both their own proprietary information as well as that of their customers. From VPN’s to encryption to apps with multi-factor authentication, state-of-the-art internet security is now available for even the smallest of businesses. Small brick-and-mortar businesses can even benefit from smart security systems that can be operated from either a central alarm panel or remotely from your smartphone.
4. Social media marketing
Although even the largest of brands have begun to take advantage of all of the opportunities that social media marketing offers, it is perhaps the biggest boon to small businesses that don’t have a huge marketing budget. Apps like Hootesuite can help you automate and manage all of your posts, while apps like Buffer or Canva can help you create stunning marketing and promotional materials. If you want to use just one app that can do it all, you can try Pagemodo.
Customer Relations Management remains one of the largest challenges for small businesses. Whether it is hiring a receptionist for initial client interaction or providing a customer support line on the back end, few businesses have the budget for a full staff of customer service agents. A growing range of CRM software and products, however, can help small businesses meet all of their client and consumer needs. From virtual assistants to online chatbots to dedicated customer service agents, there are a wide range of technological solutions to help even the smallest of businesses to offer world-class customer service and support.
No matter what size of business you run, there are a range of technological solutions available to help you juggle all the many balls SMB owners have to juggle. From project management to planning to budgeting, marketing and payroll, you no longer need an MBA to run your own business, you just need the right software and technology solutions.
by: Donna Jo