36% of small businesses still don’t have a website, even though various studies show that up to 90% of consumers research a company online before deciding whether they will opt for its services.
Some of the common excuses business owners make are lack of time, lack of resources, or even a lack of understanding of what to do with a website. But the underlying theme is that a large part of business owners still don’t understand just how big of an impact technology can have on their success.
With so many businesses still trying to survive without a website, it’s not surprising that the vast majority are severely lacking in adopting essential business technologies as well.
Whether it’s managing customer relationships, doing accounting, or accumulating and analyzing data, today, businesses have more opportunities than ever to become more productive and make more intelligent decisions.
But what types of technologies are the most important for small businesses?
Well, let’s explore the ones that can make the most significant difference below.
Finance and Accounting Software
When starting a business, most people want to spend the majority of their time growing it or helping clients. But the reality is, running a business also involves a lot of mundane and boring tasks, some of which are very important and need to be done correctly.
Not too long ago, that meant that business owners had to spend hours or even days making sure that their accounts were in order. Not to mention the constant hassle of collecting bills, receipts, and invoices that can accumulate quickly throughout the year.
Luckily, accounting software is quickly changing that.
Around two-thirds of small businesses are already using some type of accounting software. Still, with the industry rapidly evolving, solutions that were viable just a few years ago may already be outdated and unpractical today.
Contemporary cloud-based accounting solutions are taking over, as they provide a range of powerful benefits such as security, accessibility, and ease of use.
If you have a distributed workforce, having a cloud-based accounting solution can be a game-changer. Your team can add receipts and other vital documents wherever they may be, ensuring that nothing gets lost and that every piece of accounting information will be present and easy to search for and located when you need it.
You can use various automations and helpful tools that simplify the accounting process and enable even business owners with less experience to manage the task without much difficulty.
And as you get more familiar with what this type of software can offer, you can start integrating other solutions and leverage data across multiple platforms, reducing the time it would otherwise take to enter data.
If you ask any tech consulting firm about what’s the technology with the biggest potential for SMBs, the vast majority of them would likely point to Business Intelligence solutions as the answer.
One of the primary determining factors in the success of a business is its ability to make intelligent and data-based decisions on a day-to-day basis, and with BI solutions, you can make accurate predictions about the potential outcomes in various situations and feel much more confident about the way that you move forward.
By gaining the ability to analyze customer behaviors, you can personalize their experiences, providing more relevant products, better support, and timely marketing to maximize your revenue potential.
According to an extensive survey by BI-Survey, some of the biggest advantages of implementing BI technology are faster and more accurate reporting, the ability to make better business decisions, improved data quality, and even improved employee satisfaction.
While the first three are self-explanatory, the improvement of employee satisfaction may seem surprising. But really, it just shows that when employees can fall back on hard data when making decisions, it removes a lot of the stress and helps people make the right calls in various daily situations that they encounter.
Just a few years ago, Business Intelligence was mostly reserved for large companies that had millions to invest. But with technology becoming more accessible, various providers are now offering solutions that are tailor-made for small or medium businesses that want to eliminate guesswork from their practices.
Even though technology offers many opportunities, it can also expose businesses to a wide range of threats that arise from operating online.
Data protection laws are becoming more stringent, and even small businesses must ensure that the data and privacy of their customers are secured, and that requires specialized solutions, as well as smart practices that help prepare for some of the biggest threats.
You need to use all the tools that are available to protect your customer data, intellectual property, sensitive business information, and employee data because otherwise, malicious groups could use it against your business for extortion or for ruining your reputation.
In the past, small businesses didn’t have specialized software and had to rely on consumer-level solutions, but now the situation is rapidly changing.
The good news is that most of the cloud-based solutions that you are likely to use already come with robust data protection and security features, making it difficult for anyone to gain unauthorized access or to cause damage.
However, you should consider investing in security and remote management solutions, and implement sound practices in your company, including email encryption, regular password changes, transaction security protocols, and damage control plan development.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer service is at the very heart of modern business. Customers have higher expectations than ever, and the only way for smaller companies to survive is to provide customer support that is more personal, more relevant, and more timely than what is offered by large corporations that they are usually competing against.
Luckily, with customer relationship management (CRM) software, that can become easier.
CRM allows taking complete control over how you manage relationships with your customers, making it easier to stay connected with the people you interact with, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sale processes, and helping you make the most out of every customer that you obtain.
With the help of customer relationship management software, you can systemize the way that you interact with your customers and ensure that each interaction is on time and relevant to the person that you want to nurture a relationship with.
By learning more about what your customers prefer and how they behave, you can improve your communications and offerings, as well as get in front of any issues before they have a chance to arise.
Your team will enjoy using a CRM solution as well, as it will make it much easier to collaborate and solve problems as soon as they arise, connecting the customer with the relevant person who can help find a solution.
Finally, by gaining data about your customers, you will be able to develop products and marketing efforts that will be more in line with the expectations of your audience and will allow you to maximize the potential of every campaign that you run.
Even something as simple as having daily reminders of which customers require attention can help your sales teams become more organized and more effective, which is essential when managing a smaller team that needs to be as productive as possible.
pensive businessman in window -DepositPhotos