Small business ventures have to fight each day with main street merchants to stay in the race. This competition would’ve had no meaning with the exclusion of technology because you would’ve been eliminated even before you had said “Ready, steady, go.” Technology is the vital tool that helps to level the playing field between the small business ventures and the giants in the market. Armed simply with a tablet/mobile along with a few specific apps, you can do a fair amount of work from the very comfort of your drawing room. How about embracing such tech trends in the best possible way to maximize efficiency in your workplace and increase revenue? Take a peek at this list of top 8 tech secrets that you can use to strengthen your small business in the year 2017. #1. Take your business to the cloud For workplace management tasks, many small business ventures find it very difficult to stay organized in their approach to specific projects. That’s because they still juggle between combinations of spreadsheets, papers and physical calendars to get things done within the workplace starting from appointments to meetings. Result’s chaos. It’s like taking an analog approach in a digital world. Problems are bound to occur. Utilizing cloud services can help to alleviate many of these issues. A host of inexpensive cloud-based services help in: Project management, Customer scheduling, Time tracking, Billing, Signups Opt for such a service and you’ll see you’ll definitely reap the benefits of your investment. Metaphorically, it can be said that by opting for a cloud, you’ll take your business to cloud number 9. #2. Pricy POS solutions are no solutions at all; DITCH them Simple smartphones and tablets with free/premium apps are more than capable of replacing POS (point of service) systems these days. Anyone from your local coffee shop to the guy who sells football merchandise down the road can utilize these mobile inexpensive POS solutions to accept major credit/debit cards for payments. Example: Take a peek at this app: Square. Square POS can accept major credit/debit cards with the help of a Square reader. By implementing square app, you’ll just breeze through your transactions. #3. Inculcate loyalty and reward programs You must remember that a repeat or a regular customer has a higher lifetime worth than that of a new customer. Hence, it is mighty important for you to invest in customer loyalty. Now you can say that only big and giant companies has the resources to afford these types of loyalty reward programs which may include things like extra discounts, gift cards or even physical gifts. But that was in the past. Times have changed. Plenty of loyalty programs are available on the internet (like FiveStars) that you can use to create loyalty and other related programs at affordable rates. These programs do have a high ROI (return on investment) especially because they help to bring customers back to your platform. Remember loyalty cannot be bought, it has to be earned. These reward programs can help you with that. #4. Use collaboration tools for communications Collaboration is the key to success, especially in businesses where it’s mighty important to associate with one another to meet definite deadlines. This becomes very difficult especially when your entire business communication relies on conventional communication methods like emails, phone calls, messages etc. It creates nothing less than a chaos because hardly anything stays organized among a long chain of calls and emails. This difficulty level goes up by a level or two especially when certain employees are transferred to different work locations. You can use technology (such as a cloud based business phone system) to help you out in this matter and keep everything in order. A cloud based business phone system enables you to connect your mobile phones/tablets to the phone system such that everyone stays connected to the system irrespective of their geographical locations. This enables your employees to answer their phones at ease wherever they are, whenever they want to speak with their colleagues or even clients without having the need to be present at the desk. This is more organized approach which can benefit your business tremendously. #5. Analyze big data If you aren’t aware of the huge amount of data that’s flowing through your business each day, you are probably missing out on valuable information that could’ve been used to enhance your business in the best possible way. With the help of big data, you’ll be able to use analytics tools that can sort through the entire data and give you valuable feedbacks based on which you may be able to make your campaigns more effective and nullify your losses in the best possible way. #6. Use inexpensive tools for your company’s backend productivity HR software and traditional accounting software was quite expensive in the past and required a stout technical infrastructure. But nowadays, even small business owners can take the help of easy-to-use cloud apps to run efficiently with limited resources. Certain handy and inexpensive tools can be used by to address particular needs like invoicing and accounting. By using these tools, you will certainly be able to increase your backend productivity effectively and efficiently. #7. Take help of marketing / sales plug-ins By using a simple plug-in app, businesses might be able to turn their basic Gmail services into something even more powerful. Simple plug-in apps like Streak can be used to turn Gmail into something like a customer relationship management tool. This will help businesses to track active leads, customers, deals along with sales pipelines the inbox. #8. Use social networking platforms to great effects Social networking platforms can be an ace in the hole for you if you can use it the right way. A simple example can be Twitter. Through Twitter, you’ll be able to target the right audience and do marketing at its best. So you see small businesses can utilize numerous apps or tools to stay at par with the big giants. Be smart and spend smart. Some day you’ll definitely achieve that seemingly-impossible goal of yours.