Taking advantage of modern technology programs to simplify your business operations has never been easier. Simply incorporating a few high-tech, digital strategies into your current workflow can ensure that your business stays ahead of your competitors and most important of all, stays in business.
Small-business owners and entrepreneurs are often so caught up with day-to-day management of their business that they never realize there are a myriad of products available that can help them save time, money, and even reduce the number of employees required to effectively operate their business. Here are just a few ideas to help your business stay on top.
1. Set up an office server. A server can act as the digital lynch pin your office needs in order to keep everything together. Knowify said, “Compared to linking several systems together via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, having a centralized server helps to simplify access for everyone in the office and allows IT managers to more effectively ensure that important data is only available to those that are required to see it.” It can help reduce the potential threat of hackers as your most important data and backups are all on a centralized system that is not being used as a “regular” terminal. With a server, you need not worry an employee accidentally downloads a virus onto the desktop because no one is going to be using the server terminal for their day-to-day work. Think of it as a “digital filing cabinet”.
Companies on a small budget can even rent a full-featured, off-site server for only a few dollars a day. Another benefit of having a server, they can be set to backup all your important data off-site! In the event of a fire or other disaster, your data will be safely stored on another system outside of your immediate area.
2. Save money on phone systems with VOIP technology. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is one of the most exciting technologies to emerge into the business world since the Xerox machine! By offering a great deal of functionality and personalization at next to nothing prices, a VOIP system can replace your entire traditional phone system and be up to 50 percent cheaper. One of the coolest features of the new VOIP systems is, voice mails can now be handled just like email attachments! They can be clicked, dragged, dropped, deleted, and manipulated just like any other file on your PC. They can even be emailed to co-workers instead of having to write a lengthy email repeating information that can just be listened to by the recipient. VOIP systems are fairly new, but the technology is stable enough that it is being used by a number of Fortune 500 companies according to The Huffington Post.
3. Fire your accountant and stop calling your attorney for minor legal matters. With so many websites coming online in the last decade specializing in accounting and legal services, it is no wonder that many small business owners are deciding to handle their number crunching and legal research online by outsourcing it to a 3rd party website. Sites like Legalzoom.com and Upwork.com have loads of professionals moonlighting as consultants. Your business can saves thousands of dollars each year by outsourcing your rarely used accounting and legal services to a qualified, external resource. Why stop there when you hire pretty much any sort of professional on a “gig” basis? Whether you need a graphic designer, software developer, or just need to speak with someone about fixing that clunky, old office copier–there are plenty of qualified people to be had online cheap.
4. Get a website and phone app ASAP. By now, every business owner that is serious about making an impression on their customer base knows that they need a website in order to look professional and stay competitive in today’s market. However, many small business owners are relying on cookie-cutter templates or using those “do it yourself” websites like Wix.com and others. These are fine if you are just a mom and pop operation, but if you want to be taken seriously on a national or global level–stop playing in the amateur leagues and hire a professional web developer to make your company a custom site. Nowadays, a good developer will also be able to make your mobile site into an Android or iPhone application that your customers can download from one of the several app stores. These apps are a great way to deliver real-time data and updates to your client base and add a professional polish to your site that makes your company look like a million bucks.
5. Start using online banking. Money may be the root of all evil for most people, but it is also the source for a number of migraine headaches for any small business owner that has to deal with bankers on a daily basis. Why not simplify your banking by taking it online? According to Forbes, many business owners (and consumers) are taking advantage of the high interest rates being offered by online banking companies. Because the banking industry is already well-established and very difficult to break into–online banks are offering interest rates far higher than brick-and-mortar banks in order to attract new customers. In addition to the better rates, online banks offer loads of incentives to switch your account over from a traditional bank. These benefits differ from bank to bank, so you will need to shop around before choosing one. It may even make sense to use multiple online banks at the same time. Also, don’t forget about long-standing money handler Paypal.com. Paypal makes credit-card processing a breeze for even the smallest mom and pop shop and bigger businesses can take advantage of a number of Paypal benefits such as, having a Paypal debit ATM card or credit card issued in the name of each of your sales staff or automated fraud checking services.
We have barely scratched the iceberg when it comes to the many different technological benefits that have recently taken the business world by storm. Any small business owner that is serious about staying on top of their game and remaining competitive in a busy, global market needs to pay careful attention to the changes being brought on by the tech industry. Don’t find yourself looking for a torch in the dark ages, start upgrading your business this week!