While the US and its trading partners are experiencing strong current demand for products and services, and economic growth is still on an aggressive upward trajectory, we cannot ignore the fact that there will be future times of economic struggle that will force businesses into making cuts and changes to keep their businesses in the black. From laying off staff to decreasing business travel, reducing marketing efforts and ending bonuses and raises temporarily – there are a variety of ways small to mid-sized businesses will look to cut their expenses. At the same time, they will look for ways, even in times of economic prosperity, to improve business profitability – especially when operating with reduced staff. Technology becomes even more useful as the small and mid-sized business strives to increase productivity and efficiency while competing more effectively.
The media and Amazon bombard us with the latest gadgets and technology solutions out there, so much so that we can be easily swayed to buy more than we need, or worse to buy the wrong types of products or technology services that just don’t deliver the solutions our business truly needs. When deciding what types of technologies can help your business reach its goals, here are a few things to look for
Ways Technology Increases Small Business Profitability
- Communications – technology is well known for its capability to improve the ability for people to communicate with one another. Whether you’ve got employees on the road or down the hall, a hosted VOIP phone systems can route calls to cell phones and keep everyone in touch regardless of location. Instant messaging and email also provide quick ways to communicate with the written word and keep documentation of these conversations for future reference. Social media, collaboration and intranetworking sites further provide a way to keep in touch with co-workers, customers, and the competition at a glance.
- Cloud File Storage- If you find employees are spending a lot of time working remotely and need quick access files, reports, corporate forms or other data that they need to perform their job responsibilities, investing in a cloud hosted file storage solution such as Sharepoint Online make a great deal of financial and operational sense.
- Telecommuting – many small businesses also find that there isn’t a need for all of their employees to work in the same office building in order to get their work done. Having employees who telecommute requires the technology to make that happen (a secure network for employees to access data they require to do their job; improved communication systems to receive incoming phone calls at their homes or on their cell phones, and the ability to keep in touch with co-workers in different locations). Having employees telecommute can save you from needing a larger office space, which keeps your overhead costs lower, too. Advanced Technology Group offers a number of hosted remote desktop and application streaming solutions to support your mobile and remote workforce.
- Customer Relationship Management – having some sort of CRM software to help you manage your database of clients and prospects is well worth the investment. Many businesses will tell you the “money is in the list”; meaning the amount of money a company earns is directly proportional to the number of people on their mailing list. Some companies use software like SalesForce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Zoho CRM and other hosted applications to track their clients and leads. Others have custom-built software developed to handle unique needs that can’t be addressed with existing software as a service solutions.
Technology makes it possible for the average small business to increase productivity and compete with larger businesses all while on a smaller budget, thereby increasing profitability. Efficiency and organization is improved through the use of appropriate cloud-based file storage and collaboration services, such as those provided by Microsoft Office 365, and it is possible for money to be saved, and productivity to be increased, when employees can work remotely from home or while travelling for business.
Before investing in any new technology, identify the unique requirements of your business and determine which technology will best meet your needs. Our team of seasoned IT consultants can assist your organization in assessing its technology requirements and aligning them with both your strategic goals and budget.