Technology has a huge impact on every business, whether it is a small scale sole trading business or a multinational manufacturing company. Advancements in technology can impact your businesses growth and productivity. It is essential to stay up to date with technological advancements made that are relevant to your business sector, as you will be able to implement relevant changes within your business in order to stay ahead of the game. You need to keep up with customer demand in order to stay ahead of your competitors. Technology will also enable you to connect and communicate effectively with potential customers, helping growth.
Stay up to date with development
The world in which we live is constantly evolving at a very fast rate. Technological advancements are made on an almost daily basis. Of course not all technology will be relevant to your particular business sector, but it is important to be aware of what is, so that it can be implemented to your advantage. You need to be aware of what parts of your business uses technology to function. If your business involves manufacturing a product, technology could be useful in order to speed up the manufacturing process. In a world where customers demand a fast turnover, the quicker you can produce products that are of a high quality the better. If your business relies on sales, technological advancements relating to communication and marketing methods will be advantageous.
Every business whether large or small require an online presence. Most sales transactions take place online in the current market, so it is essential to have up to date technology relating to communication systems, taking online payments and storage of data. If you are a large company you may have a whole department dedicated to information technology (IT). If you’re a sole trader the responsibility will lie with yourself although you could seek advice and support from companies who are experts in Business challenges relating to IT.
Every business is governed by rules relating to data protection. In fact the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018. GDPR is a new EU rule designed to protect individuals in relation to how their personal data is stored and used.All business require a GDPR policy if their business collects data and most businesses do. Failure to comply with GDPR will incur hefty fines as well as a loss of trust in the integrity of the business.
Your business is at risk of a data breach and hackers are becoming increasingly clever in developing ways of accessing your data for malicious intent. This is why keeping up to date with current technological advancements relating to cyber security is so important. Technology is constantly being developed to stop hacking attempts. Ensure you have the best cyber security software installed and keep it up to date.
Having a website and online presence that is secure is particularly important if your company receives online payments. Ensure the online payment system is up to date.
Embracing technology in your business is likely to enable you to increase efficiency. An increase in efficiency means that less work equals a higher output. You need IT systems in place which make your life easier. You could use accounting software and automated systems regarding sales and email. If you consider the amount of time taken out of a day to email everyone individually on your mailing list, you will become aware of how much time is saved by automation.
Every business sector will evolve and change direction according to market trends. As a business owner it is essential to stay current with which direction your sector is headed. You could join online forums and subscribe to publications in order to know how technology is being utilised within your sector. You will then be able to adapt your manufacturing methods, embracing up to date technology or make changes to the products or services your business offers. You will also be able to budget more effectively by planning necessary future expenditure that will benefit your business.
Is your product or service still relevant in today’s marketplace? It is necessary to communicate with your target market regularly and ask for feedback. If your business utilises online technology effectively you will be able to reach out to your target market and create focus groups. You could also develop surveys and questionnaires.
The information you gain from your target market will be valuable for the future sustainability of your business, so utilise the information effectively. Don’t just focus on the positive comments, the negative feedback could potentially be more valuable. If feedback shows that your products are not being received quickly enough you could look at manufacturing technology, if the products you produce are not as attractive as they were, perhaps you could tweak them according to feedback.
Technology has allowed networking and communicating with potential customers to be increasingly easy. There are so many methods of communicating that are utilised effectively. Texting, email, skype and video conferences have all enabled business owners to connect with others on a global scale.
Communicating and networking with others will ensure that you don’t get left behind in terms of technology advancements and innovation. You will be able to stay current and ahead of the game. As communicating is easy on a global level you will be able to connect with people all over the world and know how your business sector is conducted elsewhere.
Networking opportunities may also lead to potential sales. You will be able to “step in” if another business within your sector is unable to fulfill a customer request.
It has been estimated that to move your business forward you should spend around 80% of your day on generating sales. This is difficult unless you have a whole staff team working with you who are completing all the other necessary daily tasks relating to business. It’s important to aim for a good work/life balance, running a business is all consuming. Unless you are prepared to work 24 hours a day it would be impossible to spend 80% of your day generating sales and following up potential leads.
Happily, there is a solution. You could outsource certain tasks to freelancers and contractors, so you can concentrate on growing your business.
The internet and technology allows us to make contact with freelancers in all areas of expertise on a global basis. There are also financial benefits to hiring a freelancer as you won’t have the associated costs relating to employment and recruitment. You will also only have to pay for the work completed.
Tasks that could be outsourced include accounts, administration and social media management. It is important to take as much care when sourcing a freelancer as when recruiting in the more traditional sense. Ask for references and ask to see previous examples of work.
When choosing the right freelancer, you should proceed with as much caution as you would when hiring staff in the traditional sense. Ask for references and look at examples of previous work. Once hired ensure you communicate effectively with the freelancer to make sure they stay on track.
For outsourcing to work effectively it’s important to communicate effectively to ensure you have relayed information properly and that the freelancer understands what is expected from them. Keep in regular contact to check the work is on task. Staying in touch should be relatively simple with the advancements in technology relating to communication systems!
Another technology phenomena that has appeared in recent years is social media. If you have not harnessed the power of social media for your business you’re missing out on reaching thousands of potential customers. Social media platforms enable to connect directly with your target market. You will be able to promote your brand to the thousands if not millions of followers world wide.
There are a number of platforms to choose from, the most popular being facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and linkedin. Each platform has their own pros and cons, but all are fast moving in nature. To use social media to your advantage you need to be engaging and respond to queries quickly and professionally, increase your followers and post regularly. All your accounts need to be active.
Managing social media platforms is time consuming so you may be best placed outsourcing social media management.
Just about everyone now owns a smartphone. Smartphones are literally mini computers which you can access on the go. apps are available to download, which makes monitoring all areas of your business remotely. You can stay up to date with emails, budgets and business analytics whilst waiting for a train! Just ensure your email connection is secure.
Staying up to date with technological advancements is essential to the future sustainability of your business. Keep your “finger on the pulse” and don’t be afraid to make necessary changes. Businesses need to constantly evolve to meet customer demand.