7 tech tips to spring clean and grow your business
It’s spring, so make your business and sales bloom too. Angela Munroe shares seven tips to put technology to work
Lighter evenings, warmer weather, and a fragrance in the air that tells you it’s time to get rid of some clutter. And where better to start than looking at your use of technology?
Here’s a timely reminder that every small business can spring clean a little to get their productivity and sales bursting forth with vigour.
1. Remember who’s boss
Re-think your relationship with technology. It needs to work for you, not vice versa. You’re the one with the bright ideas. Technology should support those ideas, bring them to life and drive your business forward at a pace that suits you.
Before you choose a business device, work out what you need from it – the services and tasks that are fundamental to your business and the systems it needs to integrate with. This gives you a checklist to evaluate each piece of tech against.
2. Time to UNSUBSCRIBE
It’s easy to get distracted by the wonderful world of the web. A minute here and a minute there soon adds up.
Clean up your act, and your inbox, by unsubscribing from digital distractions. Rather than constantly checking your inbox, set breaks in your day when you allow yourself to go through emails and texts. Learn when to switch off from the always-on world that we live in.
3. Feel free to roam
Technology gives you choice, and smartphones allow you to work whenever and wherever you want. How can mobility help you grow your business? Could you achieve more if you spent less time at your desk and more time with your customers or working alongside your clients? And can you use travel downtime to do research or make amends to presentations on your handheld device?
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More than half of all emails are now opened on mobiles, a figure which is expected to reach 80% by 2018, so think about what this means for how you communicate with your customers. There’s evidence to suggest that we may be more receptive to some activities – replying to emails, scanning documents, browsing web-based content – outside of traditional business hours.
Could this inform the timing of your marketing too? Tools such as Mailchimp and Hootsuite allow you to time your email marketing and social media messages to suit your audience.
4. Embrace the cloud
The cloud can give you competitive advantage and bring long-term value to your small business. It gives you access to the IT benefits previously only available to larger businesses.
Cloud solutions offer the storage, security and flexibility you need to grow your business and can help you to reduce your IT costs.
5. Use apps to save time and money
Apps can make light work of some of the tedious admin chores of running a business and free you up to focus on what really matters – your customers. They can also help you to identify who those customers are and communicate with them better.
There’s a huge choice to help you keep track of time and ease invoicing, get to where you need to be on time, run efficient Customer Relationship Management programmes and deliver better presentations. Here are a few of my freebie favourites: Top free apps for getting down to business.
Apps are also a great way for small business owners to keep up to date on the latest news and views in their sector. Try Weave News Reader or Flipboard.
6. Create better conversations
Mobile technology helps you to research, establish and work with the people most likely to help you grow your business – whoever and wherever they are. Stay in touch by Skype and use videoconferencing to bring people together virtually to share ideas. It’ll save you travel time and money too.
Leverage technology platforms to help you sell more. Integrate social media and sales to help you to understand where your customers are communicating and how they want to continue the conversation. Social media helps you to reach a wider audience, and telling engaging stories will encourage them to recommend your business to others. Word of mouth recommendations are great for business growth.
7. Safety first
When it comes to keeping your business safe and secure, it’s much easier and a lot cheaper to be defensive than to pick up the pieces after a nasty virus or intentional attack on your business.
Technology now allows people to access their business files, data and networks easily, but this should never be at the expense of the business’s security.
When choosing a device, app or service, always have a serious think (and do some research) into the potential impacts on your business’s security. Spending a bit of time up-front can save you a great deal of time, money and heartache in the future.
Do these tips work for you? How do you use technology to help you grow your business? I’d love to hear ideas and experiences and share them with other small businesses. Please tweet me at @AngelaDMunroe
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