Seven Ways Technology Can Help Your Business

minimizing outgoings and maximizing profits businessBusiness Man Illustration

If you're running your own business, you will no doubt have a vast variety of things on your mind, such as how will your company maintain its growth forecast, bringing a steady flow of sales and revenue, while also keeping operations efficient? In other words, minimizing your outgoings and maximizing your profits. Of course, a lot of your success will come from good old hard work by you and your colleagues, but technology can also help your venture truly flourish to new heights. Here are seven ways you can harness its power to boost your business.

Your Digital Footprint

When it comes to promoting and advertising your business, how much effort are you putting into your company's digital presence? It doesn't matter what kind of products and services you are selling; you should at the very least have a fantastic-looking website that turns heads and gets people talking.

If you already have a site, why not take a step back and think about whether it's truthfully doing the job you want it to. Does it fully translate the profile, personality and unique selling points of your venture? Is it user-friendly? Does it look great on both desktops and mobile apps? The net is the place to be to attract customers, and you want to make sure that when potential visitors find you, people will trust you because you're a great, reliable brand.

Your website should feature lots of interactive stuff. Text descriptions are not enough on their own to impress. Instead, you need to be thinking about adding some great photography and some short, sharp video content. Sounds expensive? No, it doesn't have to be. Download some apps on your smartphone and use the built-in camera to shoot and edit material. After all, the quality your phone has is high so utilize it to your advantage.

You also need to think about incorporating all your social media profiles, and your blog (yes, you should have a blog), on your website. Doing this will help keep the site looking current and will go some way to help to get your site noticed on the crowded internet.

When it comes to social media profiles, your company should have a presence on all the main platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and don't only create a profile and hope for the best. You, or a designated member of your team, should be posting regularly. Ensure it's not nonsense, but relevant and interesting text which is not overly commercial, and not throwing adverts in people's faces. You want to create interesting posts, which get people talking and sharing and, as a result, heading to your company.

Blogs, Vlogs, and Podcasts

You just caught a mention of blogs. Let's elaborate and look at its useful siblings too. A blog is a great way for you and your colleagues to show their expertise in a particular area. It could be the catering industry, tourism or financial sector. It doesn't matter. By writing some blog posts of around 500 words at a time and sharing them on your website and social media channels, it will help get people talking about your company, and hopefully, that chitter-chatter will turn into new customers and revenue. All you need is a computer and access to upload your blog.

From blogs to vlogs, otherwise known as video blogs. Like with your website content, you can film vlogs on your smartphone or tablet computer. They don't have to be filmed professionally and edited. Vlogs are personal; they are a chance for you to show your face, to reflect on an issue or topic and to connect with your market.

Similarly, you can use simple technology and apps to record podcasts. A podcast is an audio conversation, which can be just you or you and some guests, discussing various trends and topics relevant to your area of expertise and industry. People love downloading podcasts which are both entertaining and informative. You need to show some personality and get people coming back time and time again to listen to your observations and musings. It can help raise your personal profile and that of your business.

E-commerce

With a great digital presence, you'll need to be thinking about making the most of the potential customers browsing your website, listening to your podcasts and watching your vlogs. How do you turn that interest into revenue?

One way is to have an e-commerce feature on your website, which you can easily link to from your various digital channels. This e-commerce feature is an online shop where clients can select products and services and buy them directly from you for delivery. Do your homework into what technology is best for your company, there is a lot out there, but you need to ensure that it's safe and protects all customer data.

You also need to back up your e-commerce offering with the infrastructure to deliver orders and to provide after-sales support.

Sophisticated Computer Network

If you're running a small business, what kind of your computer network do you have in place for your staff? Is everyone working on the same software, and is everything connected? Depending on what type of company you have, you will have different requirements when it comes to carrying out your services. But, it's important that you have computer systems in place that are up-to-date, easy to use and are efficient, which will enable your colleagues to work seamlessly and productively.

Sometimes, it can be more effective to design internal computer systems to fit your company model and processes, rather than trying to use a one-size-fits-all approach out of a box.

You may also want to think about giving your staff laptops and tablets, particularly if they're traveling a lot to meet clients and to attend exhibitions and events. If you do so, you need to make sure they can access your company systems, including the intranet, remotely, enabling them to keep up-to-date and to work on the go.

How about maintenance? Who's responsible when things go wrong? Do you have an in-house IT technician, or do you rely on the outside help? How well are your systems protected to stop any potential cyber attacks or breaches of data? If you're not big enough to have your own department dedicated to all this, then you should look externally for support, and check out Computer Network Support Los Angeles.

Automation

Some people say robots are taking over the workplace and will end up replacing humans. Others say no, they will work alongside teams, who, in turn, will need to adapt and take on new skills. Whatever your way of thinking, robots and automation have already arrived in companies around the world. They can streamline production processes and make workflow a lot more efficient and cost-effective.

Take a look at your business model, are there areas where you could use automation technology? Get an expert in to take a look at the organization of your company and to advise you on what's possible. Yes, you'll need to invest in the technology but, over a longer period of time, it could save your business thousands of dollars potentially, and help you to grow your venture.

Video Conferencing

A great way to keep down costs and reach a wider client base is to do some of your customer and supplier-facing meetings from your office using the latest video conferencing technology. It's come a long way from the days of waiting one hour for everyone to connect, and then the line collapsing!

Try and set aside a meeting room in your office building which you can equip with video conferencing equipment, setting it up as a permanent fixture. You need to invest in a good TV for the wall and some quality audio equipment. Then, train your team up in how to use it and away you go!

Of course, you don't have to splash out on lots of expensive equipment. If you don't have much budget for this right now, you could just set up a meeting room with a computer and TV screen which you can use to make group Skype and Facetime video calls. This could be the way forward on a budget.

Going Green

You can also harness the power of technology to help boost your company's green credentials. By green credentials, we're talking about doing your bit for the environment. If you have an office building, there are a variety of things you can do. For example, you could install sensors which switch off lighting in rooms and corridors when no movement is detected for a particular period of time.

You could make your offices self-sufficient when it comes to power. For example, you could install solar panels on the roof to create energy and, any surplus you make could potentially be sold into the national network and make you a bit of a profit.

As a green company, you could also install electric car charging points in your parking lot to encourage staff to use cleaner vehicles to get to and from work; and provide some bicycles for employees to share. Talk to the local authorities about what incentives might be available to businesses like yours; there could be discounts on offer and so on!

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