Your small business is only small to the people it doesn’t support. For you and your employees, it’s a big deal. Because of this, it pays to stay up to date on technologies that can keep your company on top. Data security, a reliable smartphone, customer relationship management, and online tools that make your company safe and accessible are just a few tech tools your business shouldn’t be without.
Just because you’re a small business and tend to stay out of the spotlight does not mean the criminals don’t have their sights set on your information. As Experian explains, more than 60 percent of small businesses experienced a cyber attack in 2017. Criminals target smaller businesses because they believe, often correctly, that they do not have firewalls, layered security, and other data-safety tactics in place.
Take the time to evaluate your network, including the safety of your website. If you do not have a dedicated IT team, find a service that can help you protect your customers’ and employees’ information. Unfortunately, no matter how many safeguards you have in place, criminals are smart, and they are always looking for ways to infiltrate your network. These include email scams and phishing schemes meant to poke at your most vulnerable areas. Plan to establish a relationship with a professional data recovery company that can help you recover your digital goods if your database, computer, or network crashes or is compromised.
A Smartphone You Can Count On
It goes without saying that you need to effectively communicate with customers and employees, whether you’re sending them emails or having a video chat. A reliable smartphone will allow you to support your customers and staff whenever you need to. A high-powered smartphone will allow you to download and run any essential apps your business needs, and you’ll be able to invoice and send proposals to clients even if you’re outside the office. There are many models on the market today, so be sure to research which smartphone best meets the needs of your business, employees, and clients. Also make sure you purchase a smartphone case to protect your device.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and HR Software
In the days before computers, customer information was stored on paper forms. Usually, this meant notebooks or a Rolodex with everything from contact information to order history. Over time, this defaulted into databases and other tools that allow everyone within an organization to access real-time stats. CRM tools, according to SalesForce, simply refer to the technology that makes this possible.
Today’s customer relationship management tools utilize hardware, software, and the power of cellular mobility to provide a better sales experience. Implementing CRM methods can increase your bottom line by making your business more efficient. Just a few of the benefits of CRM include tracking customer interactions, keeping tabs on leads and contacts, and protecting your company from data loss by sales representatives that leave without updating their client list.
There is little doubt that your company needs an online presence. Your website and social media are crucial to your success. Spend some time evaluating the usability of these from an end-user perspective. You will want to ensure that your website has technologies, such as click to call and mobile viewing, that make it easy for customers to access your website from any device.
Depending on your business, it may be wise to invest in developing a downloadable app so that your customers can keep track of their accounts right from their phone. The downside of this is that app development is expensive, with some estimates putting it at more than $171,000 or more to create a custom application. Keep in mind, however, that sites like TemplateMonster can help you cut those costs down considerably by providing a basic outline for an Apple or Android app.
Every business owner should understand that technology is vital, and it’s here to stay. That’s why, in addition to finding the best tech tools for your business, it’s also a good idea to expand your personal knowledge of IT. You can do so by getting an online degree in the field or by taking tech-related boot camps or courses designed for small business owners. While this focus on increasing your knowledge does require a time and money investment upfront, in the long run it will pay off because you’ll be able to make better tech decisions for your business.
While your business is unique and you know what is best for it, the above tools have broad applications that are useful in all sectors and for businesses of all sizes. By moving forward with digital tools that will help you grow, you give yourself an edge over competitors who choose to stay put.