It’s not uncommon to see many of the big brands utilizing the benefits of technology, adopting new digital practices and looking to tech to help identify new leads and customers. In 2016, those practices are no longer just available to businesses with huge operating budgets and marketing dollars. Now is the time for small businesses to get ahead by getting savvy on how technology can grow your bottom line, help you operate efficiently and secure your business.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), more than half of small businesses do not have a website or any social media accounts. On top of that, they’re not measuring marketing results or looking to digital tools to help with business accounting.
To guide small businesses, the SBA created the Technology Coalition to teach how digital platforms and best practices can lead to greater results. The Technology Coalition lists in-depth information on how platforms and services support one or many core business functions, from file sharing to lead generation.
When it comes to digital tools, the SBA focuses on the following business practices that could be enhanced with technology, including:
- Content Management/File Sharing. Teams can communicate and collaborate more effectively when they can access files from any device, anywhere, to share ideas and move projects forward. The Coalition partners for content management and file sharing include Microsoft and Box.
- Cloud Computing and Services. When it comes to data storage, “the cloud” can be your friend. Cloud computing covers scalable tools including storage, database, processing, analytics, application, and deployment services. The Coalition recommends checking out Amazon Web Services.
- Legal Solutions. Complying with the law is a critical part of every business. Consider legal solutions like LegalZoom to better understand things like intellectual property, copyright, your DBA and more.
- Online Marketing. Attract new customers or engage with your existing customers by targeting them online according to their online behaviors and demographic profiles using digital tools like Facebook Blueprint and HubSpot.
- Operations Support. Onboard and off board employees with ease using tools to that focus on setting up benefits, payroll, training and more. The Coalition recommends Zenefits for this best practice.
- Relationship Management. Digital relationship management is key to sales and growth. Consider platforms that will help you analyze and assess critical customer information like Salesforce.
Through the eyes of a small business owner, it can seem daunting to change behaviors and replace certain daily practices with digital help, but the benefits could easily outweigh the drawbacks when it comes to productivity, communication and sales.
Make it a goal in 2016 to explore these tools to see what could best assist your team and your business.