Tech Tips For Starting A New Business
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Technology is helping level the playing field and allowing small business owners to compete with big-box locations. Adopting advances in technology can be a small business owner’s best friend as it enables small businesses to access new markets and target new customers at a relatively affordable cost, according to a study by Deloitte.
Tech-savvy small businesses earned two times as much revenue per employee and were more likely to have a diverse customer base, the survey of 2,000 small business owners revealed. Despite better financial results and high employment growth, 80% of small businesses aren’t taking full advantage of the technology at their fingertips to help grow their business.
Advances in technology make starting a small business easier than ever. Here are a few ways you can use technology to get your small business or franchise up and running.
Technology Fuels Daily Operations
Technology will play a big role in the day-to-day operations of your business. It’s likely you will need time-tracking software to manage employees and project management software to stay organized. Your business will need point-of-sale technology to complete transactions and anti-virus software to protect your business computers. Online invoicing and accounting software will help streamline your bookkeeping.
Access to so many tools can be overwhelming for new business startups. I recommend making a plan and starting small. Small businesses can make do with homegrown solutions that are readily available, like Google Docs and Gmail, until you identify the needs of your business. Once you are ready to implement new software, make sure to do your research and be willing to make an investment. When it comes to technology, choosing the least expensive option might not be an ideal long-term strategy for your business.
Technology Shapes Small Business Marketing Strategy
These days, having an online presence is preferred for small businesses. We live in a digital world, and consumers are rarely without their mobile phones, which serve as tools for calling, texting and mini-personal computers. While people still love to physically shop inside a business’ four walls, easy access to the Web, speedy delivery times and the continued rise of social media are making online purchases more common.
E-commerce sales are on track to reach $548.8 billion by 2024, Statista reported. Even if your business does not focus on e-commerce, it’s still a good idea to have a website for marketing purposes. Research conducted by Google reveals 83% of United States shoppers who visited a store in the last week conducted online research before visiting the store in person. Of course, there are a great deal of people who also visit businesses after hearing about them via word of mouth, through their local new mover program or by simply exploring their town.
Despite the availability of mobile information, nearly one-third of small businesses planned to start using a website for the first time in 2020, according to a study by Visual Objects. Your small business can stay ahead of the competition by creating a robust online presence, combining a website that is easy to navigate, social media to generate buzz and a POS-integrated new mover program to welcome new customers. Here are some easy marketing tools your company can implement:
- Optimize searches: Experts recommend weaving the city, county and region of your business naturally into your website content to put your business first on the list when customers conduct an online search.
- Use social media: Post new products and deals on social media. Internet users spend roughly 144 minutes on social media each day, Statista reported. Social media can help bolster website traffic and is an easy way to engage customers.
- Send emails: While very common, email remains a good tool to reach customers. You can send information about new deals and products via email to help generate foot traffic.
- Send tech-enhanced direct mail. Because social media and email are so common, it’s best practice to send those same messages to consumers via direct mail. My advice? Be sure your chosen direct mail company provides tracking, 2D barcodes and POS integration. Some even take it a step further by including Informed Delivery and mobile apps to enhance your experience and generate a better ROI.
Embrace New Technology for Data Storage
Cloud-based business tools provide inexpensive data storage solutions. New point-of-sale technology allows businesses to store customer data online rather than separate data-based servers. The cloud also allows you to store company files online, which will untether employees from their desks. They can access and share information remotely, which has been especially important during this unique season.
Top Small Franchises Offer Proven Path to Entrepreneurship
If tackling technology hurdles seems daunting, franchising might be an ideal option to achieve your entrepreneurial dreams. In 2021, franchising is projected to open more than 26,000 new businesses and add nearly 800,000 new jobs, according to the International Franchise Association. Franchised businesses contributed $670 billion of economic output into the U.S. economy in 2020. Franchising gives entrepreneurs the option of running a business with a recognizable brand name and proven business model — providing a game plan for running a business. The franchisor has already picked the technology that works best for your business and has a marketing strategy you can follow. It eliminates the need to make tough technology decisions by offering a plan designed for success.
Implementing the right technology can make a big difference as you launch your new business. Whether you are starting your own business or you opt to open a franchise, having a solid grasp on the technology your business needs will help it flourish.
Plummer, Michael and Forbes Technology Council. “Tech Tips For Starting A New Business,” Innovation, 7 May 2021. Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/05/07/tech-tips-for-starting-a-new-business/?sh=590cce635b9c.