Most small business owners already know the value that technology can bring to their business, but there is so much tech available today that it can be overwhelming to determine what your company actually needs. After all, a lot of tech requires a monetary investment, as well as the time and energy to learn how to properly integrate it into your operations.
Fortunately, there are funding options for all types of businesses, but it’s important to know what tech can provide the most efficacy and make your company money in the long term. If you run a small business, here are some lending options to get you started, as well as tried and true technologies that can help your company grow.
If you expect certain technologies to bring a good ROI for your business, there are several ways to get funding to cover the costs. For instance, small business loans range from SBA and short-term loans to invoice financing and merchant cash advancements. The type of loan you need will depend on a number of factors, including whether your company is new or established, how good your credit is, and how much profit your company brings in. If you’re new to the process of getting a loan, be sure to check out online guides that can assist you in finding the right type of funding for your business’ needs.
Tablets like the Apple iPad can be used for much more than reading, watching TV shows, and playing games. For instance, you can FaceTime a customer or colleague, put together a presentation, and manage your files. Whichever tablet you prefer to use (whether it’s a Microsoft Surface or Samsung Galaxy Tab), you can improve your business operations in many ways, including:
- Taking payments with a POS system
- Managing inventory
- Creating and editing documents
- Using it as an internet phone
- Facilitating customer relationship management (CRM)
- Managing time tracking
If you’re going to be using a tablet to help run your business, you’ll need the right data plan because you don’t want to get caught paying overage charges. If you’re going to be on your tablet often when you’re out of the office, it may be worth it to upgrade to an unlimited plan.
Another tech upgrade to consider is collaboration tools, such as video conferencing software (e.g., Skype, Workplace by Facebook, GoToMeeting) and instant messaging apps (e.g., Slack, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts). Video conferencing can come in especially handy for companies who have remote workers, as they provide a way for the team to virtually meet together. It can also improve communications between partnering businesses and organizations without requiring the teams to meet face-to-face.
Additionally, messaging apps facilitate internal communication and can help to build relationships among team members. Not only can members discuss and collaborate on projects — in groups or one-on-one — they can also chat about anything.
Social Media Marketing
As with tablets, social media is used for much more than entertainment. Believe it or not, it’s imperative these days for small businesses to utilize the power of social media. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter provide ample opportunities to promote your brand and products/services, as well as expand your customer base and manage relationships with current customers. Make sure you acquire the right tools and knowledge to take advantage of social media. Business News Daily provides more information on how you can do that.
Lastly, the right onboarding software can save your company a lot of time and money. Not only can it increase your chances of hiring the best kinds of employees, but it can also help your new employees learn their roles within the company at a faster pace. All and all, onboarding software (e.g., BambooHR, ClearCompany, GoCo) can help your company attract, train, and retain great team members more efficiently. If you need to create any employee-training videos, one idea is to use an online voice recording tool. Many of these recorders are free to use, and some services can transcribe your recordings for a nominal fee.
No matter what type of small business you run, there are tech upgrades that can push your company to the next level. Be sure to look into all your lending options, and find the right tablets and collaboration tools for your team. Likewise, make sure you’re taking advantage of social media marketing, and figure out which onboarding tools will make for the best fit. All the technologies available to small businesses today may not be necessary for your company, but it’s essential to get what you need so that you can give yourself the best chance to succeed.
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Gloria Martinez of Womenled.org is a blogger, personal branding enthusiast and freelance content writer contributing content for various blogs.