Top Ways to Use Technology for Small Business Growth

Tech Small Business Growth

Technology is making it easier than ever to get a small business up and running. While it seems like the most daring of all tasks - starting your own business - the real challenges await after.

Once your business is operations, you need to focus on growth. Technology can help you here, but only if you implement it properly. You need to make the right decision about which technology is right for your business. Too often, small business owners use tech solutions that don't really help them much, all the while having no idea about those that would help their business thrive.

Here are 5 technology solutions that will help you grow your small business.

1. Data Analysis

Big Data is not just for big businesses anymore. Even the smallest of businesses have access to a range of advanced analytics that can help businesses understand their strengths and weaknesses and maximize their potential. Many big name SaaS (Software as a Service) providers are also partnering with other providers to streamline operations and provide you with a more detailed analysis of your business than ever before.

For instance, Square systems integrate smoothly with most accounting platforms like Quickbooks or Zoho Books, as well as inventory management systems like Stitch Labs or Shopventory and even online stores like Ecwid or GoDaddy. The more programs you use that integrate with each other, the more comprehensive a picture of your business your analytics can provide.

2. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has advanced far beyond its humble origins as just a flash drive in the sky. These days, businesses can use the cloud to run almost any of their business programs and access them anywhere at any time. Cloud storage isn't dead - today, you can get complete cloud storage solutions bundled as part of various suites.

Office 365 is a great example here - most small businesses use Office by default, and it comes with OneDrive where you can save and access all your data and files online, at any time. Office has become much more than just Word and Excel - their apps have new functionalities, and there's more of them than ever before. The same familiar interface you know from the installed versions is available on the web browser and mobile versions, which makes it a great option for small business owners.

Cloud storage allows you to keep everyone in your business on the same page and working from the same playbook. When Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) become outdated, you can just upload the new ones and not have to worry about old ones being stored on various hard drives. If an employee is giving an important presentation the next day and you want to double check some slides in their PowerPoint, you don't have to track them down to do it.

3. Online Learning

When big business wants to venture into a new arena, they usually just hire a new employee or even a new department. Small businesses often do not have the luxury of simply hiring a new employee every time there is a new job to be done. In the past, if a business wanted an employee to learn a new skill, system or software program, they generally had to send them to a class or seminar that may have potentially lasted for weeks.

Thanks to Learning Management Software (LMS), however, employees can learn new skills from the comfort of their own home, at their own pace and even in far less time than a traditional class or workshop would take. Online learning can even teach you how to start a business in the first place.

4. Productivity and Operations Efficiency

One of the biggest challenges for growing businesses is keeping everyone on the same page and working smoothly together. The more employees or projects you have to manage, the more of a challenge this becomes.

When employees are repeating work, unsure of what has been done and what hasn't or what they should be working on, productivity drops drastically. There are a number of different productivity tools that can help small businesses running smoothly, but it is also important to ensure you are choosing the right tool for your needs.

In some cases, all some businesses may need is a versatile "to-do" list that can help everyone see where projects stand and what needs to be done. A somewhat simpler project management app like Asana might meet all their needs. For businesses that may have various projects in the works at any given time and in various stages of development, they may need a more robust system like Basecamp or Trello.

5. Security

At one time, the bigger the business the more valuable their data was, particularly if it was financial data. Now, almost every business of every size has valuable data to protect. From employee records to email addresses to customer shopping habits, almost all data has value to someone. Smaller businesses have actually become prime targets because they often lack the right security. From viruses and malware to the growing use of ransomware, even the smallest of businesses are now vulnerable to a growing list of threats. Some may simply be annoying to deal with while others may shut your business down entirely. No matter what size business you run, digital security is becoming of paramount importance.

Wrap Up

Some technology can actually help your business to grow, while other technology helps you manage and protect what you already have. No matter what kind of business you run, however, there is no doubt that embracing technology is becoming a necessity for even the smallest of businesses. In an increasingly mobile world, businesses that don't offer better and better technological solutions to their clients and customers may quickly find themselves being left in a trail of dust by their competitors.

Guest Author

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon