By Kayla Matthews
Spurred by new breakthroughs, technology is growing at a rapid pace, reshaping the way customers shop and how businesses are run. Right now, technology is more important than ever for small and medium businesses. If you want your SMB to stay competitive, you’ll need to take advantage of the latest developments.
Here are 4 different ways that your SMB can invest in technology.
1. Mobile-Friendly Web Presence
Mobile traffic dominates the web — by almost any measurement, customers prefer to shop, interact with brands and browse using mobile devices.. If your web presence isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you could be losing out on mobile-only customers to businesses with more mobile-friendly web presences.
Most business services, like e-commerce platforms and content management systems, are built with mobile in mind, so it’s not usually costly or difficult to optimize your web presence for mobile devices.
SMBs should also be sure that they are taking advantage of mobile features, like mobile web payments, click-to-call buttons and apps.
2. Take to the Cloud
For almost every service that an SMB needs — payroll, accounting, HR — there is a cloud-based tool or solution available.
Cloud-based tools allow SMB managers and team members to view essential business data, no matter where they are or what kind of device they’re using, so long as they have access to the web. As a result, these tools allow for a much more flexibility and power than you’d normally have available.
These cloud-based services are especially good for SMBs whose team members and managers are often on the move and don’t always have access to critical business data. If you need to quickly make financing decisions to improve cash flow, set up a new team member on payroll or re-evaluate a quarterly budget, you’ll be able to do so from just about any device with an internet connection.
3. Plan to Cycle Computer Equipment
Technology is always advancing, and if you’re not consistently investing in new technology, you and your employees could be losing out on the benefits that advanced technology can provide SMBs.
Some employees — especially if they’re working with large amounts of data or advanced technology like machine learning — may need more processing power or specialized equipment.
To get these employees the equipment they need — while spending smartly on equipment — your SMB can plan life-cycle rotations its your computer equipment in which your business phases out — or phases down — old technology and phases in new equipment. Old technology can be sold, recycled or passed down to users who don’t need specialized technology.
If you’re unsure about how to best cycle out equipment, or which device investments to prioritize, you can consider working with an IT consultant or other tech professional who can help your SMB plan its equipment rotations.
4. Invest in Points of Contact
With the right technology, SMBs can make getting in touch as easy as possible.
Small web changes, like adding a chat widget or click-to-call button to your site can provide customers with an easily accessible point of communication with your team that can quickly move them further along the sales funnel. Even if your SMB can’t put an employee or team member in touch right away, there’s often technology available — like advanced AI chatbots and dynamic phone menus — that can field new customers and direct them to a live agent when possible.
Improving an SMB with Technology Investment
Technology is one of the most powerful tools an SMB can have — but you will need to carefully select the technologies your business pursues if you want to get the most out of your investment.
Cloud-based tech can help keep business operations running, even if key management members don’t have access to business computers. Mobile-friendly web design and contact methods can help your business secure customers, who are more likely than ever to be visiting your business’s web presence and interacting with your brand using a mobile device.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.