Most small businesses start using a number of manual processes that evolved over time into one (relatively) smooth system. Making the switch to digital can increase production and productivity, but the switch itself can sometimes be a bumpy ride. As a result, many businesses upgrade a few applications, while continuing to do things the way they’ve always been in other areas. Ultimately, this leads to disorganization that can take a toll on efficiency and profits.
Today customers, clients and consumers no longer have to run to the bank because they can do most of their banking online. They don’t have to shop for groceries because they can just order them. They can even book an entire vacation right from the nursery at 2:00 am.
In the 21st century, digital transformation is becoming less of an option and more of an imperative for business survival. Digital transformation is no longer simply about helping your business run better, it’s also about helping your customers better connect to your business.
Small businesses can now compete with big players and offer the same options. New software and technology will help them make to switch to digital, and here are 5 great tools that will digitize your small business.
Adequate customer service may be one of the biggest challenges for small businesses, and for startups in particular. When you are trying to build or expand a business, you need to put the majority of your resources into getting new customers, which leaves little for assisting the customers you already have.
But if you don’t take care of the customers you already have, not only will you lose them, they may spread a negative message about your business which will even further hinder your growth. Thankfully, technology is providing a low-cost solution to providing ongoing service to current customers, leaving you free to pursue new ones. Acquire is a full scale customer communications platform that can provide end-to-end support.
There is no doubt that social media may be one of the best things to happen to small businesses. But a growing range of platforms and the need to maintain a consistent presence can be challenging for small business owners that have to do so many things all at once. Hootsuite can help you manage your presence across a wide range of platforms. Instead of trying to squeeze in an hour each day between other tasks to manage your social media, you can sit down once and automate a number of tasks for the entire week. Best of all, you can quickly find what people are saying about you to remain responsive as well.
Mobile technology is significantly increasing the ability of employees to work from anywhere. This may be a particular boon to SMB’s, because they don’t have to invest in office space. Managing a team that isn’t located in one location, however, can be challenging. Not only do you need to keep track of what employees are doing, but they also need to be able to see where different projects stand or what other team members are currently working on. Trello is a project management app that can keep your entire team all up to date, no matter where they are located.
Having an app is becoming more imperative for all businesses. The same way you can now quickly build your own website thanks to pre-made templates, developing your own app is also becoming easier for those that don’t know how to code. Quick Base does more than just create apps for customers, however. It can also help you create your own in-house apps that can help keep everyone updated. With new low code platforms, apps are quickly becoming the new spreadsheets.
Believe it or not, some of the best and most effective tools are free and they even integrate seamlessly with many paid apps. At one time, employees kept important documents on their individual hard drives, which they often shared with each other. In many cases, one employee would be working with old or out-of-date documentation while everyone else was working from a newer version. This meant everyone was working with different information. With cloud storage, you can store all the most recent documents and SOP’s and simply remove them when they are out of date or replace them with current ones. Not only does this keep everyone on the same page, but it also keeps employees from wasting valuable time hunting down information from or for each other.
Today, digital tools do far more than just help you do what you’re already doing better or faster – they actually help you do more with less. Not only do they help create better connections with your clients and consumers, they also help you connect with other businesses. Digital tools are no longer just for big or wealthy corporations. They can offer the same benefits to SMB’s for a fraction of the cost.