Harnessing Technology: Streamlining Operations for Small Business Owners

Harnessing Technology: Streamlining Operations for Small Business Owners

The current economic climate is making it harder than ever for small businesses to not only remain profitable but also sustainable in the long term.

But thankfully, there have been a number of recent technological advances that have started to give them a fighting chance.

These advances enable them to streamline the efficiency of their operation in cost-effective ways, which give them a competitive edge they haven’t previously been able to enjoy.

If you don’t want to become one of the 60% of small businesses that fail within the first couple of years, you would be well advised to harness the technology that is available right now to strengthen your overall operation.

But which ones should you adopt?

Here are X technologies that can go a long way towards streamlining your small business operations.

  1. Professional Phone Number

A professional 1300 number can add real value to your small business. Not only can it act as a single point of contact for anyone in Australia to get in touch with you, but it can also make your phone number much easier to remember (because effectively you only have to memorise six numbers and not ten).

Additionally, it can seamlessly scale and adapt with your business as you open new outlets or move premises. It also provides you with valuable metrics including statistics on caller locations, peak times and length of call, which you can be used to assess how effective marketing or advertising campaigns have been.

  1. CRM Platforms

To be sustainable, and therefore successful, small businesses need to develop and maintain robust relationships with their customer base.

The recent introduction of CRM platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot and Zoho provide a terrific way to this by automating the accumulation of various data points that can nurture leads, make marketing campaigns more effective and provide their customers with a better level of support.

By providing them with a centralised point in which to analyse and evaluate customer data, the main benefit of an effective CRM system is that it can help small business owners to devise personalised marketing campaigns to their customers that should convert better.

  1. Collaborative Cloud-Based Tools

Increasingly, businesses are adopting flexible working practices which empowers their employees to work anywhere they want to, whenever they want to.

For this reason, it is vital to embrace collaborative cloud-based tools like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, which can enable your employees to access information from anywhere that provides them with an internet connection.

As they are cloud-based, these applications boast a suite of features including instant messaging, the editing of documents in real time and collaborative project management, which enable you to seamlessly communicate with staff, suppliers and customers from any location.

  1. Video Conferencing

For many small businesses the development of video conferencing platforms like Google Meet, Zoom and Microsoft Teams has been a real game changer.

While nothing beats face-to-face human interaction, this technology can literally save small businesses thousands of dollars in travel costs and related expenses – particularly if they are used for initial meetings.

Perhaps most crucially, it can also assist small businesses to compete on a wider national and international level by connecting them with a larger number of potential clients or customers.

  1. E-commerce Platforms

Sales has always been the lifeblood of any business and thanks to platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify and BigCommerce, it has become a lot easier for small business to sell their products or services through an online store.

Doing this can provide them with additional sales channels which can make their business more accessible to customers, both within their home country but also overseas.

The great thing about these platforms is that they have been developed to a point where they don’t require too much technical computer knowledge to set up. They also come with highly customisable designs and plug-ins that can be integration with several encrypted and secure gateways to create a website that looks highly polished and professional and can also compete with largest companies within the marketplace.

  1. Automation Tools

As a small business owner, your time is very precious. Therefore, you need to maximise the time you do have available to focus on those activities that are the most profitable.

Thankfully, there are several tools that let you do that by automating certain parts of your job function.

For instance, Zapier can help you perform time-intensive data entry tasks, while Mailchimp can automate the sending of thousands of marketing emails to potential customers. Likewise, MYOB can help you with your accounting and tax return preparation.

Collectively, these tools also reduce the risk of errors which can occur during manual data handling tasks and help to minimise your overall workload.

  1. Employee Training

The professional development of staff is critical to the success of a company. Therefore, small business owners have a vested interest in ensuring their employees constantly enhance their knowledge and skills base.

However, traditionally this has not been a cheap exercise, often involving the cost of travel and overnight accommodation.

Thanks to employee training platforms like Skillshare, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning, small businesses can now provide their employees with greater access to specialised, cost-effective and specific training courses that can improve levels of staff retention and employee satisfaction.