In an age where a few keystrokes can dramatically alter the outlook of a company or the appearance of a product or advertisement, technology is king. Today’s small business owners must not only have the skills and experience to be successful at their chosen craft, but they also need at least a working knowledge of technology. Whether you want to continue working on a project while out of the office or you are simply filling out the paperwork for payroll, technology plays an integral role in today’s business society. As a small business owner, there are many ways you can use technology to help streamline information and ideas to become more successful in your area of expertise. Consider these basic tips to begin rethinking the way your business uses technology:
Examine Your Industry
The first step in determining what you will need to be successful is to examine leaders in your industry. This is not only a good way to learn what to expect in terms of common challenges, but also a perfect way to decide what your individual venture will need to become successful. It is vital to be aware of the established standards your business will be held against.
For example, if you are planning on opening your own bakery, examine the success of your competitors and of similar businesses. How heavily does this success hinge on their use of technology? Do other businesses offer special deals that utilize new technology, like a special discount on cupcakes for customers who “check-in” at your location via social media and their smartphones?
Scale to Fit
Small business owners who are just starting out may feel they need to purchase every program related to their chosen field. However, upon closer examination they may realize that this is not necessarily the case. Examining the size of your company and determining your needs based on time-sensitive goals will help ensure you pay only for the software and hardware that best suits your business.
Owners of larger businesses typically require their technological needs to be met in a more fluid fashion. This may mean hiring an entire department devoted to IT maintenance.
Programs Everyone Can Use
There are some general programs that can benefit all business owners regardless of size and industry. These programs will help manage the basic day to day needs of your company.
Project management software can help you stay organized in a variety of ways. Whether it is monitoring workflow, scheduling, or any of the other tasks that are better organized and performed using these helpful technologies, the right software can be a huge time-saver.
Though they are not “programs” utilizing social media sites online to promote your business and engage in conversation with your customers is becoming more and more crucial to small businesses.
Being a business owner in the twenty-first century means a person must be willing to interact with technology; this may at first seem daunting depending on your level of experience. However, finding the exact programs that work for you will be of great benefit for present and future success.
About the Author: Alex White is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about business and career development.