Technology

8 Must-Have Tech Upgrades for the Small Business

In the modern business world, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the technology that’s constantly being developed and the benefits it could have on your company. In order to remain competitive, it’s important to take advantage of any technology that will help your company grow and keep up with industry trends. Here are eight tech upgrades every business should consider using in their office, even if they aren’t currently using them or feel like they don’t need them yet.

1. CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help you manage your customers. With CRM, businesses can keep track of how many people they’ve helped and what products or services they might need in the future. The key to any successful business is to build strong relationships with its customers, so it’s important to have a CRM system in place. These are some of our favorite CRMs for small businesses.

2. Email Marketing

As with traditional marketing, reaching an audience via email has become a tactic that most modern businesses have integrated into their existing marketing campaigns. By collecting contact information from visitors or registered users, you’re able to segment audiences based on demographics and preferences, allowing you to send them tailored messages with offers they’re likely to be interested in. Such tactics can help you increase conversion rates and improve your overall ROI (Return on Investment).

3. Cloud Storage Solutions

There are many different cloud storage solutions available to businesses today. With online storage solutions, you can remotely access your documents from any device. For example, instead of emailing files back and forth between co-workers, you can upload them into Dropbox or Box and share a link with whoever needs access. Another great feature of online file storage is that it’s automatically backed up in case your hard drive crashes or your computer is stolen.

4. Marketing Automation Software

Most businesses, regardless of size, will benefit from a marketing automation system to help them collect leads and follow up on those leads. Marketing automation software can include lead scoring, which will allow you to prioritize your leads based on several factors. It also allows you to filter leads so you know who you should reach out to first, followed by who’s least likely to buy from you. The best marketing automation systems provide templates and pre-written emails that help guide your outreach efforts.

5. Using cloud-based payroll software

Employee theft is a serious issue and it’s getting worse. With cloud-based payroll software for small business, your financial information is kept up to date and secure in a remote location so employees can’t hack into your system and steal money. Most of these services also offer budgeting and time tracking abilities that allow you to see how employees are spending their time at work. Better payroll reporting helps improve employee productivity because you can see when they clock in/out, which projects they spend most of their time on, and if they complete all assigned tasks each day.

6. Chatbots & AI Services

Chatbots are taking over, whether you’re ready or not. They’re easy to create and require minimal maintenance once they’re up and running. As artificial intelligence continues to improve, chatbots are becoming more capable of carrying out complex tasks on your behalf—and they’ll only get better with time. Chatbots can even interact with other software to make it easier for businesses to automate routine functions.

7. Digital Storage Solutions

First and foremost, cloud storage options like Dropbox and Google Drive (and their related services) can be a boon to any business. A lot of people use these services, making them easy to share with potential partners and customers. They’re also more secure than physically storing digital information on your computer or in a desk drawer. Cloud storage is particularly useful if you travel often, as they make it possible to access documents from anywhere.

8. Security Services

A security breach can cripple a company’s reputation and be an even bigger blow to its finances. If you’re a small business owner or a self-employed worker, make sure your network is as secure as possible by taking advantage of some free resources from Microsoft and McAfee. These easy-to-use programs will let you install security updates on your computer, monitor who has access to certain files, and more. It also pays to invest in anti-virus software.

At some point, you are going to have to accept that technology is important. Your boss or your company may already be convinced of its importance, but there’s always room for more tech-savvy individuals. Even if it seems like a daunting task to become tech-savvy, I can assure you it’s not. Just start with one of these simple tech upgrades and work your way up from there until you feel comfortable with all aspects of technology in business.

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