According to the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council (SBE) and US Census Bureau data from 2014, enterprises with less than 20 workers accounted for 89.4 percent of all American businesses. When non-employer or sole-proprietor enterprises were included, the proportion reached 97.4%.
If you identify as a small business owner, you are aware that technological concerns for a fresh start-up or developing company differ significantly from those of a huge firm. The technology required to keep your small business running effectively, the requirement to use cost-effective solutions, and the process of picking the correct technology for your firm are all specific to small enterprises.
Embrace Technology How Are Small Businesses Changing?
Computers, the Internet, phones, fax machines, and the Internet of Things; whether you’re a financier or a farmer, you can’t live without technology. The trick is to understand what technology to use and, more significantly, whether you are capable of managing and maintaining that technology.
You communicated with me by phone and email. If you needed to fax something, you probably printed it, signed it, and then fed it into the fax machine. You have a lot of paper and a lot of independently working devices.
Because today’s workplace technology connects everything, that identical fax message is never printed. Without ever leaving your computer, you make it, electronically sign it, email it, and save a record copy in a virtual folder. Perhaps you utilize a server that links to all of the computers in your office, operating as a central repository and occasionally storing software programs shared by numerous workstations. For data storage and backup, you may even employ an offshore server and colocation as a digital file cabinet.
How Do Small Businesses Survive?
The irony of all this equipment integration is that it may be a tremendous pain to administer and maintain. The efficiencies gained can undoubtedly benefit your bottom line by saving time and money — until they fail.
Keeping up on new technologies may be a full-time job. Hardware, computers, servers, and phones are always improving. Many software programs appear to need weekly upgrades. As software grows more sophisticated, the hardware that contains and operates it must keep up, or the program will not function correctly.
IT Support for Small Businesses
Many of these worries are alleviated if you are lucky enough to employ an IT worker – at least for 40 hours per week. Who will monitor things during the other 16 hours of the day and on weekends unless you have a whole IT department (and what small firm does?)?
That is why many small firms, as well as some bigger corporations, prefer to outsource their IT departments. Outsourcing your IT department is beneficial since you may still obtain the help you and your workers require without having to pay for full-time IT personnel. Another advantage of outsourcing is that you may utilize it to help another small business, as IT consulting is one of the fastest-growing small enterprises.
Make Use of the Cloud
What exactly is a cloud? In today’s technology-driven society, “the Cloud” is often mentioned. The cloud, often known as cloud computing, is the technique of storing, managing, and processing data on a network of remote computers housed on the Internet rather than a local server or a personal computer.
Working with the cloud is beneficial for small companies since it allows you to conserve network space, access your work from anywhere, and maintain the security of your data.
Computing in the Cloud
There are four forms of cloud computing, each with something special to offer you and your small business:
Backup as a Service (BaaS) (BaaS)
BaaS is a method of securely storing your company’s digital data by backing it up to external servers. These servers are housed in climate-controlled data centers with backup power sources and 24-hour/365 system monitoring. Every business owner should be backing up their company’s data at this stage.
Natural calamities, cybercrime, and human mistake nearly guarantee that your company’s digital infrastructure will be hacked at some time. When this happens, every second you are unable to access your data costs you money. You will have an easy and safe approach to recover your data using BaaS. You will save money, time, and have piece of mind.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) (IaaS)
IaaS allows users to access computational resources in a cloud-based environment. IaaS enables you to operate with a virtual infrastructure that is hosted in the cloud and accessible over the web. You may use the virtual desktop to store data, download apps, and operate exactly like you would with local infrastructure.
Because it provides a secure platform that can be accessed from any Internet-connected device, IaaS is an excellent tool for businesses with telecommuters or “bring your own device” rules. It is also an excellent tool for businesses that handle a large amount of sensitive data. Medical offices and healthcare analytics firms, for example, may frequently employ specific Virtual Desktop software to better follow tight HIPPA rules.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) (PaaS)
PaaS is a service delivery paradigm that allows customers to rent virtualized servers and related services for running existing applications or designing, developing, testing, deploying, and hosting applications. The majority of PaaS technologies are designed for software development and are therefore generally useless for other small firms.
PaaS solutions include computation and storage infrastructure, as well as text editing, version control, compilation, and testing services. These solutions are fantastic because they allow developers to focus on their product rather than worrying about infrastructure maintenance.
Third, don’t underestimate the power of email.
I adore business emails. I despise it. However, we cannot live without it.
We all appear to have a love-hate relationship with email — especially corporate email. Whether we’re communicating across the nation or just down the hall, email has become the preferred method:
It is immediate.
It works well.
It provides a paperless communication trace.
The dislike aspect is that it tends to pile up and get ahead of you.
Aside from apparent day-to-day company communication, using email marketing services may be a highly effective internal and external marketing tool for your small business.
Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
Email is a wonderful technique to promote to your clients, according to 80% of experts. According to experts, it is even more essential than Facebook. We’re not talking about those spamming ‘buy my stuff’ letters; a delightful and entertaining quarterly newsletter can be even more effective than other direct marketing approaches.
Sure, you may talk about your products and services, but why not offer intriguing anecdotes about your other clientele and how they use them? Short case studies are engaging and beneficial to your sales staff.
Use Email to Communicate with Your Staff
This is quite straightforward in a small workplace, but as your small business expands, it may become more difficult. Why not prepare for growth while also facilitating growth? Engaging your staff is the most recent thinking on the finest strategy to expand your small business. That is, you should encourage your employees’ emotional connection to your firm and its aims. According to studies, engaged staff work harder and deliver better customer service, which increases customer loyalty. This results in a higher profit margin.
One of the most effective strategies to engage your employees is to send them a monthly email newsletter. You may offer new product information and other corporate initiatives, introduce new recruits, promote staff or company engagement in community activities, and provide praise for staff successes in the same way you would with customers and prospects. A regular newsletter can also be used to get vital input from employees via simple questionnaires.
The main line is that utilizing internal email to engage your employees is just as crucial as using a business email newsletter to stay in touch with your customers.