Small businesses immediately felt the effects of COVID-19 when it hit in 2020. The virus left a deep cut in their operations. With ingenuity, however, many resorted to technology. Resolve allowed owners to take advantage of their businesses’ flexibility and moved quickly. This has never been more true than the use of digital technology today.
Just two months shy of the pandemic, the Digitally Empowered report was released by the Connected Commerce Council in partnership with Google. It found out that 76% of small businesses relied more on digital technology during the pandemic. These businesses had a 9% increase in their sales thanks to technology. Digital technology also enabled 40% of small businesses to get new customers.
In truth, however, there was already an increasing adoption of technologies to improve businesses even before the pandemic. The crisis magnified that demand. Now it’s crucial to use technology to get ahead.
It’s also comforting to know that today’s many technologies used in business operations have already been in use before the pandemic. Familiarity has encouraged owners to adopt them as a result. There are, however, many new technologies that you can take advantage of. You can implement them in different aspects of your small business. In this article, learn about these tools to help your small business thrive amid the pandemic.
For Collaboration, Communication, and Customer Service
Technology is used mainly for communication, even outside the business industry. Remote work is on the rise, though, necessitating tools for this aspect in your business. You will be immersed in virtual meetings not only with your employees but with business partners and suppliers as well.
The right tools allow you to reach employees when needed. It helps them message each other. Employees can coordinate between teams. Collaboration becomes easy. Learning becomes faster.
Use web conferencing tools and messaging apps to improve communications within your small organization. To effectively allow remote collaboration, use instant chat apps. Choose tools that are designed for business. Features like file sharing and scheduled messages are important. When choosing the right tools, check out the trial versions first. You’d want to see if the tools have features that your business needs.
Communication tools also allow you to reach your customers and vice versa. Use a chatbot for your website or online store. To get feedback, use online questionnaires and surveys. Include an appointment scheduling feature if necessary. To make issue handling easy, use a ticketing system or an online help desk.
Social media can also be used as a customer service tool. Provide various communication channels for your customers. If it’s easy to reach you, customers will pick your business over others.
Technology can be used to increase productivity. It can make office presentations easier. It can be used to schedule meetings and conferences. You can also access databases remotely with the right technology. You can even manage PCs more effectively with technology.
To track how much time your employees spend working, use time tracking software. Such tools are ideal for identifying how you can improve work processes. It can encourage employee accountability and promote productivity. Likewise, use task management and project management tools to track the progress of your employees’ work.
Use office tools for creating presentations, spreadsheets, and documents. A digital filing system should also be in place.
If your small business is growing, you will need a dedicated server to manage computers and databases. Ready your business for further growth by investing in several servers. Use server room cooling systems to make sure your servers work at their best.
And since your business requires accessing files, it’s important to make sure that you have security tools. File transfer should be done securely. Databases and servers must be protected.
Have robust anti-virus software. It should include other features, including anti-malware and anti-phishing. Use a tool for securing passwords for files and databases as well.
Use online banking to accept payments. Allow customers to send or deposit money through mobile payments. You can also have a mobile point-of-sale system for customer payments.
Mobile banking apps also allow you to monitor account balances and business expenses. You can use it to check how much your employees are spending.
Technology is Transforming Businesses
McKinsey & Company believes the pandemic is pushing businesses to shift their focus. From strategies to expanding brick-and-mortar establishments, businesses are now aiming for technological advancements. This could be true. Based on the Digitally Empowered report, 80% of small businesses today want to learn more about technology. That’s good news.
As businesses look to go digital, however, there is a need to execute a technology plan beforehand. It’s not just about deciding when and how to adopt mobile apps or productivity tools. A good technology plan focuses on using strategies to best use technology to improve productivity and operations.
Your next step now is to analyze how the tools mentioned here can improve your business. Choose the right ones and strategically apply them.