The business world of today is not the business world of decades past. Today, technology, especially information technology, is highly ingrained into companies at all levels. If you don’t make an ongoing investment into technology, you will likely be left in the dust by more tech savvy competition. Overall, you need to know how to implement the right tech into your company to stay ahead.
Use Technology to Leverage Your Data
One of the most under-utilized resources a company has is usually its business data. If you are not actively collecting, storing and analyzing data created by your different business processes, you are making a mistake as a business owner. Using business data in this way is known as business analytics and sometimes colloquially referred to as “big data.” You should be aware that 100 percent of small businesses surveyed use some form of data analytics. If you don’t, you are certainly living in the past. Invest in the proper business analytics software to change this. The information you collect will be vital for plotting the best course forward for your company to maximize profits.
Choose Technology Geared for Individual Business Processes
As a business owner, you have to be a jack of all trades. There are many different facets of your business to manage. In regards to technology, you should consider adopting tools that make each one of these individual processes more efficient and easier for you to manage. Think, for example, of how laborious and time consuming the old fashioned method of taking inventory is. You would literally have to walk around your store and write down notes for each individual item in inventory. Inventory control software transforms this into an automated data-driven process. You can know immediately what you have in inventory by simply accessing the software, and your inventory will be immediately updated as items are sold or brought in from shipping and receiving. Even the ordering of more inventory can be automated to occur automatically any time products get too close to being sold out.
Choose Technology Tailored to Your Industry
There are a plethora of different software solutions on the market geared towards business owners. However, the great thing about technology is that it can be customized to meet the needs of different industries and even small niches within industries. For example, your business may be selling outdoor power equipment to farmers, RV dealers, powersports companies, and other types of buyers. If that is the case, you can actually invest in outdoor power equipment business software that can help you manage your OPE dealership. The software can do things like update you on manufacturer price list changes, send text messages to customers and help you find parts for the best price nearest to you. Software designed exactly for your industry can make a huge difference in your day to day operations.
Choose Intuitive Tech Your Employees Can Use
When the technology you want to invest in will be used by your employees, you have to give some consideration to the skill level that will be required to use that tech. Certain software and hardware may have a learning curve. While office professionals may be able to master it, it may not be appropriate for wide adoption by store clerks that need to be able to quickly move customers through the check-out process. In that case, you may want to only choose more intuitive point of sale software that is easy to use and does not require constant troubleshooting. You should be able to train employees on how to use such software over a course of minutes. It shouldn’t require studying a manual or learning a programming language to understand.
Consider Cloud Based Solutions
One of the reasons why business owners have been resistant to adapting new technology in the past is because of the specialized skills required to effectively manage complex technology. Most small businesses really can’t afford to have an IT professional on their payroll. However, what if all the technical aspects of the software in question were managed on the vendor’s end? This is the case with cloud powered software. Unlike traditional software, this software is not installed on local hardware. Instead, it is accessed directly through the internet. The job of troubleshooting, installation, updating and more is all done on the vendor’s end and is provided as part of the cloud service.
Overall, don’t invest in technology simply to invest in it. Perform the proper research so you are making investments in tech that will actually pay off in the long term and help you develop concrete competitive advantages. Doing so will help create a much more efficient company that will be able to compete in the years to come.