Everyone could use a little help once in a while. As a small-business owner, you should take any assistance where you can find it. Even if someone offers to do a task that saves five minutes out of your busy day, there's a good chance you'll take advantage of the proposal because that means you'll have five extra minutes to devote somewhere else. However, there isn't always going to be someone around to lend you a hand, which means that you're left to - and with - your own devices.
At this point, it's time to make the technology that you employ for your business actually make your job a lot easier. Using these gadgets and software programs to the best of their abilities will not only save you time and energy, it will be a better return on your investment in the long run.
Here is a list of a few technologies, programs and gadgets that will make your life as a small-business owner just a little bit simpler.
1. Turn to HR tech
While it would be ideal to spend the bulk of your day out on the floor of your business, interacting with employees and customers, this is very rarely the reality. Unfortunately, there are so many administrative things that need to be taken care of that it can be tough to be out and about and enjoy the business you created. As Business 2 Community contributor Ryan Mead recently noted, finding a human resources program to manage some of the paperwork can cut down a significant amount of time and energy spent flipping through files and filling out forms.
Just how much time could you save? A recent TriNet report revealed companies that take advantage of HR tech cut up to 50 percent of the time spent on such tasks. Not only that, but TriNet found these same businesses were able to save up to 40 percent of administrative costs as well. Such a program saves time, conserves energy and allows you to spend your hard-earned money on more productive, and possibly entertaining, ventures.
Some people may think that's it's a bit ironic to put human resources in the hands of technology, but in this current corporate climate, it makes sense to have services in place that reduce the amount of work that needs to be done - especially for small businesses. Focusing on the customer and employees in the early stages of the company is vital for brand longevity.
2. Inspire competition by using technology
One of the best ways to inspire a high-quality performance from a person is to offer an incentive. Students and professionals alike are more likely to put the proverbial pedal to the metal if it means they'll receive some personal bonus. As a small-business owner, it's good to have your employees working hard, but it may be difficult to offer a fiscal bonus. However, a lunch voucher or an extra personal day may be just the ticket to get people excited.
"Use technology to your advantage."
How can you get people to be extra productive and competitive at the same time? Use technology to your advantage. If your business requires that your employees do a lot of standing or walking, consider a competition that tracks the number of steps a person takes in a single day, The Guardian suggested. Pedometers are inexpensive and many smartphones have built-in versions or apps that employees can download. If the person with the most steps at the end of the week wins a prize, this will inspire people to move. Not only is this a friendly competition, but it shows that you can work and work on your personal health at the same time.
If your business has a call center, consider rewarding agents who have customers on the phone for the longest time and are therefore most helpful to them. To ensure fairness, the call accounting system already in place with be the source of information and the judge. If agents have an incentive to keep people on the phone (i.e. selling a product or answering a slew of questions thoroughly) then your business will benefit and your employees will have done themselves a favor.
3. Use accounting to measure marketing success
Marketing is an integral aspect of the business world, and it's next to impossible to have a successful enterprise without any marketing ploys. However, all marketing is not created equal and its efficacy varies between industries, audience, existing clients and more. In the beginning, it pays to be widespread and liberal with your marketing schemes - getting your name out there and in the public consciousness by using whatever means necessary could mean the difference between a long-lasting business and one that closes before its second anniversary.
To avoid such a catastrophe, market heavily in the beginning and then rein it in as your customers find you. By using such tools as call accounting and Google Analytics, it's possible to find out just how your customers like to be reached. Some clientele may not touch a newspaper, and therefore will not see your ad. However, if your customers aren't exactly tech-savvy, then perhaps email newsletters and social media updates would be a waste of your time. Check out the example down below from Bee's Knees Supply Co. in Boston.
In order to have a brand that truly resonates with your audience, you have to ensure that consumers are able to see or hear about your business without any extra work on their part. Once you've established what works and how you cater to your clientele, then word of mouth will help you with the rest of your marketing campaigns.
It's important that you use technology in your small business to help you get ahead. The large-scale enterprises are struggling to do the same thing and they have astronomical budgets and resources compared to the entrepreneur. To make the most of every moment, let your tech do work for you, and then some. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and let the technology help out where it can.