Nearly all small business leaders appreciate that technology can help them improve their revenue and are seeking out ways to better integrate technology into their growth plans. However, many will also freely admit that they are intimidated by technology, concerned that they will overspend for the wrong ‘flavor-of-the-month’ platform, and don’t have time to truly assess where and how technology can best support their growth.
For this reason, far too many small and mid-sized business owners are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach when it comes to taking best advantage of technology and there are costs to waiting.
Follow these three helpful tips to improve on how your business uses technology:
Tip #1: Start out by making a few technological upgrades
Most salespeople are happy to give demonstrations on new products recently introduced to the market, especially if you are sincerely interested in purchasing new PCs, mobile devices, a backup appliance, or any other piece of equipment. Upgrades to your office’s hardware and infrastructure – properly integrated and implemented – will help you remain competitive in your field.
Newer model Smartphones and tablets are extremely user friendly and boast a number of features designed to provide users with advanced business capabilities while on the go. The right backup appliance provides an added layer of protection against data loss from power outages or other disasters, as well as from cyber criminals that are increasingly targeting small businesses.
Tip #2: Switch office landline phones over to a VoIP system
This simple switch instantly optimizes communications and better empowers workers by letting them work from wherever they wish or are most productive. If your business has multiple locations, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) allows you to easily consolidate all into one integrated system for more efficient workflow.
In addition, VoIP systems help employees stay connected with new features such as voicemail to email (which are easily forwarded to collaborators, along with comments) and can enable workers to receive calls directly on their smartphones.
Tip #3: Hire a professional to counsel you on “strategic IT”
One of the best ways to free up your valuable time and resources is to focus on what you do best and to allow a professional to provide strategic IT advice.
Communicate your goals to your IT strategist (also called ‘fractional CIO”) and allow them to deliver the IT ideas that can grow your business, suggest the tech tools that make the most sense, and build out the business cases to support them. Your IT strategist should do a lot more than keep your system running and protect your network from hackers. In fact this is not their role (though there is a strong case to be made for them being part an parcel of your outsourced Managed Services team.) This person should be your strategic partner in leveraging technology to support the growth of your business.
You don’t have to be a techie to take advantage of the abundance of ways that technology can improve your business. Nor should you be. Adding a strategic IT resource and taking a measured, step-by-step approach to your tech utilization plan can add real fuel to your growth and quickly move you ahead of your competition.