No matter what your opinion is about technology within the workplace, one thing for sure is that it’s here to stay. Throughout my life, I have worked for many companies of varying sizes. Despite their differences, one of the things that set them apart was the way they implemented the technology. Some of the owners had old school views and were staunchly against it. They’ve operated with paper files, and a landline for 15 years with success and they didn’t see a reason to make a shift.
I remember one shop owner refused to have a website, and only marketed through word of mouth. In that year, more stores within the same industry opened around them. I urged them, at the very least, to start creating a social media presence, but they refused, stating that “...social media wasn’t their style.” Fast-forward 2 years and the store ended up closing. I can say with confidence it was because they refused to keep up.
Remember work smarter, not harder! Despite being a mostly offline business, there are ways to use technology to get a leg up within your industry. Keep in mind that some software and systems might take time to set up, or have an initial start-up cost, but will save money and time down the road. The question is, what technology, and how much?
Start By Doing Your Homework
- What areas within your business could be enhanced by technology?
- How much of a budget does your business have to invest?
- Is there software or technology you can get for free?
- The amount of time it will take to train your staff how to use the technology, and how to make a positive transition?
- Can you calculate your employees' increased productivity caused by the use of technology?
Follow With Making Small Changes:
- Social Media - There’s always social media platforms. By now I think most people are fluent in the various platforms available. So I’ll briefly touch on this subject.
- Start a blog - Having articles related to your business can help to grow your company, and validate its authority. It can also be a fun and creative outlet for you to get the word out about the products and services that you offer. If you’re not a writer, there are lots of agencies that can help out.
- Enlist a Digital Marketing Agency - It’s hard to grow your business when your time and attention is needed at ground level. Enlist help if you find that managing your own marketing is getting harder. Most marketing agencies price at a sliding scale so there are usually options for businesses of all sizes.
- Creating a Website - There is an initial start-up cost, however, and once it’s up and running, you will usually only have a maintenance fee. Having a website will create an effortless way to showcase your products and services 24/7.
Communication and Collaboration
- Google - This company offers some of the best free software for word processing. I have completely replaced Microsoft Word with Google Docs and Sheets. The best part of using them is they are made for collaboration, they synch to Drive, and any content you write is instantly saved. Keep in mind, they are great for personal use and very small businesses, but may not offer enough for mid-sized companies. If you want access to their more advanced apps, security, and administration, you can get the business account with G-Suite.
- Using a CRM - (Customer Relationship Management) - Put short, the main job of a CRM is to manage all of your company’s relationships and interactions in one platform. Using a CRM will help you stay organized and track potential sales within your funnels.
- VoIP Telephone Systems - Switching to VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) can save you money, the start-up cost is low, and it allows you to keep your existing telecommunications hardware.
Billing, Point Of Sales (POS), Customer Service
- Go paperless - Scanning and storing most of your documents, and emailing your billing statements instead of mailing them will cut down on cost as well as your carbon footprint.
- POS - Using an application to manage store sales from your phone or tablet. There are a lot of different applications out there, from free ones to some that cost a certain amount per month.
- Online Appointment Scheduling
- Help Desk Applications
- Using Social Media to do your customer service
The first step in using new technology in your business is to pinpoint certain areas within your company where it’s needed, and start small. Then do your research to see if there is a certain software, device, or app that could expedite your workflow. It might make sense to take advantage of the free tools out there so that you don’t invest in something that won’t be useful to you. If you end up loving it, you can always go bigger.
Keep in mind that even the best technologies are lost if people don’t understand how to use them. A cohesive training process must be implemented by management so the transition goes smoothly. This will look differently depending on how large or small the company is. There may be some initial resistance to it, which is normal whenever something new is introduced. Keep a positive attitude and make sure that employees understand why a certain system is being used, and how it will help them.
Here at The Computer Guild, we can help you get set up with certain technologies. We offer VoIP Systems, help desk support, network installation, security and surveillance, server and network management. Additionally, we have a service plan, where you can add on extra services to fit your needs. Our company also has a digital marketing team that services small and mid-size businesses. We are here to aid you in growing your presence on any social platform, as well as PPC and SEO. Give us a call or stop in and talk to us! We are passionate about what we do and we would love to help you out!