Do you ever wonder if you’re getting the most out of technology? No matter what kind of business you own or operate, there are dozens of new apps, programs, and devices appearing on the market all the time. Nearly all of them have something to offer if they fit in with your company’s mission, budget, and long-term strategies.
The best part is, you need not be a technical genius or an IT wizard to boost profits and efficiency with new technology. In the examples listed below, all you need is enough knowledge to download an app or have an IT person install a program or two on your system to get started. The digital marketplace changes fast, but the following suggestions are all current, relevant, and effective for getting the job done in the world of a for-profit business.
Use POS Devices
Consumers are getting accustomed to point-of-sale devices. Just a few years ago, the small countertop units were a rarity outside of the world’s biggest cities. Today, they’re everywhere, and if your company is not using them, then you are losing sales. The market is very competitive, so be sure to do free trials of several products, making sure to find one that suits your banking arrangement, customer preferences, and sales volume. Costs are minimal after paying the upfront fee for devices and installation. And after a few months of stronger sales and happier customers, POS devices really do pay for themselves.
Leverage the Power of SEO
You can do a lot of SEO work on your own, for no cost. However, this is one of the few tech areas where it pays to bring in an SEO consultant after you’ve done your part. But, to get started, consider using a toolbar or online analytical report to evaluate your company’s current SEO effectiveness. Nearly everyone has a few aspects of their site that can use professional help. The good news about using a consultant is that all the work can be done remotely, fees are very reasonable, and you only pay for what you need. So, if it’s just a matter of a quickie review, the job might just take a few minutes. And, even if you do need more extensive re-working of keywords, meta tags, and page construction, the expense is well worth it.
Use a Time Management App
Unfortunately, people who happen to be excellent entrepreneurs tend to be creative types who struggle with structured chores like budgeting and making time schedules. Maybe that’s why some of the best-selling business books are about time management. Freeware apps in this category are some of the bests around. Unless you want the nuclear versions and are trying to juggle a 70-hour workweek, there’s no need to pay for the retail versions. Shop around and find two or three that offer the features you use most often. Some offer minute-by-minute detail while others are more like digital calendars that let you instruct the program about which events are daily, weekly, or monthly repeaters.
Budget the Smart Way
Apps are not the answer to everything. But, when it comes to numerical chores like accounting, budgeting, and tax computations, they work wonders. Some of the newer budgeting applications only require you to input simple, core data. Then, they do the rest by creating full-scale monthly or even annual budgets based on the information you supplied. Many are set up the same way as common tax-preparation programs and ask you a series of questions as they do their work. The more specific your answers, the more accurate and detailed the final budget will be. There are freeware versions and retail products that cost less than $10. Try out a few before deciding on which ones fit your personal planning style and required level of detail.
Use Video Conferencing
Video conferencing has come a long way in the past decade. The COVID pandemic gave the entire industry a huge boost, and now there are dozens of major competitors vying for your business. Be careful not to rely on free, online video chat services for business purposes. When it comes to employees and company discussions, you want a totally secure, reliable video communications system. Prices are competitive, even if you’re shopping for a tailor-made setup that can handle hundreds of video conversations per day with large numbers of participants. The two key product features to look at closely is downtime, which should be minimal, and tech support. Of course, IT security is a factor that you’ll also want to ask about.
Offer Help Desk Services
Some people think they need to hire an IT guru to set up a web help desk, but there are some powerful, easy-to-install apps that can get you started. Help desks can be as simple or as extensive as needed. It’s all about your company’s intention. For many e-commerce sites, help desks act as centrally located Q-and-A centers staffed by one live agent and multiple bots. The advantage of apps is that they are excellent at screening e-mail or chat questions from users. Common queries are pulled from a database of prepared answers. More complex requests are automatically routed to any number of people in the company. It’s the ideal mix of human and bot customer service. Consider that most of all customer questions can be answered in just a few seconds from the database. The rest take a couple of minutes when sent through a live agent or employee.