It has always been important for small businesses to use smart technology – they need to punch above their weight in the market, and that means being innovative and cost-saving. But in the pandemic, where there’s less room for mistakes and face to face conversations, it is even more important that small businesses are clever about computing and cloud. Here’s how they can make the best use of the latest tech:
Using employee software is an excellent way to manage pay slips, and keep track of holiday and suchlike. Many companies will use Excel sheets or Google Sheets for this kind of thing – but the key is making sure employees, and HR can access all the data they need, and that only those who should be able to edit can do so. Staff are more likely to work hard when processes are transparent, and they know what they will get for their hard work. One thing – make sure you consider how employment law in the local area affects you and the data you can hold about employees. This is particularly important when you work in any international fashion as data laws differ between countries.
Keeping track of customers
Keeping track of customers is the main issue that many companies, both small and large, have. Managing your customers through small business CRM tools is key. By segmenting customers based on where they are in the buyer’s journey, and using technology to automate and speed up communication, you can improve customer retention. Through analytics incorporated through the system, you can indicate what you’re doing that is retaining customers. It is also helpful for implementing the right communication and focusing campaigns in certain areas.
Use video conferencing
Even outside of a pandemic, it is important to have a way to communicate when not everyone can be in the room at once. Small businesses are often trying to grow with minimal funding, which means it’s very important that rent and such costs are kept down. Therefore, having the ability to connect everyone without office premises is key. Lots of people use Zoom, and while there is a 45 minute limit on calls, you can often extend meetings or start up another one – or, indeed, pay for premium calls – which probably amount to a lot less than the costs of just heating or electricity for an office! But Skype is also a good choice and was almost ubiquitous until the pandemic. Once you have kitted everyone out with headsets and may be offered a contribution towards fast broadband, think about which provider you want to use for video calls.
Use shared drives
The key thing in small businesses is multiple employees being able to work on the same thing at the same time and being able to store documents so you everyone access them. This is where shared drives come in. They are a good way to keep files you want everyone to be able to access – rather than emailing them around or keeping them on your own laptop where others can’t see them. They are also good at saving space because you don’t all have separate versions of the file taking up space on your computer.
All in all, there are lots of tricks for small businesses to gain the monopolies of scale that large businesses have – the secret is using the best technology.