If you’re a small business owner who’s not quite sure how to utilize modern technology, try keeping it simple at first. You know there are certain things you must do well to succeed — that includes having reliable data security, responsive and agile marketing technology, convenient mobile apps for your busy customers, and cloud-based storage. Think through your most pressing needs and look for the most direct way to address them. You may find that there’s business technology you simply can’t afford to pass up.
This one’s a no-brainer, the one absolutely indispensable technology for everyone, no matter what business you’re in. According to a 2018 Capterra study, nearly 60 percent of small businesses shut down within six months after a data breach. Seventy percent of small-business owners said they use some form of data security technology, though many feel they still aren’t secure enough. You can’t afford to cut corners where security is concerned — there’s too much at stake, and there are affordable and efficient ways to protect your data.
The easier it is to do business with you, the more appealing you’ll be to customers and clients. This is extremely important because shoppers expect a seamless and convenient experience. A simple but reliable checkout process will make a lasting impression, which is why a robust point-of-sale system is such a good investment: it can do everything from manage your inventory to produce reports with updated sales-versus-labor costs. Expect the right POS system to pay for itself many times over because it can help you in so many ways, from growing customer relationships to tracking your overall sales performance.
There’s nothing quite as important for a new business as an appealing, dynamic, and user-friendly website; after all, it acts as both your storefront and a marketing outreach tool. Look for a CSS website developer who can design an attractive layout and add color and shape to everything from navigational buttons to prominent visual elements. A colorful CSS-based website presents a clean, bright look that really pops, but it should also be strong in web fundamentals and address your specific needs, so be clear about your expectations.
As Upwork points out, the hourly cost for experienced CSS freelancers can vary widely — from $25 to more than $100 an hour — and candidates should boast strong web and graphic design skills and the ability to think creatively. Website development is a critically important investment, so do your homework. A well-conceived site can take your business to the next level; a bland and unreliable site will put you at a major disadvantage against your competitors.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
The Capterra small-business study found that less than half of small businesses have, or are planning to enact, mobile business applications in the near future. Mobile technology is an affordable, readily scalable investment that can help grow your business. And if you’re trying to impress tech-savvy customers, a mobile-friendly website is a must-have. It may not account for a majority of your business, but it’s a great way to connect with new business prospects.
Cloud-based technology has become an essential tool for many small online businesses. It’s an affordable and efficient way to take care of housekeeping-type administrative tasks, such as data filing and storage. Also, it provides an added level of security for companies who want to shore up their data security capacity. Cloud-based servers simplify mass-scale computing, mitigate the need for pricey IT maintenance, and take care of data storage securely.
Today’s small business owner operates in a highly competitive, Web-based environment driven by powerful technologies. It may seem like a prohibitively expensive proposition, but the cost of ignoring data-security, point-of-sale, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based technologies can cost your company a lot more in lost business opportunities.
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