Let’s take a step back and check just how much technology has changed the lives of regular people. From ride-hailing to instant messaging, a whole lot of work can be done through countless apps available on the web and mobile.
In today’s evolving world, the importance of technology in small businesses is being emphasized more and more each day. Keeping up to date with the digital world is required for any business, especially those that are just starting to take off.
Technology is a powerful tool that can propel a team to greatness; any company would do well to use this knowledge.
However, we have seen countless businesses that use tools in the wrong way. Here are some of them.
4 Misused Technology in Small Businesses
Instant Communication Tools
They say teamwork makes the dream work – and the best way to build teamwork is through communication. An open flow of information between team members improves productivity, and this communication directly affects the company’s results.
With the abundance of instant messaging applications, the team can simply select the one that fits their needs best. Skype caters to companies who rely on video conference calls, while Slack comes highly configurable with channels and auto-reminders. Telegram is famous for being quick and lightweight, and there’s Facebook Messenger, for the more casual teams.
While emails and physical meetings are too important – and won’t be out of the picture soon – instant messaging works best when there are urgent discussions and simple clarifications. It also fosters a bit more personal conversation between the team, which definitely boosts morale.
Unfortunately for some organizations, they prefer to use apps that are either unsafe or unorganized. The default text messaging app our phone has is the most common example. While this is convenient, it could not be encrypted, which pose risks when the phone is stolen. In addition, most, if not all, text messaging apps do not support group or channel creation feature. This feature is necessary so that your messages are grouped; hence, it’s easier for you to look for previous messages.
What should be done?
Select an app that’s encrypted. This way, you’re assured your messages won’t be compromised even if your device goes to the wrong hands. Also, ensure there’s a feature that lets you create channels or groups so that your topics don’t get rumbled. If possible, find one that also supports message pinning. This feature lets you pin important messages on top of the conversations.
Long gone are the days when promoters had to walk door to door just to advertise a product or service. Social media has dominated the scene, offering a digital promotion at little to no cost for businesses. There’s a lot of hype and gimmicks easily done on social platforms that can spread the word about any product faster than ever.
Social Media is also special in a way that it allows businesses to target an audience specifically, and for audiences to select the content they wish to see. It’s a win-win situation for both parties. Cayleigh Parrish cautions businesses, however, that social media marketing takes time as well as a lot of effort. Some publicity stunt may receive backlash; and, due to the viral speed of the internet, may hurt the company’s image.
More than anything, these social platforms powered by technology give businesses a chance to give constant updates to the public. It’s a way to ingrain the product, service, or brand into the daily lives of potential customers.
Targeting the wrong market or not targeting anyone at all. We have often seen individuals who ask their friends to like their pages just for the sake of having followers. They don’t even ask if these individuals are interested in such products or services.
Initially, there’s nothing wrong with that, but if these individuals start unfollowing the page or blocking it, these actions will notify the social media account’s algorithm and may show the page to fewer people. Buffer says this is a sign that your page has low quality.
What should be done?
Boosting posts is the most ideal way to reach your target market. If, however, the budget does not allow that yet, ask your friends one by one if they would be interested in liking your page. Explain what your page is about and what they can benefit from it. Also, post items that are either educational, entertaining, or inspiring. These types of posts get the most engagement.
If there’s one thing that takes out the fun in work, it’s the boring and repetitive tasks employees are forced to do. While it may seem like a necessary evil – believe us, it’s not – all it takes is some strategizing and planning.
Automation is the key to eliminating these mundane parts of work. Small businesses especially benefit from this practice, since their processes are still simple and can be automated fairly easily.
Knowing which tasks to automate is crucial as well. Armando Roggio advises teams on which processes to automate first: easier workflows, daily chores, and non-scalable activities. This automation saves valuable resources – time and money – highlighting the importance of technology in small businesses.
Using the wrong automation tools. We, Filipinos, love to use free products just so we can save money. But did you know that there are times it costs us more to use these free tools?
Case in point, our accounting system. How many of us prefer to use spreadsheets instead of accounting software? While we agree that the spreadsheet helps at the outset, it won’t be able to keep up in the long run. Imagine all the commands you have to memorize and key in for every output you’d like to have. Is that still considered automation?
What should be done?
As we mentioned previously, a spreadsheet’s capability is just limited, and we have to deal with it. Pick the right tools for automation that fit your needs. For email sending, for example, you can use Active Trail or Mail Chimp. For posting on social media, you have Hootsuite or Social Pilot among others. For accounting automation, here’s a list of available accounting software for small businesses.
This does not need much explanation. We all agree that online and offline security in business is a must.
Small businesses think that they can put off security mechanisms until they’ve grown, but this could be a costly mistake. Any business – whether a budding start-up or an established corporation – can be attacked by malicious software via smishing or phishing. Companies are advised to use protection before it’s too late.
What should be done?
Encryption of sensitive files such as company secrets and personnel information is a must; confidential information should be treated with as much care as possible. Employees within the business should also be educated with the proper security measures – strong passwords, phishing identification, and other vulnerabilities.
Business matters expand on the importance of security in companies, emphasizing the risks and precautions that the team must take. As technology advances for the good of people, the same technology also equips those with harmful intent. The best way to protect the company is to keep the security updated as well.
Gearing towards the Future
Technology is here to stay. Resisting to adapt to the current trends will definitely cause the business to be left behind. Customers demand companies keep up with the increasingly mobile lifestyle in order to suit their needs.
The company doesn’t have to ride every crazy new fad or promote using the most cutting edge technology. What the team has to do first is accept that going digital is not an option, but a requirement. The transition may take some time and effort, but it is ultimately better to start now and gear up for the future.
Clearly, the importance of technology in small businesses cannot be denied. Looking at the past few years, the industries have encountered a major game-changer in the form of technology. The digital world advances rapidly, with the internet, computers, and mobile phones at the fingertips of almost all players.
The benefits of technology in small businesses can be seen in the culture, productivity, and results of any company. There are countless ways to improve a team with the right tools of technology, with five of them listed above. All it takes is a strong initiative and consistent follow-through to make technology work for you! Embrace technology and say hello to better work efficiency now.