Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and there is no end to the possibilities this presents for small businesses. Virtually everything from printers to smartwatches has internet capabilities, and when you couple that with the introduction of high-speed 5G connectivity, you have a new world of assets and liabilities.
Many companies are trying to decide where to direct their tech budgets with so many options. Read more to check out seven technology must-haves for your small business.
1) STRONG DATA SECURITY
As more and more gadgets join the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity becomes more prevalent. With this type of rapid change comes vulnerability.
As a business owner, you have a responsibility to protect the sensitive information of your clients and your business. Cybercriminals are starting to target small businesses more often because they have more holes in security.
Increase your cybersecurity protocols to weed out ransomware and phishing scams. Train your staff to avoid suspicious links and provide them with the right tech, from an updated PC to a tough tablet with antivirus software.
2) AUTOMATED CHATBOTS
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the wave of the future, and automation is revolutionizing the way people do business.
For example, using a chatbot on your website provides basic customer service without interfering with staff. Chatbot technology uses AI to mimic real human interactions and has the ability to recognize and appropriately respond to human emotional cues. You can provide around-the-clock, live chat for consumers on your website while freeing up your staff to work on more complex, creative components of your business.
3) HUMAN RESOURCES SOFTWARE
The human resources department from 10 years ago is basically unrecognizable due to advances in technology:
- Online platforms that recruit new employees and track projects improve the way companies onboard new hires and manage time.
- Secure channels of communication provide HR representatives with faster access to necessary information.
- Employee management software allows for data analysis of things like attendance and past reviews to better analyze employee performance.
Keep in mind that HR professionals handle mass amounts of data and should be well trained in cybersecurity.
4) ADVANCED PAYMENT METHODS
Just within the last few years, payment methods have changed dramatically. Speed and easy accessibility have been the most dominant priorities catapulting change. Consumers now expect in-person options such as tap to pay card readers.
If you sell products or services on your website, allow for mobile wallet access to Apple and Google Pay services. Find out what options best suit your business.
5) MOBILE APPS
If you have a website, you should have a mobile application for your business. At the very least, make sure that your website is visible and reads well on a smartphone. Customers expect easy transitions from your website on a laptop to a handheld device.
However, if you offer recurring services or subscriptions with member profiles, you definitely need a mobile app for easier consumer access.
6) CRM SOFTWARE
It can seem almost impossible to keep up with the trends in customer relationships. Consumers expect everything to have a personal touch, from advertising to packaging.
However, how does a business compile and manage enough data on its customers to maintain that personal connection? The answer is customer relationship management (CRM) software. This system will collect, compile and analyze data from several programs to give you a clearer picture of how a customer interacts with your business. You can then tailor your interactions to fit their wants and needs.
7) EMAIL MARKETING MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Email is and should remain part of every business’s marketing strategy. To better personalize your email marketing campaigns, you need software that will collect email addresses, categorize them, and group them into demographics for targeted marketing. Proper email management software will also provide analytics on kickbacks, clicks, and unsubscribes to help you figure out which strategies are working and which are not.
Embracing technology is the fastest way to keep your company relevant and competitive. It also streamlines operations and frees up time for innovative thinking. If your budget is limited, start small and update your tech slowly; you’ll see change happening quickly.