Today’s business world is largely driven by technology. Far gone are the days when you could operate your business without being plugged into the internet and the digital world. Today, most of the competitive advantages that businesses build are thanks to new cutting edge technology. As a small business owner, you may be suspicious. However, there are many ways that new tech can benefit a business of any size. Below are six ways to leverage technology to your advantage as a business owner.
1. Launch a Big Data Strategy
Even if you only own a small business, you can still launch a big data strategy. Big data refers to the collection and retention of large sets of data regarding different business processes that can later be analyzed for the purposes of plotting business strategy and improving performance. It has been predicted that by 2025, the market for big data analytics will grow to $68 billion a year. Businesses both large and small have adopted such strategies because they work. The technology allows you to transform something that would have had no intrinsic value to you before, your own data, into a highly valuable resource.
2. Implement Automation
Something else that could be a boon to your business is automation. Automation is the use of software or robotics to replicate work that previously had to be performed by a human being. While there is some controversy regarding automation in terms of the labor market, the benefit for businesses is crystal clear. It slashes overhead, increases efficiency, and allows businesses to be able to do more with less. Some of the work that had to previously be performed by human beings is not directly related to your core product. Think of bookkeeping, for example, that could now be performed for you. Instead of having to pay an accountant, your bookkeeping can be automated and performed automatically by software.
3. Manage Your Own Network and Servers
In certain cases, you may want to launch your own private computer network for your business. The technical term for this is an intranet. This can allow you to give your employees access to important data regarding the company without it being able to be accessed by the greater internet. Launching such a network will of course require desktop PC hardware. However, you should investigate server solutions as well. These servers could also be used for the purpose of launching a self-hosted website. They could, for example, give you the hardware you need to ensure that your online store is always up and running and that only those within your company have access to the data.
4. Customize Marketing and Lead Generation
Technology can also be of great use to your marketing and sales teams. Thanks to the internet and computer code, today’s advertisements can be a lot smarter than those in the past. For example, you can use software to send marketing messages customized to target specific customers. The software can use data collected from the customer’s previous interactions with the company to create ads more likely to entice them into a buying decision. These messages can be sent to the customer in a variety of ways including through email, SMS text message,s or even in-browser advertisements.
5. Access More Expertise
In the past, your talent was limited to who you could entice into working in your office, factory or store. Today, thanks to modern internet and teleconferencing technology, you can now access the best and brightest from all over the world. Certain talented individuals with the skills and knowledge you need may not want to move to work for your company. However, with the use of a work-from-home program as well as teleconferencing and collaboration software, you can add these highly sought after professionals to your team.
6. Track and Analyze Your Company’s Performance
With access to powerful analytics software that you use in conjunction with your big data strategy, you can more accurately gauge your company’s performance. This includes how your company performed in the past, how it is performing currently, and how it is likely to perform in the future. This can be done by tracking certain key performance indicators. Examples of KPIs can include things like revenue growth, gross profit margin, inventory turnover, customer retention rate, and more. With this data on hand, you’ll be able to make adjustments to maximize your performance.
Overall, you can’t ignore the power of technology as a business owner in today’s world. Instead, you should leverage technology in every way you can to help produce strategic advantages for your company. If you don’t, your competitors likely will and will end up leaving your company in the dust.