Technology Increases Small Business Profitability |

During times of economic struggle, most small businesses end up making cuts and changes to keep their businesses in the green. From laying off staff to decreasing business travel, reducing marketing efforts and ending bonuses and raises temporarily – there are a variety of ways small businesses look to cut their expenses. At the same time, they look for ways to increase profitability – especially when operating with reduced staff. Technology becomes even more useful as small businesses strive to increase productivity and efficiency.

There are so many gadgets and technology solutions out there that it can be easy to buy more than you need, or to buy the wrong types of products that just don’t deliver the solutions your business needs. When deciding what types of technologies can help your business reach its goals, here are a few things to look for:

Communications – technology is well known for its capability to improve the ability for people to communicate with one another. Whether you’ve got employees on the road or down the hall, virtual phone systems can route calls to cell phones and keep everyone in touch regardless of location. Instant messaging and email provide quick ways to communicate with the written word and keep documentation of these conversations for future reference. Social media and networking sites provide a way to keep in touch with co-workers, customers, and the competition at a glance.

Data Storage, Warehousing and Search – If you find employees are spending a lot of time looking for certain reports, forms or other data that they need to perform their job responsibilities, investing in network hardware and software to keep track of the whereabouts of your data can be useful.

Telecommuting – many small businesses also find that there isn’t a need for all employees to work in the same office building in order to get their work done. Having employees who telecommute requires the technology to make that happen (a secure network for employees to access data they require to do their job; improved communication systems to receive incoming phone calls at their homes or on their cell phones and the ability to keep in touch with co-workers in different locations). Having employees telecommute can save you from needing a larger office space, which keeps your overhead costs lower, too.

Customer Relationship Management – having some sort of CRM software to help you manage your database of clients and prospects is well worth the investment. Many businesses will tell you the “money is in the list”; meaning the amount of money a company earns is directly proportional to the number of people on their mailing list. Some companies use software like ACT, Goldmine or SalesForce to track their clients and leads. Others have custom-built software developed to handle unique needs that can’t be addressed with existing software.

Technology makes it possible for small business to increase productivity and compete with larger businesses on a smaller budget, thereby increasing profitability. Efficiency and organization is improved through the use of appropriate data storage, search and mining, customers are better managed through customer relationship management systems, and it is possible for money to be saved when employees telecommute from home. Before investing in any new technology, identify the unique needs of your business and determine which technology will best meet your needs.

Using Technology To Help Grow Your Business |

In today’s changing economy business’s, now more than ever, have to adapt and change in order to grow and excel. As the economy makes yet another shift and business, especially in Michigan, continue to suffer, and business owners are now faced with a new task, how to keep the mistakes from the past from happening again. The solution is in technology. With staff reductions and growing demand for better service there is a growing gap in productivity and quality of service. Using the right technology can close the gap and increase productivity, and quality of service.

The first hurdle is to choose the right technology for the business. With the wide variety of software and hardware it is better to get help in picking the technology. There are a number of consulting companies whose sole purpose is to keep up to date on the latest technology. There are companies out there that will make you decide what you want, and make it work, but this may not be the right answer for you. When looking for a company it is best to pick a company that uses a combination of IT and business skills. This will help in ensuring that the technology you pick is the right technology for your business. As a business owner one needs to look for a company that not only understands the need for technology, but has an understanding of how business processes can be wrapped around the technology. By using the technology that is built around a business’s process, can improve efficiency by 100 fold. For example a company trying to become ISO certified can use document management software to organize and document the company’s process. By using an easily accessible document management software wrapped around a company goal to become ISO certified can save time. Just picking the right technology is only half of the battle. The other half of the battle is maintaining the technology.

Picking the right technology that will improve your business process, whether it is by a document management system, a CRM system, an ERP system etc.. a company must also allocate resources to maintain and back up the system. This can be costly for a company to maintain an IT department. So the option is to outsource the IT work. By outsourcing your IT needs you save time and money. The amount of time a typical IT department spends waiting for something to break, plus the amount of money that a company pays an IT department can be minimized. By outsourcing an IT department you get the same level of service for a fraction of the cost. The level of service continues, as breakdowns are handled quickly and effectively, plus the reporting that most IT companies will provide reporting to a company. Having a company that will understand not only IT but business will be an added bonus that will be a better asset to any company. In the end the business gets to cut cost of employing an entire IT company and gets a better service. That is a winning combination.