Adam Povlitz is CEO/Chairman, Anago cleaning systemsa leading franchise focused on technological advancements in cleaning services.
Technology continues to improve the way we live, communicate with others and do business. The latest applications of technology amplify old processes (usually through digitization or automation) and create new avenues to connect with customers, suppliers and employees in ways that were possible not so long ago. When applied correctly, technology can be a game-changer for many small businesses.
For small business owners, using new technologies to assist with key business functions can mean the difference between growth, stagnation, or failure. Entrepreneurs diving into the tech world must take the time to understand the variations available to them, identify their business needs, and invest in the right technology for their business size and long-term growth.
Understand your goals
For companies with a tight operating budget or looking to build a foundation of technology from an operational standpoint, there are three primary areas of investment where you can focus your efforts, time and money: HR and payroll management software, customer service management software and sales/lead management software. For small business owners, these are the areas of your business that are likely to use your administrative time the most. Each is important and requires attention, but how much of these areas can be delegated to technology is up to the business owner. Understanding where your attention is most needed and valued to succeed is your first assignment. With a roadmap and strategic plan in place, the next step is where to deploy the resources.
HR and Personnel Technology
HR and workforce management software can save your business. Many solutions provide platforms that your business can build on as it grows. It enables employers to direct HR functions such as PTO planning, benefits support and employee training documents, giving them more authority and reducing administrative burden. HR software cannot replace the human element in human resources, but it can make it easier to manage those specific business activities. For small businesses that don’t have a dedicated HR department, this is where value is added as it simplifies critical HR processes so you can focus on those tasks that require your expertise.
Sales and lead generation software
The main effort of your sales force (if your company needs one) is to connect with existing customers and build relationships with new customers. Building relationships is still an essential part of your business and can help increase customer loyalty, promote word of mouth, and help close sales (or attract more people to your business).
A good sales and lead generation program can act as a digital assistant that tracks inbound and outbound leads, provides lead callback reminders, and information about customer requests — all automatically organized in a contact database.
Another tool to add to keep track of your business website is Google Analytics for Small or Medium Business. You can use this information to target a specific audience and discover which aspects of your business are most attractive to your customers and how customers interact with your digital presence.
Customer Service Software
Customer service software can be considered an essential part of almost any business today. From digitally tracking your customers to understanding their buying behavior and purchasing patterns, a good customer relationship management (CRM) program can boost your business and provide the foundation for existing or future digital marketing programs. CRMs are integrated with many peripherals to connect with your customers on many platforms. From digital advertising to email marketing programs, staying in touch with your customers — and attracting new ones — is key to growing your business and promoting your services or business offerings.
In addition, using customer relationship/service management software can improve the quality of customer interactions, which can help build lifelong loyalty to your business. CRM software centralizes data and enables simple marketing campaigns.
One of the main benefits of good CRM software is increasing the speed and efficiency of communication. When using a CRM platform, you can leverage services such as pre-written email support templates. This helps save time interacting with customers or billing, scheduling services (if that’s the nature of your business), or interacting with customers for any other reason.
Improved customer service is the goal
Creating repeat customers that become lifelong customers that are even more valuable is the primary goal of every small business. This can only be achieved by repeatedly executing meaningful customer service initiatives and support. Technology helps in this area and can provide the tools needed to interact with customers at different levels while creating accessible platforms for interacting with your business. In addition to selling a product or service, consider the overall customer journey experience and reverse engineer a program.
Technology is one of the easiest and fastest ways to take your business to the next level. With scalability, it doesn’t matter how big your business is or how many hats a small business owner wears to keep the business running smoothly. With the variety of choices available, you can find the right solution that perfectly suits your unique business.