5 Reasons why technology is important to small business
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5 Reasons why technology is important to small business

Many small business owners might think that their business is too small to spend money on technology, but it is probably the most important money your business spends.

Woman working from home / iStock
Woman working from home / iStock

Many small businesses don't have decent technology setups. We've all bought from a small retailer who still writes out invoices by hand, filing it in the big folder or box, with staff lugging heave ledgers and boxes around with paperwork. These same retailers probably accept cash only, forcing you to run around looking for an ATM to draw some cash.

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If you're this kind of retailer, it's time for you to stop resisting change. Taking your business into the technology age will help you and your staff run the business better and improve customer experience.

Here are five reasons why you should embrace technology for your small business:

1. Enhance customer relations

Happy customers are what keeps your business alive. Enhance and improve your customer relations by offering them an easier customer experience and journey. A few tech enhancements like a website showcasing products and prices, card facilities in your store, email and live chat communication, online ordering along with payment and delivery are all things that make your business appealing to potential and current customers. Choosing one or two of these examples will already greatly improve your customer journey and offer more value to them.

2. Improving staff efficiency and productivity

Stop making life hard for your staff. In this digital age, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have Internet access for all your staff. Having internet access allows your staff to communicate with colleagues and clients easily and in writing. You’ll also be able to access cloud-based solutions, meaning that your documentation can be filed safely, and your team members will be able to access, share, and work on shared documents. Your team being online also allows them to schedule bookings and appointments more efficiently.

3. Instant access to trends and industry news

Keeping up to date with your industry trends and news is important to all small businesses. Being ahead of the competition and on top of latest developments shows that your business is knowledgeable, forward-thinking, and innovative. Use your internet access to follow industry leaders on social media, get updates from industry publications and set alerts for any industry related events and news happening globally. It’s also good to get into contact with industry colleagues worldwide for collaboration and idea-sharing. If you enlarge your world and your point of reference, chances are you can expand your business too. Also, encourage staff to follow trends and ideas they find online and to share it with the team. A little bit of creative thinking could have your small business coming up with the next best trend for your industry.

4. Advertising Reach

Embracing digital social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter can help you access a market you might not have engaged before. If your advertising has always run on traditional platforms like newspapers or fliers, there’s a new market waiting online for you. Social media allows you to reach people you might have had no access to before. A bonus is that you determine your budget for social media advertising. The amount of reach you have will be determined by the amount you’re willing to spend. Engage the services of an agency or an experienced individual to get the most out of your online spend and to see quantifiable results. 

5. Increased flexibility

Moving your systems online means you’ll be able to access your work anywhere you have an internet connection. This is also a much-needed facility if you have staff on the road or working remotely. Providing flexible working hours and conditions for your staff can increase productivity and helps with staff retention. Staff who feel they are valued and respected enough to be given a flexible working environment won’t leave with their valuable skills that easily. Be prepared to allow your staff to work from home when they need to. While critical staff are always needed in the office, there are usually some staff members who do not need to be in the office or in-store every day. Embrace the new wave of remote working, and you’ll have a happier and more productive team working for you. 

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Ithala Development Finance Corporation Ltd realises the value of using technology to advance small businesses and runs a youth-based business development programme called Inkunz’ Isematholeni to encourage youth to develop innovative and green businesses in order to survive a digitised future business world.

For more tips and inspirational stories, visit the Ithala blog at www.myithalastory.com.

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