5 Ways Online Technology Can Help You Run Your Small Business

cable-friend-1481697-640x480As a small business owner, convenience and affordability are key. You need versatile solutions that you can customize for your company at minimal expense, and scale easily to grow as you do. The Internet is making it easier than ever to start, run, and succeed with a small business. Online technology will help you do everything from manage your money to connect with employees. Whether you use the Internet to streamline brick and mortar activities, or your online presence is taking the place of a physical location, you’ll find today’s technology has a wealth of valuable tools for you.

Cloud Storage

Keeping data safe and secure is a major concern for any business, but the burden rests a bit heavier on small businesses. Backing up, storing, and protecting your data on-site requires a major investment in both equipment and manpower. If your information is stored locally, you’ll need a full-time IT team to manage it.

Cloud storage is an affordable solution that solves all the major problems that small businesses face in this area. Information stored remotely on the cloud is safe from on-site outages or natural disasters. You’ll also enjoy seamless scalability with the cloud, so you can increase your storage as needed without making a major investment in new equipment.

Online Accounting Solutions

Online accounting offers many benefits over a more traditional method. Use a program that’s based in the cloud and your accounting data is accessible anywhere you have access to the Internet. Need to look up information in the middle of an investors’ meeting, or record data while you’re working with a customer in their office? You can connect to a handy app or log in to your online accounting program for seamless functionality that travels with you. Cloud accounting keeps you organized with email invoices, online payments, a comprehensive dashboard, and linked accounts, all in one program.

Remote Collaboration

You no longer need to gather in the same space to collaborate efficiently with others. The Internet gives you a wealth of remote communication and collaboration solutions. Video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts can bring multiple callers together in a single space so you can gather the best people for every job, no matter where they’re based.

You can also collaborate easily using cloud-based documents. Work together on the same document or spreadsheet, let others see your changes in real time, and make sure you’re always on the same page sans those troublesome email attachments. The Internet offers a single platform for everyone to gather on, whether they’re working from home, connecting from across the globe, or sitting a few desks away.

Online Customer Service

Customers are increasingly turning to the Internet to connect with businesses. MarketingSherpa found that email was the preferred method of communication for 72 percent of U.S. adults. Given the opportunity, many customers will opt for Internet-based communications over the traditional phone call. You can connect directly with your buyers via an online chat, social media accounts, email, or text.

Self-service customers will also appreciate the value of intuitive online solutions. You can ease the burden on your customer service team by allowing your customers to manage basic account activities themselves through your website. Don’t forget to optimize your site for mobile visitors so your functionality isn’t hindered when customers connect with you using a smartphone.

Minimize Physical Marketing Materials

Printing brochures, flyers, manuals, and other marketing documents is a major expense, particularly for a small business. Design your marketing materials once and get endless use out of each one by relying on the Internet instead. Keep your presentations, user guides, and other marketing tools on the cloud and use PDFs as a replacement for print. Equip your sales representatives with tablets, and they can pull up engaging documents with just a few taps. Email these pieces to your customers instead of handing out physical copies to save money and increase convenience.

Improve efficiency, increase affordability, and maximize your company’s potential growth and earnings with smart online solutions for every aspect of your business. Even a small company can make a big impact when you leverage the right tools for your management and growth.

Sam Bradford is an avid writer, music lover and all things zombie related. You can check out more of his writing at techiereport.com

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