Growing a small business requires a lot of dedication, hard work, and strategic planning. It also requires creativity and outside-the-box thinking when leveraging core technology to its full potential. We should be clear here that by “core” we mean the essential systems that keeps your company running. These are usually your email and security technologies, accounting software, and any customer data systems, but there are many companies that have more.
Why? Because small businesses—unlike the large enterprises they often compete with—can’t afford to always be at the cutting edge of technological innovation. Instead, they make the most out of what they already have, which often means looking at common problems from a new angle. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Tip #1: Automate Your Workflows
Employees in most organizations spend a lot of time performing repetitive, routine tasks that can be easily automated, such as writing the same responses to the same emails, filling out calendars with appointments, assigning leads to sales representatives, or sending birthday messages to important clients, just to give a few examples. These and other tasks can be made more automatic by using simple tools that exist in the platforms themselves like leveraging Rules, Templates, and Quick Parts in Outlook which can save the user a lot of time if set up properly.
More advanced task automation solutions (which are add-on solutions and usually have hard costs associated) such as Microsoft Power Automate or Zapier let you integrate your existing technology solutions and pass information from one application to the next. In just a few minutes and with only functional training, you can automate routine tasks and use the saved time more productively.
Tip #2: Take Advantage of Powerful Integrations
The software applications you already use and (hopefully) love are more powerful than you may realize—or at least they are if they support integrations with third-party applications.
For example, Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular business communication platforms with support for workspace chat, videoconferencing, and file sharing. It integrates with hundreds of applications, making it possible for its users to, for example:
- See Trello assignments, tasks, and notifications.
- Gather customer feedback from Twitter.
- Create complex mind maps during brainstorming sessions using MindMeister.
Most email services, collaboration platforms, document sharing tools, and even warehousing solutions support similar integrations, so all you need to do is take advantage of them.
Tip #3: Utilize Your Core Technology for Digital Marketing
What’s great about digital marketing is that you can achieve fantastic results with a modest budget. Sure, your digital marketing campaign most likely won’t have the same immediate impact as a Superbowl ad, but your cost per acquired customer may actually be lower.
If you already have social media profiles, then you can start producing marketing content right now. Anything your potential customers find interesting and relevant counts, from behind-the-scenes pictures to in-depth blog posts to videos with viral potential.
In fact, you don’t even need social media profiles. Email marketing is still one of the most effective forms of marketing communication, and you don’t need to be a marketing expert to create an email marketing strategy.
Tip #4: Enable Employees to Work from Home
Allowing employees to move from the office and work from their homes can seem like a huge challenge, and that’s because it is since there are many mistakes to avoid. However, the sooner you take the first step, the better off you’ll be in the long run since remote work has many important benefits, including improved work-life balance, increased productivity, and more loyal employees.
Assuming your core technology toolbox includes a secure enterprise email service, a collaboration platform, and a cloud-based file sharing solution, then you more or less have everything you need to take the plunge. From there, you need to create basic remote work policies, tighten your security, and encourage employees to provide their feedback.
Tip #5: Make Sure You Use the Best Technology Available
Technology keeps evolving at a rapid pace. A solution that was considered to be the leader in its segment just a few years ago isn’t guaranteed to make it to the podium today. As a small business, you don’t need a specialized technological solution for every problem you face, but you absolutely need to ensure that you’re using the best solutions available.
Help Desk Cavalry is here to support your small business with the best business technology and help you make the most out of your existing solutions. We recognize that every small business has unique needs and requirements, which is reflected in our personalized approach. Contact us today to speak to a real live person and help us understand what makes your company unique.