Running a small business is no easy task. It requires planning, resource management, and attention to detail in order to maximize profits and properly serve customers.
How Technology Is Streamlining Small Business Processes
Luckily, the advancement of technology has made streamlining many of these processes easier than ever.
Here are 8 technological solutions for streamlining small business processes.
8 technological solutions for streamlining small business processes
1. Integrated EFTPOS terminals
EFTPOS stands for electronic funds transfer at point of sale and it is the technology that enables customers to pay for goods or services by debit or credit card.
This is different from a POS system, which refers to the entire point of sale system, including hardware and software.
Today, small businesses are integrating their EFTPOS terminals with their POS system, making it easier to accept payments and track sales.
With integrated EFTPOS terminals — such as those offered by Smartpay — the amount you enter into your POS system gets automatically pushed to the terminal.
This allows for a quicker checkout experience, reduced human error, and better sales reconciliation at the end of the day.
Integrated EFTPOS terminals also work the other way round, meaning if a customer uses their card at the terminal, the sale will be automatically recorded by your POS system.
2. Advanced project management systems
Project management used to be a labor-intensive process, requiring multiple spreadsheets and a lot of effort to track progress.
With project management software like Asana and Trello, however, you can easily track the progress of projects, assign tasks to employees and deadlines, and keep everyone on the same page.
Many project management tools also offer features such as Gantt charts, productivity tracking, and collaboration tools that can help you maximize efficiency.
3. Cloud computing
Cloud computing is quickly becoming the standard for small businesses. It allows companies to access their data and applications without having to install them on every single computer or device.
This is especially helpful for small businesses that don’t have the resources to build and maintain their own IT infrastructure. Instead, they can just access the same resources from any device with an internet connection.
Cloud computing also offers a wide range of features that can help streamline small business processes, such as file sharing, collaboration tools, and automated backups.
4. AI-powered chatbots
Customer service is an essential part of running a business. But it can be time consuming, especially when you’re a small business dealing with customer inquiries that come in around the clock.
Luckily, AI-powered chatbots can help you streamline your customer service process. They can handle basic inquiries such as answering FAQs and providing product information, freeing up your staff to handle more complex tasks.
Chatbots are also great for collecting customer data that can be used to improve the customer experience.
Plus, they reduce customer wait times, reducing the risk of negative word-of-mouth or bad reviews.
5. VoIP services
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and it’s a type of phone service that uses the internet instead of traditional telephone lines.
This makes it easier and more cost-effective for small businesses to communicate with customers, vendors, and other partners.
It also eliminates the need for physical phone lines, which can be both expensive and difficult to maintain.
Plus, VoIP services come with features such as call forwarding, voicemail transcription, conference calling, and more that can help streamline small business processes.
6. Email tracking tools
Emails make the bulk of small business marketing, especially if you run an online business. But it can be difficult to track the effectiveness of those emails.
Email tracking tools like Right Inbox allow you to monitor who opened your emails, which links they clicked, and how many times they did so.
This can help you understand what type of content works best for your target audience and allow you to optimize future campaigns.
Email tracking tools are also great for automating follow-up emails and staying top of mind with your customers.
In addition, they can help you improve the effectiveness of intra-office communication by giving team members visibility into who has seen and responded to specific emails.
7. Online sales platforms
Fifty years ago, selling products was a labor-intensive process that required physical stores and a lot of capital.
But with online sales platforms like Shopify, it’s now easier than ever for small businesses to quickly set up an online store and start selling their products.
These platforms come with features such as inventory tracking, automated order fulfillment, and payment processing that can help you streamline your sales process.
Plus, they give you access to a global market and help you reach more customers.
8. Gig economy
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down, the gig economy has been growing rapidly.
This is great news for small businesses, as it allows them to easily access specialized skills and services without having to hire full-time employees.
The best thing about freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork is the streamlined experience they offer.
All you have to do is post a job listing, and the platform will take care of the rest. You can easily hire freelancers from around the world without ever leaving your office!
Introducing new technology to your business
Although there are a lot of tech solutions that can help you streamline your business processes, it’s important to be mindful of what you introduce to your company.
Make sure that any technology you use is relevant and useful for your business.Here are a few things you should do when employing new tools:
- Understand your needs and the capabilities of the technology
- Ensure it is compatible with existing systems in place
- Train staff on how to use the technology
- Monitor its performance and tweak as needed
Technology has revolutionized the way small businesses operate, allowing them to access powerful tools that help them streamline processes and stay competitive.
From integrated EFTPOS terminals and VoIP services to online sales platforms and gig economy, there are a lot of ways that small businesses can leverage new technology to their advantage.
But as you become more reliant on technology for streamlining your business processes, the risk of a cyberattack also increases.
So before you employ any of the solutions listed in this post, make sure to read our piece on protecting your firm from the effects of a cyber breach.