Seven tech trends your small business should know about
How much more efficient could your small business be? Check out these seven clever technology trends.
As the owner of a small business, it's easy to get so caught up in the day to day operation that you can’t see the forest for the trees.
If your company has been using the same technology and systems for five years or more with the idea that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” you might be surprised at how much more there is on offer.
Check out these small business tech trends – they could make a world of difference to your efficiency, your marketing, and your profits.
Look, up in the sky! It’s all your business information, ready, secure, and waiting for you to switch on a connected device.
Apple, Google, Microsoft, and many bespoke systems designed for small business now operate from the Cloud.
What’s the Cloud? The simple explanation is that, instead of sitting in files on your computer, your information is stored online.
You can access them anywhere, at any time; all you need is internet access, the link or app, and the password.
The added bonus of the Cloud is that you can share documents with multiple collaborators without the need to share your personal password.
Using made-for-business systems like Google Apps, you can track changes, make comments, and allow access to as many or as few people as you like.
There can be some expenses involved with storing large amounts of data in the Cloud, so talk to your IT manager about the best way to set it up for your business.
Security is improving in leaps and bounds, and is actually getting cheaper and easier to install.
Some motion-sensing cameras can alert you if there is a disturbance to your premises via an app on your phone.
You’ll be able to log on and view for yourself in real time whether it’s an intruder or a possum that has triggered an alarm, helping you to save on security callout fees.
Drones aren’t just for fancy wedding footage.
This remote control technology is fast being applied to the building, disaster recovery, pest control, and insurance industries by making it safer and cheaper to access unstable, high-up, or remote locations.
Drones can provide 3D imaging in remarkable detail, meaning they have a huge range of possible applications.
They're also a creative and cool way to produce impressive promotional videos that will make your business stand out.
Speaking of cool, have you checked out 360-degree video technology?
People tend to think about Oculus Rift and video gaming, but this new way of creating video is actually an opportunity to put customers in the middle of the action.
Facebook now supports 360-degree video, meaning you can film and upload footage for your Facebook page that allows your customers to look around your store or venue from home.
360-degree video can also put people in the centre of the action for music concert experiences, museum tours, real estate viewings, and even sporting events.
Photo courtesy: Parliament Co-Working
Now that we have the Cloud, it’s easier for office workers to log on from anywhere. This has led to the rise of suburban co-working spaces.
For a small cost, workers can visit these shared workspaces, jump online and get through their work for the day.
Allowing workers to be virtually present means they could have less of a commute and can save your business on the cost of permanent office space rental.
Everything from stock inventory, to social media, to customer relationship management can be automated.
Consultants, therapists, and physicians can send text messages to customers reminding them that they have an upcoming appointment and then shoot over a follow up email survey directly after their visit.
Online retailers can set up systems that link to their warehouse, notify them which products are running low, and then send profit and loss reports direct to their accounting software.
No matter your business, there is a tool that can help you do it, or do it more efficiently.
If you don’t know where to start, a business coach who specialises in streamlining commercial operations may be able to give you some tips.
The easier it is to pay, the more likely customers are to buy, which is why many small businesses are diversifying their payment options.
PayPass, PayPal, and EFTPoS have been around for a while now, but eventually customers will be expecting money to be automatically deducted from stored details (think Uber), or to be able to simply swipe their smartphone and continue on their way.
Try to keep up with developments in the E-payments sphere, so that you aren’t taken totally by surprise as things change in the future.
There are so many new tech trends that are designed to make running a business easier, faster and cheaper.
Many also offer free trials so that you can get a feel of just how helpful it can be for your business before you commit to an ongoing expense.