Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates once said, “Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.”
In a global society marred by a raging pandemic, political and social instability, and an uncertain economic outlook, this couldn’t be truer. Companies depend on technology not as a luxury but as a growing need for survival. Globalization has brought with it unprecedented levels of competition. If your small or medium-sized corporation wants to make it in the corporate arena, it needs to do things better, faster, and more efficiently. Otherwise, it will be left in the dust.
As we digest this fact, let us explore three great technology-based solutions all small firms can use for their competitive advantage.
Two-way Customer Communication
One of the most important things any business can do to successfully establish a clear, two-way communication channel with its customers. There are several reasons for this. First, through customer feedback, enterprises can identify both strengths and weaknesses and adapt accordingly. Second, in most cases, clear communication is synonymous with customer satisfaction. And when customers are satisfied with a product or service they are getting, they will most likely recommend it to somebody else. Finally, clear communication is a way to prevent future problems and misunderstandings. After all, the last thing you want is to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit for non-compliance or misinformation.
In the age of technology, social media, and other digital platforms, the best way enterprises can do this is building a digital community. In simple terms, what this entails is a group of people coming together for a shared purpose, be it sharing skills and information, discussing company culture, or voicing specific opinions on certain items.
Essentially, it is about companies not simply talking to existing and potential customers but engaging in back and forth conversations leading to mutual benefits and win-win situations.
Maximizing Digital and Hardware Resources
Small and medium-sized companies don’t have as many financial resources as their larger counterparts. As a result, they need to maximize their resources and use them in a steadfast, efficient manner. It is especially true at the beginning stages of a corporation where every penny counts, and a false step can lead to the firm going under before it has even started to take flight.
But what does that entail from a digital and hardware perspective? A business cannot run without basic items like computers, printers, copy machines, and software program licenses for word processing, spreadsheet management, or accounting.
Of course, this is true. Without the necessary tools, your business cannot function. And if it cannot function, it won’t generate profit. Still, there are ways to leverage the technology you have and save money. For instance, you could look into a long list of cloud services provided by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and several other IT companies or examine the possibility of using virtual compute engines that allow for the online configuration of machines with all kinds of processing and storage capabilities.
Efficiency and Being Practical
In less than a year and a half, the covid-19 global pandemic has taught us many things. First and foremost, it has brought to light the importance of personal hygiene, cleanliness, and social distancing. Also, it has made us realize that we live in an interdependent global community driven by the need for collaboration. As for businesses, the lessons learned all have to deal with flexibility, efficiency, and using the tools at our disposal.
No matter who you are or what kind of small or medium-sized business you run, the virus has changed how things are run for good. Old processes and traditional methods will not work any longer, even if the pandemic ends. Everybody is granted access to one of the many vaccines created by several pharmaceutical companies.
One example of this is conventional employment practices where all staff members have to report to the office daily. Aside from not being necessary, it is also expensive and counterproductive. If one or several members of your workforce can stay under the protective umbrella of their own homes and still manage to meet deadlines and get things done, why would you force them to come to work? If the majority can do it, why even spend precious financial resources on office space?
Three technology-based solutions for small and medium-sized businesses are two-way communication channels, maximizing digital and hardware resources, and using available tools to make the running of a company more practical.
The technology you need to run your business is at your fingertips. So why not take full advantage of it and help your firm succeed?