Everyone knows about the importance of technology for business: but what practical steps can you take so that it works for you?
Businesses today have an unprecedented array of tools at their disposal which can help them to grow. Whether you’re a fledgling start-up or a well-established firm looking for cost-effective ways of growing their business and expanding their influence, digital technology has provided businesses with smarter ways of working and evolving.
Here we’re going to present an overview of five such tools which have the potential to grow your business.
1 Get organised with productivity tools
How many work hours are wasted a week because you can’t find the information you’re looking for, or because you have to navigate through endless files and directories to reach your end goal. Such distractions not only cost your employees the time that they spent on the distraction, but also in diminished concentration and productivity when they return to the task in hand.
In fact, according to David Rock, author of ‘Your Brain at Work’, “distractions eat an average 2.1 hours a day…after an interruption it takes [employees] 25 minutes to return to the original task.”
As much as computers have provided needless distractions, such as videos of cute cats, they have also provided a variety of tools that businesses can use to get organised and stay productive. Tools such as OneNote and Evernote, which you can use to organise everything from research notes and vital sales statistics, to the contact details of suppliers and the latest version of your business plan.
By getting better organised via digital tools you can increase the productivity of your organisation, and the time you save can be spent on growing your business further.
2 Master your document workflows
All businesses use, create and distribute a vast amount of documents on a daily basis. In doing so, once your business reaches a certain size, it may potentially become bogged down in a sea of paper or scattered digital files which threaten to capsize it. In order to grow then, you need to tame this beast and make your documents work for you.
At the same time, it’s important to keep control of documents containing sensitive information, and to ensure that these are secure. By using professional PDF solutions such as Power PDF, you can create, convert and share files as PDFs – a virtually universal format which can be accessed anywhere and on most devices.
Such solutions also allow you to automate document workflows such as conversion, and protect documents with secure encryption and passwords.
3 Social media and email marketing
One of the main ways in which digital technology has enabled businesses to grow is by giving them the power to market themselves to all corners of the planet at a relatively low cost. Today though it’s not enough to simply have a website, and by tapping into social media, you can reach your customers directly and build valuable relationships with them.
Of course keeping up with social media can be time consuming for small businesses and entrepreneurs with limited resources, but by using tools like Buffer and Hootsuite you can schedule all of your posts for multiple social network accounts in one go.
Email marketing, though much older as a concept, also has the power to reach directly into people’s inboxes and even pockets to communicate your brand. You can use tools like MailChimp to create and schedule e-newsletters, using templates to save time.
4 Exploit your blog to its fullest potential
- When done well, your blog can be one of the most powerful channels you have for reaching your customers and providing them with the kind of value that engenders trust in your brand. In order to make the most of your blog you need to do several things:
- Blog regularly – In order to build up a following (and to move up the search engine rankings), you need to regularly publish new blog posts. Around 1-2 times a week is usually the right amount.
- Talk about subjects that you know and that your customers care about
- Keep the quality high and the posts compelling.
5 Utilise the cloud
For start-ups in particular, the cloud is full of possibilities. By using cloud-based software solutions you can minimise the costs of hardware and maintenance, while gaining access to powerful tools that can move your business forward. C
loud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive meanwhile can provide a valuable backup, and a means for your employees to access and collaborate on documents, information and data wherever they are.
By embracing the digital tools mentioned here and others like them, you can grow your business effectively, while also ‘future-proofing’ it, and creating a cutting-edge image that customers will respect.