The business world is highly competitive, and no one knows this better than SMBs. Not only do they have to compete with companies hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of times bigger than them, but they also have to do so with limited resources and restrictive budgets. If you’re struggling to expand your business (or aren’t quite sure where to start), here are five tech upgrades you’ll want to invest in for your small business!
1. Cloud Storage
Storing files locally works great when you work out of a single location and only have a few files to manage, but as your business grows, so will your storage requirements. The space required to store all of your necessary documents will quickly exceed your current storage capacity, leaving you wondering if it’s time to upgrade your company computers (and if so, how much will it cost?). Fortunately, you needn’t worry about replacing your current devices; instead, invest in secure business cloud storage! Platforms like Microsoft OneDrive for Business or Egnyte Business allow you to store far more files than you could ever hope to locally and allow you to access your files remotely from anywhere, all while keeping your files under digital lock and key.
2. Virtual Reception Services
If your business is constantly missing calls and losing sales, you might consider hiring a full-time receptionist to manage your phone. Unfortunately, hiring a new full-time employee is unlikely to be cheap, and should they get sick, you’ll be out of luck until they’re feeling better. Rather than relying on in-house solutions, consider investing in virtual reception services instead! Companies such as Ruby offer both phone receptionists and live chat services at exceptionally low prices where you only pay for the minutes you need (based on the plan you select). Offering 24/7 service and often bi-lingual support, utilizing virtual reception services is the perfect alternative to hiring a full-time receptionist for your business.
3. Instant Messaging Applications
When constant communication is vital in your line of work, it may not always be practical for employees to keep getting up from their desks to relay valuable information across the office. Fortunately, there are many free instant messaging applications your company can use to keep employees connected without needing to move. One popular option is Slack, an application that supports messaging, video calls, file sharing, and even offers a “Workflow Builder” to automate daily tasks like providing status updates. Instant messaging applications are especially helpful if you employ remote workers since everyone can stay connected despite being situated in different locations.
4. HR & PayrollSoftware
Human Resources and payroll responsibilities take a massive amount of resources away from the rest of your business. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to automate all of that? Well, there actually is, and you can do so by using payroll software! From managing routine payroll calculations and deductions to handling payroll distribution, payroll software for small businesses is capable of handling the vast majority of your day-to-day payroll tasks, requiring only one or two employees to overlook the system. If you want your HR department automated as well, complete payroll solutions such as UZIO can help with everything from onboarding new hires to benefits administration while also managing your payroll responsibilities from a singular system.
5. CRM Software
Using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is critical if you’re constantly acquiring new clients, but it’s also helpful for improving your marketing. This type of software provides employees with various tools for managing customer data, assisting with customer acquisition, making sales, and using streamlined workflows that walk the employee’s through every step of the customer’s life cycle. More mainstream options like Salesforce may be too expensive to justify for some smaller businesses, but fortunately, there are some cheap or even free options like Hubspot that can get you started.
From basics like instant messaging applications to more advanced options such as payroll software for small businesses, there are a wide variety of tools you can use to help support, nurture, and grow your company moving forward. With the world of business growing ever more competitive, it’s important to stay ahead of the pack, not behind it. Fortunately, if you implement every one of the tech solutions we’ve listed above, you’ll already be well on your way to a productive and profitable future for your small business.