Technology has changed how we do business. In fact, many customers will judge you based on how technologically advanced you are as a business and not the number of buyers you have.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. You must make it a point to use IT to your advantage. The right IT tools can help you stay ahead in the race by cutting costs and increasing profits.
Check out these nine tips on how small businesses can use IT services to grow and excel:
1. Cloud Services
You can save money by opting to buy products as a service instead of purchasing a proper license. You can run almost everything on the cloud and businesses are already appearing to benefit from the feature.
MedicAnimal, a small firm supplying online vets, saves over $12,000 a year just by using cloud services. According to the company's founder, Ivan Retzignac, investing in hardware can be a distraction.
He also thinks that one should not waste money on infrastructure, especially when you have better alternatives.
When you own something, you have to spend money on taking care of it, which is an added burden. Instead, opt for cloud services and bid adieu to your worries.
2. Enterprise Resource Planning
Use the right ERP tool to manage business functions including finances, human resources, and materials. Originally developed for large businesses, ERP tool can be used by small companies as well.
You can opt for a package customized for small or mid-sized businesses. Most tools like SAP, Infor, and Sage offer such bundles. However, on-demand tools like NetSuite might be more suitable for small companies.
3. Improved Communications
Improve communication among employees and different branches by opting for unified communications tools. They can remove scalability issues and allow businesses to work remotely without any trouble.
We live in an era where flexibility is of huge importance, especially with more and more employees willing to work from home. It’s good for businesses as well since they don’t have to worry about work if weather conditions are bad or there are other such issues.
Employees can do their job sitting on their couch and work is not affected at all.
4. Voice over IP
VOIP replaces landlines and helps you save money while also offering great ease. VOIP services are customized for businesses and can also serve as a marketing tool while giving the company a stronger control over calls.
Many small companies are already using VOIP as it’s easy to shift to. IdentiDot, a small security company, in fact, appears to have reduced its phone bills in half just by turning to VOIP.
The industry is expected to grow at a rate of 27% with more businesses entering the industry.
5. Use Open Source
With blockchain now a massive success, about 88% of businesses are planning to use open source to create their own software, according to a study by Accenture.
It requires a bit of investment though. You will need developers or people with the right set of skills to create a customized tool for your company. However, the good thing is that it’s an easy task, especially with there being dozens of forums pitching ideas.
6. Customer Relationship Management Systems
The customer is the king. You need a good CRM system to keep your customers happy and loyal.
CRM tools can improve ROI by helping marketers find strong leads and setting up automatic follow-ups. They can improve sales by about 42%, according to SalesForce.
Moreover, they can also strengthen relationships by sending reminders, including birthday wishes, to clients.
7. Video Conferencing
Reduce travel costs by opting for video conferencing. You may invest in a professional tool or use a free option like Skype, which even lets you talk to several people at once.
You can even conduct video interviews to find a skilled employee. It’s a good technique to save time and money.
8. Business Intelligence
Business intelligence allows companies to make predictions and judgments based on previous data. This is very important because your decisions should be based on the future, which you can predict by looking at past figures.
Companies, for example, can study sales data to know which product sells the most. They can then market it better to get more out of it.
Virtual servers allow businesses to have several servers on one physical server. This helps in reducing running and maintenance costs since you don’t have to invest in different machines.
With 31% of businesses planning on using virtual machines, the advantages are pretty obvious.