Winter has blown its last blustery breath and spring has sprung. Now is a great to time to take stock of where your small business is heading for the rest of the year, so let’s take a moment to talk about how you plan to “spring forward” and incorporate technology into your business plan in 2017.
Investing time and money in new technology is a big deal for your small business. You may be operating with a micro-budget or without a IT guy. How do you know where to invest your resources?
5 New Tech Trends and What They Mean for Your Small Business
Large companies like Target, Staples, and Home Depot have been hacked, and consumers have grown wary about handing over their personal information. Also, consider that those were major brands with top-notch IT support backing them up.
Cybersecurity should be one of your biggest concerns in 2017. Hackers are becoming more clever and aggressive, so make sure your clients’ data is protected. Always employ the most up to date security software and that you keep your staff trained in how to manage sensitive information. Set monthly, if not weekly, reminders to make sure your systems are up to date.
As consumers shift to mobile, they expect their favorite companies to do the same. The mere minutes they used to spend entering in credit card information are now too precious to waste.
Does your website offer PayPal? Do you give your clients an option to pay on mobile? Both Apple and Google are also gearing up for mobile payments in 2017, both on websites and in the checkout line. Your clients want to pay you with a swipe, not with cash. Make sure to make it easy for them.
What do your clients or customers do when they have an issue with your product or service? Do you offer more than just a FAQ page on your website?
If not, then you need to update your support services to make sure your customers can engage with a human being either on the phone or online. Ideally, you have immediate customer support available through your website and via an app.
Embrace the cloud
Make this the year that you stop saying “l’ll send it to you when I get back to the office.” No more excuses—your data should be accessible in the cloud so that when a client asks to see that proposal, it’s in their inbox before the meeting is over.
The cloud increases connectivity with other systems and ensures your whole staff can access important information. Of course, connecting with the cloud has its security risks, so see tech trend #1 above.
Manage a mobile office
With mobile devices and cloud-based infrastructure, you can afford to let your staffers work on the go. Workplace flexibility is a sought-after perk people look for in a potential employer. If you offer the ability to work from home or flexible hours, then you’ll be able to recruit top-tier talent away from some of your bigger competitors. Dedicate time and resources to building a system for staffers to communicate from wherever they’re working. Check out Slack, Basecamp, or Asana if you don’t already have a go-to communication platform aside from email.