Make no mistake: running a small business is difficult. Whether you’ve assembled a modest team or are going it alone, it often feels like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. Marketing, sales, customer service, research, product development, deliveries, accounting – the list goes on and on.
In this day and age, however, there’s no need to take everything on by yourself. This is due to the continued advancements in online technology. When you understand how to harness this technology correctly, not only can your business save significant sums of money and time, but it can also grow at a rapid pace.
To highlight how technology can help your business run smoother and more productively, here are four proven ways it can make a big difference.
1. Upgrade your approach to shipping
If your small business deals in physical products and sends these to customers, you understand the headache this task can cause. Ensuring your products are packaged correctly, the logistics of arranging deliveries, the added difficulty – and paperwork – when dealing with international shipping – there’s a lot you need to consider.
Oh, and if you are dealing with bulky or delicate items, the cost of shipping can also quickly go through the roof. Add in the countless couriers to choose from, and the time it takes to decide on one, and your company’s entire shipping process can be a troublesome, expensive one.
However, the keyword in that last sentence is “can”. This is because with the power of technology – and the Shiply platform in particular – you can save significant money and time with Less-Than-Load LTL freight shipping.
Rather than searching for a courier, you simply post a shipping job, and they will come to you with their bids. The bidding process also means you can save up to 75% on shipping costs as couriers will go with competitive pricing so they can fill their vehicles, maximizing their own time and resources.
2. Automate time-consuming tasks
Time is very much a precious commodity for any small business owner. You’ll inevitably feel overly stretched as you try and cover everything from posting on social media to balancing the books.
With automation on your side, you can wave goodbye to a lot of time-consuming, monotonous tasks that are filling up your day. Here are just a few areas that automation can take care of for your business:
- Communicate with customers
- Schedule meetings and events
- Document financial incomings and outgoings
- Back up data
- Schedule social media content
- Develop sales leads
- Keep track of website, ad, and social media traffic
Admittedly, some of these tasks won’t cause you to lose a large chunk of your day if you decide to complete them manually. Yet they quickly build up. As a result, if you can automate the above tasks and any others that are responsible for the running of your business, you can save a lot of time and resources instantly.
3. Access to freelancers and agencies
Via the gateway that is the internet, your business can gain access to specialist freelancers and agencies. This can be particularly fruitful for a number of reasons.
Firstly, you can work with – and benefit from – experts in their chosen field. Think about it. Even if you are proficient in a number of business-related areas, there are going to be certain sectors where you are lacking.
For example, you might not possess the knowledge to conduct an effective search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. This is where hiring an SEO agency can make all the difference for your marketing efforts.
Another positive is that hiring a freelancer or agency is much cheaper than bringing a permanent employee on board. You don’t have to pay them a consistent wage and benefits. You can simply pay them on a project-by-project basis as and when they’re needed.
There’s also no limit in terms of what freelancers can do. Whether you require graphic design work or a website audit, you can find someone for the job.
4. Seamless communication
Communication is an essential element of any business – both big and small. This starts with your employees (or freelancers, depending on your approach to the previous point). If there’s a communication breakdown between you and your workers, tasks will quickly become longer to complete, and they also won’t reach the levels you desire.
Communication also extends to your customers. You want your company to always be available for customers to contact, whether it’s via email, phone, social media, or any other solution. Without this direct line and immediate availability, customers can become frustrated and take their business elsewhere.
Technology has helped massively with communication in all areas. Apps like Slack make it easy for workers to stay in touch with each other. Then you have live chatbots that can automate communication with customers to the point they feel like they’re talking to a real person.