Technology is playing a more important role in business than ever before.
Corporate titans rely on sophisticated technologies to automate everything from operations to media monitoring, and invest small fortunes on consultants to help boost the efficiency and performance of their technological infrastructure. In today's business climate, the businesses that succeed are the ones who know how to leverage technology for maximum bottom line impact.
Small business owners sometimes see themselves as exempt from the technological revolution. Smaller, local operations can be slow to embrace technology as a business tool and instead, cling to the same manual processes they depended on twenty years ago.
But whether your business is an industry leader or a Mom-and-Pop shop, there are some pieces of technology you simply can't live without. Here are five must-have technologies your small business needs to survive in today's cutthroat business climate.
- PCs. Personal computers are a mainstay of modern business. An Internet-connected PC can streamline accounting, marketing, ordering, and other business functions. With multiple PCs, your workforce can engage in collaborative workflows and more. Although desktops will suffice for many workers, laptops are the right option for executives and employees who take their work home with them.
- Smartphones. The days when mobile phones were a business luxury are over. Smartphones keep owners and executive connected to the workplace through voice and data plans, and keep your business abreast of developments in mobile technology. With consumers demonstrating a growing preference to use mobile devices as their primary brand connection channel, you can't afford to disconnect yourself from the mobile realm.
- Accounting software. Small business accounting software simplifies bookkeeping and accounting functions, creating an authoritative record for all your company's transactions. For tax reporting and budgeting, no business should be without a decent accounting solution.
- POS systems. Small business retailers are finding that POS (Point of Sale) technology is essential for creating an efficient and functional retail environment. Modern POS technology integrates cash register functionality with online resources to facilitate up-to-the-minute inventory management, sales tax reporting, accounting and credit card account maintenance.
- Social networking. Although it technically isn't a piece of technology, a vibrant social media presence is a must-have for small businesses. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become the public squares of the Internet age, and if your business isn't active in these communities, you'll miss opportunities to connect with consumers.