Small Business Technology

How to Use Technology to Gain Business Advantage

Written by Nidhi Ann Raj for Gaebler Ventures

In today's fast growing world, it is virtually impossible to remain independent of technology, especially at your workplace. Using the latest cutting edge technology has its own role to play in helping you achieve success.

Is your small business using technology to gain an edge on the competition?

Today's business leaders must use the latest technology available, if they want to sustain their business and move ahead.

Information is King

Not sure who first said "Information is King" but they had keen insights on how the world would evolve. Access to information is playing an increasingly important role in the modern business world, and it is new technology that is enabling that trend.

For small business owners, it has now become their responsibility to take advantage of technology and the magic it can do for their business.

Bringing More Technology Into Your Small Business

Let us start with small things. Consider a business that provides services outside the local calling area. At the very least, a toll-free phone service is required. In addition, a fax machine and a fast internet connection are as important as anything nowadays.

Just as important as the technological equipment, the use of appropriate software to run your business applications is critical. It is always advised to get tips about what software is to be used from someone who is already in the business. For example, having software that helps you track existing clients and get the word out about your new products or services may be critical for your firm's marketing campaigns.

You may also need to be able to track your promotions to know which ones work well for you. Make sure you get timely updates of your software. Regular training to learn how to use the software is highly recommended for best performance.

Supporting Your Road Warriors

If your business has outside sales representatives, technology investment is a must. Indeed, you must have good technology solutions for any employees that spend much of their time away from their office, retail store or home-office location.

For starters, your road warriors need the best wireless communications plan possible. Find out who is the best provider and has the best coverage in your area. Surprisingly, in the United States, Consumer Reports is the best source for information on carriers and their business mobile plans. Consumer Reports does their own original cell phone industry research, while other reports simply repeat the findings provided by the carriers (and surely those findings are biased in favor of the carriers).

You may also need a wireless laptop computer, a portable printer and either a camera on your phone or a digital camera.

Having a camera on hand is an easy way to impress clients. For example, imagine you're an interior designer and are at a client's home, and after they select new carpet or drapery fabric, you arrange a little display of their choices, take a photo and either print it out or e-mail it to them that day.

Another way to use technology to your advantage the day you close a sale is to follow up immediately. Every new client should receive an order confirmation and/or thank-you note sent on the day of purchase.

Whether you send it via snail-mail or e-mail is up to you, but email certainly confirms to your customer that you are not out of touch with technology.

Whenever you use technology, it makes you look professional and keeps you ahead of the competition. Your efforts taken to remain technologically literate will quickly pay off!

Being truly successful in business means you're on top of your game. Effective use of today's technology gets you and keeps you there.

Nidhi Ann Raj is a gifted writer who is currently pursuing post-graduate studies at George Brown College in Toronto Canada, where she is specializing in Marketing and Finance.

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