Business is dynamic. Everyday processes change and new methods are required to handle the challenges posed. In this age of technological advancement, business owners should take advantage of technology tools to enable them meet up with the demanding business clime.
You see, a lot of managers are stomped. They sometimes wonder why it is they are not able to take their companies to the next level. Look around you. While we were growing up, there were brands which were a household name. Today they have been usurped in the market space by fledgling upstarts. This can be attributed to a lot of factors. However today, we will be focusing on the technological aspects.
There are business productivity tools and best practices which forward thinking business managers need to adopt. Below are listed some of these. This list is by no means exhaustive.
1. Business Intelligence: For a business to thrive, it is expedient that some form of intelligence to gauge performance metrics is employed. There are so many tools available for this. However, some of these tools are ye technical and would require skilled people to use them in manipulating data.
2. Cloud Computing: Cloud computing has been around for a while but for most people, this still seems like an unassailable technology. Cloud technology is basically traditional computing on a remote server. Domiciling your computing and application infrastructure on a remote server. This serves the advantage of not carrying out the regular maintenance and all accompanying hassle. Did you know that cloud services can be very cost effective? AWS even offers a one year free tier service. Need a windows or UNIX-based server set up? We can assist with that.
3. Collaboration: Collaborate in an enterprise by working conjointly on same project and sharing ideas, timeline, inputs, using an intranet portal. We can recommend some to you.
4. Enterprise Resource Planning: Need a holistic system to handle inventory, projects, invoicing, chat, quality control, accounting, etc. without breaking the bank? There exists some fantastic ERP options which would make you swoon.
5. Customer Relationship Management: Managing customers is a herculean task and the last thing you want is to have to deal with incorrect customer data or issue resolution. You need a CRM tailored to your business. Integrate some of your CRM to your mailing or telephony system. Know clients by name when they call in, see issue history and predict opportunities accurately. Know what products are doing well and get feedbacks. Run reporting and analytics.
7. Automation: Simple workflows to automate some processes.
8. Security & Distributed Connectivity (VPN): Need a secure network? Need to connect all your office LANs together so you can pick files from James’ desktop from Abuja without getting MTN or IPNX to liquidate your business with high VPN costs? There are very viable options.
9. Media: He who controls the media controls the mind. I guess you must have heard this. It’s not a fancy meme, it’s practical. Managers tend to overlook the power of the media in shaping public opinion. You can determine how people see your product to a great extent. However, if your product is substandard, the ruse will catch up with you eventually. Media has two facets
a. Advertisements: This tells the customer what you have on offer and tries to present a good image of the corporate entity.
b. Publications: This convinces your clientele that you are an authority in your business. Typically, this article is an example.
Information is key. Keeping abreast of all industry trends and advances is the best thing you can do for your business. Know the industry, know your competition. There are several ways of keeping up without constantly checking out web portals or doing an actual search on web engines.
a. Feeds: Syndicated feeds are a very effective way of staying informed without the attendant hassle. There are applications which would take all your feeds and deliver them to you in an organized fashion right to your desktop.
b. Mail Subscriptions: Subscribing to industry leaders is one of the best things you can do for your business especially if it is a competitor.
c. Reviews: Reviews are an effective strategy of testing product viability and performance in the market. It also helps you to understand the weakness of an existing product and improve on it.
d. Customer Feedback: Who better to keep you on your toes than your clientele. Just know this, your customer is the mirror to your business.
11. Digital Presence & E-Commerce
a. Having a presence on the digital space is the holy Grail of the 21st century business. When Jeff Besos started Amazon, no one in their wildest imagination would predict he’d one day surpass the iconic billionaire of decades Bill Gates. And he didn’t have a physical store no inventory. Enough said.
b. Ecommerce: Due to the proliferation of mobile devices with access to the internet, people are redefining how they buy and sell. Right now a business has to give their customers options on purchasing and paying for services. Some customers would rather walk away than pay you with substantial amount of cash. There are payment engines which you could integrate to your website or social sites in no time and little cost.