Running a business is no easy task, especially given the current economic state of our country.
After the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, businesses everywhere were forced to close their doors for safety precautions, and faced overwhelming financial difficulties. However, in recent months, many businesses have survived the storm and are completely revamping their strategies to accommodate for unexpected turbulence down the road.
One of the many ways that business owners have done this is by adopting technology into multiple aspects of their company. Whether it is for saving and budgeting or managing employees, technology has proven its benefits and may be worth investing in in the near future. So, if you are curious how exactly technology may be able to benefit your business, keep reading for some quick tips.
Before anything else, you need to have a structured and sturdy financial plan for your business. Without it, you run the risk of losing profit and being ill prepared for financial emergencies. Commonly, many business owners look to lenders for financial support when starting and running a business. While you may think the process of obtaining financing would be quick and easy, in some cases, it can be quite the opposite.
This is why many companies have resorted to digital lending options. When working with a digital lender, you have the ability to cut down on the processing time it takes to apply and receive additional financing. They typically require less documentation on your part and defer the responsibility of attaining bank statements and financial information to the bank you use for your business. Whether you’re just starting your business or financing a particular addition to your company, saving time is saving money, so a digital lender may be just what you need.
While many owners will apply for a small business loan, it may be wise to explore other options as well — especially given the financial trouble you may have found yourself in after the pandemic. For example, an equity loan’s requirements may be more feasible for you if your business loan’s rates and payments are much too high to afford at this time. Whether you decide to use a business or equity loan, a number of digital lenders are available to assist you in your search for affordable business financing.
Hiring and Training
If you were lucky enough to have a business that not only survived the pandemic but is still growing exponentially, you may find technology to be beneficial in hiring and training employees as well.
Many small businesses take advantage of hiring technology platforms like Workable or JazzHR. These systems are user-friendly and full of features to help your business customize and analyze the effectiveness of their hiring process. Everything from the job posting to the offer letter can be managed all in one place.
Additionally, it’s important to create a structured onboarding plan as it will make newly hired employees 58% more likely to stay with the company for more than three years. This is an incredibly useful statistic given the high cost of onboarding an employee. In any company, you want to invest in tactics that will make your new-hire spending well worth it and reduce fast employee turnover as much as possible.
Your company’s training structure should be customized to be most effective in your particular industry or company. However, there are creative ways that you can use technology to improve your training program. For example, virtual reality (VR) technology has come in handy during the pandemic for hiring and onboarding. Many companies have begun to include virtual tours and simulations within their training to get new-hires more comfortable with the office or the jobs’ tasks. Not only does it save the company time and possibly money in training, but it also produces a unique experience for your new-hires.
Once your new employees have completed training and onboarding classes, HR management tools and software are incredibly helpful for tracking employee performance and offering competitive employee benefits. These, of course, are key to maximizing the productivity and comfortability of your employees to reduce your turnover rate as much as possible.
Depending on your industry you may handle your business operations differently than others. While this is normal, we can all agree that a goal in business operations is to drive as much efficiency as possible. Many business tasks are not only time consuming but also incredibly tedious and mundane for employees to complete. To combat this, companies, large and small, have begun introducing robotic process automation (RPA) into their operational strategies.
Simply put, RPA uses modern robotic technology to streamline business processes by reducing operational costs and lowering delivery speed without sacrificing accuracy. The technology is commonly misunderstood and thought to be a one-input system meant to replace workers. However, it can be used alongside workers to rid them of low-skill-level tasks. In return this allows your employees to utilize their specialized skills more effectively in their particular roles. The technology also integrates with a range of business platforms. You won’t have to constantly update and change the system but rather, it will seamlessly connect with your business platforms across multiple departments.
The best part, however, is the growth potential that RPA is expected to experience in the years to come. In fact researchers at Hadoop, one of the top software companies, expect RPA to allow companies to save between $5 trillion and $7 trillion by 2025. While your own company’s ROI may not reflect this large of a number, you should begin to expect savings from your RPA investment within three to nine months.
Marketing and Advertising
Similarly, you can leverage automation and smart technology within your business’ marketing and advertising departments as well. Technology has become a very integral part of marketing over the years and is likely to continue on this path in the future.
Most commonly, companies take advantage of social media automation software to raise brand awareness and increase profit conversion rates through their social channels. There are a number of platforms that your business can use. However, be sure to look out for features such as scheduled posting, content and ad creation, and marketing analytics. All of these features can eliminate the minutes and possibly hours that your employees take each day to complete these tasks manually. Instead, they can direct their focus to more important marketing strategies.
While RPA may be more of an investment for your business, social media automation typically comes at a much more affordable price without sacrificing your ROI. In some cases, it can be purchased for as low as $30 per month.
For added creative marketing, even small businesses have looked to augmented reality (AR) to improve their brand marketing efforts. Especially during the pandemic, you may have seen an array of AR implementations in retail stores’ advertising efforts. For example, Sephora allows a virtual try on feature to its customers who are shopping outside of the store. In recent years, companies like McDonalds have partnered with Snapchat to create a brand filter to drive brand awareness. They were actually able to combine this AR feature with their hiring strategy and produce “Snapplications” to allow individuals to apply to positions through the AR feature.
Noticeably, AR has been extremely successful in creating a unique brand experience which may be exactly what your company needs to be set apart from competitors’ post-COVID.
Growth is the most important part of any successful business.
All of the departments of your company should continue to develop strategies that drive efficiency and ultimately, profitability for your company.
Luckily, technology is the perfect component to add and improve your company’s finances, onboarding, operations, and marketing.
The range of technological systems available will push you to grow even in financially straining times. The best part of it all is that technology implementation is just in its beginning stages when it comes to business.
It is nowhere near the end of its run and for that reason your business can benefit from it in the long-run as well. In your own time, be sure to keep up with technology and business trends to ensure that you are implementing systems that are most effective for your business.
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