Choosing the right technology to help your business scale up

Money plant growth

Reaching the point of profitability is a key landmark for small business owners, but it also presents a slew of new challenges, the most pressing of which is the question of how to scale a winning formula. As business gets busier, and consistency becomes the key to replicating early success, the adoption and integration of scalable technologies is key for a fast-moving small business.

Here are a few areas where technology can help carry a small business to the next stage of growth.

eCommerce Solutions

Small businesses have been traditionally limited to serving customers at their physical establishments.

Only 27 per cent of Canadian SMBs were able to accept online payments.

But today there are a wide variety of technologies that allow entrepreneurs to expand their presence, and even grow into a global business. Canadian small businesses, however, have been slow to adopt this trend – specifically in the use of eCommerce. While 74 per cent of Canadians consult the Internet for information on goods and services and to make purchases, according to a study by the Canadian House of Commons (PDF), only 27 per cent of Canadian SMBs were able to accept online payments. Providing customers with the opportunity to make online purchases 24/7 from their computer or mobile device with an eCommerce platform, however, is absolutely vital for small businesses looking to grow.

Cloud-based Productivity Applications

As businesses expand, their teams inevitably grow, and collaborating on projects or working while mobile can become a challenge that affects productivity. A cloud-based, enterprise-grade productivity suite and collaboration tool, such as Office 365 from Bell (which is available for small businesses), can provide users the ability to edit documents on the go, sync files with other users, and even work on the same document with others in real time. And it doesn’t matter what type of smartphone you use because Office 365 has released apps for Android, iPhone, and Windows phones.

Office 365

Customer Relationship Management Tools

As small businesses gain momentum, they will eventually need to expand their customer relations beyond just interacting with customers one on one. They’ll need to adopt cloud technologies to help track orders, keep contact and purchase history information, manage customer emails and more. Not only do CRM technologies help small business owners better manage their customer relations, they actually help track trends, build customer profiles, and help businesses continue fulfilling the needs of their clients.

Staying Connected

Audio, web and video conferencing applications allow teams to keep in touch and collaborate with each other remotely, and meet with a growing number of clients without always requiring time-consuming face-to-face meetings.

For small businesses, scaling a winning formula is a good problem to have. As they grow, it becomes more vital to deliver a great customer experience on a wider scale in addition to the traditional hands-on approach. By taking advantage of online tools and technologies, small businesses can serve more customers effectively, in the ways they prefer, while maintaining productivity with a larger team.

This article is presented by small business solutions from Bell Canada.

Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist and public speaker based in Toronto. Lindzon's reporting focuses on the future of work, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. Beyond his regular columns in Fast Company's WorkLife section and The Globe & Mail's Careers section, Lindzon has also been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, The BBC, TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone, Fortune Magazine and many more. As a public speaker, interviewer and moderator Lindzon frequently shares the insights he's gathered through his reporting at conferences and events around the world. Lindzon received an MA in Journalism and an Honours BA in Media Studies from Western University.

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