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.
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.
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.
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.