Think back to how business was done a few decades ago. There was no email, Internet, mobile marketing, telecommuting or smartphones. Now communications are instantaneous, huge amounts of information move through email and the Internet and powerful tools are in the hands of owners and employees.
Innovations in technology have improved operations at companies of all sizes and helped turn small local businesses into global businesses.
Small businesses need to wring every ounce of productivity out of their operations and technology tools help employees get tasks done more quickly. This may range from printing out marketing materials to providing customer service through email or online chat.
The key is to keep employees focused when using technology and to use it appropriately with the goal of saving time. Sometimes, a phone call may be more efficient and productive than an email. Provide employees with the right hardware and updated software to keep them working at peak proficiency.
Teleconferencing over the phone is one of the simplest conferencing methods, but advancement in recent years have brought web conferencing to the fore. Web conferencing can bring together web cams, audio and collaborative online meeting spaces to create an extremely interactive environment.
Participants can see each other, work together on documents and recreate the in-person meeting experience no matter where they are in the world. This is one way that small businesses can extend their reach to include global customers and workers.
Technology has as well freed small businesses from the restrictions of prints ads when it comes to reaching new and existing customers.
Internet marketing ranges from a simple informational website, to advertising on search engines, to online product sales. Email marketing is an effective and low cost method to reach a large group of people with a newsletter, coupons or business updates.
Mobile marketing is a relatively new frontier that reaches people through text messaging, advertising on mobile applications and offering branded applications that tie customers into what is happening with the business in a fun and entertaining way.