5 Technology Secrets of 2014 To Build Your Small Business

John Follett

Tech Secrets Small Biz

There are 23 million small business owners in the U.S. competing against major retailers every day. This makes technology a vital tool that can level the playing field for small town merchants. You have worked hard to build a great business reputation; now it’s time to use the new technology that’s literally at your fingertips to increase your profits and keep up with –or ahead of—your competition.

With a tablet or other device and some key apps, today’s small businesses can easily tweet or post the day’s specials, process a credit card, run a customer loyalty program, and manage payroll. The new tools are affordable, ubiquitous, user-friendly, and make it feasible to compete with the big dogs. Take a look at these five technology secrets you don’t want to miss:

Move Your Business to the Cloud
Many small-service companies still juggle paper, calendars, and spreadsheets to stay organized. This system can cause issues that waste a lot of time – from searching through file cabinets to difficulty sharing information. Cloud services help alleviate many of those hassles; there are a range of cloud-based and mobile tools designed to help with billing, scheduling, and sign ups that will make the small business owner’s life much simpler.

Develop Loyalty and Rewards Programs
A repeat customer has a higher lifetime value than a new customer – that means it is worth it to invest in customer loyalty. You may wonder; do loyalty programs really work? The answer is yes, when designed and maintained correctly.

The time when only big corporations offer elaborate loyalty programs is long gone– mom-and-pop-shops can offer them too. Instead of paper punch cards, today small business owners can utilize loyalty programs like FiveStars and Perka to create inexpensive and up-to-date loyalty and digital programs that will encourage repeat business from your biggest fans.

Take Advantage of Marketing and Sales Plug-Ins
A plug-in app allows small businesses to turn their Gmail service into something much more powerful. The use of Streak will turn Gmail into a customer-relationship management tool so businesses can track customers and active leads from the inbox. Don’t miss out on other apps such as email tracker Yesware and the scheduling and reminder tool Boomerang.

Utilize Inexpensive Tools for Productivity
Accounting and HR software once were costly – now business owners can take advantage of the simple cloud apps to help their business run efficiently. For accounting and invoicing, Freshbooks or WaveAccounting are useful and Intercom is great for customer care.

Say Goodbye to Point-of-Sales (POS) Solutions
Tablets and Smartphones with free apps can replace pricey POS systems so small retailers can accept more than just cash payments. Even your childcare provider can use the mobile Square card reader on their iOS device or Android to accept credit or debit cards. Make sure to protect your mobile phone from prying eyes and keep it safe and secure.

There are numerous apps that small businesses can utilize today to stay on par with their supersized competitors. When it boils down to it, small businesses are lucky – they no longer have to fight the battle alone. There is an app or some form of technology out there for every business need.

What technology secrets have you uncovered that make your small business run with added efficiency?

Photo via Flickr

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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