With the Internet revolution, technology is no longer a support function, but an engine of growth for companies in all industries and regardless of size. Small businesses in the non-technology sector find it difficult to formulate a technology strategy; most don’t even have it. Not only are these companies cash-strapped, they also have minimal or no internal , capacity and have only limited access to competent technology advice. Lack of an effective technology strategy can drain a company’s resources, chase it after the competition, or even cease to exist. This article provides basic advice for small business owners on where to start. Here are some factors to consider when creating an effective technology strategy.
Technology planning to ensure companies comply with the law and put the government first. The last thing a company wants is to distract itself from its core business with lawsuits and bankruptcy. For example, a restaurant business needs to implement technology for sales tax, PCI compliance, employee timesheets, and so on
Core activities and customer experience
Next is technology that makes core business and customer experience easier. These are the ones that generate income directly and which are paid by customers. This is an area where companies need to plan and allocate funds properly. For example, to be successful, a restaurant business must have the right technology to take customer orders, run the kitchen, and provide service. If customers don’t get what they ordered or are late, it impacts the restaurant’s business operations. Offering free WiFi can help improve the customer experience.
Digital Marketing and Reputation
To win customers, companies must not only advertise their existence to their customers, but also constantly attract attention in order to stay one step ahead of the competition. Effective marketing is a very important factor in the success of any business. In today’s internet world, most of the customers do research on the internet for a service or product before buying. Therefore, it is very important for every business to have and maintain a good digital reputation on the internet.
This is what the company has to plan next and allocate resources appropriately. For example, a catering company wants a website that tells customers about a restaurant and its menu. Digital marketing and reputation requires an active presence on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, etc. Using internet marketing through traditional marketing channels can be more effective as it helps to reach a wider audience at a much lower cost.
Operational efficiency and effectiveness
Next, consider technology planning in order to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness. Technology investments in operational efficiencies can help cut costs, reduce waste and dramatically improve business results. This investment is worthwhile wherever the savings from increased efficiency outweigh the cost of the technology. For example, for a catering company, inventory and materials planning technology can dramatically reduce food inventory and spoilage costs, and directly increase profits.
Sourcing, outsourcing or cloud
Once you know what you want, it is time to start planning how you can acquire these skills. Most non-tech small businesses have minimal or no internal capacity, and hiring staff for non-core activities can be problematic. So if the company doesn’t have people with tech skills, internalization may not be a good strategy. Most of the best technologies, platforms and software are widespread in the cloud today and should be seen as the first preference. From a small business perspective, the cloud is not only profitable, but also allows companies to focus on their key strengths. Outsourcing can only be considered if something is not available in the cloud.