The digital age is upon us for small businesses, and if your business is hoping to survive the next five years, it’s important to take stock of how you operate online and in the digital world.
There have been many changes happening in the world of business over the last 12-months, and most of these have to do with how businesses can pivot to be more digital and operate in an increasingly online-based world.
While many businesses have found it difficult to adapt to this new way of working, businesses that are are committed to staying afloat have found all kinds of ingenious ways to help their customers to find them, and many have also worked hard to develop new ways of communicating with customers and providing the great customer service that customers know and expect.
New World Business
A bonus to the current situation that we find ourselves in is actually that more customers are looking for smaller businesses to support. As larger businesses have been seen to have done very well in the last year, small businesses have faced a lot of trouble.
Getting new businesses back on their feet and supporting small businesses has been a priority for many consumers in the last year, and if your business has not taken advantage of this, then you are missing out.
It’s clear that your small business should be investing in digital more to ensure that you are in the best position to survive the next five years, as the world deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and the shift to more permanent digital living, here are seven things you should be investing in to help you cope.
A Live Chat Client
‘Together but separate’ has been a mantra for most countries during the coronavirus pandemic, and if your business has not found a way to engage users digitally, you will have found it a struggle to keep up.
Luckily for you, there are lots of options to help small businesses communicate with their customer base, including things like apps to support live chat for Android and Apple, as well as translation software to help businesses go global.
Investing in good communication for your business is going to be something that is even more important now that consumers are more used to being able to contact businesses easily and using the methods that they prefer.
Project Management Tools
On the productivity side of the argument, getting your team some good project management tools that are available for remote teams is going to be a really important aspect of working efficiently for the next few years.
Tools such as Trello and Monday.com are useful to visualize projects and task management, allowing remote teams to work together collaboratively in a more effective way.
A Decent Website
It almost goes without saying that your business really does need a good website in these times. A decent website is like your storefront, and consumers expect a website to be fast, mobile responsive, and easy to navigate, all while providing the information they need at the touch of a button.
Now is the best time to invest in a new website for your business, and with building tools such as WordPress, it’s never been easier to design and build a functional, good-looking website in hardly any time at all.
Social Media Presence and Management
Does your business have a social media team? If the answer to that question is no, then you really need to begin investing in your social media presence.
Social media may not be something that your business has considered before, especially if you are in the B2B sector, but with so many different social media platforms now available, all with different audiences, there really is no excuse not to have some kind of digital presents across the social landscape.
Good Data Security
Remote working is throwing up its own challenges that are not just limited to teams working without the supervision of management.
For many businesses, the question of how to handle data security when all of their team are working from different locations has been something that is difficult to rectify.
This is something that is incredibly important for businesses because there is a legal requirement to handle data in the safest and most secure way, especially if that data is of a personal nature to do with your clients and/or customers.
For data security concerns, it really is worth working with a professional IT consultant to find out what your business really needs and make recommendations that will work for you and your team.
Gone are the days when your employees expected either payment in cash each week or a payslip given to them in a brown paper envelope.
These days employees, as well as customers, are expecting more and more digital options when it comes to invoicing payments, payslips, and even expenses and purchase orders.
This is why your small business really needs to invest in high-quality accounting software, and even your accountants would agree with this!
Accounting software comes in all shapes and sizes, from very expensive down to very cheap for much smaller businesses, but getting the right software for your business will make all of the difference; and it will make your tax return at the end of the year a lot faster.
Human Resources Tools
Right on the back of accountancy software, you really need to also be investing in good HR software.
This is especially important when you have remote teams working together.
Decent human resources software will allow employees to view and monitor their payslips, book time-off, and many even allow the tracking of CPD and on-site learning. This last bonus is brilliant for companies whose employees are legally required to keep up-to-date with their learning either as part of a health and safety requirement or as part of a professional requirement within your industry.
Many HR tools also allow the option of team management communication and even reward tracking for employees. Getting good HR software is really worth it if you want to pay your HR people to do their job rather than spend their days chasing people for bits of paper!
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