[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]
We live in an age of rapid technological advancement. The way we use cameras, phones, computers, watch movies or even learn in schools has completely transformed over the past 20 years or so. As technology continues to advance, the changes can be overwhelming but there are many ways to take advantage of technology in your businesses right now. This is important for several reasons. You want your business to be around for a long time so it is important to keep up with cutting edge technologies that other companies use. You will also want to cater to your clients, including young people who have increasingly grown up using smart devices since they were toddlers. Finally, many of these technologies can make your job easier and help your business run smoothly. Below are a few examples of modern technologies that could improve your business.
With teleconferencing and videoconferencing, anyone anywhere can be involved in discussing changes, progress, priorities or strategies. There are plenty of services to choose from to implement conference calls into your business. Some of them include other tools such as whiteboards, messaging, or recording features.
The Cloud is a powerful tool that could be underutilized by many companies. The cloud is a secure way to store huge amounts of data online which could allow you to easily access and share materials with your company. Furthermore, the cloud can be used with other software or apps. For example, smartsheets looks somewhat like Excel sheets but it has other useful features such as calendars, deadlines, syncing across sheets, storing files like emails in the cells or collapsing the rows so they do not become unwieldy. It is an app that can be connected to the cloud or you could try smartsheet integrations by connecting it to other apps.
Don’t forget that you can also use common platforms such as Youtube to your advantage. Youtube has become a powerful search engine in itself with useful things like how-to videos or language lessons. The possibilities for your business are limited only by your imagination. It can be used as a space for advertising, either for paid ads or as a way to create your own videos that can then be used on your other online sites. You could create training videos for your new employees or use it to teach customers how to use your products. Businesses embed Youtube videos on their websites to introduce themselves or employees, show customer testimonials or sample products. (For example, a website selling instruments might have videos of people playing them so the customer can hear them.) If you want to do something creative, keep up with viral trends. There were plenty examples of companies who created their own Harlem Shake videos, or used the Mannequin Challenge as a great way to show off offices, culture or processes when those trends became viral. These types of video trends are often short lived so if you consider playing along, act quickly and try to make it unique. Other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest etc. can also be used to promote your business.
The applications for technology discussed so far have mostly been about functioning within the company or connecting with clients but you might even find ways to use technology to encourage positive company culture. One idea might be to use fitness devices such as Fitbit. For example, you could host a health challenge as a way to unify employees and encourage them to be healthy.
There are many other ways to implement more modern technology in your business. Consider digitizing your filing, scheduling, or time sheets to save time and paper, and keep track of your records. Improve the way familiar technology works for you with a new email management system. Start a blog. Allow your customers to pay you online. Use survey software to get feedback from partners, clients or employees. Use virtual reality devices to show people your products instead of just describing them.
Remember that technology is meant to work for you. No matter what your needs or the size of your business, technology can be used to improve your organization!
Dawn is a budding entrepreneur. After graduating with her MBA, she spent a few years working in the CPG industry and a few more working in the business tech industry before she set off to start her own business. She has been consulting with businesses, large and small, on the side ever sinc