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Embracing Technology for SME Growth: 7 Tips

Written by Ryan Terrey
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Business is tougher than ever, so to remain sustainable and profitable, it is important for small and medium size enterprises (SME) to maintain a competitive advantage.

One of the best ways to do that is to embrace technologies that improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the customer experience. But which ones should you choose?

Here are seven areas you might want to consider.

1. More Payment Options

It should go without saying that the more payment options you offer your customers, the better, as doing so increases your chances of making a sale. However, the majority of SMEs in Australia still don’t embrace as wide a range as they could - which could be severely impacting their cash flow and ability to grow.

One of the best payment options to offer is an EFTPOS machine. They can process everything from Visa/Mastercard, American Express and Debit cards to Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay in a quick, extremely secure and contactless fashion.

Additionally, you should consider allowing for online payments such as PayPal, Buy Now Pay Later services such as Zip and even digital currencies like Bitcoin.

2. Cloud-Based Solutions

The invention of cloud computing has been a real game changer for SMEs in the way they manage their operations and data.

By storing their data on the cloud, small and medium-sized businesses can slash the costs they normally incur from IT maintenance and physical servers.

It also offers them scalability, as they only get charged for what they use, and can help employees to better collaborate with each other by giving them the ability to access and relay information from anywhere in the world.

3. Remote Working Communication Tools

During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working communication tools such as Zoom, Trello and Microsoft Teams really came to the fore. Serving as a lifeline for many businesses that could maintain real-time communication with their employees from their homes.

Just because the pandemic is over it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace these communication tools for the good of your organisation.

According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, some 81% of Aussies want to continue to work from home in some capacity, so long as they are provided with enough support.

The long and short of this is that the best talent will seek out job opportunities with companies that provide them with the freedom, flexibility and tools to work remotely. So, if you don’t want to lose out when it comes to recruiting them, you should offer them the same.

4. Data Analytics

It's the nature of the beast that businesses live and die by their decisions. Therefore, it is within your interests to make better decisions about how you operate.

A good way to do this is through data analytics tools such as SAS, Excel and python which can help you to analyse customer data to determine trends, preferences and buying patterns.

With this information you will be able to develop more effective and targeted business strategies. You could also get help to see more opportunities for tightening up your marketing strategies, enhancing your service and product offerings and identifying new markets to exploit.

5. CRM Software

Customers are the lifeblood of every business, so it is important they get a handle on how best to manage their relationships with them.

For this reason, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a vital tool in managing interactions with existing and potential customers. The likes of Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho can help you track customer data, your history of communication with them, and their general preferences.

This information, in turn, can be used to customise marketing campaigns that accelerate your business. Additionally, it can automate several tasks, including lead tracking and email marketing, which can free up your time to concentrate on other core business activities.

6. Social Media

It doesn’t matter what industry you operate in; social media has become a very powerful tool for marketing any business.

Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter provide companies with unprecedented access to customers, wherever they might be. This allows them to build their brands, promote their services or products, and interact directly with them.

The key to running successful social media campaigns is to regularly produce content that strikes a chord with your target audience. The more interactive, sharable and memorable you can make it the better. Just make sure you respond to all messages and comments quickly to build up a loyal community.

7. Cybersecurity

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity should be a critical part of any business’s armoury. Therefore, it is essential to protect your organisation and, in particular, any sensitive data it might have against cyber threats.

Where feasible, small businesses should implement and regularly update robust measures such as antivirus software, firewalls, and encrypted connections to keep their business safe.

Doing this will help protect them from a potential PR disaster that could occur if they became the victim of a cyber attack.


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