It must be quite frightening to run a small business in the world of conglomerates and multi-million-dollar corporations. Think about it, most of your competitors have more money, a greater workforce and more experience in this field than you do. So, how can you possibly hope to win against these Goliaths? The answer to this question is – through the power of technological innovation. You see, major companies often have rigid structures which prevent them from adopting new trends in a timely manner, which is where the flexibility of a smaller company comes quite handy. With this in mind and without further ado, here are five ways in which you can give your SMB a tech boost.
1. Free and open source platforms
One of the things most startups struggle with is the problem with the costs of running a business. You already have to pay for various software licenses, salaries, as well as office lease and utilities, which doesn’t leave you with much money to reinvest. Well, one of the ways you can cut down on these expenses is by turning to free and open source platforms. For instance, instead of going with MS Office, you could simply use Google Drive or Open Office. In this way, you’ll have the same level of functionality, without having to pay anything for the service.
2. Migrate to the cloud
Another thing you could do is migrate your business to the cloud and in this way gain numerous benefits. For instance, your company’s digital growth will become more scalable, you’ll get an access to simpler (automated) software updates, and not to mention a significant reduction in your IT costs. Additionally, you make your business highly mobile, which could make things much easier should you decide to hire remote workers. It will even allow you to keep on working while on holiday. Aside from all this, gaining access to a reliable IT-cloud services provider is more or less mandatory in 2017.
3. Hire remote workers
The next trick that could get you a slight competitive edge over your toughest competitors is the idea of employing remote workers. You see, this particular trend is becoming more and more popular all over the world. For example, in the US alone, 45 percent of the workforce telecommutes, at least part-time. To you as a business owner, this brings numerous benefits, like being able to lease a smaller office space or reduce your office’s carbon footprint. The latter one could help you get labeled as green, which could also aid you in your branding efforts. Nowadays with advanced employee monitoring software, you can even get a greater insight into their work-hours activity.
4. Investing in smart office appliances
Everyone knows that our world is getting more and more connected by the hour. With this in mind, automating some of the basic processes inside your office can aid your productivity in more than few ways. For instance, investing in self-watering pots is great because it means that you won’t have to put an employee in charge of this menial task, which would allow the person in question to focus on their primary tasks. Furthermore, there are some direct ways in which you could help your employees be more productive. You see, some surveys claim that the ideal office temperature is around 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Having a smart thermostat could help you maintain the temperature at that level.
5. Hire a virtual assistant
Finally, one of the greatest mistakes inexperienced business owners make is wanting to micro-manage everything. This kind of office autocracy usually hurts the morale of your employees and thus makes them less productive. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only way in which it could hurt your business. You see, being in charge of every single administrative task of your SMB could get you overworked in no time. In order to avoid this, you might want to consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you out.
The reason we decided to focus on these five tips is the fact that they are inexpensive (for the most part), simple to implement and give you immediate results. Keep in mind, however, that your innovation efforts shouldn’t stop here. As a person in charge of an SMB, you must constantly look for new ways to stay competitive and thus outperform your much larger counterparts. Luckily, where there is will, there is always a way and the world of modern business is full of success stories in which small enterprises managed to triumph against all odds.