5 technologies B2B businesses should adopt in 2016
For the last five years technology for small businesses has grown leaps and bounds, with the quality of it doubling every 18 months. If adopted correctly, technology can boost your businesses productivity immensely, while simultaneously saving you money and resources.
The catch to all of this innovation, however, is that if you’re not adapting quickly, you’re falling behind your competition every year. If you’re not careful, soon your competitive edge will be gone.
We are now heading into the second half of the ‘digital decade’ in 2016, so its time to take a stock take of how your business stacks up in your adoption of technology. If you don’t score well, then you still have time to adapt before your business becomes extinct.
Here are the five technologies that every small business should have innovated by the end of 2016:
1. Cloud accounting
Cloud accounting packages allow you to keep all of your books in ‘the cloud’. In layman's terms all ‘the cloud’ is is servers that are located in a big data center elsewhere in the world. They store your data securely and make sure that your records are safe and accessible anywhere in the world.
If you’re still using a desktop accounting software then its time to make the move. On top of cloud accounting being affordable with monthly payments, it allows specialised cloud bookkeepers to login to your software remotely to balance your books.
2. Digital advertising and search engine optimisation
Today's customers no longer use the yellow pages, look at billboards or listen to the radio. Instead they are constantly glued to their smart phones and computers, reading, searching and browsing for everything they are interested in.
This is great news because never before in history has it been easier to put your business in front of customers at the exact moment they are looking for you. If you head to Google and look for search engine optimisation (SEO) companies and digital marketing agencies, you’ll find many digital professionals who can put your business, message and branding in front of your customers at the exact moment they are looking for you.
3. Live website chat
Live chat has been proven to grow sales across nearly every industry. Customers love it, it requires less resources than traditional support, plus it allows you to connect with your customer while they are still searching your website.
There are plenty of great services, such as Zopim, which allow you to easily integrate it to your website within minutes.
4. Marketing automation
Marketing Automation (MA) has been a buzzword for many software platforms in recent years and for good reason. By automating your marketing systems, you can free up your time while simultaneously delivering a better quality and seamless marketing experience.
5. Online ordering and payment processing
eCommerce has revolutionised the retail sector, with more ferocity than any other industry in history. However, it's not just retail that is being changed by the increased adoption of online payments. Many services businesses are actively seeking ways to take payments online.
Rather than issuing invoices to your clients, instead send them a payment form to make it easier. Or if you work on retainer, organise recurring billing through a service like PayWhirl.
Although there are some small charges for handling credit card payments, getting near instant confirmation that a payment has been made does wonders for the cashflow of small businesses.