The universal goal of business is to maximise profit. There are many factors that contribute to this goal, not least of all, the ability to keep costs as low as possible without detrimentally affecting customer satisfaction. Even the hugely profitable business is always able to look more closely at their expenses and open the door to a more productive and more profitable business.
Technology plays an important role and recent advances can make a significant difference. Here are our top tips for how technology can be the instrument for change in your business.
1. Digital marketing
There is no one size fits all approach to marketing and more traditional methods, when rolled out properly, can be extremely successful. But they are also more expensive in terms of time and resource. You can however be in control of your own digital marketing campaigns through easily accessible online marketing platforms. This enables you to skip the more expensive aspects of traditional marketing such as design, printing and distribution. Advances in technology ensure that you can easily execute and analyse the effectiveness of your own marketing. It is also more time effective as it is immediate, and changes are easily made to fit in with the real-time nature of today’s businesses.
The greatest consumer research tool is the internet. This means that having a strong website built with the customer in mind is essential. The internet is the first port of call for most customers when they are at the decision-making stage of spending money. Not only is it important to have a website, but it is crucial that your website is competitive. It needs to be regularly up dated, well monitored and well attended to ensure that it ranks well within the search engine and provides customers with the information they need to make their decision. Complicated or unhelpful websites can often deter potential customers, even if your goods and services are competitively priced and of good quality.
Maximising the use of automation in the repetitive and routine parts of your business is another important area where technology can reduce your business costs. This will save time, money and resources and allow your business to improve and grow.
4. Cloud accounting
The cloud (a remote hard drive where your data can be stored) has revolutionised technological storage over the last decade. It fulfils all your accounting needs in one place and with one tool. It eliminates the expensive and time-consuming need for accounting software and updates; hardware such as hard drives and additional computers; end-of-month bookkeeping and paperwork; backup files and additional servers. It also means, because of the real-time aspect of accounting through the cloud and multi-user access, that there is less disruption to your business at tax time.
5. Integration of data
The most effective and efficient way to integrate your data is through automated bank feeds. This provides an automatic link between your financial institution and your accounting program. This saves your business many hours and dollars on data entry and reduces the incidence of errors.
6. Outsourcing business functions
Retaining employees can be costly beyond just the money they are paid to complete their job. On top of this is the requirement for the business to pay leave, superannuation, workers compensation insurance and training. These additional costs can be eliminated altogether if certain functions of the business are outsourced.
7. Online communication tools
Communication through the internet in group portals has dramatically improved the efficiency and effectiveness of collaboration within the business world. It reduces the time spent in meetings and on phone calls. It also makes sharing files considerably easier and allows better client-business communication and even enables self-service by the client where possible.
8. Electronic timesheets and rostering
Another huge time-saver! The laborious task of planning rosters and processing timesheets can be easily automated using modern scheduling and tracking software. It also reduces the number of errors made and streamlines the entire process.
9. Hardware storage
In the past, it was necessary to consider and implement ways to store the large amounts of software required to run a business. This was usually done through large servers which then needed to be replaced when they were either out of date or full. With the advent of cloud technology, this is no longer necessary and all storage needs can be achieved through the cloud, saving a fortune in capital expenditure.