It’s difficult keeping a business relevant in today’s tech-savvy marketplace. Small business owners can be slow to adopt technology, and often fall behind their consumers who easily adapt to new trends and platforms. When a business owner doesn’t understand the value of a technology, it makes sense that he or she will be reluctant to invest time and money in adopting it.
But there is a positive side to late adoption, too. Late adoption allows time for best practices to form around the use of a platform. A business that adopts a new technology later in the game has the benefit of being able to learn from the trials and errors of early adopters. Businesses that wait to see what developments provide a good returns on investment, rather than being eager to jump onto the latest trend, can save the effort of implementing new technologies and processes that might not be fruitful.
Here we’ll review some of the most vital types of technology platforms that help businesses stay on top of their game.
The Tech Helping Businesses Stay Relevant: 6 Common (Vital) Tools for Operations
While new platforms are introduced to market, they are typically upgraded versions of a tool that already exists.
There are dozens of small business software tools used for everyday operations. Different industries may have unique needs, but there are similarities in what is used among most businesses – these include tools for:
- Reporting & tracking
- Team and project management
- Payment processing
- Digital marketing
- Customer relationship management
Let’s examine how each keeps a business relevant in its market and industry:
Reporting & Tracking
Reporting and tracking tools provide technical insights about how site visitors or ad viewers interact with your creatives and copy. Smart businesses use this data to make calculated changes to their campaigns and sites to increase conversions.
- Google analytics
Search terminology, interest, and interaction guide a business with information about how the market responds. This, in turn, helps the business stay relevant when crafting ad and marketing messages.
Team & Project Management
There are many moving parts of a modern business including sales, marketing, logistics, customer service, design, outreach, and more. These tools house project data and provide a platform for internal messaging and tracking for team members assigned to those projects.
These critical tools keep operations aligned while offering platforms for open dialog and for testing new ideas.
Failure to close a sale shouldn’t come because of unavailable payment methods. A forward-thinking business will use modern payment processing to accept all forms of payment no matter the preferred method.
These tools include PoS systems which tightly integrate analytics. This provides a wealth of customer data that can be used for market adaptation in promotions and marketing.
What good is making changes if there’s a lack of documentation behind the process? That hard work becomes lost in the “noise”. Or, you’re stuck in a difficult position where a sole employee dictates the direction of projects or even the company because of their leverage.
- Google Docs
Relevant businesses build on what works. Documentation should be flexible and accessible to the entire team whether they’re accessing legacy docs through a desktop or updating notes from their phone. This creates an intranet of valuable information and data used to guide business decisions.
Digital marketing – encompassing everything from SEO to SEM – drives brand awareness. This is often more valuable than using ads and campaigns for conversions. Why? Because it associates a product or service to the company’s brand.
- WordPress (blogging)
- SEMRush (research)
- Facebook (outreach)
These tools and platforms harness the power of content and marketing strategies. The awareness and association keep the brand relevant whenever consumers enter your market. That is if the business stays active and engaging on and through these platforms.
Customer Service Relationship
The CRM tools facilitate touching base with leads and customers. These are great tools for increasing sales. They’re also equally valuable for gathering feedback and understanding the market shifts.
- Zoho CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics 365
What better way to stay relevant than keeping a dialog open with your audience? These tools provide the real data – straight from the source – that a tech-savvy business may use to shift focus.
Ride the Trends, Practice Patience, and Find Balance
While implementing new technologies may not be of highest importance to all business owners, it is always important to have a pulse on the business and consumer trends within their own industries.
- Reading industry news
- Using high-level market whitepapers
- Following social buzz and influencers
Business owners should dedicate one or two members of the team to keep on track with the industry. Have them attend conferences and keep up with read cutting-edge blogs in your industry to see where it’s going. Allocate a budget to explore new tech while building upon what’s already effective.
Staying relevant means adapting business practices and offers. Are you using these business resources to find balance with your market position?