Keeping up with the times can be tough. The technology behind running a small business and keeping it competitive seems ever-changing and, as BuzzAGeek knows, sometimes you need a little help staying on top of it. That’s why we’ve got you covered: whether it’s providing exceptional IT support services or keeping you informed on the changing landscape of entrepreneurial tech, we’ve got your back. Here are the top five small business technology trends to look out for in 2014.
More and more business operations and programs are going up in the cloud. Cloud-based business computing allows small businesses to store all their data and run required programs online in a safe, secure, crash-safe way. The ability to access business programs and information from multiple internet-capable devices also cuts down on the cost of keeping your hardware compatible with your software; cloud-based inventory, POS system, and appointment-booking programs don’t care what kind of computer you have, just that it has an internet connection. Saving your business data to a cloud also makes it easily sharable, which means that you and your employees can access and edit data quicker and more effectively than ever before.
Increased Mobile Access
Customers will be using their smartphones to search for and interact with local businesses more and more in 2014, so it’s time to make sure your small business’ web page is user-friendly! It’s no longer enough to have an attractive home page. Now you must also make sure that potential customers can easily browse through your page on an aesthetic and intuitive mobile-friendly website. Small businesses can also take advantage of smartphones by creating or commissioning smartphone apps which can keep customers updated and work as loyalty cards, or by taking advantage of similar loyalty apps such as FlockTAG. The ability for customers to shop online using their phone can also be advantageous.
Thriving Social Media Presence
Why try and guess what your customers are craving from your business when you could just ask them? Being active on social media sites like Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Pinterest allows small businesses to interact with their clients and provide personal service even once they’ve left the store. Part information desk, part marketing team, and part customer service, an active Facebook wall or Google+ feed means getting in touch with new potential customers, keeping your current ones informed and happy, and listening to what your consumers are saying about what’s great about your small business—or what might be keeping them away.
Advanced Data Analytics
As more and more business is done online and through the cloud, more of it is capable of being tracked, collected, and analyzed by your small business for use in marketing. Data and analytics tools are becoming increasingly available for small business use. Some are even designed specifically for those who are looking to track their customer demographic and sales information but are looking for something designed for those with less technological or marketing know-how. Programs like GoodData and BIRST can help provide business intelligence solutions for your small business which rival those of big business.
Tablet-Based POS Systems
Earlier this year we talked specifically about online POS systems and how they could benefit your small business, cut down on equipment expenses, and give you more time face-to-face with your customers by allowing you to bring the checkout counter straight to them on the floor. With a tablet-based POS system running a checkout program off the cloud, that’s exactly what your small business can do. Getting rid of clunky, stationary points of sales allows you to save time and money and provide exceptional customer service, increasing your business’ ability to retain happy customers in 2014.
BuzzAGeek makes it our business to help you with your business. Whether it's you replace old and failing technology with new, less-expensive systems or maintaining your computers and network so they run fast and efficient, we offer personalized IT service plans that are tailored to your small business' individual needs. We're always there to help, so drop us a line-- we'd love to know what we can do for you.