Three Ways Tech Can Make You More Competitive

May 13, 2014 3:43 pm

To keep pace in an increasingly competitive world it’s crucial to take advantage of every tactic available at your disposal, with technology being one of the most important. Gone are the days where your competition is within your local environment. Now you’re faced with exporters and multinationals from the other side of the globe offering your product and services at competitive prices. Think of this as a blessing in disguise which can allow your business to become more efficient, effective, and creative in the long haul. Fail to embrace technology at your peril.

Global economic conditions, coupled with limited resources have really stretched small businesses over the last few years. We’re currently coming out of the post 2008 financial crash. However, resources and business confidence is still on the low side. We showcase some of the most useful, practical and beneficial tech tips you can use to cut costs, and improve performance.

1.       Access to information – “Knowledge is power”

Small businesses can act in a rapid manner. They’re nimble and the agility they possess can disarm most multinationals. Make sure you have a secure and reliable network which allows your employees to access whatever they need, quickly and securely. This may seem abstract; however the importance of being able to act on trends in your sector can provide your business with a competitive advantage.

2.       Invest in up-to-date technology

This works for both employees and customers. If you offer the best tools for the job expect the best results. This doesn’t have to be the latest Mac or Windows computer. Outdated technology has a detrimental effect on your employees’ productivity (every second counts) while also damaging your businesses reputation in the eyes of customers. Examples of what to look out for can be the following:

  • Personalise your email – DON’T use a free, cloud based email service
  • Stay up to date with your operating system – anything older than 5 years needs to go
  • Technology equipment – If older than 5-10 years this also needs upgrading
  • Offer real time customer service online – either through your website or social media
  • E-Commerce sites looking for purchases NEED a visually pleasing website

 

3.       Make working easier

Video conferencing tools such as Skype and Google+ Hangouts allow you to communication more effectively with customers online, while also offering you the chance to communicate with your employees remotely. Happy employees perform better and increase the likelihood of your business growing; the ability to communicate online allows small business to offer flexi-time as a valuable work place benefit. Use tools such as Dropbox and Google Docs to store files and data that can be easily shared when employees are working remotely. You can also use project management tools like Trello to organise your business’s workflow.

4.       Make sure you can get access to fast Internet and up-to-date IT

Access to fast Internet connectivity is essential. If you don’t have a fast Internet connection you should consider finding business premises that give you this and the best IT set-up you can afford. Remember too that some local authorities and economic support agencies can offer grants, loans and other support towards capital costs and configuring IT infrastructure. Read here how one business in Mansfield became more competitive thanks to improved Internet and IT.

 

  • Have you invested in great Internet connectivity and IT? How has it improved your business? What would you do differently if you could?

 

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