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The Role of Technology in Your Business

If you’re a small business owner, then you have a need for technology to help you manage and promote your business, regardless of your industry.  As an entrepreneur, you owe it to yourself and your business to keep up with the latest in technology and utilize the most cost-effective resources available that make your business run smoothly, effectively, and profitable.

Communication

The number one factor that a successful business needs is customers!  How do customers contact you for your services or products?  Telephone?  Email?  Or do they stop by your storefront?  The more options your customers have to communicate with you, the better chance you have of retaining and gaining customers and helping your business grow. 

You should have a stable and effective telephone service.  Do you just need a single line that customers or clients can call you directly?  Perhaps a mobile cell phone is necessary so you can be reached.  Do you have multiple phone calls coming in simultaneously?  Investing in a multi-line phone system with easy customer redirection will help your business be more professional.

With the presence of the internet, you certainly need email, but you may also want to utilize an instant chat program or customer service chat option.  Remember, the more options a customer has to contact you, the more likely that potential customer will turn into a long-term client. 

Database Management

How do you keep track of customer information?  Utilizing a database with contact information for your customers, as well as vendors, is vital to your business.  You could use something simple and low-tech as a Rolodex.  Also, a file cabinet can help you keep track of not only customers, but their order history, multiple shipping locations, multiple contacts, etc.  However, to have a reliable and more efficient system, you should have information stored in a computer database.  You can create your own database with Microsoft Access, or FileMaker, or use any other professional database management software packages available for purchase.

Data Storage and Security

Now, how do you store all this data?  Using a single desktop or laptop computer for your small business may be sufficient.  Perhaps you have employees and need an in-house computer network with a single mainframe server.  Whether you store data on a single hard drive or on a computer server, you need to protect your data.  Be sure to back up your hard drive or server on a daily basis on a separate and secure location in case of a disaster.

World Wide Web

Do you have a web presence?  If not, you should.  The World Wide Web is one of the most cost-effective places to put your business name.  You need a good web site hosting service that can house all the files needed for your site, as well as handle all the traffic that comes to your site.

Simple web site design is easy with programs like Adobe Dreamweaver.  But if your business needs a professional look with interactivity and online store, hire a good web master to design, build, and manage your site. 

Office Administration / Bookkeeping

How about basic office administration?  A computer with well known software such as Microsoft Office can create and format documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Do you use the old ancient low-tech method of bookkeeping by keeping handwritten records in ledgers and journals?  It can be done, but it is time consuming and not very efficient.  Keeping your financial records in software packages like QuickBooks or Peachtree allows you easily enter and back up data.  In addition, you can create stunning financial reports that help you evaluate how your business is doing and make sound financial decisions.

In these days of information technology and communications, a business must be able to compete and run smoothly and effectively to succeed.  The low cost of technology offers many options to business owners to jump into the information highway.  Smart decisions on technology can help your business ride the highway to success.