As an entrepreneur, do you ever feel like you’re missing out on the technological revolution? Does it seem like you’re overlooking some piece of tech that could help take your business to the next level? Technology has become the norm in almost any type of business. Any entrepreneur that hopes to thrive in today’s market has to invest in technology. Here are a few pieces of tech that every entrepreneur should invest in.
1. Video Equipment
In today’s environment, customers prefer to see a video instead of reading through endless pages of text. Companies are making product videos, how-to videos, white board videos and many other kinds of video content. Instead of outsourcing this to a potentially expensive video production firm, why not take control of your own video production?
Creating videos for your products and services helps your customers see them in action. They will be able to get a lot more information than they would from a mere image.
There are many high-quality digital video cameras on the market that you can get for an affordable price. For less than $100, you can also get feature rich video editing software like Adobe Premier or Cyberlink Power Director.
2. Documentation and Training Software
When you’re running a business, one of the biggest challenges to deal with is ensuring that all your people know what to do. Showing someone how to complete a task can work, but sometimes things get lost in translation. What happens when your company needs to grow and you don’t have an easy way to train everyone to do it the same way? With documentation and training software, you can spell out instructions on how to do everything in your business.
A resource like Trainual can be extremely valuable when it comes to getting the business out of your head and into something that other people can follow. If something happened to you, would your business be able to continue without you? Does anyone know how to do what you do? For most entrepreneurs, the answer is no.
Besides the longevity of the business, having training software makes it possible for all of your employees to learn how to do things the right way, regardless of how big your company is. This can also be extremely valuable if your company operates in different locations. By investing in a good training software package, you can teach your people even when you’re not physically present.
3. Cloud Technology
In today’s fast paced business environment, utilizing cloud technology and cloud storage is essential. With a resource like OneDrive, you can access all of your documents and files while you’re on-the-go from multiple devices. You can purchase OneDrive as a standalone option, or you can get an Office 365 subscription that gives you access to all Office apps too. The second option is much more convenient, as it costs as little as $10 per user.
Cloud technology saves you so much time as an entrepreneur. While you have surely switched from printing documents and keeping track of mountains of paper to using digital counterparts, you can do one better. By switching to cloud solutions, you get access to your data from anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection. That’s much better than having to rely on a single PC where you store your data and being stressed out about losing it in case of hardware failure.
Cloud storage also saves you a lot of time and money in equipment. Instead of having to buy an expensive server and hiring an IT company to take care of it for you, you can just keep all of your documents on a cloud server that is being maintained by that service’s provider. Let someone else who specializes in that sort of thing manage it for you and pay for the equipment.
4. CRM Solution
Having a viable customer relationship management or CRM system is essential. When you’re dealing with a lot of customers, it can be difficult to manage all the details. Did you promise a gift card to one of them when they make a purchase, or was it a flat discount? When you’re small, you can keep track of all of that on a notepad. As you start to get more customers, it becomes impossible.
A quality CRM not only manages all your interactions with customers, it also keeps track of documents associated with them, and the tasks that you need to complete. CRM’s like Salesforce, Zoho and JobNimbus are some of the best, and choosing one really depends on your needs as a company.
5. Project Management Software
In addition to having a CRM to track your customers during the sales process, it’s important to have something to keep track of your projects and its progress. A solution like Trello or Asana could be invaluable when it comes to keeping track of all the things that need to be done on a project.
In some businesses, it’s a real challenge to sync multiple team members when working on a project. Having a central place to manage such variables is key. With project management software, you can see the progress of your projects at a glance, with a great overview of who’s working on what and whether someone’s stuck.
6. Internal Communications Platform
Having some way to communicate internally on the same platform can make a huge difference for your business. There are so many ways to communicate now that using email, text messages, phone calls seems to be outdated.
Choosing an internal communications platform like Slack or Skype can help tremendously. Instead of having to check 5 different places to find your conversation about something, you have everything in a central hub. By using the right platform, you can share instant messages, videos, attachments and even make video calls with each other. No matter where your team is, you can all talk about the details that need to be discussed. It also helps to separate the lines between business and life a little bit, when you go to one place for business communication.
Overall, there are a lot of different options out there when it comes to technology helping your business. If you try to take them all on at once, you’ll diminish the effectiveness of all of them. Zero in on the tool that would help your business the most and start there. After you’ve had time to adapt to that change, then take on the next one, and so on. Before you know it, your business will run much smoother and you’ll be able to take it to new heights.
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters