Some technologies are fairly universal among small businesses.
Take accounting software, for example. You’d be hard-pressed to find an SMB that doesn’t use a book-keeping app.
The same is true of project management tools. Virtually all companies, irrespective of their size, manage their teams on platforms like Asana or Trello.
But what about lesser-known solutions?
Carefully-chosen technology can boost sales and drive revenue for small businesses. In particular, under-utilized tools can help SMBs gain a competitive advantage.
In this post, we’re going to look at nine technologies that might be a perfect fit for your company.
Sound good? Let’s dig in.
1. Email Tracking
You likely already use an email marketing app like MailChimp or Aweber. Auto-responders and “broadcast” newsletters are an essential part of maintaining customer engagement.
But there’s another vital part of the email marketing puzzle that most people miss. Email trackers like Yesware usually come in the form of plugins that integrate with existing clients like Gmail or Outlook.
They enable you to see which recipients have opened their emails and which haven’t. You can also check if any links have been clicked. Fundamentally, email trackers help you tailor your one-on-one outreach strategy for valuable leads or potential business partners.
2. Online Calendars
Online calendars let clients schedule and reschedule appointments. By eliminating the need for in-person or phone booking, these tools can save significant amounts of employee time.
Calendar tools are also particularly useful for booking online meetings via email. You just need to input your availability and send recipients a link to the calendar. They can then pick a suitable time and you’ll receive a notification.
3. Customer Relationship Management
A lot of small and medium-sized businesses don’t feel that they need dedicated customer relationship management software. Full-scale CRMs can be finicky and difficult to use. They’re also expensive and often come with a suite of tools that aren’t needed.
But most small companies are making a mistake by ignoring CRMs entirely. A range of solutions tailor-made for SMBs are available. These can help manage contacts, nurture leads, and automate key processes without the drawbacks of larger alternatives.
4. Grammar and Spelling Checkers
A spelling and grammar editor is an absolute must for small businesses. Tools like Grammarly are inexpensive, easy-to-use, and very advanced.
Nothing shouts unprofessionalism more than poor spelling or badly-formatted text. A single misspelt word can ruin a sales proposal or important email.
Even if you don’t send large amounts of outreach or use written documents, it’s still worth getting a writing tool that will correct any mistakes. Many solutions have free plans.
5. Secure Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is ubiquitous. Most companies, large and small, manage their files in the cloud.
For the majority of documents, this is a perfectly suitable system. But when it comes to sensitive client and corporate data, most run-of-the-mill storage solutions simply don’t cut it.
This is why it’s advisable for small businesses to subscribe to a highly secure cloud storage service along with their main one.
Tools like BooleBox, for example, are essentially like DropBox or Google Drive but with military-grade security. They provide a secure and safe space for your most sensitive data and make it practically invulnerable to theft or accidental loss.
6. Ecommerce Builders
If you have a small or medium retail business with a physical presence, there’s absolutely no excuse not to have an online store.
An ecommerce website lets customers make repeat purchases, and even set up subscriptions, when they can’t or don’t want to travel to your store in-person. It’s an excellent and easy opportunity for retailers to boost business.
What’s more, a variety of site-builders mean it’s possible to launch an ecommerce store without any coding experience. All of the technical elements, including payment processing, shipping calculations, and stock levels, are taken care of.
7. Online Payments
Offering online payments has a variety of business benefits – higher sales conversions, lower payment times, and greater customer satisfaction.
Businesses that regularly invoice clients will find online payment portals especially useful. Manual bank transfers are time-consuming and laborious from a client perspective. Clients are much more likely to make fast payments when they only have to enter a few card details.
What’s more, enabling customers to pay for goods and services online has the potential to save a lot of time. vCita’s online payment software is an example of a streamlined tool that SMBs can use without any in-house tech knowledge.
8. Social Media Analytics
More and more SMBs are relying on social media to generate customers. And used in the right way, it’s an incredibly powerful tool.
Yet many companies have poor, under-developed strategies when it comes to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Social media analytics tools help businesses track the effectiveness of campaigns while generating meaningful insights from existing data. Those tools can also be used to automate a range of everyday tasks on social platforms.
9. Travel Expenses Tracking
Travel expenses represent a major cost for many SMBs. This spending is also usually difficult to track.
A dedicated corporate travel management solution can help you get a grip on travel expenses, leading to reduced costs, full tax compliance, and less employee time spent on making travel and hotel arrangements.
While none of the tools listed here will transform your business, they will provide incremental gains. And that’s what your tech stack is really about. By building a suite of individual apps that boost efficiency in small ways, you’ll realize large gains over the long-term.
Don’t be afraid to trial different solutions to see if they work for you. Most are inexpensive, intuitive, and will integrate with your existing software.