used with permission from HP Technology at Work
For small businesses across the country, it’s easy to maintain the status quo. After all, change, particularly when related to technology, can be costly to incorporate and uncomfortable to implement. Yet, if small businesses are to compete and grow in an ever-evolving marketplace, leaders must keep their eyes and minds open to technology’s possibilities.
But is your business embracing technology’s promise or accepting the status quo?
According to the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) 2013 Small Business Technology Survey, one in four small business owners do not use a smartphone, social media or collect customer information, while more than 70 percent avoid selling their products or services online .
Here in tech-charged 2014, those figures are worrisome, especially as half of the NSBA’s survey respondents reported that their business is becoming more dependent on technology and seven out of ten claimed keeping up with technology was “very important” to their company’s success. Words are simply not matching reality.
Here are four reasons why your small business cannot ignore technology’s pulse:
Technology heightens efficiencies
Remember heading to the bank with a stack of endorsed checks to deposit? From the mobile apps of banking giants, to online money transfer sites like PayPal, technology can now save small business leaders time and energy with more efficient, streamlined processes.
In addition to banking, small businesses can leverage software such as QuickBooks, Zenefits, Xero or ADP’s RUN to manage payroll and benefits, schedule labor, track invoices and tackle other time-consuming administrative tasks. With the resulting efficiencies, small business leaders can devote more time to business-driving initiatives such as partnerships and innovation.
Technology improves access
Though cloud computing has grown exponentially in recent years, 57 percent of small businesses do not utilize virtual technologies , hampering virtual access in an on-the-go world. By moving to the cloud, team members can work remotely on any number of devices, which sharpens productivity and collaboration.
Technology increases access to customers and colleagues beyond the cloud as well. From teleconferences and social media to business apps and websites optimized for smartphones and tablets, technology connects us in convenient, lively ways, resulting in enhanced communications and stronger relationships.
Technology generates business insights
In the age of Big Data, the lack of any data weakens an organization’s ability to make informed decisions about marketing initiatives, product or service extensions, pricing and more. Today, a range of customer relationship management (CRM) tools—from Salesforce and Solve360 to Insightly and Pipedrive—provide small businesses the means to collect, store, search and analyze customer data, all of which can provide rich insights into sales leads, monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and, ultimately, improve strategy and performance.
Technology pushes sales
While online sales bring security concerns and some businesses see little value in an e-commerce platform, the fact remains that people have become accustomed to purchasing online and potential sales can vanish if businesses do not have a clear way for online visitors to immediately purchase goods and services. Furthermore, few small businesses utilize mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems. With this handy technology, sales staff or field workers can process sales, run numbers and check product availability on the sales floor to better service customers and secure sales—actions that power performance.
In an ever-quickening, competitive world, technology allows small businesses to run faster, smarter and more dynamic enterprises. With an open mind toward adopting the technological innovations that make sense for your organization, you’ll be better positioned to capture customers, solutions and results.
So where is your business headed and how can technology propel your evolution?
 National Small Business Association, 2013 Small Business Technology Survey
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Bryan Antepara: IT Specialist
Bryan Antepara is a leader in Cloud engagements with a demonstrated history of digital transformation of business processes with the user of Microsoft Technologies powered by the team of eMazzanti Technologies engineers.
Bryan has a strong experience working with Office 365 cloud solutions, Business Process, Internet Information Services (IIS), Microsoft Office Suite, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Customer Service.
He has the ability to handle the complexity of moving data in and out of containers and cloud sessions, makes him the perfect candidate to help organizations large and small migrate to new and more efficient platforms. Bryan is a graduate of the University of South Florida and is Microsoft Certification holder.