Twenty years or so ago, IT was pretty much just a big old computer, maybe a basic webpage if you were really ahead of the game, unreliable dial-up internet, and floppy discs. Jump forward a decade or two, and well, pretty much everything in an office or workplace is controlled by a computer in some way, and advancements in information technology are steamrolling ahead in a way that no one could have ever predicted.
To be successful in an age where almost everything is digital, it is essential that you have more than a basic understanding of IT and how it can help your business move forward. Fall behind in the digital world, and you will soon find yourself lagging behind your peers and competitors in the industry, whichever one that may be.
Almost every business in the western world is visible on social media. It is becoming the primary form of communication, not only between friends and family but between a company, client and customer. More and more people are moving away from traditional phone calls, text messages and emails and are using social media to do all of these. It is now the easiest way of communicating with your target audience on a meaningful and personal level and is a relatively low-cost way of marketing your business. By creating exciting and relevant content, you can engage with existing customers, reach out to new ones and promote your products and services to a global audience.
Gone are the days of storing files and documents on floppy discs, CD-Roms and USB sticks. Now, it is all about the cloud storage systems. From Google Drive to Dropbox, and other more industry-specific ones, you can store and access information from pretty much anywhere in the world.
Workflow Management Tools
Remember the times when you would have to send memos to arrange meetings and appointments, or even pick up the phone? Well, it is all a lot more simple these days. Using a workflow management tool allow you to communicate with other members of your team, allocate tasks and schedule meetings, all within a few clicks of a button and from anywhere. There is no excuse for missing that meeting nowadays!
From tills and CCTV to clocking in and out systems such as https://getsling.com/blog/best-time-clock-for-small-businesses/, you will find all manner of external hardware that you can access on your computer. The data generated by these can help you to run your business more effectively, especially if they are part of an automated process such as stock checking or wage generating. This sort of system takes away the need of someone continually monitoring things or entering data, saving you time and money.
Search Engine Optimization
If you’re a business owner in the 21st century, you will have a website or at the very least a blog. Even for the most technophobic person, these are relatively easy to build and manage, although if you want it to be really professional, you may want to think about a website management company. Once you have got your website up and running to get it ranked high enough in search engines to be visible to potential customers, you need to get a grasp of search engine optimization, or SEO. This is not as tricky as it sounds. Basically, it is thinking carefully about the keywords that people looking for your website would use, and putting them into content. There are various pieces of software and plug-ins available to help you to do this, but of course, there are always professionals out there ready to help you get your website noticed.
Accounting and Payment
Gone are the times when all your accounts and bookkeeping would be done in ledger and books, and paper invoices were handwritten and posted out to customers. Now, it’s all about the accounting systems. Invoices are sent digitally, and customers can pay online using a variety of methods, including PayPal. Expenses are recorded and totaled up and stored ready for when it comes to the end of that financial period. There are no more bundles of receipts to sort through and tally up – no, it’s all done digitally these days!
From hardware, software, SEO, social media or cloud storage systems, there are plenty of concepts and programs that you need to get your head around if you are starting up or developing new business. In this article, we look at some of the most important things to think about.
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