By Bryan Orr
Don’t get me wrong, technology can be a blessing and a curse. You just invested in a new computer system or software, only to find out that it’s already outdated. While it may feel complicated, there are situations where avoiding technology will actually result in inefficiency and missed opportunities.
So let’s go over a few examples of small business technology that have helped businesses all over the world, mine included.
1. Cloud-Based Phone Lines (VoIP)
There are many advantages to a cloud-based phone system for a small business. It gives you ability to seamlessly transfer calls from onsite to offsite staff and vice versa at any time, as well as receive voicemail and faxes straight to email. Some of the best options in VoIP are RingCentral and Jive but there are many more, and you should consider all of your options.
2. Live Chat
It may sound so 2005, but live chat is making a comeback. While initially live chat was seen as a gimmick, smart devices have made online access seamless and convenient, and many people would rather ask a quick question on your website versus making a phone call. If you have phone staff, they can also be trained to monitor services like Olark to answer questions right on your website from current and future customers.
3. Video Surveillance
Nobody likes big brother watching, unless you are a business owner making sure that nobody is stealing. You may have thought video surveillance is too pricey and made for the big shots, but you can pick up a very functional system with multiple cameras for $300 – $1200 that can be monitored onsite and remotely via the web or phone app.
This serves the purpose of being able to check on your facility easily, even after hours. It can deter criminals as well as employees from the temptation to “take a few from company stock,” and if necessary, you can confirm what has and has not been taken.
4. Smart Calendars
Let’s say you are talking to a client or a colleague and you would like to meet up in the future, but both of you have full schedules. We have all experienced the annoying back and forth that can ensue when you are trying to work out the details. There are now several smart calendars that not only allow you to sync up multiple calendars in one place, but they give you ability to share multiple times / dates that work for you to have a meeting and let the other person pick which one works best for them.
Sunrise is the most simple and easy to use (and happens to be my favorite), Schedule Once allows access to your entire calendar for the other person and Doodle allows you to coordinate meetings for more than two attendees.
What areas do you see the need for technology software in your business?
How will you move forward to incorporate it?