Do you remember the last time you went to a new city and tried to find a place using a paper map? Technology has become an essential part of our everyday lives and it has improved a lot of our everyday activities. The truth is it moves so fast it can be scary, and if you’re not ready for it, the change can be hard, especially when it’s about implementing business technology in your company.
But, what exactly are we referring to when we’re talking about business technology? It means that nowadays businesses rely on technological tools and innovations of different kinds to optimize their business processes. The same way it’s faster to share a picture of your trip to all your friends on Facebook, instead of waiting to print and mail it, it’s also faster to update and manage the inventory of your business with a Point of Sales (POS) system.
Using technology for your business is a no-brainer, it can either improve the processes you already have or create different ways to work more efficiently, allowing you to save time and money. We know that adapting to something new can hard, especially if you’re not too tech savvy, but you can always take little steps towards change.
4 Top Technology Systems You Should Invest In
If you’re still confused about what business technology systems would be more suitable for you, we shortlisted four that we believe are key to a small business.
1. Point of Sale System
The point of sale system or POS helps you keep all your transactions and operations information in one place. It’s a combination of a software and a hardware where your customers make their purchases.
This type of business technology can have a lot of features, depending on the product you purchase and the need of your company. But, some of the most common are:
- Sales Reporting: to collect data from all your transactions and help you analyze it to make better business decisions.
- Customer Management: to keep your customers’ information, their transactions and help you with your marketing needs.
- Inventory Management: to keep track of your stock and get alerts when you need to re-order products.
- Employee Management: to manage your employee’s schedules, arrival times, tasks and even payroll.
When it comes to hardware, the main elements of a point of sale system to complete a transaction are the register screen, credit card reader, barcode scanner, cash drawer and receipt printer.
As with any other system, the price you can pay for a POS can vary depending on how simple or how advanced you want it. For a small business, the hardware prices can go from $1,000 to $1,500 for a modern cloud-based system, plus $39-$99 per month for the software license.
2. Customer Relationship Management
Better known as CRM, it’s a system that stores and manages all your business relationships data like personal information, accounts, and sales. This can be a useful system when you work with different partners to provide your service or sell your products, or when you have an e-commerce business.
A CRM gives an overall view of your business to everyone in your company. Being able to access sales information, marketing developments and customer service issues help your employees have a better understanding of your business and will allow them to make better decisions for their roles. This type of business technology can have all sorts of features that go from basic to advanced. As a small business, it’s better to start little by little with a basic CRM and make the changes according to your business growth.
The prices vary depending on the provider you use, but they’re usually charged per user per month. The price range goes from $35 to $95. You can also find free CRM systems, but they’re usually very limited when it comes to reporting and analysis.
3. Security Technologies
If you already have a Point of Sales System or CRM, the next big thing you want to invest in is a Security System for your small business. With so much information out there and with so many cloud-based systems, you need to protect your business at all costs.
To highlight the importance of it, you should know that 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses and 60% go out of business within six months (Source: Small Business BC). What can you do about it?
There’s a lot of security solutions for small business that cover all sorts of security issues: protection against virus, network security with firewall or encryption, secure password generators, mobile security, and VPN. It all sounds amazingly overwhelming but it’s important to get yourself trained or hire someone who has more knowledge about it for the safety of your business.
The prices of all the services together can go vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars; of course, it depends on the size of your business and your needs.
You probably have heard this word before, but are you aware of the meaning? An intranet is a private network a company uses to communicate, share information and manage employees internally. Only the people who work in a business have access to it.
This type of business technology is extremely useful if you run a company where employees are allowed to work remotely. Most of the intranet services offer internal chats, task management, and file sharing systems. You can be sure that with one of these systems, the information will stay inside the company’s property.
For example, if you share your financial report via Facebook Messenger, your information can be read even by Facebook, or if the account gets hacked, by someone else. But when you keep your information and file sharing inside the network of your company, it’s less risky and only the people you choose can have access to it.
The pricing for an intranet service is very similar to the security system, it varies a lot depending on the number of users, features, customization, support, etc. It can also go from thousands to millions of dollars. Depending on your business needs, you can evaluate if an investment like this is worth it.
Other Business Technology Systems
There are a lot of recent technology innovations, and the scope keeps changing and evolving. Still, we believe the solutions we just presented are the most suitable to get started with your small business. Little by little you can start implementing other technologies as your business grow and the world around us keeps changing.
Primera Taza: A Real Success Story Thanks to Business Technology
Primera Taza is a gourmet coffee shop in Boyle Heights, CA. With the advice of Camino Financial, they decided to use digital technology to perform a sales analysis. This analysis allowed them to get to know the consuming patterns of regular customers, which they used to create an ideal customer profile. This profile, in turn, was used in Primera Taza’s Facebook campaigns to successfully attract more customers.
In addition, the sales analysis made with digital technology revealed which products sold more and which ones were hardly ordered by clients. This was a valuable tool to modify the menu and make it more successful.
Finally, the sales analysis helped define better business hours for Primera Taza, since it revealed that customers came early in the morning and hardly did so late at night. Now Primera Taza remains closed at night hours, which has considerably reduced maintenance costs.
Get to know the whole history of Primera Taza here. You can follow their example!