Today the most successful brands are engaging with their customers around the clock – leaving the standard 9 to 5 working day a thing of the past. While customers’ expectations have changed, so have the expectations of work hours as there’s increasing demand on real-time conversations and collaboration through multiple channels. So what’s an SME business owner to do? How can you meet the challenges of the new ways of working? How can you increase productivity?
The answer is technology and it’s not as hard as you think – listed in this blog are the top productivity enhancing solutions for SMEs.
Increasing use of cloud platforms has had a major impact on the way SMEs do business. The open-all-hours, accessible-from-anywhere nature of the cloud means that you and your employees can continue to be productive and optimise customer service anytime, anywhere. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. Examples include Microsoft’s Office Online, an internet-only version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and Google Drive, accessed via your web browser without installing anything. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, especially for SMEs, as it enables them to stay competitive. Cloud technology is also cost-effective. Usually its available on a subscription basis meaning there’s no significant initial investment and greater cost certainty.
Mobile technologies in the shape of tablets, smartphones and laptops are supporting increased collaboration and productivity while out and about. It means that your field service personnel, sales people or any staff who are on the road can provide a much more responsive service to customers through presentations, video and online applications to sign new customers up on the spot. It also means that staff remain productive even when they’re away from the main office. And so whether it’s to check up on some data prior to a client meeting, or to catch up on the latest company news while commuting to work, mobile technologies mean that staff can remain connected and productive wherever they are.
Bartercard is a tool to conserve cash in your business every day, mybc Bartercard’s online trading platform lets you shop 24/7 to source business essentials without opening your wallet. Visit mybc.bartercard.com to access convenient trading anytime, anywhere. Just like mybc, the Bartercard Mobile App lets you conduct business right in the palm of your hand and trade instantly with a few taps on your smartphone. Use the app to find businesses around you, pay an invoice, process a sale and view your available balance - just search Bartercard in the App Store or Google Play.
Many SMEs are using video conferencing technology, whether it’s Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts to keep in touch with customers, suppliers or employees in different locations. Video conferencing means that you’ll stay connected while minimising the travel time and expenses associated with visiting contacts and attending meetings.
In a world full of noise and distractions, some SMEs have gone down the route of introducing noise-cancelling technology and stereo headsets. Whether you’re working in the office or from the local café, this technology boosts concentration to stay focused on the task at hand.
Rise to the challenge
There’s no doubt that the business landscape has changed dramatically. Give your SME the best chance embracing these technologies, and see your business increase its competitiveness and productivity as a result.