The Future Of Business
How can we best utilise new technology trends to grow our business? The innovative small business has the upper hand by having the mobility and quick reflexes to adopt new technologies.
For instance, as a huge market switches to internet-capable smart mobile phones, this “mobile internet” represents a business opportunity for small companies. For starters, those with a website could make it
accessible for customers on these devices with a mobile version (i.e. scale down your present website and buy a .mobi domain name, tailored to mobile users).
The second-way small business can capitalise on the switch to mobile data is by designing “apps” (or applications) themselves. Many of the most popular smartphone apps were built by small businesses – some to find your way around, some to help you choose a wine, and some to monitor your Mac or iPhone.
Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research believes that one of the top 10 trends of the next decade demand for useable and practical online tools. In the last decade Web, 2.0 emerged — i.e. social networking and user-generated content — but now the novelty has faded.
“Like any new technology the first wave Of fun and entertainment is replaced by a focus on utility and practicality and this is what the decade ahead will bring.”
The Aussie company Mobbiexpress International has developed software that is very practical – it can turn any Windows Mobile device into a payment processor. With this app, tradespeople and field staff can process payments made by cash, cheque or credit card on the spot, enabling them to cut down admin time.
Using technology in customer service NO matter your level of technology, without great customer service, patronage or sales will fall. On the Sunshine Coast, where tourism and hospitality reigns, the one constant is “great service means more return trade”.
For any business with a website, providing better customer support is imperative. Email response is too slow for those impatient to get an answer. But how can small operations provide dedicated staff and support on a tight budget?
One way is to offer live support on the website a live chat session with a representative answers all the customer’s concerns. Commonly asked questions can be cut and pasted into the live chat window, but always the customer has the answer right away. This has proven to be a great way to create that much-needed human connection.
Another way is to ensure leads are followed up automatically.
Usually a micro business doesn’t have the sales force to interest, educate and convert leads. This is where an automated marketing system is the most helpful. There are many kinds Of email marketing systems available nowadays, but relatively few have the power of CRM (customer relationship management) like Infusionsoft.
Integrating CRM software with email marketing and website activities, Infusionsoft is designed to make the customer follow-up and trust-building process easier. When you have a contact manager tied to email marketing, this captured data allows the sending of specific personal messages by email, fax or text. It is
ideal for target marketing based on preferences the customer has shown.
A business called Alkaway in Byron Bay have applied this system. Through tracking of clicked links and email sign-up options, Alkaway was able to target new marketing to those people who had previously shown an interest in water alkaliser systems and were closer to making a buying decision. Since implementing Infusionsoft in mid-2009, Alkaway has doubled its sales and reduced its sales team by one member.