Is your business still running the way it was five, 10, or even 15 years ago? If so, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to improve operations through digital innovations. Today’s post from the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce will cover a few of the best ways to bring your business up to date. These include having an authoritative online presence, using the right accounting software, adopting a business process management framework, spearheading a social media campaign, and using data to make decisions.
To be competitive within all industries, you have to have a web presence that shows you’re available, knowledgeable, and willing to adapt. Remember, your website is not only your online real estate but also serves as a snapshot of your business for prospective customers. And, in a world where most decisions are driven based on information found online, you can’t afford to have an outdated website. Your site should be mobile, attractive, and provide value to your customers, according to Constant Contact.
Modern Accounting Practices
You can also utilize digital tools and services for your company’s accounting software. For example, if you run a construction business, cloud construction software will help you stay organized so that you can keep track of purchases and get the maximum deductions come tax time. Another important function of your accounting software is that it helps you track your business expenditures and makes it easier for you to keep your personal and business funds separate. Small businesses should pay close attention to how they spend their personal and professional money as there can be serious legal implications to commingling funds.
Protect Against Cyber Threats
As businesses move more towards digital processes, they must also be intentional about increasing their cyber security methods. Start by educating your employees on the need for cybersecurity, and ensure that they know how to identify a fraudulent or phishing email. It’s also best to install dual factor authentication for your systems, too.
If your business sends a lot of important information through digital methods, switch from simple .doc or .docx files to PDFs as they can be easily password protected. Sometimes people are nervous about PDFs, but your employees can edit a PDF easily by adding comments, virtual sticky notes, and highlighting sections. Once they are done reviewing the file, they will need to go to Tools and then select Protect. From there, select Encrypt and then Encrypt with Password, and their reviewed PDF can have a password added for security purposes.
Streamline Through BPM
BPM, or business process management, simply refers to software and processes that help you work more efficiently. When implemented properly, BPM can help you be more efficient, spend less money, find and implement improvements, and automate where possible. The Association for Intelligent Information Management explains that BPM is not a one-time process, but a continual solution.
Before you begin, make sure that you understand prioritization and business process management and what it can do for your business. Importantly, as you begin your digital transformation endeavors, the simple act of improving operations may even encourage your employees to give it their all, which can even help you segue into digital technologies that you’re not familiar with. Make sure that you constantly monitor everything, and don’t be shy about making changes that improve your BPM endeavors.
Social Media Matters
Even if you already have a website and efficiency processes in place, you’ll also want to make sure that you dive into the Digital Age with an immersive social media presence. According to Rev Local, this can boost your search engine rankings, drive traffic to your site, and increase brand awareness.
Social media is no longer simply a place to connect with friends and family. It is a technology-based marketing channel necessary to the strategy of any successful small business. But there is no one-sized strategy that’s perfect for each business and platform. The demographics of each platform are different and require an approach tailored to the intended audience.
Data is the backbone of every business decision, or at least it should be. Even if you prefer to lead by intuition, numbers and statistics don’t lie. Pull data from different sources, such as your accounting software and social media analytics, to help you see where improvements might be made that help you run your business more efficiently.
Technology has made businesses more accessible than ever, and your competition knows that. Don’t let them get ahead. Taking advantage of advances like accounting software and processes like BPM can help you innovate and stand out in a sea of others vying for your customers’ dollars. The above are just a few suggestions; the best way to find out where you need to improve is to ask your customers and employees. Remember, they are the ones who are most affected by your business, and when they are happy, you’ll be happy.
Interested in what other local businesses are doing to flourish and grow? Join your local Chamber of Commerce for networking, business resources, and more.