Swimming strongly within a relentless current of global data will continue to prove as instinctive and essential to the survival of any business in 2017 as breathing to finishing a marathon. The difference being, imagine a marathon that doubles in length a meter before every finish line and winds into starkly contrasted terrain every mile or so.
As was discussed in a report by Domo, “Data is exploding faster than our ability to put our arms around it, so you’re going to have to adapt. The right answer on Monday is never going to be the right answer on Tuesday.” Just this once, “exploding” might prove a woefully modest descriptor. Five years ago, the internet connected roughly 2 billion users worldwide. At the same time, around 4 billion people around the world owned cell phones. Half a decade of cumulative 60-percent global population growth later, mobile devices now outnumber human beings and generate over 18 million megabytes of data every single minute in the United States alone.
Luckily, this growing technology is very helpful to businesses. Below are a few ways technology can accelerate the growth and development of your business.
Be More Versatile
Tapping into this perpetually moving, rising stream of information allows more businesses to both get more done and remain constantly connected from more remote locations today than at any time in history.
For example, time-tracking software can tabulate how you and your staff allocate your time so you can then streamline your productivity using project and task management tools to pace your daily responsibilities, digital filing solution to more quickly organize documents, and reasonably priced open-source applications that seamlessly replace pricier name-brand products.
Get More Done
While you occupy yourself with making it simpler to maximize your company’s daily output, why not make it effortless to accomplish nearly anything you would in your physical office from anyplace in the world? A mobile office network means never having to lose productivity to anything that keeps you from your desk. Going paperless inevitably saves vast money on storage and supplies for your physical workspace. Any remote desktop application chosen from an available plethora can instantly retrieve files saved to your office computer. An electronic fax line and virtual phone number will route communications directly to your smartphone for instant access to you the moment you are needed.
Manage Money More Effectively
Every business decision you make revolves around your long-term bottom line. Inform your spending with a deep well of data and open, clear channels for passing it to and from your hands. Online invoicing services will dramatically reduce unnecessary monthly spending just to collect from your customers. You can verify those savings exactly, among others, using paperless, efficient online budget tracking, tax filing, and comprehensive accounting software that enables smooth file sharing between you and your accountants or bookkeepers. Making your products available online may even open a brand-new revenue stream that re-invents your business entirely.
More Engaging Marketing
Let your detailed new insights into your company’s finances inform how you adapt your marketing from one quarter to the next. The right software suite can create an all-inclusive marketing plan you and your team can edit, revise, and share in an instant. Your strategy should always include promotional plans to optimize product and service awareness through such ubiquitous social platforms as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as a blog geared toward establishing your business as a leading industry resource in the eyes of your customers. Video marketing and cross-promotion lend themselves well to any and all these avenues, particularly when you add an opt-in email list that regularly reminds subscribers of upcoming events on each platform. Wherever your customers talk about you, join the conversation before the conversation controls you.
More Isn’t Always Best
Choose your technology wisely based on what you can fluently integrate with your existing network. You won’t make any headway connecting most new devices without a reliable wireless infrastructure and some due diligence verifying that all your assets are compatible with each other.
Small businesses can make themselves easy marks for malicious hacks by skimping on appropriate system protections or simply being priced out of what larger companies can afford. To put a number to it, around 42 percent of small business owners regularly express grave concerns about vulnerability to cyber-crimes. Let nothing go live without first confirming all certificates, blocking spam, and locking in every possible security measure.
Today’s small business owners fairly uniformly trust the same set of essential tools. Around 41 percent of entrepreneurs cite tablets and smartphones as their most indispensable tech. Aside from mobile devices, 21 percent of owners depended strongest on social technologies and another 15 percent considered cloud services their most imperative assets.
Every one of these categories shares a common caveat: failing to secure any of them will almost always eventually invite disastrous information theft. Leave no wireless router unencrypted and no device without some stout anti-virus software. Most importantly, thoroughly educate your employees on both the cost of a major hack and their roles in protecting sensitive information from becoming compromised.
If you are not keeping pace with the evolution of data around the world, your business is falling behind it. On the other hand, with a realistic budget, a sound plan customized to your carefully thought-out needs, and intensive integration, it can offer innumerable edges over your competition and guide your company to the head of your industry’s pack.