How to use technology to grow your business
Technology is faster, cheaper and easier to implement than ever before and ambitious businesses should be constantly looking at how it can help them power ahead.
Lynne Wilson, Partner at Azets discusses how technology can power up and grow your SME.
Understand how technology can help your business
There are four key ways that technology can help your business grow.
Firstly, it can help you collect and analyse data generated by your business which you can use to improve. Instead of waiting until the end of the month when your accountant does your books, technology-driven apps can give you real time information about which customers are making you money, where you are winning most business, whether your business and marketing plans are working, which employees are more productive, and so on. You can harness this data to meet your project goals and increase business growth.
Secondly, technology can help you automate your business, whether that is automating your customer support/acquisition, production flow, inventory, sales fulfilment or administrative and accounting processes. Some tasks that previously were largely manually based can now be largely automated and can give you a lot of time back to focus on growth.
Thirdly, technology can improve collaboration and connections in your business. Tools such as Microsoft 365, Slack and Trello are extremely powerful in this regard and very effective at making your team work together better.
Finally, technology can help you acquire more customers with tools which range from an automated email or social media campaign to integrated CRM marketing systems that target specific types of customers.
Create an implementation plan
As an existing business, you need to think tactically about how you improve what you do by using technology. That means it is really important to plan how you are going to do it, and then take it a step at a time. Create a plan which starts with what your customers want and works back to how you are going to deliver a compelling product or service and then consider what this means for your teams, processes and systems.
Make sure you understand strategically how you want to evolve your business model and then think critically about the technology implementation process to start making those changes. Too many times businesses try and do it all at once and fail.
In the next section of this guide, we highlight the first building blocks to consider when implementing technology in your business.
Don’t take your eye off the rest of your business
Some businesses view technology as being the answer to everything. It is not. It is a very important and powerful tool, but it is important not to forget about the other aspects of your business, whether that is your staff and how you are helping them develop their skills, understanding your customers, or the financial health of your business. Businesses that are focused on being tech-enabled to the exclusion of everything else will not succeed because they are forgetting about the other core elements of the business.
Monitor your technology requirements on a regular ongoing basis
Just like your business strategy, plan, and modelling, using technology in your business is a continual process. So once you have decided how to use it, make sure you regularly measure and review its effectiveness to check it is delivering the benefits you expected it to. If it isn’t, then fix the problem, either by reconfiguring the technology you have, or by finding a better alternative.
Top tips to use technology to grow your business
- Technology will impact almost every part of a business. So, whoever you put in charge of technology needs to understand how to embed the right blend of business change through Technology, People and Process.
- If in doubt about what kind of technology will work best for your business, seek expert professional advice. It is also useful to access technology funding or expertise through Regional and National BEIS (Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) Support Networks.
- Start with a clear plan addressing problems or opportunities you want to solve first e.g. free up time or win more customers. Don’t try and fix everything at once!
For more information on how you can use technology to power up your SME business, contact Lynne Wilson, by emailing [email protected] or call 01738 441 888.