Meta description: A small business needs as much IT as a big business. Here are the needs of IT that should be met in a small business.
Good, fully-fledged IT is not a preserve of the big businesses only, but even the small businesses can profit a lot. Information technology is an important aspect of any business however big or small since all functions in a business involve the flow of information, automation and other needs. You cannot afford to ignore information technology for your small business.
Benefits of IT for a small business
• It makes work easier and faster by automating tasks and processes
• Faster flow of information
• Streamlines communication
• Improves co-ordination of tasks and human resources
• Proper storage of information for future reference( archives)
• Cuts human resource costs
• Adds value to the business by providing data which can be mined for important marketing information
10 IT needs that are crucial for a small business
1. Communication systems
Communication is so important a function in any business. Efficient communication means information has to be handled properly, dispensed to the right people and acted upon to derive value from it and increase the ROI.
IT ensures efficiency in communication through email, chat rooms, video and web conferencing, VoIP and many more.
Proper communication ensures proper coordination of activities, role clarity and synergy of individual efforts. The work of the IT team is to ensure that everyone in the business can access whatever information they want, conveniently.
Setting up a computer network, for example, so that employees do not waste time moving from one place to another to search for information works very well. This empowers your employees.
2. Internet connection
This is an important detail of IT. Today, many things are done online. Installing quality internet is very important for the business. Today, smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops use WI-FI. In case a computer fails, employees can use their company-issued cellphone or tablet for some transactions. Make sure you are up to date in terms of internet connectivity.
3. Automated marketing
Marketing is the process of anticipating the consumer needs and attending to them in a way that is profitable to your business. Marketing is perhaps the most important function in a business and today, it has been made much easier by the internet. Data-driven marketing is a reality, ensuring more targeted marketing and higher returns on investment.
Automated marketing involves the marketing automation administrator who should work with the IT team, the lead marketer who should always be in contact with consumers and the content manager who creates content for the website to include relevant information the business’ products and services.
4. Integrated marketing
This phenomenon exists to ensure that all people are involved in fostering the growth of a small business. This includes customers, stakeholders, the marketing department and the IT team.
Information technology ensures that every kind of data regarding the small business is obtained from everyone, to make the business more profitable. You have to harness all the information for the benefit of your small business. Of course, for this, the IT team will be playing the most crucial role.
5. Establishing an e-human resource system
However small your business is, getting the right talent and putting them to the right job is very important. Your employees, partners and sponsors data is very important. Information technology helps in the collection, storage and the retrieval of such.
Today, you can even recruit employees using online exam software that will help you get all the information you need about potential employees. The software evaluates the data, analyses it and gets you the right candidate for the job faster than a human panel of interviewers would get you one.
6. Social media communication
Today, not only can businesses promote their brand on the social media networks, but they can also market their products widely by setting up shop on platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. They can also find great talent on networks like LinkedIn, a network for professionals. If you can have your IT team execute a social media strategy, you will have great brand exposure and many visitors coming to your website from social media.
7. Project management software
A small business will also run some projects, just like the big businesses. IT has made managing projects very easy. If it is a big project, you will have different teams working on it. With the right project management software, the teams do not have to meet physically to work on the project or even to communicate.
Today’s project management software, like Copper, come with inbuilt chat rooms where members can chat or post information that will be accessed by others as soon as they log-in or if they are already logged in, in real time.
8. Accounting software
Accounting keeps track of the cash flow. Therefore, you need to have your money well managed so that you can account for every penny flowing in and out of your business.
Accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero and MS Money will help you in computing accounting data, archiving the information and coming up with comprehensive reports. You will cut the cost of having several accountants. Just one is enough.
9. Mobile technology
Advertise on mobile. You should have the IT team execute a mobile strategy, because every day, an average mobile user will glance at their smartphone at least 150 times a day.
Mobile technology enables you and your customers to access business information at any time, wherever you are. For example, the online project management software is supported on smartphone technology to enable follow up on the progress of your project at your own convenience.
10. Cloud-based phone system
This phone system is hosted on cloud. Information is exchanged through the internet. Instead of having phone bills, and tons of wires, a cloud phone system is digital. You will therefore avoid paperwork and use less storage space on your computer. This makes it less expensive and easy to use. At the end of the day, running your business will be improved.
Features of cloud based phone system
a) Message management - You can monitor the messages and voice calls
b) Call forwarding - You can forward calls to your support team, customer service desk, project team and any other department.
c) Voicemail - Cloud allows you to record voicecalls, set up multiple voice calls and read the calls online.
d) Cell phone setup: You can configure your business cell phones to enable them receive calls on the cloud- based system.
Benefits of cloud based phone system in your business
• Promotes a good image for your business
• Cost efficient due to easy set up and no extra hardware costs
• Flexible, mobile and productive business operations