9 tech resolutions for your business
Investing in technology can be a challenge for entrepreneurs. But if done properly, information and communications technology (ICT) can be a game-changer for your business. It can boost productivity, accelerate sales, and even open up new markets. Here are nine resolutions to help ensure your business reaps the benefits.
1 – Evaluate your ICT status – Take an objective look at your current ICT status. How are your systems performing? Where could you improve your company's competitiveness by adding technology? Use this check-up to decide what current systems need to be optimized and which ones you need to add to meet your strategic goals. Then undertake a careful system selection process including requesting proposals from a number of vendors. Added bonus: A clear ICT plan can put you on firmer ground with financial partners if you need a loan.
2 – Create an online strategy – Start with a little planning. What are your website's goals? Is it to inform customers? To sell your products online? How does your online presence tie in to your overall business plan? A well-defined online strategy will help ensure your investments in this area pay off with higher sales and better customer service.
3 – Optimize your website – A website is your company's virtual storefront. Yet, many sites are poorly designed or don't fit well with overall business strategy. Make sure your site isn't text heavy and doesn't require endless scrolling or clicking to find information. Prominently feature your contact details and a call to action. Also, ensure the site is optimized to rank highly on Internet searches of importance to your business.
4 – Get busy on social media – Create a social media strategy, starting with monitoring what's being said about your business. Then, if you haven't already done so, create your own presence on the main social media sites to mark your territory, manage your brand and engage with customers. Remember: social media is about the soft sell. Aim to interact with your audience by being helpful and supportive. Aggressive marketing is a turn-off.
5 – Engage employees – Involve your employees throughout major ICT investment planning and decisions to ensure not only their buy-in, but also that you're benefitting from their expertise and deep knowledge about your business.
6 – Consider a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system – Think about a CRM system to help ensure you understand your customers better and capitalize on sales opportunities. It will help you centralize all customer information, give customers more personalized service and follow up properly with prospects.
7 – Explore productivity tools – Consider implementing productivity-enhancing tools. Examples include clock-in software, inventory management systems or full-fledged supply chain management systems.
8 – Consider an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system – Saddled with an inefficient patchwork of computer systems in different parts of your business? Consider an ERP system, an all-purpose software with modules for everything from accounting to inventory, human resources, finances and operations.
9 – Keep on top of tech security – Be sure you have an ICT security policy covering such areas as acceptable use, password guidelines, security practices and rules for downloading software. Then make sure it's followed throughout your company. Also be sure to back up data regularly.
BDC's consulting and financing experts can show you how to make the most of ICT in your business. Visit its Smart Tech section to find a wealth of information, advice and free online tools.
Canada's business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 1,900 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital and consulting services to 29,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity. To find out more go to the BDC website.
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