In a down economy like we are experiencing now, there is a silver lining for business owners in the area of technology and how it benefits business growth. Like everything else, buyers have an edge. There are a few things you can do to make technology work for your business
1. See money on technology as an investment–not as a cost.
Many small business owners see money spent on technology as a cost rather as an investment in tools that will help the bottom line. Yet, these same business owners do not think twice about spending money on attorneys, CPAs, insurance and the like. Spending money on technology is often put off until something breaks, or they try to avoid it altogether. This ends up being a costly mistake in the long run.
Technology is meant to help your business grow by automating processes or making some activities more efficient. With increased efficiencies comes huge savings in labor costs and higher returns in customer satisfaction rate. The right investment today can turn into a high return in three, four or five years from now.
2. Invest in a good CRM.
Many business owners tend to use Microsoft Outlook as the core foundation of their business. It is often the main engine for managing e-mails, customer contacts, meeting notes, sales forecast, sheduling, calendaring and the like. While that works for most, it does not do a whole lot in terms of increasing sales to current customers. More important, it is very limited in terms of giving you tools to know everything you can about each customer. This task is what Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are for.
When a customer buys from you, chats with your sales rep and maybe returns a product, a true CRM product or service can help you mine this data and use it to know more about your customers.