Young companies face a variety of challenges. They need to develop a product consumers want, of course. But there are too-often ignored tasks, such as administrative tasks, financing and staffing on top of that. These challenges can mount and cause an overload that can have some pretty tragic results. In fact, two-thirds of all small businesses fail in the first two years, and only half are still running half a decade after starting up. While the competition is fierce, there are a number of steps you can take to keep your small business competitive.
We’ve put together three tips to help you take advantage of trends so your business won’t become a statistic.
Cloud Storage and Payment Apps
Not too long ago, small business owners had to wear even more hats than they do today. They were responsible for building and maintaining their own internal infrastructure that consumed significant amounts of capital. Today, there are a myriad of apps that simplify or automate key functions, often for a low cost. File storage is a great example. Rather than purchase expensive servers to contain all of the data your business needs backed up, you can take advantage of cloud storage. Box or Dropbox are both examples of services that you can use to securely store your company’s information. Payment processing has also been streamlined. For example, Square has created card readers that seamlessly integrate with tablets or smartphones to accept payments from customers anywhere, anytime.
Automate Administrative Tasks For Your Small Business
Employees of a small businesses are typically pressed for time. They have to juggle multiple responsibilities. However, studies have found that multitasking is actually less productive than single tasking. Automating administrative tasks will allow your employees more time to focus on adding value to the organization. Start with phone answering services: hiring virtual receptionists can ensure customers and vendors will be able to pick up the phone at any time and speak to a live person trained to route calls quickly and efficiently. You won’t miss important messages, not even after hours, when you outsource to an answering service. Voicemail can’t do that.
Take Advantage of the Gig Economy
Technology is changing the way businesses work. Companies have never been more connected to their customers, and potential hires have never been more connected to companies looking to find good employees. Anyone with a smartphone can offer her services, which is what we now know as ‘the gig economy.’ Need to deliver goods to your customers? You can have Uber Rush deliver. No need to contract with a trucking company. Need help with a project, but only for a day? Services like TaskRabbit can match your business with the appropriate freelancer. It’s often just a few swipes on your smartphone to quickly access the skill or service you need.
Saving time and money? Who doesn’t like that? And, a small business owner needs to cut costs and time in any way that won’t negatively impact their product or service.
Apply this to your small business
As you can see, there are plenty of tools you can use for your small business to be competitive. Automation, storage, and an on-demand workforce can all be accessed with a smartphone. Running a small business isn’t an easy task. But, it is easier than ever thanks to tech advances in just the last few years. It’s now possible to get a business off the ground with fewer employees and the right applications have allowed to cut costs in all the right places.