These days, there are more tools and new technologies to help entrepreneurs run their businesses than they could ever possibly want. In this respect, there has never been a better time to start a business, or take a business to a new growth stage – yet all these endless possibilities create a new challenge. How do you decide which technologies are the right fit for your business? We caught up with some small business owners to explore how they are using technology in their businesses to help them grow. Cloud technology A lot of businesses we spoke to were singing the praises of cloud technology, which comes in all shapes and sizes, and offers a vast range of business solutions. “Cloud technology is a cash efficient way of purchasing sophisticated tools (often only requiring a monthly fee rather than a large up-front cost), which is invaluable for an early stage business that needs to prioritise investment in products and people,” said Rob Liddiard, co-founder and CEO of messaging app Yapster. “As our team work largely remotely, using shared drives such as Google drive ensure work being done is ‘real time’ rather than being reliant on team members sending the latest ‘version’ back. Also using conference calls, Face Time and Skype mean meetings can happen at anytime and anywhere, without everyone sat around a physical table,” said Nayna McIntosh, CEO and Founder of women’s fashionwear brand Hope. Aside from being cost-effective and convenient, cloud technology is also great for businesses looking to scale. COO at VE, David Marrinan-Hayes, explained: “We made the decision to migrate our servers to the cloud to help to help the business grow at a more accelerated rate. This move reduced our response time in dealing with client issues by more than 10 times, making us a far more efficient service provider as a result. “Cloud technology allows you to take on substantially more clients at once, empowering companies the deal with the extra workload that comes with successful expansion. It affords the extra resilience and flexibility that’s so important in the modern era.” If your business is struggling with a particular business process, from joint projects, working remotely, communications, marketing, or accounting, chances are there are cloud solutions out there to help tackle it. Choosing the right software Some of the businesses we spoke to also mentioned the importance of choosing the right software – if you’re spending too much time book-keeping, for example, you may benefit from investing in accounting software. Again, there are often several variants of business process software, and some research is always required to find the one with the necessary capabilities. “It’s all about finding the right software for yourself, staff and company. These pieces of software are out there to help provide a solution to problems; so, invest time, research and eventually, money, into them – and it will help you work more productively and effectively,” said Harry Molyneux, CEO, BuildUpp. “Because they are out there as a solution to your problem. Say for example you’ve got someone who just does one job and you have to pay them a hefty salary, then you come across a piece of software that could replace that job. That solution could effectively save you a lot of money. That said, in many cases, software can often not replace people – it can just help manage their time properly.” For more information on the technology tools that can help your business, click here.
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