Help at hand for small businesses making the transition to digital

Small business owners under the pump often find themselves wearing the hats of CEO, receptionist, accountant, PR manager, and salesperson. “IT manager” gets pushed to the bottom of the pile, and many entrepreneurs feel they don’t have the time or financial resources to take advantage of the best digital technology available. 

But if you’re going to stay ahead of the competition, avoiding the digital future is simply no longer an option. The good news is that harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology in your business really isn’t that difficult, and there is plenty of help and even financial support at hand.

The cloud

The world of business was traditionally dominated by big players. But now they are getting a run for their money from small firms in large part thanks to the cloud, which means the little guy doesn’t need to make big investments in hardware and software to take advantage of the very latest and best technology available.

Cloud-based office platforms such as Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 are easy to use, cost a few dollars a month, and allow you to move your office into the online world, creating calendars, documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more on any device you choose. They also make working as a team easy with handy collaboration tools like video conferencing.

Cloud accounting systems such as MYOB and Xero can slash the time you spend on paperwork and improve your understanding of your business, while Salesforce and other CRM platforms can streamline all of your sales and marketing.

To save time and money and run their IT operations more securely and reliably, more and more small businesses are now moving their entire infrastructure, from servers to databases, onto the cloud. Ask small business IT solutions experts EMPR Solutions for a free assessment of how this could take your business’s performance to the next level.

Selling online

E-commerce sites make selling online a breeze. There are lots to choose from. but the two powerhouses are eBay and Amazon. Amazon’s Marketplace allows you to sell your products through the Amazon system, and Fulfillment by Amazon will even warehouse your stock for you, pick, pack and ship your goods and provide customer service.

eBay, on the other hand, is a massive marketplace for buying and selling items either at fixed prices or to the highest bidder through an auction system. eBay makes it easier than Amazon to feature your own brand in an eBay store.

Marketing

Digital marketing has made it possible for small businesses to reach huge audiences, and the good news is you can do it on a shoestring budget.

Even if you’re not trying to market to the world but just your local neighbourhood, it’s a very powerful tool. A Google search is a really good place to get started with your local area marketing, just do a little reading and research and you could be using it today. Likewise with Google Ads.

To get your name in Google’s local area listings, the first thing you need is to have a Google business listing in the correct category and the correct location. As with Google Ads, it’s easy to set up.

Advertising with Facebook and their partner site Instagram is a great way to target specific groups of people, whether by location or by their interests, their age or their gender. The Facebook Business service can connect you to both at once.

Help at hand

There are so many advantages to taking your small business digital, and there are many free resources online to help you. Grow with Google offers free training and tools lessons on topics such as building a great mobile-friendly website, and marketing your business online.

For professional, customised advice from experts on all the latest and best IT solutions for your small or medium-sized businesses, contact EMPR Solutions on 1300 289 867 (AU), 0508 278 769 (NZ) or email today!

Byline: Richard Holdcroft

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