A recent Gartner survey listed the technologies that small businesses were using or planned on implementing in the next two years. Small Business Trends spoke with Tirena Dingeldein, Senior Analyst and Content Manager at Capterra, about the 10 tools every small businesses should consider using today.
Small Business Technologies to Consider
This is still the number one technology small businesses need to take a serious look at in today’s world of malware and breaches. Still, only 68% of small and medium sized businesses reported currently using these technologies.
Dingeldein stresses small businesses without these protections can even be fined is some circumstances.
“There are changes in the laws pretty regularly now (the UK’s General Data Protection Act) and I think there’s a kind of lag in how important small businesses think this is in relation to the quantity of data they have. If you’re a small business and you only have 10 clients you might not think you need data security, but that makes you even more vulnerable.”
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Survey respondents underlined the importance of these although only a little more than half (56%) said they were currently using one of these tools. It was clear small and medium sized businesses understood the importance of these CRMs for interacting with clients but hadn’t found one they liked.
“I think people should get a CRM if they’re looking to build their tech stack out,” Dingeldein said.
This was one of the other technologies that was flagged in the survey by just over half of the respondents. If you’re looking to include this with your small business, administrative functions like those for benefits and attendance are important.
It’s also a good idea to look for some strategic options like tracking long-term employee development.
Website Implementation and Enhancement Tools
Even if you don’t have a web presence right now, there’s no need to worry. There is a gallery of free options to choose from for both websites and content management that can help you to catch up fast.
Remember, 59% of small businesses said they were already using this or planned to in the next two years.
Less than half of the businesses (49%) are using or plan to use mobile business applications in the next two years. While these are generally considered a must have arrow in your small business quiver, Dingeldein doesn’t think small and medium sized businesses should overdo it.
“Generally, people who have mobile apps on their phones only use 7 to 9 on a day to day basis.”
Fifty nine percent of the small businesses that responded reported cloud computing made their organizations more scalable and agile — 51% called it a critical component.
If your house data filing system and budget is strained, the cloud can help release some of that pressure.
Innovative Payment Methods
It stands to reason customers that shop online want to be able to pay for their purchases in cyberspace too. Some of the safe industry leaders here include Microsoft Pay.
Even through the numbers skewered down on the survey, recent AI advances put them on a list of must haves for small business.
“I think you’re going to see more conversational AI chatbots in the next five to ten years.”
Staying abreast of this tool can put you on top of that technology curve.
There are some technologies that have become standard bearers for small businesses. Where email is concerned, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Still there are always a few tweaks that work like targeted messaging.
This was another technology that wasn’t high on the must-have scale according to the survey but deserves a careful watch. Small businesses should consider drones and how they are poised as an important way to lower delivery costs.
Photo via Shutterstock
And really, your CRM and email solutions should be connected so that you can segment your email messaging and measure effectiveness better.
Interesting list. I agree that every modern company should have these in their technological arsenal.
We now live in an age of technology so I think that it is really important for businesses to keep up with the times.
Thanks for the list. I agree that technology is essential to the success of a modern business.
Integrated technologies are the way to go.
Your CRM, project management, time tracking, expenses and invoices should all be kept in one system that integrates with other platforms for an even more powerful experience.
Look for software that have mobile apps, cloud-based options and monthly subscriptions. You should also opt for a system that provides extensive customer support.