I was reading an article the other day about how almost two-thirds of small businesses don’t have a website or use social media tools to advertise their services. Wow, that’s a crazy statistic!
I’m a huge fan of technology, and as an early adopter I’ve seen firsthand how beneficial using technology can be for any type of business, but especially for small business and freelancers looking to make a name for themselves.
Why you ask? Because there are many benefits to embracing technology that can actually save you money. Here are 8 reasons why using technology will not only make your life easier, but can put money in your pocket.
1. Saves Money
Learning to take on tasks yourself can add money to your bottom-line. With one quick search online or YouTube video, you can educate yourself to do just about anything, which keeps you from hiring a professional to help. There are lots of low-cost and even free services that enable small businesses to operate like fortune 500 companies – without all the overhead. Many of the apps and services listed throughout this post are free, and perfect for a one man (or one woman) operation.
2. More Exposure
Thanks to social media, there’s pretty much no limit to how far your reach can be as a business. You never know who will retweet your work, or share your information, or who will click your links. Thanks to technology, you and your small business can get major exposure for little to no price tag. And you could potentially gain a clientele from all over the country and over the world.
3. No Commuting Costs
Many regular commuters are being turned onto the convenience of telecommuting instead. This is great for freelancers and companies alike, since it cuts back on the high costs of commuting. With access to online webinars and virtual tickets at big conferences, you can get the same amount of great work and exposure (or even better) without the costs of traveling, gas and other commuting expenses.
4. Creates Credibility
By embracing things like creating a website (even if it’s just a one page deal) and setting yourself up on social media will give your business a leg-up. You will look more professional and more put together, which helps you and your work stand out from the thousands of other businesses out there. LinkedIn is a must-have for any freelancer and business organization. It’s where thousands of professionals and companies interact on a daily basis, which gives you the opportunity to get your business in front of the right kind of people.
5. Better Organization
Whether you’re a one person operation or a large corporation, we can all use more organization. With access to all of the Google Apps Marketplace services (document management, task/project management, marketing, etc.) you no longer need to manually create and share documents and tasks. Dropbox is another timesaver for businesses which lets you organize and share photos, documents and videos from any location and on any device…this makes all of your business affairs less of a hassle.
6. Ease of Accounting
Companies that have multiple locations can use technology to implement both better communication and accounting services. Even if it’s just you and a few other employees, with the use of apps like Freshbooks or Outright, you can be sure to keep track of every expense and income that flows through your business. This is really important for startups and sole-proprietors because cash flow is essential for keeping the business afloat.
7. Increased Productivity
Computers and business software have exponentially increased our productivity. Instead of using manpower to manually create and assemble things, machines now do it. This means fewer employees are needed to do these jobs which greatly cuts back on the costs of running your business. This is good news for other areas of business like customer service, accounting and administrative support. You can review and report any data electronically, which ensures better accuracy and more productivity rather than manually gathering information.
8. Improved Mobility
Another way technology can improve your business is in the sales and service departments by allowing the use of mobile devices and payment systems to process and transmit orders. With payment processing services like Square and Paypal Here, you can virtually accept payments from anywhere. This greatly improves the mobility and reach of your business, and ensures you continue to bring in revenue.
Jonathan Bowles, the executive director of the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), sums it up nicely. “Technology is no longer an option for small businesses to remain competitive. It’s absolutely essential in today’s digital age. Adopting even the most basic technology tools will help level the playing field for small businesses and enable more small firms grow to the next level.”
Has your business embraced technology yet? In what way have you used it to your advantage?
Author bio: Carrie Smith is the writer behind the Careful Cents blog, where she helps people get out of debt, find a career they love and create a life they want to live. Her work been featured on The Huffington Post and Brazen Careerist. Connect with her on Twitter.