The modern world of business is characterized by intense competition. With the explosive growth of the internet, firms from all over the world can compete on an international scale by offering goods and services online. Millions of consumers are fully prepared to purchase goods from companies located outside their country if they can be delivered in a reasonable timeframe and at a competitive price. In 2023, the business world is also experiencing numerous challenges. Many countries are now experiencing high levels of inflation, which have increased the price of many commodities and raw materials that are used in the production of goods. These higher costs inevitably must be passed on to the consumer, which then adds to the final cost of the product and may reduce overall sales figures. In addition, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has increased energy and some commodity prices, which can also add extra costs to a business’s operations. This ongoing war has also led to an uncertain trading environment, which can make it difficult to plan. In short, modern businesses now face a range of challenges that can affect their profitability and long-term viability. Thankfully, all businesses can harness the power of various business technologies to allow them to gain a competitive edge over their rivals. In this article, nine specific ways to achieve this with business tech will be explored in detail.
Social Media Promotions
It should be recognized that social media platforms, such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are not simply tools for recreation and networking. They can also be harnessed by businesses to drive their promotional activities and reach a worldwide audience. For example, TikTok is used by over 1.53 billion people, and it is estimated that over 1 billion of these users are active on the site regularly. The key to effectively promoting on social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, is to create short but memorable adverts and promotions that help to build brand image and recognition. Ideally, the short adverts should include hyperlinks that direct internet traffic back to specific product pages for the items that are being promoted. This can allow consumers to seamlessly move from being interested in the product or service to being able to purchase it in only a few clicks of a mouse or keyboard. Promotions can include money off coupons for first-time customers to help to build a growing customer base. In addition, incentives can be created to encourage repeat custom, such as the use of points-based systems, which can accrue after multiple purchases and then be used as payment for other products. In all cases, social media promotions should use a similar format, logos, and consistent designs to build the brand image of the company.
In the last few years, remote and hybrid models of working have become commonplace for millions of employees around the world. One of the key drivers in this change was the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a direct result of the virus, millions of people were subject to restrictions on their movement and group gatherings to slow the spread of the virus and protect key healthcare systems. In a short time, office workers and other staff groups began working from home by using their internet connections to access company systems. Effective communication and business continuity was ensured by using video conferencing applications and collaborative software. Today, most countries are not restricted by limitations on movement and public gatherings, but it should be recognized that remote working and hybrid models of work can offer some key benefits to businesses. Recent evidence suggests that remote working can improve productivity. There are several factors thought to influence this, but part of the reason is the increased flexibility remote working gives staff members. They can have greater control over how they approach their daily tasks and can work more autonomously. In addition, remote working, when combined with video conferencing software, can negate the need for extended travel times to meetings, and thus, save time and money.
Online Collaboration for Designs
It is recognized that a vast range of businesses need to undertake complex design work when creating new products and consumer goods. For example, firms that are involved in the production of tech goods will need to create highly accurate printed circuit board designs that will form part of the finished product. These designs then need to be shared with the wider business team so that key stakeholders can collaborate and agree on the final design and its specifications. In recent decades, this design and collaboration process was extremely costly and time-consuming. Prototype designs and schematics needed to be created by hand using technical drawings before being presented at meetings where group discussions could take place. Thankfully, by using modern technologies, these processes can be streamlined, which can save immense amounts of time and money. Today, many businesses will use CAD design software and PCB design applications to create plans electronically without the need to draw them by hand. Design modifications can take place quickly without the need for a complete re-draw. When the prototype design is complete it can be shared effortlessly by using dedicated software to view Gerber files and other CAD design files. The files can be uploaded to the internet which then allows multiple stakeholders to view and comment on them without needing to be physically present in one space.
High-Performing Company Websites
Almost without exception, every business now needs to have a fully functioning corporate website. This can be an incredibly important platform for generating sales, gaining market prominence, and building the brand image of the organization. Whilst most larger companies will have a website, the same is not true for smaller firms. It is estimated that only 64% of small businesses in America have a company website. Put simply, firms without a corporate website are missing out on increased trade and business opportunities. However, it should be recognized that all company websites need to be extremely well designed and obey the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO) so that they rank highly on organic web searches. All company websites should be easily navigated by a range of tech devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. They should boast high-quality, authoritative content that inspires the visitor to return to the site, such as the regular posting of blogs and articles that are aimed at the target market of the company. In addition, web pages should be optimized to load extremely quickly so that they engage the customer and do not cause them to leave the site early. A well-designed company website can encourage high volumes of web sales and can help a business improve its market share and gain increased custom on an international scale. In 2023, every business can improve its competitiveness by having a high-quality website.
Stand-Up Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is a proven way to reduce travel costs and time spent in meetings, as it allows staff members to attend and contribute without needing to commute to the business site. However, many employees report that some video conferencing meetings can last for extended periods with little progress being made on key issues. Put simply, some meetings can become nothing more than “talking shops” where agenda items and important topics get overlooked when attendees focus the conversation on one specific side topic. However, by using some simple strategies, meetings can become more productive and less time-consuming. Ensure that only items on a formal agenda are discussed in the meeting and there are predetermined time limits for each agenda item. In addition, the use of stand-up meetings for video conferencing can be an extremely effective way to keep meetings short. The simple act of standing up in a video meeting helps to ensure that meetings do not go on for extended periods and can encourage a quicker discussion and exchange of ideas.
Prioritize Cyber Security
In 2023, it is recognized that cyber security is one of the most important issues for all businesses, regardless of their size or scope of operations. It is estimated that around 100,000 cyber-attacks are attempted every day and the average cost of a successful cyber attack is around $133,000. This represents a significant cost to any business, but a successful cyber-attack can also severely damage the image and reputation of a company and may deter future custom if the organization is viewed as being susceptible to attacks and poorly defended online. It may cost significant sums of money to employ a team of cyber security professionals and install the latest internet security software. However, it is far better to do this than to risk the costs and negative publicity that surround a cyber-attack. Put simply, cyber-attacks cost time, money, and reputation. A business that is well protected against this threat can gain a competitive edge over poorly protected firms over time.
Workforce Engagement Software
Many business experts recognize that a highly engaged workforce that identifies with the mission and values of a company will work to a high level of productivity. Conversely, a workforce that does not identify with a company and feels that its thoughts, opinions, and ideas are not listened to will be far more likely to suffer from low levels of motivation and productivity. Companies can harness the power of technology to ensure that their staff are engaged and any feedback that they provide is acted on so that improvements can be made. One way to do this is to use employee survey software. Typically, this involves the creation of online surveys or questionnaires that can be sent to the workforce’s email addresses. They can be designed so that they are quick to complete (thus ensuring high levels of returned surveys) but allow free text space so that employees can elaborate on some of their key issues and feedback. The company then can demonstrate that it is acting on the information received by changing working practices. This will lead to increased engagement, productivity gains from improved methods of working and higher levels of employee motivation.
Customer Service Bots
Millions of businesses require a customer service function to allow them to answer questions and queries from their clients. However, this may require the need to hire a large customer service team and can therefore represent a significant cost to the business. Whilst it is recognized that there will always be a need for some human forms of customer service (i.e., when dealing with customer complaints) there are ways to automate some parts of the customer service process. One way to achieve this is to use chatbots that can be designed to help with common customer questions and queries. The chatbots can be programmed to recognize common language terms and then use these to direct the customer to pages of the company website that answer specific questions. Customer service bots should be used in conjunction with a comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQ) series of web pages so that they can be directed to a specific answer. This technology allows businesses to reduce costs associated with a larger customer service team and thus improve productivity and profit margins.
Project Management Software
As a final example of how technology can help to improve productivity in the workplace, project management software systems can be extremely effective. If a company has a range of teams that need to collaborate on a project or large tasks, all stakeholders must be aware of the progress at each stage. This can ensure that time is not lost by duplicating tasks in the overall process and that silo working does not take place. Common project management applications include Trello and Slack. This software allows the creation of specific boards in each project with information on who is responsible for them. When they are completed, they can be marked as such so that all team members are aware of the project’s progress. In addition, these software solutions store the project information online so that the most up-to-date version is always accessed when it is viewed.