SMBs

Five tech strategies to help expand your small business

Even though your business is small, you still need to innovate in order to grow. Jack Wallen identifies five budget-friendly ways to do so.
Tech strategies for small business
Business growth comes with a price, and some smaller businesses don't have the budget for expansion. That cloud, however, does have a silver lining.

There are technological ways in which you can expand your small business that won't break your budget. I don't mean purchasing new systems or adding a fiber pipe to your building (though that couldn't hurt); I'm talking about inexpensive and/or free ways of embracing technology and tech-based services to help with your business expansion. Let's dive into five tech-based strategies.

Also read: 10 creative ways to expand your small company's IT and IT innovation for small businesses (special report)

1: Go mobile

You may have already spent a ton of time and money on an outstanding website that shows off your products and/or your services, but if that site isn't mobile-friendly, you need to correct that ASAP. If your site was developed by another professional company, it shouldn't require much for them to pull off the addition of a mobile-friendly version of your site. 

Once that's complete, you should seriously consider developing a mobile app for your business. The easiest way for prospective clients to interact with your company (when not face-to-face) is through their smartphones and tablets. Your app doesn't have to be feature-laden and award-winning -- it just needs to be a simple way for clients to gain access to your information, products, and services.

2: Reach for the clouds

People were quick to mock the cloud for many reasons, but the truth has been fairly enlightening, and the cloud isn't going away. In fact, the cloud will continue to expand into more services and niches. You can expand your company by adopting a cloud-based office suite solution (e.g., Zoho) that can become a one-stop shop that will fill many needs such as invoicing, marketing, finances, and more.

The cloud is also a fantastic means of backing up and syncing your data; this can take place of costlier on-site services and allow you to easily sync your data to multiple machines. One of my favorite cloud-based backup/sync solutions is SpiderOak. Unlike Dropbox, SkyDrive, or Box, SpiderOak is both a sync and backup tool that allows you to get very granular with what and where you back up.

3: Find your funding

You develop a product that will revolutionize your niche. Instead of going the old-school route and searching for venture capital, try crowdfunding your idea. Canonical raised well over 10 million dollars in less than 30 days in an attempt to fund a high-end smartphone project. Even though the Canonical campaign ultimately failed, it proved crowdfunding can work and that companies can raise a lot of cash very quickly.

One of the best sources for crowdfunding is Indiegogo. You'll find fundraising campaigns for various categories, including technology, gaming, and health.

4: Socialize your company

It's become a crucial component of business to have a social media presence. Facebook and Twitter are no longer just for people to post cute cat videos, relationship status updates, and various snapshots of life's little moments. These social streams have become ways in which businesses can easily (and inexpensively) connect to possible clients and other businesses.

While you're working on your social platform, don't forget channels such as YouTube. People love video, and what better way to promote your company, product, or campaign than to create a YouTube video? In fact, your company should have its own YouTube channel filled with videos.

5: Toss the old register

A lot of smaller businesses are opting for iPad and Android-based register systems. These often make great solutions because you can immediately link sales to, say, your cloud-based QuickBooks solution. 

The idea of migrating to a tablet-based POS should appeal to smaller businesses because it has a much lower upstart cost, and customers (particularly younger clients) will see that you're leading or following the current trends. The ability to tap into the younger client market is becoming critical for growth.

Final thoughts

Your business doesn't have to suffer tired technology and waning growth. By employing some cost-effective means (that have the added benefit of being easy to deploy), you can grow your business faster and cheaper than ever before.


About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

1 comments
mariel.
mariel.

This is all really good advice. Particularly going mobile. Giving people access to you on any device makes you, of course, more accessible. Clients/customers will also view you in a more positive light. (How many times have you been frustrated that you can't access what you need cause their website isn't mobile compatible?)

Switching accounting to the cloud is super handy as well. Xero and Freshbooks are other cloud accounting apps you can move to. All with mobile devices, and the ability to integrate into other online apps, so you can generate invoices in one app and send it to your accounting app easily. It's a Win Win!

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