For the past decade or so, the IOT (internet of things) has seen emerging technology that not only makes your life easier, but can also help take your small business to the next level.
Savvy small-business owners should always keep an eye on the future, which means you should be thinking about what technology you need to run your business; and which technology will be big in 2020 and beyond.
Not only do you need to keep track of the latest and greatest technology and tech trends, but you also need to spend time determining which of these technologies can help you and your business grow. It is a time-consuming process for many small-business owners. But there is good news! There are many professional Virtual Assistants (VAs) who can take that burden from an overwhelmed small-business owner. Read on for a list of technologies that can ramp up your small business and how a VA can help lighten your load.
1. Voice Search
According to Gartner (who has been a leading research and advisory company since 1979), about 30% of all searches will be done WITHOUT A SCREEN by 2020! Is your business ready to bring in customers via voice search? Some updates you may need to make, according to a recent Forbes article are:
Use Simple Language
When people use voice search, they normally use their natural language. Taking out the long keywords from your online copy and replacing them with short keyword phrases will help make your business rank higher in SEO.
Don’t forget to take advantage of Google My Business. It is a free listing for which your business can and should sign up. Most things Google will also help your rankings.
If you need help with ‘simplifying’ your content or getting your business on Google My Business, contract with a VA that specializes in content creation and SEO strategy.
Check Your Website’s Speed, Security, and Broken Links
How fast is your website? Do you have an SSL certificate (does your website start with https://)? Did you know that your website speed and security features can increase your SEO?
Many small businesses contract with a developer and pay a small fortune to get the perfect website; however, do you maintain that website?
Google has indicated that site speed (and page speed) is one of the categories used by its page ranking algorithms. So, a slow loading page or site could negatively affect your SEO ranking. The same rings true for those 404 errors (broken links).
Be sure to maintain your website and do periodic audits. A professional technology VA can assist your small business in maintaining your good ranking by making sure your website runs at hyper-speed!
For more information on voice search, check out Jeff Bullas’ article, “Optimizing your content for voice search.”
2. Customer Relationship Management Tools (CRM)
How do you currently keep track of your prospects, customers, vendors, and collaborators?
A CRM system is a perfect tool to use. A CRM is just a database on steroids! You can (and should) integrate your CRM with your email, calendars, marketing, and workflow systems (another must-have for today’s small business).
If you implement your CRM correctly, it will become one of the most integral assets in your small business. Your CRM ensures that no client or task falls through the cracks or is overlooked.
There are many CRMs for small businesses on the market today. Some are free, and others are quite expensive. Collaborate with a technology or an online business management VA to determine which system would best suit your small business.
PC Magazine wrote a review on the best CRM software for this year. Be sure to check out their easy-to-read chart if you are considering a CRM for your small business.
3. Cloud Accounting
Does your accounting software reside on your server/computer? If so, it won’t be there for long. At one time, not too long ago, you could go to the local Staples and buy a disk from Quickbooks, install it on your computer, and be done.
Most accounting software vendors are moving away from the ‘hard disk’ and placing their programs with cloud programs. In order to use the most current product, you must now pay a monthly fee. There is an upside to this, and that is you will get better support and upgrades whenever they release a new version!
If your business is new and you are in need of an accounting program, speak with a VA that specializes in accounting. They can suggest a program that will best suit your needs and budget. Not only can your VA install it for you but, they can integrate it with your other programs so that you can focus on growing your business.
4. Digital Media Marketing and Strategy
If you are not already showcasing your small business on social media…. WHY NOT?
Just like business marketing of the past, digital media marketing is now the lifeblood of business (big or small). Although the means by which you market your business have changed during the years, it is still your business’ most important strategy!
Today’s digital media marketing requires a business to be seen and heard virtually. Businesses who are successfully and effectively following this trend are finding that it is paying big dividends. Three-quarters of U.S. consumers stated that they have purchased a product or service because they saw the brand on social media!
You might be saying (like many small-business owners do), that you just don’t have the TIME to spend on effectively promoting your brand online. You are not alone! The good news is, there are professional VAs out there that specialize in social/digital media management and online marketing strategy.
As a small-business owner, you know how important it is for your business to keep up with the latest tech trends; in order to provide your clients with an easy and seamless experience. On the other hand, you may wonder HOW in the world you will find the time to research, choose, implement, and actually USE the new tech systems in your small business?
The good news is there are many professional VAs who are highly skilled in the technology field and can research, provide you with system suggestions, implement your chosen system, and maintain your business’ new technology and systems.
If you need help with updating your small-business’ technology and would like to collaborate with a professional Virtual Assistant, skilled in the technology sector, IVAA offers a FREE RFP system for you. Simply post your VA needs, and our members will reply to you with a proposal. Click here to learn about submitting an RFP.
Karen Kannegiesser is the owner of Lotus Business Resources LLC. She helps heart-centered entrepreneurs and small business owners who are frustrated by having to run their business manually, and who struggle with trying to scale their business. She works with her clients by automating their business processes and by handling their digital media strategy and management, which enables them to work ON their business, instead of IN it!” www.LotusBusinessResources.com