We live in an unprecedented time of creativity, technological advances, and commerce. In the era of the Internet of Things, launching your own online business or revitalizing your existing one with technology has never been easier.
Even if everything is already running smoothly, there are still ways to tune up your business model. Sure, don’t fix what isn’t broken, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it more efficient. From automation and streamlining to adding new tools to your arsenal and new customers to your marketplace, technology can enhance your business by swelling your profit margins and lowering your costs.
Even for those who aren’t so technologically-inclined, there are still plenty of benefits to enjoy by leveraging new technology. It’s not as difficult or complex as you may think — and in the off-chance you feel like you’re in over your head, that’s why we’re here to help.
In the meantime, let’s explore some ways you can upgrade your business model today and bring it fully into the 21st century. But first, why?
The Importance of Technology Today
The Internet of Things — that is, the electronic web that connects phones, computers, TVs, appliances, and other smart devices — is one of the greatest technological game changers in modern history. People have found plenty of innovative ways to make existing practices more effective, efficient, and accessible by using the Internet. For instance, a smart pan that helps you become a better cook or AI-driven assistants that help manage your home such as Alexa or Google Home. While these have made consumer lives easier, there are myriad other applications for commerce and business.
Building websites used to be a technical nightmare for the average person only ten short years ago. Now, most website platforms enjoy drag-and-drop site building options that are easy to understand and use. Plugins for these sites let you conduct commerce with greater efficiency, optimize your content for search engines, track comments, or even create your own social media network. Whatever you can imagine, you can create with a little know-how, patience, and a couple YouTube tutorials.
Technology is also great for streamlining existing processes. From internal employee communication to interfacing with customers, from managing orders and sales receipts to validating your accounting and depositing taxes, all of the digital resources available to you help you save time, money, and energy while providing better service to your customers and increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.
The 21st Century Business Toolbox
So where to begin? The following are a few popular apps and software suites to check out and add to your business repertoire.
With drag-and-drop layout builders and a wide selection of helpful plugins and beautiful templates to choose from, creating and customizing a basic business site can effectively be done in a few afternoons. Some site builders are better than others for specific purposes, but no matter what you choose, you’ll be surprised how fast you can set something up on your own.
- WordPress: the gold standard for content-rich ecommerce sites, blogs, online news outlets, and other formats.
- Squarespace: a great visual builder for artists or store owners who prefer images over written content.
- Wix: a wonderful balance between WordPress and Squarespace with the flexibility and accessibility to get you started.
- Shopify: a favorite of dropshippers and independent online store owners alike, Shopify’s support, analytics, and resource library make ecommerce a breeze.
Customer Relationship Managers (CRM)
As more customers prefer online chat support, companies have filled that demand with comprehensive CRM solutions. Whether it’s live chat services, integrated customer support, self-service guides, and sales and resolution analytics, these CRM suites will streamline your business by helping customers better and saving resources resolving their cases.
- Zendesk: a CRM software suite that plugs into your website, allowing you to manage both your support and sales tasks with unprecedented efficiency.
- Oracle Netsuite: a cloud-based suite that bundles features like CRM, automation, omnichannel commerce, email marketing, analytics, and much more.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You can have the best website in the world but it’s all meaningless if no one can find it. That’s where SEO comes into play. Websites that keep track of their SEO with relevant, high-quality content enjoy dominating search engine listings, increasing clicks and visibility which further builds site rank.
- Yoast SEO: a WordPress-based plugin and general SEO resource that helps you lay the foundation of great SEO practices.
- SEMrush: a digital SEO/SEM tool that lets you analyze how your site stacks up against competitors, targets keywords and demographics, and analyzes traffic flow from page to page.
- Google Analytics: a robust free-to-use site analytics engine that lets you track your website’s traffic and sales performance.
Digital File Managers
Whether you’re looking for a safe spot to backup documents to the cloud or need an easy way to share with your team remotely, digital file managers make passing files to your team a breeze.
- Google Docs: a free online alternative to the Microsoft Office suite, Google Docs has become a personal and professional standard of document sharing.
- Dropbox: a great application that lets you store and share information as well as track project workflow and comments across your team.
Internal Communication and Project Management
Instant messaging is a staple for remote teams and work-from-home arrangements. Coupled with file sharing and project management features, these programs let your team collaborate no matter where they are.
- Slack: a lightweight messaging tool that keeps your team and files together with a newsfeed-like display.
- Wrike: a comprehensive enterprise project management suite that tracks projects, tasks, teams, and internal auditing throughout your entire business as well as providing external client access for companies like design firms or sales agencies.
- Monday.com: a mix of the first two options, keeping project management and team communication lightweight with a few analytics options to improve workflow.
If you prefer talking or teleconferencing instead of instant messaging, there are a few tools available for you as well.
- WebEx: easy-to-use video conferencing, online meetings, screen share, and webinar tool.
- GoToMeeting: a multilevel solution that supports digital meetings, setting up turnkey meeting spaces, and business webinars.
How PogoZone Can Help You Succeed
At PogoZone, we’re passionate about helping businesses succeed and grow, making use of all the technology that makes life so much simpler. From Gigabit-speed business Internet and laying ethernet connections to phone, VOIP, and a variety of business support services, for everything you can’t figure out on your own, we have you covered.
Reach out to us today and let us know what you’re looking for. Together, we’ll create something amazing with all the wonderful tech the 21st century has to offer.