Six Types of Technology all Entrepreneurs Need Access to in the Digital Age
This article was contributed by Mikayla St. Claire, Public Relations Specialist for Franchise Direct.
In today's digital age, it's much easier for new companies to reach audiences and connect with customers than in the past. However, with this type of connectivity in the business world comes more competition for any aspiring entrepreneur. Instead of viewing technology as an impediment to your success, you should fully embrace it and use it to your advantage.
While technology has indeed led to an increase in competitors, it's also allowed savvy entrepreneurs to gain an edge in their respective industries by streamlining many of their everyday tasks. With that said, here are six types of technology all entrepreneurs need in order to conduct a successful business.
Project Management Software
For modern entrepreneurs, there's probably no form of technology more vital than project management software. These types of programs normally have a suite of different features that you can use to improve your project workflow and efficiency.
When collaborating with others, many project management programs offer the ability to chat or send messages to others, which allows team members to notify each other of critical changes or status updates within projects. You can normally track the time it takes to complete certain tasks to identify areas where improvements are needed. You can also set project milestones to motivate yourself and those on your team.
At the heart of every successful company is a strong accounting record that has kept finances in order every inch of the way. Whether you're using intuitive programs such as QuickBooks or more manual-based input software like Excel, having a program where you can track and analyze your financial progress is a necessity.
With a decent accounting program, you can manage customer billing, send out invoices, track expenses, forecast future earnings, identify spending trends to save on costs, create purchase orders for vendors, organize tax information, and manage payroll tasks.
It's difficult to be an entrepreneur with few customers, but it can be even harder to manage a large base of customers when you're disorganized. This is where the customer relationship management (CRM) system comes into play. With CRM software, you can compile your customers' details into a database to keep track of their product preferences and order histories.
You can also use CRM software to keep their contact details up to date and document any communication that you've had with them. All this information can help you to retain customers while increasing profits and improving your responsiveness.
As an entrepreneur, data is your most important commodity. Analytics tools allow you to analyze your business's data to gauge how users or customers are responding to your services, products, marketing campaigns, or even your company's image.
Website analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics, can tell you things about your site, including how long users spend in total on your site, which pages they engage with the most, and how they found your site. Business analytics can help you compare data points to look for trends or correlations, such as the difference in sales on certain days when you've run different types of ad campaigns.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping many entrepreneurs by speeding up certain processes that would normally take much time out of their day. Voice-to-text software is one type of AI that has allowed entrepreneurs with slow typing skills to input data at speeds that they thought they'd never achieve on their own.
AI is also being used in sales campaigns as a way of generating leads and identifying potential customers that are more likely to be receptive to sales pitches. Some AI programs are able to follow marketing trends and opportunities on the internet, such as when a competitor has focused less of their resources on ads within a particular niche.
Any entrepreneur who isn't already using social media to further their business goals is ignoring the most relevant marketing tool to come along since the invention of websites. You can use platforms like YouTube to reach wide audiences in ways that would have been very costly two decades ago.
You can also run ad campaigns on networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to target specific types of people who are more likely to engage with your products or services. There's also the option of joining groups on these types of platforms to reach others without having to spend a dime.
Choose a Custom-Tailored Approach
Regardless of whether you're working alone or as part of a collaborative effort, all six of these types of technology can help you to improve your overall work process. As a final word of advice, you should only choose platforms that you can custom tailor to your specific business model for maximum success.