With 2016 already underway, creating New Year’s resolutions for a more successful and profitable business is top of the ‘to do’ list. They’re a great way to get a clear view of last year’s achievements and challenges and present the chance to set priorities for this year. It’s also a chance to examine how technology can be used to help reach business goals and to ensure small businesses are ready for what’s to come in the year ahead.
Here are a few technology resolutions that I believe could help small businesses to thrive in 2016.
Collaborate and integrate beyond borders
Businesses are being challenged to extend their reach past their regional borders. To do this, SMEs need to start ‘thinking big’.
Equipping employees with mobile devices and giving them secure access to information from wherever they are is a quick and cost-effective way for SMEs to expand and to appear bigger than they actually are. Doing this means smaller businesses can operate from new geographies without the need to invest in physical office space in every location and staff can work effectively and still collaborate with their colleagues from anywhere.
Embrace digital technology to support success
The role of digital technology in the workplace will only increase in importance with nearly 90 percent of SMEs believing digital is essential to future business success.
Setting-up a website is a first important step. A website enables businesses to reach more customers, drive up sales and deliver more responsive customer service.
Using technology to enable customers to make payments online can further increase revenue and making the most of social media to engage with customers will build awareness of a business’ expertise and services amongst prospects.
Empower employees to work flexibly
In the last three years, flexible working in the UK has increased by over a third and there is no sign of it slowing down.
The demand for an improved work/life balance, the continued expansion of 4G connectivity and a hyper-connected culture will continue to disrupt ‘traditional’ 9-5, office-based working styles.
If SMEs are to attract and retain the best talent, it’s important they provide employees with the tools to be able to work productively from anywhere and in the way that best suits them and the job they do.
Protect your assets – take online security seriously and keep your business information safe
Digital technology represents huge opportunity for business but it also presents security considerations such as protecting company data and preventing malicious cyber-attacks and data breaches.
SMEs need to establish and actively enforce policies around privacy and security to keep company information safe, as well as putting in place technology security measures to enforce compliance. Fostering a culture that places paramount importance in privacy and security through top-down leadership and educating employees on their role in safeguarding information is also key.
The New Year provides SMEs with an opportunity to look for ways in which their business operations, customer service and employee productivity can be improved in the year ahead. As technology can enable and drive improvements in all areas, there’s a prime opportunity for smaller business to make the most of digital tech when developing plans for the year ahead.