Request edit accessYou’ve probably heard it a million times: technology is changing the face of business. But let’s be real – for the everyday small business owner, especially in fields like construction, home services, or building, it can feel like you’re being left behind in a digital dust storm. We get it. Sometimes, it feels like tech is reserved for the big players with their deep pockets and IT departments. But you know what? That’s a myth. Just because you’re a small or micro-business doesn’t mean you can’t harness the power of modern tech to get ahead. We can all say a big thank you to the high levels of competition in the tech start-up space, which drives down cost and provides more power to the buyer. So, take a quick break from the job and let’s try to untangle the technology maze in your space.
Getting Started: Little Steps Lead To Big Leaps
Before we dive in, remember – you don’t have to become a tech guru overnight. The digital realm is vast, but with small, consistent steps, you’ll soon find it’s not as intimidating as it appears. There are tons of online resources and friendly YouTube guides that can help. So, take it slow. The key to success here is for you to budget 30 minutes per day to learn about ONE aspect of technology that could help your business. Now, we know this can be difficult to do if you’ve been running around between sites, and spending hours on the phone with suppliers, but it will serve you well in the long term.
Cloud Project Management Magic
Picture this. A place where your entire team can drop in, share updates, tick off tasks, and never miss a deadline. Sounds dreamy, right? That’s essentially what cloud-based project management tools do. This type of field service management software allows you to centralize the work on all fronts in one central location. Now if this concept still freaks you out, or you don’t feel confident with computer and cloud systems, don’t worry about it. The majority of these service providers have world-class training structures in place to help you set up and manage your own live system. The only thing you have to do is set your pride aside and take the plunge.
Why you’ll love them:
- All your project details, in one easy-to-access place.
- No more endless email chains or missed messages.
- Accessible anywhere, anytime – perfect for those always on-the-move days.
Customer Relationship Boosters
Imagine if you had a little assistant that remembered every detail about every customer – from their last purchase to their dog’s name. This is known as a Customer Relationship Management system. Or a CRM, as the tech nerds say. Think of a CRM as your client filing system married with your Rolodex, but way more advanced and useful. CRMs can be useful in many ways, from business development to compliance management. Once again, don’t be overwhelmed by this concept in theory, CRMs can be extremely versatile, so you can initially use the CRM to manage one aspect of your client relationship management and then expand into the other areas.
Why they’re game-changers:
- Say goodbye to forgotten follow-ups.
- Serve your customers like a pro with all their details at your fingertips.
- Targeted marketing becomes a breeze.
Go Mobile With Payments
Cash-only is so last century. With handy mobile payment tools, you can now accept payments on your phone, right on the spot. Now we all know that cash is king in many respects, so you don’t always have to use a cashless system, however, the majority of your clients will arguably want to pay by electronic means. Except for that one pizza shop on the corner, you’re doing a renovation for.
What’s the big deal?
- Fast, safe, and oh-so-convenient.
- Immediate payment notifications – no more waiting.
- Everything’s digital, which means easier record-keeping.
Keep Tabs On Your Stock
For businesses juggling products or materials, keeping track of what’s in stock can be a nightmare. But, with inventory and supply chain management tools, it’s like having an eagle eye over everything. If you’re doing single projects where you can manually keep track of your supplies and products, you should be fine. However, the moment when you start tackling multiple projects, this is where stock management software really comes in handy.
- No more overstocking or understocking surprises.
- Real-time updates, so you’re always in the know.
- Streamlined orders, happy customers.
Dive Into The Future With VR And AR
This might sound a bit sci-fi, but virtual and augmented reality tools let your customers try before they buy. Think of them as magic glasses that let clients visualize products or designs in their space. Now in this area you would need some understanding of the underlying design tools, because the VR or AR systems don’t just generate designs based on what the client tells you. You will need a skilled designer that can design the draft of the client’s project brief, and then you’ll use VR/AR to show the client what this would look like once the job is done. This is very useful for clients who are sitting on the fence when it comes to the design stage. They’re really unsure of what they want. Furthermore, these types of clients are also usually the ones that fall into the project creep category. As you implement the design, they often change their mind and add things, as they weren’t sure before the project started.
Why they’re more than cool gadgets:
- Clients can visualize better, leading to quicker decisions.
- Fewer changes and returns – a win-win.
- Stand out from the crowd.
Connecting Your Tools: A Symphony Of Tech Tools
Once you’re familiar with a few tools, the real magic happens when they start ‘talking’ to each other. Integration platforms let you link different tools so that data flows smoothly across them. This allows you to control the majority of your business and reporting from one single platform. This would combine your project management, invoicing and CRM systems all into one big system.
Why it’s a game-changer:
- Everything works together like a well-rehearsed orchestra.
- Say goodbye to endless manual entries.
- Get a holistic view of your business without breaking a sweat.
Your Next Steps
Take Stock Of Your Needs And Current Status
To start with you need to reflect on what your business needs most. More organized projects? Better customer connections? Start there. Ensure that you include your team in this analysis process, as they often understand the various aspects of your business in more detail than you do.
Do Your Homework
Look for tools that fit your needs. And remember, it’s okay to start small. In fact, it might even be best to start small. Remember that 30 minutes a day we discussed earlier, this is your dedicated time to do your research. You could also consider booking time with a business technology consultant to discuss your needs and then strategize on potential solutions.
Learn And Grow
Once you pick a tool, dive into tutorials. And hey, mistakes are okay. They’re just learning in disguise. Speak to your technology suppliers about the training solutions they offer.
The tech world is always changing. The tech tools in your business will inevitably move with the industry as technology companies are forced to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This means that you’ll have to remain up to date with changes and new versions as they are released.
The world of technology in business isn’t reserved for the giants. With the right tools and a touch of determination, your small or micro-business can thrive in the digital age. Remember, it’s not about jumping onto every tech trend but finding what works for you. So, here’s to embracing the future and growing your business – one digital step at a time!