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Seven Ways Technology Makes Your Small Business Grow Faster

Seven Ways Technology Makes Your Small Business Grow Faster

When properly harnessed technology has the ability to change lives for the better – the world over. As a point of illustration, you need only compare the technological progress made over the last 50 years with the prior 500 years of advances to appreciate its impact on society. However, modern technology’s reach doesn’t end with the general public.

In fact, its impact extends far into the business arena — to the extent that technology has the potential to make or break most businesses; this is especially true for small businesses.

Does this mean that technology can negate the effects of bad business fundamentals, poor management, or inept leadership? Absolutely not! However, it does mean that small businesses who at least score average in most areas can benefit immensely from the tech sector. Namely, it can help them grow and become more effective.

Here are a few ways that businesses can scale technology for growth.

1. Store Data on Cloud

Storage is in the cloud is a practice that has completely upended the old ways of storing data. Ten years ago companies who managed large quantities of data had to FTP large files when they wanted to send them. Likewise, businesses could not manage data without investing in numerous high capacity storage devices.

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In contrast, today it’s as easy as hosting the data via an online storage account and sending an invite link to share it with peers. Indeed, the implications of being able to store data in the cloud are staggering.

For example, cloud storage makes it possible for users to:

  • access their data from anywhere in the world
  • perform backups automatically
  • store unlimited amounts of data
  • collaborate on a single document in real time

If you’re a small business owner, you can use the benefits above to give you the speed to compete with larger businesses.

2. Social Media

Social media allows small businesses to do several things that were nearly impossible to accomplish as an SME only 25 years ago. Namely, it allows you to observe nearly every aspect of your audience’s behavior; this gives you a wealth of insight into what your customer’s motivations are. In turn, you can use this knowledge to become a better seller. Additionally, social media gives you a platform to build your authority. Social networking platforms have made it easier than ever to do both.

What this means to you as a small to mid-sized business is that you can wield just as much marketing firepower as more established brands at a fraction of the cost.

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3. Productivity Apps

While it would be nice to have an army of project managers at your beck and call, the reality is that it would cost a small fortune to do so. But the good news to small business owners is that thanks to digital innovation, you don’t need hundreds of productivity experts to stay productive. As a matter of fact, all you really need is a mobile device armed with the right productivity apps.

A few of the most popular ones include:

  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Podio
  • Basecamp

What’s more is that many of these apps can be synced with their desktop versions and are completely free or offer a free level of service.

The nice thing about using and mastering these applications is that doing so automatically enters you into the small percentage of businesses that are highly effective at getting the right things done.

4. Analytical Tools

There are numerous analytical tools that you can use to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Thanks to the Internet many of these tools can be deployed within a matter of seconds. For instance, you can gauge the percentage of visitors to your website that browses your site on their mobile browsers – or – you can assess your page load speeds. When it comes to measuring your company’s key performance indicators, they sky’s the limit. Digital technology puts all of this at your fingertips.

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If you’ve ever heard the adage, ‘knowledge is power’, then applied knowledge is even more powerful; this is exactly what analytical tools afford you. Namely, the ability to make wiser decisions in a shorter amount of time.

5. Better Marketing Campaigns

Digital marketing campaigns have the potential to offer highly specific targeting, immediate results, easy testing environments, and two-way conversations. More importantly, they tend to offer higher returns on marketing spend than some traditional forms of advertising. These characteristics make digital marketing much more accessible to small businesses than other types of marketing.

One of the reasons online marketing appeals to smaller businesses is that unlike print, radio, or TV advertising, you don’t have to wait until the campaign is over to review campaign results.

6. Technology Yields Ease of Communication

Recent technological advances have done made communication effortless. Not only is it ridiculously easy to communicate in this day and age but communicating with your peers is both lightning fast and incredibly affordable; this applies both to domestic and international communication.

As business owners, modern communication has removed the barriers that used to make doing business overseas nearly impossible. As such, today collaborating with someone who lives abroad is as simple as Skyping that individual.

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7.  Web-Based Payment Systems

Web-based payment systems make it easy to send or receive payments. And they do so while offering a host of payment options. Many of these platforms even offer seamless integration into the popular accounting programs.

As a result of this newfound payment flexibility, small businesses can gain access to entirely new customer segments. Ultimately, this means more clients that you can offer your products and services to just by virtue of accepting another method of payment.

You’ve just seen seven ways that technology can help build your business. The common thread is that most, if not all of these advances allow business to do more with less. I hope that you found the article useful and can use at least one of these technology applications to your benefit.

Featured photo credit: imujer.com via static.imujer.com

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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