No matter what kind of business you are running, technology can make a big impact on operational efficiency.
No matter what kind of business you are running, technology can make a big impact on operational efficiency – and the overall success of your company. I’ve worked with many struggling businesses and have seen first-hand how smart deployment of technology can improve operations.
In the restaurant business, we call this the back of the house; other companies call it back-office operations. In all cases, what happens behind the scenes is critical for enabling your customer-facing operations (front of the house) to shine.
1. Accounting Systems
Ultimately, the goal of any business is to make money, so finance and accounting are important. For many business owners, this is not the part of the experience that gets them excited, so having the right systems in place is critical. It’s not just about issuing invoices and processing payments. You need to understand your costs, and you need a system that will ensure that numbers are kept up to date.
2. Technology to Support Your Core Operations
What exactly this is will depend on your specific business, but it could include inventory control, employee scheduling and point-of-sale systems, to name just a few. The point is that you want to make those core operations as efficient as possible. Not only will it help to keep down costs, it will also help reduce mistakes that could affect customer service and perception.
Of course, you also want to take advantage of technology to help your outward-facing operations as well.
3. Marketing and Sales
There are a number of ways to support overall promotion of your business: your website, email marketing, social selling, etc. But technology can also help you capture customers and even revenue. Online booking makes it easy for customers to schedule appointments or service. Online payment enables customers to easily buy from you.
4. Customer Service
Enabling customers to interact with you easily and effectively can go a long way to keeping them satisfied. Technology can help you support your customers to get their feedback and to address and fix any problems they may have.
Technology isn’t just about specific applications. There are a number of technology enablers that allow you to get the most from those applications and that can improve the way you communicate, collaborate, and even innovate.
5. The Cloud
With the help of the cloud, owners can manage their business from wherever they are. They can look at sales, schedules, or operational concerns without having to be physically in the office. Cloud-based applications have additional benefits as well: you don’t need to purchase and provision hardware to run the application, you don’t need to maintain and upgrade the systems on an ongoing basis, and you typically only need to pay for what you use.
Having a reliable, scalable data connection is fundamental to running a successful business today. Technology has raised the bar and companies need to take advantage of the benefits that technology delivers – their competitors surely will – and that requires having the necessary connectivity.
Technology is only as good as the people who are using it. Many systems are under-utilized simply because users aren’t taking advantage of the full scope of capabilities. Invest in technology training so that you and your employees are getting the most from technology – and your business is operating at peak potential.