The digital economy is here and you can either jump on the bus and enjoy the ride or you can ignore it and start going backwards. As small business advisors we recommend to our clients that they strongly assess their strategy or suffer the consequences. Whether you are a small business accountant or any other type of business, you need to look at what is going on around you and act where appropriate.
My mother is almost 76 years old and in 2004 having left the farm in Peak Hill with my father to retire, we decided that we should get her a computer and the internet. They had used the party line phones as most had done in rural Australia up until the mid 1970s (you had to listen for your Morse Code type ring before answering) and you also knew that others could be listening to conversations as the lines were not secure. Sometimes this was confirmed with the odd "Wow congratulations! (whoops - sorry)" from an uninvited caller unexpectedly joining the conversation and sometimes a hearty burp could give them away also. Apart from this, a fax machine and a mirror reflected into the sun from almost 2 miles away to let my father on the tractor know that lunch was ready, that was about it!
Today she is a technology warrior and has taught herself to stay in touch with the world with various modes of communication, most of them being digital showing that anyone can take these up.
Here are some tips about why technology today is relevant and should never be underestimated.
Figure 1: Computers, phones, technology are all moving quickly. Are you keeping up?
1. Maintaining A Great Reputation
Most sites these days will have reviews about your business. The first thing that most people do when considering to do business with you or not is to do a search on Google and look for feedback.
Try putting in your business name and see what feedback there is. Do you have any testimonials on your site as this will be one of the major areas that people seek.
2. Staying In Touch With Your Existing Customers
Maintaining contact with existing customers is paramount to keeping their business and selling more of your product or services. Acquiring new customers is a much more expensive way to increase revenue so by using technology such as blogs, apps, emails, website updates, social media, text messages and mobile phones are all good ways of keeping the communication channels open.
How any of these do you use?
Figure 2: Party lines were considered 'cutting edge' in 1959.
3. Failure To Act Will See Your Business Left Behind
Most companies that wish to stay ahead are using social media and have a strategy on how to best use these platforms. Statistics show that these companies in small business are on the rise compared to their competitors.
Sticking your head in the sand is not a good idea when it comes to assessing technology.
Figure 3: The young have been onto technology for a number of years now but it's never too late for anybody to take it up.
4. Why Digital Is So Important For data Mining
Having things such as a 'sticky' website that encourages people to sign up for newsletters, updates etc. will often give you information about these potential customers so you can mine these accordingly. Location, age, interests etc. can all be captured so that you can then follow them up with more relevant marketing material specific to their needs getting them to a converted sale. You can then use this information in a Customer Relationship Management System to sort through this information and use various filters which are usually via the internet these days.
5. Using Cloud Technology
The digital economy includes cloud technology and various accounting systems such as Xero which is making it easier and faster to assess the strength of a business's financial performance and position. Your small business accountants should be all over this.
Adopting the cloud will almost invariably find efficiencies and improve the bottom line when it comes to profitability and cash flow.
Is your business keeping up with an ever changing technology world? What is your strategy and how are you implementing it?
Failure to assess is dangerous.
Failure to implement could be terminal.