Picture this. You’ve finally got the funding for your brilliant idea, you’ve done the market research and had an overwhelming response, you’ve got staff poised and ready and you’re about to blast your business off the launching pad when someone pips you to the post, offering the same fantastic product for a snippet of the price.
No-one said running a business was easy. As the Iron Lady herself famously once said:
“The best thing government can do to enable entrepreneurs to thrive is to get out of the way.” While in the same breath Margaret Thatcher noted, “It’s easy enough to talk the language of enterprise. But it’s much more difficult to create the conditions for it.”
While the same pitfalls that faced the entrepreneurs of the 1980s are still relevant, cash flow problems, stolen ideas and incompetent staff immediately spring to mind, unlike bygone decades today’s businesses potentially have some powerful ammunition under their belt their entrepreneurial ancestors never had – digital innovations.
Take a look at five such digital innovations that modern companies would be unwise not to exploit.
A blog, an acronym for web log, is a central component of a well-designed content marketing strategy. If a blog is up-dated, maintained, authoritative, interesting, relevant and well-written, it can be one of the best sources of referrals for a business.
Use a blog as a platform for your company’s ‘face’ and ‘voice’ and to reach out and communicate to potential customers as well as existing ones.
A mobile website
We are assuming here that you already have a website because if you don’t it would be a little like expecting to win the lottery without buying a ticket. If a 21st century business is serious, it not only needs a website but it needs a mobile site. This necessity is spawned by the fact a huge segment of the population (63% of adults in fact in the US) use their smartphones to surf the web. Not only this but the same survey found that an increasing number of internet users are now using their phones opposed to their desktop computers to favourite and bookmark pages.
These stats speak for themselves – if you want your business to mean business get yourself a mobile site.
The savviest companies are jumping on the cloud bandwagon and as a consequence are reaping several advantages. Essentially, when you store data in the cloud it means you are storing the information on secure online storage databases.
Why is this useful? It lessons a business’s need to store data on pricey hardware, resulting in money being saved. It also makes sharing information and documents easier, thus saving a company time and as we all know, time is money.
Human Resources software
The days of employee stats being scribbled down on paper and shoved to the back of a filing cabinet are over and in their wake is software for human resources departments. Instead of outsourcing HR duties to a third party, companies can save themselves money by managing their own HR operations. With the help of HR software, companies can keep track of time sheets, scheduling, payrolls and personnel appraisals without recruiting an HR department to do so.
You might personally despise Facebook et al, although you have to admit it has taken the world by storm. Love it or loathe it social media is a digital essential for businesses. Simply speaking it is a free way to get your company’s logo, face, voice out there, to help you connect and keep in contact with customers and clients.
If the thought of spending a precious afternoon posting on the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn makes you feel queasy, call in the experts, and as you can imagine, with nearly one in four people worldwide using social media in 2013, there are plenty of social media experts who’d be willing to post for you.
This technology is there to be embraced and quite simply if you don’t; your company is treading water with weights on.