If your business wasn’t particularly technology-savvy back in 2019, the chances are that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in you now adopting and adapting to new ways of working, which in some areas, heavily rely on the use of technology.
Many companies had already started to communicate to their stakeholders using various, more effective technology-based communication channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and, not forgetting email (albeit branded, and far more sophisticated-looking emails than previously). So, in many ways, businesses were slowly moving towards using technology in a more cost-saving and effective way but, back then, it was a subtle shift, not one that happened seemingly overnight, while your team was completely remote, and the world felt like it was in chaos.
Fast forward to 2021, and whether it’s Teams, Zoom, or Google Meet that you use, it’s the norm to host meetings remotely and, the added need to ‘go green,’ should companies simply continue to save both time and money maintaining the technological advances that they have adopted?
Here, we suggest our top 5 tips for using technology to save your business money without overwhelming your staff or breaking the bank to implement….
- Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the perfect example of both saving money and moving towards a greener way of working.
Cloud storage essentially means storing information online – all those contracts, documents, shared excel sheets, and so on – meaning there is less need for bulky filing cabinets and far less usage and wastage of paper.
Nothing comes for free, and you should expect to pay a small monthly fee for cloud storage, but this can easily be offset against the savings on office supplies; plus, cloud storage offers more flexibility; you pay for the storage you need, and you will only have to upgrade in line with your business growth and needs.
Here at SCS, we can offer your business a range of reliable cloud technology solutions to ensure your information is kept safe, secure, and accessible for team members both in the office and working remotely.
- Automation and AI
Many businesses still like to adopt the personal approach – employing manual processes to day-to-day tasks – often because it helps them feel in control; after all, it’s the way it has always been done.
The problem is, not only does this approach cost companies in staff time, but it also opens businesses up to human error.
Automation and AI are ways of handing these processes over to technology, allowing it to design, create, and deploy pre-set rules, which enable work tasks to become automated rather than rely on human interaction and management.
Businesses can use automation and rely on AI to share information, enter data (think newsletter sign-up forms on your website, automatically joining your mailing list), you can even use the technology to manage your accounting – an area where human error can cost you dearly.
For some, the idea of handing over day-to-day processes can be an intimidating concept, but it will save time and money in the long run, and most people soon adapt to it – just ask Alexa or Siri what they think of the idea!
- CRM Software
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Essentially, CRM is a system used to build and manage customer relationships, using both manual inputs and also automated processes to improve your client management and communications with the aim of increasing your profit in the long run.
Some CRM systems can be more costly than others to implement but, the overall benefit is that such a system will allow you to see a complete picture of any one customer’s account, whether lapsed, current, or in the pipeline. You can see all invoices, all correspondence, any key renewal dates, and, from this, automate (back to Tip 2) meeting invites, emails, and so on to really build on those key relationships that ensure loyal, long-standing customers. The kind that generate companies a profit year on year.
- Remote meetings & networking
Arguably these points can each be singular ways to save your company money, but all rely on very similar technology. Technology that, as we have already mentioned, many businesses have already adopted, such as Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet.
We appreciate that nothing can really replace a face-to-face meeting and, for some key accounts, maybe you will always want to keep that more personal approach. That being said, the cost of sending staff out to meetings countrywide; fuel, public transport, accommodation, subsistence – it all adds up. And rather than two days on the road, the meeting can take two hours out of the diary, freeing colleagues up to do other jobs for the rest of the day – it’s really a no-brainer in many instances. It also allows staff to continue to work remotely, something many companies plan to maintain on varying levels post the pandemic.
It’s not just regular meetings that benefit from this either; many networking events moved online during the pandemic too. Networking can be essential for building business relationships and getting business referrals in the long run, but it can also be time-consuming – firing up a Zoom session for an hour is less so, and for many, is now a preferred way of making and maintaining business connections.
- Digital marketing/Advertising
Digital marketing once again incorporates some of the above points. It allows for automation, reducing staff costs in the long run, and provides a very measurable way of monitoring your marketing return on investment. Digital activity generally allows you to track traction, so you can see how much each lead and conversion is costing.
Many still like traditional methods of advertising, such as radio and print. The problem here is, once again, how do you track costs? How can you be sure that your advert has even been seen or heard? Online adverts allow you to see page views and clicks and usually allow for some flexibility so that you can change your graphic or messaging, should your original advert not get the impact you hoped for. Advertising on channels such a Facebook and LinkedIn also allows you to target your advert to a far more specific audience than you can on other channels – such as newspapers and with a minimum spend of £1 a day, there isn’t too much costly risk associated with it.
In a nutshell, technology can save your business time and money. You don’t need to move completely to fully automated ways of working, but some small adjustments here or there, moving your storage to the Cloud, etc., can really pay dividends.