There are more than 2 million small businesses in Australia, and a significant majority of them are facing similar challenges when it comes utilising technology – Vodafone’s Business Specialists are here to help.
As a Vodafone Business Specialist in Sydney’s western suburbs, I’m always engaging with small business people – and as such, I’m constantly exposed to the frustrations that come with owning and operating a small business. However, over time, one frustration seems to have become more common than others – how should a small business use technology, the internet, or social media? Many small business people seem to think it isn’t worth their time – more of a hindrance than any kind of help. This however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are five common tech challenges for small businesses; and how to solve them.
Often, online services can be seen as too complex & time consuming for small business people, and this harms the chance of converting any goodwill from positive word-of-mouth into a sale: people go online to find business information that is often non-existent. Simple tools for increasing the online presence of your business range from Google My Business which helps create a listing for searches, to actually creating your own website with a service such as GoDaddy. Google’s “GSuite” provides access to Google’s business email service built around the world renowned Gmail. The best feature? Personalised domain name addresses, adding a layer of professionalism to a critical communication tool. These tips are particularly useful for tradespeople, whom often can’t be found in online business listings.
If people can’t Google you, they’ll go somewhere else.
Learning to love the cloud
In my experience, the cloud is definitely the most feared of all aspects of the online world. Companies and consumers alike have yet to truly understand the efficacy of using the cloud. But for small businesses, it represents a super effective way to store files, plans, records and other digital artefacts for quick and easy access no matter where you are. Put simply, the cloud is like your own personal hard drive that you can access anytime, from anywhere you have internet access. You log in, grab what you need, and leave. USBs get lost, but the cloud is always there. Services like DropBox allow businesses to store a whole myriad of documents where they can always access them, while Google’s G Suite offers use of the Google Drive, perfect for if you want to keep all of your services streamlined through the one provider.
Being on time is crucial to businesspeople on the move. Tradespeople are constantly on their way to or from another appointment, and in my role I meet many of them just after completing jobs. They hate GPS systems, and their main gripes are that traditional GPS systems often don’t come with updated traffic information, or even the latest maps. This is where Waze steps in: Waze is a free navigation app available for both Android and iOS, which allows businesses to schedule their movements, taking into account traffic conditions, roadwork and other factors effecting your ability to make appointments on time. If you have a job 30 kilometres away at 1PM, give Waze that information and it will let you know what time to leave, so that you make it on time. The best part? It uses the smartphone you already own.
Grappling with social media
Social Media can be really confusing, but it doesn’t have to mean spending hours scheduling posts and reading data graphs if you don’t want it to. Just 48% of Australian small businesses have a social media presence. This represents a huge opportunity for all small business people to just get online. Facebook Business Pages are a fantastic way to give your business its own personalised identity on the largest social network (95% of people who use social media, use Facebook). One of the best things about Facebook is that it’s already optimised for mobile, so if you post your content properly (and invest in sponsoring your posts) you have the potential to get to the 74% of people using apps to access social media without doing much extra work to ensure that your presence is mobile friendly.
Setting up shop
Retailers can take their social media presence to the next level by engaging a service like Shopify, turning their Facebook page into a real store that clients can purchase from. With Shopify, there may be no need to actually create a website. If your presence is strong, and people are engaging with you on Facebook, that’s the perfect place to make your offer. For some, this may be the most common reasons to get your online house in order.
Dedicated Vodafone Business Specialists are available on the phone and in store to help transform your business into a Ready Business. Find your nearest Business Specialist today.
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