How to use technology to grow your business - Claire Clift of Azets
By Claire Clift
Technology is faster, cheaper and easier to implement than ever before and ambitious businesses should be constantly looking at how it can help them power ahead.
Claire Clift, partner at Azets explains how technology can power up and grow your SME.
1. Understand how technology can help your business
There are four key ways that business technology can help your business grow.
First, it can help you collect and analyse data generated by your business which you can use to improve your business. Instead of waiting until the end of the month when your accountant does your books, technology-driven apps can give you real time information about which customers are making you money, where you are winning most business, whether your business and marketing plans are working, which employees are more productive, and so on. You can harness this data to make your business better.
Second, technology can help you automate your business, whether that is automating your customer acquisition, production flow, inventory, sales fulfilment or your administrative and accounting processes. Some tasks that previously were largely manually based can now be largely automated and can give you a lot of time back to focus on growing your business.
Third, technology can improve collaboration and connecting in your business. Collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365, Slack and Trello are extremely powerful and very effective at making your team work together better.
Finally, technology can help you acquire more customers with tools which range from an automated email or social media campaign to integrated CRM marketing systems that target specific types of customers.
2. Create an implementation plan
As an existing business, you need to think tactically about how you improve what you do by using technology. That means it is really important to plan how you are going to do it, and then take it a step at a time. Create a plan which starts with what your customers want and works back to how you are going to deliver a compelling product or service and then consider what this means for your teams, processes and systems.
Make sure you understand strategically how you want to evolve your business model and then think critically about how technology can be implemented to start making those changes. I have seen too many times businesses try and do it all at once and fail.
3. Don't take your eye off the rest of your business
Some businesses view technology as being the answer to everything. It is not. It is a very important and powerful tool, but it is important not to forget about the other aspects of your business, whether that is your staff and how you are helping them develop their skills, understanding your customers, or the financial health of your business. Businesses that are focused on being tech enabled to the exclusion of everything else will fail because they are forgetting about the other core elements of the business.
4. Monitor your technology requirements on a regular ongoing basis
Just like your business strategy, plan, and modelling, using technology in your business is a continual process. So once you have decided how to use it, make sure you regularly measure and review its effectiveness to check it is delivering the benefits you expected it to. If it isn't, then fix the problem, either by reconfiguring the technology you have, or by finding a better alternative.
Claire's Top Tips
- Technology will impact almost every part of a business. So whoever you put in charge of technology needs to understand how to embed the right blend of business change through Technology, People and Process.
- If in doubt about what kind of technology will work best for your business, seek expert professional advice. It is also useful to access technology funding or expertise through Regional and National BEIS Support Network.
- Start with a clear plan addressing problems or opportunities you want to solve first (e.g. free up time or win more customers). Don't try and fix everything at once.
Azets has designed Azets CoZone - a user friendly, cloud based digital accounting platform, enabling full collaboration with your accountant on tax, audit, accounting and more and giving you access to your financial information anytime, anywhere.
For more information on how you can use technology to power up your SME business, contact your usual Azets advisor or speak to a member of our team today.
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