Why You Should Invest in Business Technology

With technological innovations influencing every single part of our lives, there is little doubt left whether it should take its rightful place in the business sphere. Yet, some businesses are still reluctant to invest a considerable portion of their income in technology, and might need a bit of a push. So in order to help you understand why this is not a choice but rather a necessity, here are some essential reasons why you should invest in business technology.

Improved productivity

There is no argument that all businesses are striving towards an improved productivity. And in today’s business world most of it comes from technology. It is no wonder that 81% of business executives in Europe believe AI will impact the overall business functioning in the next four years. And this involves all aspects of business, from manufacturing and distribution to customer support and data entry. According to Forbes, manufacturers will invest $267 billion in IoT by 2020 to improve their product development and manufacturing efforts. This types of automation enabled by the technology will allow for employees to be less burdened by the everyday routine tasks, thus freeing their time and allowing them to focus on resolving more complex issues.

Higher levels of communication quality

The days of fax machines are long gone. Now you can send data and establish communication with just a click of a button on your smartphone. Of course, having a well connected office space is essential for maintaining a higher level of intra-company communication. This is why a lot of businesses turn to trusted providers like Orange for getting company phone networks along with the actual phones.This is just one of the ways to increase and speed up the communication within the company. It is also imperative to acknowledge the value of smartphones, and the effect they have on the speed and quality of communication when it comes to businesses. So it is important to consider investing in both if you want to have clear, undisturbed lines of communication not just with the respected customers but also with your employees.

Better sources of information

Investing in technology can lead to better sources of information when it comes to your customers. This in return leads to improved services and products and increased customer satisfaction which is clearly translated into a higher ROI. For example, big data analytics and real-time data tracking are helping management make informed business decisions. This means that you will be able to provide your customers with products and services tailored to their individual needs, and technology is there to tell you what those needs are. And not only that, it is also important to consider that technology allows companies an unhindered means of communicating with their customers, thus enabling real-time reaction monitoring, which in return can speed up the process of adjusting a certain product or service to the needs of the customers, resulting in a far better response and customer satisfaction.

Better security options

Some might say that the use of technology such as cloud computing and IoT exposes your business to additional treats. But at the same time with the right security plan it can be argued that theses things actually keep your business safe. With cybersecurity being the number one priority, investing in technology related to this aspect of doing business is of absolute priority. This is one aspect that you can’t overlook or put on the back burner, recent statistics have suggested that the average cost of a data breach at a larger firm is £20,000, but  the damage is actually much bigger if you take into consideration the effect a breach can have on customer trust. Now with hackers getting more and more sophisticated, it is important that a company keeps investing in this type of security so as to be able to guarantee the safety of both its data and the data of their customers.

Now, these are just some of the reasons investing in technology is essential for any modern businesses. Apart from increased productivity and communication, the information gathering and data safety present an imperative for any business owner who strives to succeed in this technologically driven business landscape.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.

Staying Up To Date On The Laws That Affect Your Business

Owning and running a business is one of the most regulated things you can do in life. There’s many rules and regulations, ones that can be changed or updated on the fly, and always being aware of them is the key to success. But what if you miss something, considering you’re already swamped down with emails and administration during the 9 to 5? What if a charge is brought against you, and you have no idea where it came from or what the cause was? Now’s your chance to remedy situations like these.

Staying up to date in such a rapidly moving world is one of the hardest things to do, but you can manage it. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of information and aid out there, combined with your own resources and know how, meaning you’ve got a good chance to implement a difference here. So let’s get started.

Time to break out the pen and notepad – you’ve got research to do! 

Know What Laws Affect You

Knowing what laws are going to have an effect on your business is a good first step. You’re going to want to ebs sure that the model you’re using, and the operations you’re undergoing on a daily basis, are all legit and above board – different business types have different regulations, and that’s something a lot of people looking to move into self employment don’t seem to realize…

So make sure you’re not one of these owners, and that you’re aware of what differences in the law are going to keep you thriving for another day. Whether you’ve got a partnership, or limited liability company, or maybe a sole proprietorship, you’re going to need different sections of the law and business manual. On the other hand, the laws go even more specific than this,and you’re going to need to consider the sector you’re working in as well.Whether you’re working within the manufacturing sector, or maybe you’re in the hospitality sector, there isn’t a one size fits all shoe for you to slip into.If you need to clue yourself up a little more on these simple principles alone,take a look at this site.

Then you need to be aware of the types of laws there are out there. There’s labor laws, regulatory laws, tax laws, and there’s even some reporting laws that are going to govern how you operate, even when you’re online. The latter alone is crucial to how well your profits and loss margin looks at the end of the year: you need to report your finances to the right sources in the right way, according to the reporting rules laid out by the law in your area.

Consider this kind of law: the digital age makes it easier and easier to steal info, and also to fudge reports to the standards a company hasn’t been able to hit. Reporting laws are one of the best ways to avoid fraud within the business sector, and is a good way to protect your company, especially as a smaller operation – it’s essential to be up to date about how transparent your company data is.

Know What Sources You Can Trust

There’s a lot of legal sources out there that you can turn to for help, and you need to make sure you’re using their services if you’re looking to keep your finger on the button. Having whole teams of legal professionals and other aids, all in one place, with the time and energy to collect together the right sources you need to pay attention to – the thought alone takes a weight off!

Be on the lookout for sites like these, from general informational platforms to specific legal aid you can access for free, or for a small fee. Companies such as Legal Zoom, which offers an online platform for making sure you’ve got all the legal resources you need in one place, are going to be indispensable in your fight to make sure you’re operating correctly with all the profits you expected from the beginning of the year.

Have Someone with Their Finger on the Button

Usually, this is going to be you. As the business owner yourself, or one half of the partnership that takes care of the business admin, you’re going to always need to be up to date about the changes in the regulation surrounding the business laws in your country. If it’s you with the finger on the button, you’re going to be hyper aware of the news that crosses your doorstep, and you’re never going to have to blame someone else for potentially missing an important article or email that pertained to your operating standards.

If you need some quick help regarding this steam of information, let’s think of a few easy methods right now. You can set up RSS feeds for sites you’ve found yourself in the past, google alerts for any news regarding your sector, and even sign up to newsletters from legislation sites.

But if you don’t have the ability to be around a wifi connection 12/7, then you’re going to need someone else to fill the roll for you. Maybe it’s time to bring on board a new researcher in your team, or it’s time to promote someone hardworking and capable of initiative. After all, it’s up to you how you operate, as long as you’re doing so within the law!

Ready to Stay Up to Date?

Companies need to be transparent in the modern day and age, considering all the threats and attempts to misuse the law there are out there. You need to be sure you’re setting up a good foundation for your small business, whether it’s offline or online.

If you’re someone who’s looking to start a business, be sure to make the legal side of things your first port of call in the researching period. You want to make a business plan with total control over how you sketch your business model out – this is the first step.

Choosing New Business Software

Running a business involves making regular improvements to your efficiency so that you are able to keep up with your competitors and offer your customers a fantastic level of service which they can’t get elsewhere. And one of the main ways that you can do this is by using various different types of business software. But with so many different choices out there, it can present a major challenge to know which ones to go for. So, here is a brief guide designed to make your task just a little bit easier.

Get Your Aims Clear

Before doing anything, you should decide on your aims when it comes to your business. What are the issues that you would like to address and how can the software help to improve these? Ultimately, your best course of action is to divide these up into priority order. New software takes time to get used to and you don’t want to change everything at once. And once you have installed the software and become used to how it works, you then need to address just how successful it has been in solving your problems.

Work Out Your Budget

The next step that you need to take is to determine your budget. Business software ranges from the free to the expensive, and you don’t want to risk overspending – especially if it proves not to work out. Find out whether there is an upfront cost involved in getting the software or if you have to fork out for a monthly subscription. And remember that just because some software is expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be the best.

Look for Specialised Programs

With such a wealth of business software out there, it makes sense that it fits comfortably within your aims. Of course,there is plenty of general software out there, but if you can go for something which fits your business aims specifically, this is even better. So, you could take a look at some legal software if you run a firm involved in this area. The closer the software fits your individual needs and requirements, the more useful it is likely to be.

Get Input from Staff Members

It is not only you who could end up benefitting from business software. In fact, your staff may end up using the programs more than you do! So, it makes sense that you consult with them closely when it comes to working out the best software out there for your organisation.

Businesses both large and small use software to improve the way that they run. And while it makes sense that you do the same thing, you should think carefully about the types of programs which you choose to invest in so that you can get the maximum benefits from them.       

5 Ways to Run a Successful Food Truck Business

Running a successful food truck business is a lot of hard work. Yet, many make the mistake of treating it like a hobby. If you are serious about making your food truck business successful, then follow these five tips.

Offer the Best Food

You need good recipes to make your food truck successful. Think about foods that not everyone in town is already serving. Then, find a great source of high-quality ingredients for those recipes. Prepare them to the best of your ability. Finally, test them out with people and incorporate their feedback until you have perfected them.

Get Quality Equipment

You will need to get quality equipment like stainless steel test sieves from a reliable supplier like newarkwire.com to run your business. Think about making a list of all the equipment that you will need to fix your recipes, and then get the equipment needed to prepare them. Buying quality helps to keep costs down in most cases as you will not have to replace them as often. Finally, consider buying more than one of each piece because equipment always seems to break at the most inopportune moment .

Employ Social Media

Part of the secret to running a successful food truck business is to connect with people on social media. It is a great way to let your customers know your location each day. Show them how great your food looks, so they are tempted to come to your location. Social media is also a great way to show customers the personality behind your company, so do not be afraid to post something funny or something that will tug at your customer’s emotions.

Be Dedicated to Customer Service

You need to be sure that your customers know how thankful you are for the opportunity to serve them. Start by offering them quality containers for their food and drink as flimsy containers can be hard to handle in an outside setting. Once they make the decision to order, then make sure to thank them for their order. If there is a problem, then correct it as quickly as possible. Remember that a satisfied customer will brag about your business to a few friends, but an angry one will tell everyone they know including posting it to social media.

Keep the Area Clean

While cleanliness is hard to maintain in any food environment, it can be especially difficult when running a food truck. Concentrate on keeping everything spotless. This includes the outside of your trailer as it will be the first thing that the customer sees. You and your employees also need to be sure that your personal grooming is above reproach.

Keeping these five tips in mind will help you run a successful food truck business. Now, go show them what you have to offer. Stay in a positive mindset and soon your customers will be hunting your food truck down to get your wonderful creations.

Starting a Business: How to Find the Right Technology Solutions for Your Company

Starting a business can be a complicated experience, but it is often rewarding. If you are starting a business, you should consider using technology solutions to make the business run more efficiently.

Use Technology for Time Management

Time management is a necessary part of starting a business. You need to have a timeline, goals for your time and know what you’re doing at all times. If you know these things, you’ll always know exactly when you need to be performing a task or something similar. It’s important to start doing this right away.

IT Operations Matter

Handling IT aspects can be hard especially for someone who has never worked in IT before. Using Managed IT operation services might make it easier for you to handle different aspects of IT. It may also make it easier for you to form connections with the people you’re working with since it can be easier to get started with your business if you handle the technological aspects of it.

Team up for Technology

If there is a piece of technology you really want but just aren’t quite ready to invest in right away, you might want to team up with another company that’s getting off the ground. Split the cost of the tool and then split your use of it. There are different ways you can do this, but the easiest is finding software that can easily switch between different systems or companies.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Technology is all about working smarter instead of working harder. Dedicate different tasks to the way you want to work and make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the tasks easier. It’s important to try different things and make sure you’re prepared for anything that could come in the way of your business being successful.

Research before Investing

Always do your research. The chances are you researched about your business before you invested your time and money in it. Do the same thing with technology you plan to use in your business. If you know what you want, start researching it right away so you can make the necessary changes. It’s important to focus on how technology can improve your business instead of how it could cost your business a lot of money.

Starting a business doesn’t have to be difficult. Even though it takes a lot of work, there are things you can do to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

The Reality of Hiring a Consultant for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you probably like to be involved with every aspect of your business, from the mundane to the most critical tasks. Hiring employees is one step to getting help for your business, but there may be some problems outside your and your employees’ knowledgeable scope.

Perhaps you need the help of more specific professionals — which is the void a consultant can handily fill. Still, you find yourself wondering if you really need a consultant, and if paying them would be worth the knowledge and skills they bring to the table. As a small business owner, you have to learn when to ask for — and find — cost-effective help.

Do You Really Need a Consultant?

Consultants come in a variety of flavors with different niche skill sets to potentially suit your needs. Trying to figure out if you need someone’s specific experience to help your business might be as easy as asking yourself a few questions.

First, make sure you’ve done all the research on the subject you could. If information was beyond your grasp or unavailable, reaching out for paid help might be the way to go. Second, focus on the job you want them to bring to your business. Is this skill something you or an employee can learn in a few days or weeks, or is this an area that takes years to master? If the funds are available, but the skill set isn’t, a consultant may be exactly what you need.

What Does a Consultant Do?

A consultant is an outside expert you hire through an agreed-upon contract to help your business. The consultant is independent of your company, so they keep to their own schedule and may have more clients than just you at one time. You might even hire a consulting team, rather than one person.

There are many different types of consultants for different jobs. Some of the most commonly used consultants work in accounting, IT, human resources and legal services, each able to bring a new and better direction for your business.

There is a general process for every consulting project. The pre-consulting phase is before the work starts, where you and the expert discuss terms and come to an agreement. The consulting period consists of discovery, research and the final presentation for your business. Lastly, the post-consulting phase is where you may choose to extend the agreement or implement your own.

Find a Consultant

Finding a consultant for your specific needs may be easier than you think. You have to know what you need from the hired expert. Searching through friends, business partners and online are sure ways to find the person you need. However, you need to make sure they fit the role. They should be fluent in data modeling, in addition to an ability to connect information from seemingly random sources, also known as dot-to-dot literacy.

An ideal consultant is someone who has experience as a coach and a fellow small business owner to relate to the process. Coaching skills are important so they can take action and get involved with your employees. You can also check their LinkedIn profile for testimonials and recommendations if you’re still in any doubt.

While looking around for a consultant, you may run into a lot of contractors and need to know the difference between the two. Both are temporary experts hired via a contract, but a consultant works outside the business, while a contractor is an internal component. Knowing the difference can keep you from hiring the wrong job title, especially if you’re in the market for a contractor instead.

Payment and Budget

Typically, your consultant is going to work with you for about three to six months, with the open option to renew the contract. The pre-consulting phase is the time where you talk to the expert you’re wanting to hire to hash out pay, time and your budget. An important bit of advice is to remember value determines price, not any pre-set rules.

However, on average, expect the price to be anywhere from $150 to $10,000 an hour, with projects ranging from $1,000 to $250,000. Here is where you have to find your budget. Once you discover how much the expert help is worth to you and how much you can afford, the rest should be easier. Figure out your sales percentages and where you need them to be, versus what you’re willing to pay the expert, and discuss your options with them personally.

What’s Best for Your Business

A consultant will be an expensive add-on to your business either way if you discover you need the help. However, the reward can easily outweigh the cost. Decide what you want the future of your business to look like, and explore all the avenues to get you there. A consultant may be expensive, and hiring one could be a process, but they could bring your business to new heights you likely hadn’t imagined before.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

 

7 Growth Features You Can Use To Stand Out In Crowd

7 Tips on How to Become a Top Business Competitor

If you’re just starting, or well into the business world, you would know to start up and maintaining a business is not easy. There are plenty of obstacles you will encounter along the way that you will need to overcome. It’s all about the effort you are willing to invest in your business that is going to make it succeed. A business is like a machine you have to make sure all of the compartments are well managed and looked after, or it will slowly deteriorate.

Decide on a Niche

One of the biggest decisions you can make as a business owner is choosing your market. Establishing what and who you want to sell to can help determine the projected outcome for the first years sales. You want to make sure you can create your own path in that market, it will give you the upper hand against the competitors. For example, there is a company that provides their clients with game show buzzers and other equipment.  Employee satisfaction is always the first and foremost growth tactic, so coming up with an idea of providing them with entertainment is undoubtedly out of the mainstream. It’s always helpful to think out of the box or do some research to find out what you can do differently from the others.

Providing Top-Notch Customer Service

Consumers are attracted to a company that provides value. Quality customer service goes a long way. Not all companies hold their employees to the same standard, and that is why it is key. The first representative your consumer speaks with sets the tone and establishes the impression of the company at that moment. You want to make sure that the consumer is treated like a valued friend or family member. That is why it is important to show your employee appreciation and acknowledge their hard work. The more you invest in the culture of the company, the better the morale and service of the employees will be.

Developing Your Company Brand

You want to make sure that your brand reflects your values. Transparency is important in a company, it allows the consumer to feel confident, also adds an element of trust. The only way to gain credibility is by keeping up the high standard of quality you have provided from the beginning. When the majority of competitors start to slack on their performance is when the business suffers the most.

Become Solution Oriented

You want to develop a loyal customer base. The consumer wants will feel secure in knowing that there are multiple methods of contact in case there are any problems. It is always a good idea to plan out the possible problems that may occur in advanced so that you have a solution ready. The more efficient the resolution, the higher the probability of the consumer’s returns.

Use Upselling to Your Advantage

Upselling is a technique that is used in a variety of different brands. It makes the sale more appealing to the buyer. Promotions are used to boost sales, they also help with the retention of consumers. About 34% of in-store consumers prefer and use the promotions they are sent from companies they have previously bought from. Everyone likes to save a dollar or two when it’s possible. You can also consider creating package deals, or periodic sales if your market allows.

Create a Footprint Online

E-commerce has taken the free enterprise market to a new plateau. You can now expand your brand from national to international quickly and from the comforts of your home. It also creates a convenience for those individuals that don’t have the opportunity to physically go into the store. The goal is to always make any exchange between the company and the consumer as smooth and simple as possible. The internet provides you with so many different methods of advertisement. The website also gives you the opportunity to personally and create an engaging environment for the consumers.

It is always a good idea to make the website user-friendly, for individuals that are not as technically savvy as others. Also, another element a lot of consumers like is when they have the ability to give feedback. Good reviews bring in more customers. Allowing them to express themselves also makes them feel as if their opinions matter to the company.

Find Ways to Reinvent the Company

Every so often you have to update and readjust to the standards of current society. Every company goes through a facelift, where they change or almost reinvent themselves. It’s usually a positive change and a sign that they are trying to keep up with the times. Innovation is another key component to keeping your brand relevant. Never stop doing your research on methods to grow or expand your business and products.

As an entrepreneur, you want to keep in mind the brand you create is a reflection of you. It doesn’t take money to create your own individuality within your market. You just need to instil your values and effort into your brand, and your company will exude originality.