Tips for using technology to save time and money in your small business

By Tiffany Rowe

Small-business owners always have their work cut out for them, trying to be a Jack or Jill of all trades when running an operation as a solopreneur or with a limited team. Entrepreneurs typically need to handle tasks such as sales, marketing, finance, administration, human resources, customer service, and more.

As a result, if you want to be able to grow your business, not to mention ensure you don’t end up burnt out from working too hard every week, it’s important to find ways to be more productive.

Thankfully, technology is a great help with this, and these days needn’t be a burden on your budget either. Read on for some key ways you can use technology to save time and money in your small business today.

Inventory and order management

If you run a venture that requires you to regularly place orders for, and then warehouse, parts or products, you probably find yourself spending a lot of time on inventory management. To reduce this burden, consider investing in a top-quality order-management system that will automate and speed up tasks.

Affordable yet comprehensive programs can be set up to automatically import, sort, and filter orders based on criteria you set; to view, edit and cancel orders quickly and all from the one page; automatically allocate stock to various locations, based on lot numbers, serial numbers, expiration dates, and more; and notify you by email when your orders are received, allocated, picked, shipped out, or cancelled.

Software can also make it easy for you or your team to pick items in batches; to handle returns and damaged stock, and place goods back into inventory; and more.

Accounting

For most business owners, having to handle accounting and finance jobs such as invoicing, expense reports, bulk payments, tax returns, and reporting are tedious and time consuming. If you’re in this boat, too, it pays to start using technology designed to handle just these types of tasks.

For example, most accounting programs these days, as well as many merchant processing systems and even apps, have the functionality to automatically compile and then send out invoices to customers once an order has been made or transaction completed.

When it comes to payments, you can use digital payment processing systems to accept debit and credit cards payments, PayPal transactions, gift cards, loyalty points, and other methods online; set up over-the-phone payments using IVR software; and/or use ACH processing options to process bulk transactions rather than doing them individually. Mobile payments via smartphones and tablets are also quick, easy, and affordable for all your payment needs on the go.

As for expense reports, download one of the many apps designed to make headaches in this area a thing of the past. Applications such as Expensify, for instance, are easy to use, work on both Android and iOS devices, and link to your credit and debit card accounts so your transactions are automatically compiled in an expense report at the end of the month or quarter.

Analytics

If you want to grow your business, cut costs, reduce time and money spent on unnecessary jobs, and streamline your organization’s operation, you should be analyzing as much business data as possible on a regular basis. While this used to be a manual process that could take hours, days, weeks, or even months, today, thanks to technology, you can use computer systems to do the hard work for you.

If you’re not already using Google Analytics or another similar program to analyze how your website and online marketing is performing, you should download this kind of tool straight away. As well, if you want to use big data to compile research or financial reports, or other information-heavy documents, you can use apps, such as the Quill software by Narrative Science, to take specific information sets and weave them together into documents for you.

To help you predict where you can optimize inventory, reduce labor overheads, predict asset failures, improve the efficiency of your business machines, and much more, you can also make use of an application such as DataRPM. It is designed to analyze large amounts of information and to then make predictions.

While this is just a sample of some of the ways technology can be your best friend when running a small business, note that there are programs that can help you in many other areas. This list includes social media, data backups, scheduling, recruitment, payroll, training, content creation, research, and sales.

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Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority who prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.

 

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