SMART TECH FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Updated: Oct 19, 2021



I’m going to say this a bit… Lockdown Sucks. And my favourite piece of modern technology and wizardry to help? Is the vaccine. So, step 1, get vaccinated and do your part to help small business open up and keep your community safe.

Outside of that, there are some positive things you can do to supercharge your business using tech.

LOOK AT USING ALL THE FEATURES OF CURRENT SOFTWARE AND TECH – NOT JUST THE BASICS!

Most of us purchase apps and software to fix our specific need at the time, the tech equivalent to “survival mode” but now we have a little more time in lockdown we can shift our thinking to thrive mode.

Most apps and tech will solve your basic need, but if you take the time to delve deeper and explore, you can usually find a few more features that can help your business, or even find ways to connect all your apps for ultimate automation, and domination!

Accounting software is a great example, most of us just use it for invoicing and expenses then palm it off to the accountant at tax time. But most of the major accounting software has so many more time saving features and they are often found in the software’s app store.

Xero, MYOB, and Quickbooks all have these ‘app stores’ and have the added bonus of being super easy to use.

Heaps of handy little add-on that save time, increase accuracy, and ultimately save you energy and cash!

My top tips are finding an add-on app that enables you to take a photo of receipts rather than manually entering them, just like Dext (previously Receiptbank). Let the AI do the work in reading your receipt, converting the info to text, then putting it in your accounting software and storing the photo… and best of all you can ditch the receipt!

The other epic accounting add on is the logbook apps… similar to the receipt, there’s a few ways you can track your vehicle’s kilometres and have it auto upload to your accounting software ready for tax time. Some of these apps work based on the GPS in your phone, like Driversnote or have the option to purchase a beacon to sit in your car, like GOFAR. Just be sure to check they are ATO compliant.

It’s worth exploring your accounting software’s app store to see if there’s any little treasures to help your business!

USE TECH TO CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS IN A MEANINGFUL WAY.

How often do you watch the presser announcing a lockdown or lockdown extension, then look at your phone only to find an email from every business you ever set foot in over the last 10 years.

In some ways, email has lost much of its meaning in isolation. Now it’s all about relationships.

Technology aids are amazing for small businesses to keep building their community during lockdown, homing in on a 15km radius around them.

Use super targeted social media ads with compelling copy and imagery – the general approach is dead… depending on your business, offer zoom calls over phone calls using a tool like Calendly to do the heavy lifting.

The app links your calendar and zoom and auto books, generates the links, sends reminders all without lifting a finger – it can even do billing for you!

This can help you get the edge and stay connected with your customers, and also get to know potential customers during lockdown.

It’s also super boring, but worth spending the time to be a Zoom whiz, or even upgrade to a paid account. Nothing makes meetings go well, better than wonderful Zoom mastery… sharing screens, spotlighting, using chat, in video apps and more are all a solid flex to get you over the line.

Is zoom the best? No. Does everyone have it and roughly know how to connect to it easily? Yes – and that’s the important part.

INTERNET SPEEDS – BORING BUT ESSENTIAL.

In Australia we have TERRIBLE internet. The NBN has let us down! During lockdown, the internet is all we have to run most of our businesses. There are two tricks that might help.

Maybe you can get faster speeds for less by using 4G LTE connection rather than the NBN? Now I don’t mean tethering from your phone (never a good idea), but actually getting a designated, plug in the wall 4G/5G modem to run your world. There are a few plans out there that offer 500GB or even unlimited for the same or less than the NBN, with much better and more stable up and download speeds. I’ve been running my recording studio, and production studio doing both video and audio off it for almost a year now and I love it.

So, with that in mind… let’s level up again. Let me introduce Speedify. What a powerful little gem this is. Not only is it a great VPN (which everyone should have) it also allows you to use all your internet connections at the same time like one big powerful connection, and can prioritise bandwidth for video calls. For me, I can use my main internet connection, then add my phone internet together to boost my speeds for big days when I need it. If you were really a speed demon, you could also get 2, 3, or 4 normal internet connections and bond them all together all with this very affordable piece of kit.

Lockdown sucks but, let’s use it to our collective advantage to get ahead in small business so we can thrive in or out of lockdown.

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Ben’s like a Swiss army knife, not only he knows about tech but he also knows about marketing, he does trivia shows and is a great communicator. Learn more about him visiting his website, his Facebook page and his Instagram.

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This article was published in the Brunswick Daily Australia & Technology Dispatch Singapore.

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