How Will Technology Be Able to Help Your Small Business?

Many small business owners across the country may now be thinking about ways in which they might be able to expand the reach of their companies in their current markets, and a large percentage may turn to technology to achieve these goals. However, not all owners are aware of the ways in which these options can help them to succeed in the future.

At this point, almost no matter what line of business an independent company is in, it may be possible for them to find the latest technological options that will help them to find a little more business, and all it may take is a bit of looking around for all the options that might be available to them, according to a report from USA Today. For instance, many small businesses that currently only accept payments by cash or check because they don't want to have to pay the often hefty fees that traditionally come with taking debit or credit cards may want to look into ways in which new payment processing options have become available to them.

Today, there are several mobile payment processors whose card readers attach directly to an iPhone, Android phone, or tablet, and can therefore make just about any machine into a point-of-sale device, the report said. And unlike card processing fees charged by companies that have long dominated the industry – Visa, MasterCard, et al – many of these options are far more affordable. With few fees and far lower transaction costs, this means that companies will be able to keep more of the money they earn from every sale without worrying about the massive impact accepting these payments might have on their bottom lines.

Making sure people can find it online
Taking advantage of new technology may also include revamping a company's website, as this is now how the vast majority of the world will be able to find out about the products or services it may offer, the report said. The sad fact is that many independent companies may not have put much effort into building their websites in the first place, and in fact, recent research by Google shows that as many as 60 percent of businesses of this size don't even have websites at all. However, taking the time to either set up such a portal or revamp it so that it's more attractive, contains more information, and is more user-friendly can go a long way toward showing customers that even the smallest business can compete with larger companies in its industry.

In fact, anecdotal evidence shows that websites can have a profound positive impact on sales and other aspects of one's business, and can be used in addition to traditional advertising efforts many owners might have come to rely upon over the years, the report said. For example, newspaper or radio ads would certainly be able to direct consumers to a small business website that could then give more information about the company.

"There's a perception out there that getting online is hard, that it's expensive and time consuming," Scott Levitan, Google's director of small business engagement, told the newspaper. "With modern Web tools that are relatively easy to use, it can take about an hour to set up if you're prepared." I'm not saying they shouldn't be somewhere else. But they should definitely be on the Web."

Of course, businesses that are trying to expand will also nee to keep in mind that there may be other obstacles to doing so, including paying more for small business insurance policies including workers' compensation and liability insurance. Keeping these potential costs in mind, and looking for ways to reduce them, may be crucial.