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How to Grow Your Business with Technology
What is the actual dependence on technology within the business realm? 50%? 100%? Studies show that 90% of small and medium businesses rely on technology for communication, another 80% for internal management, and 40% for sales (Martha, ICSID).
What areas of technology are intertwined in your business? For some business owners, this will be every aspect; however, others are hesitant about the use despite the ability to grow your business with more precision and speed.
Cloud-based programs, real-time access to data, key performance indicators, marketing insight, and quick communication are all tools your business can utilize to grow.
Cloud-based programs have been active in the business world for years, yet most businesses still haven’t taken advantage of the benefits. The initial migration to cloud computing can seem overwhelming, but it is vital for long-term growth potential and business longevity planning.
Accounting programs operating in the cloud, such as Xero and QuickBooks Online, give you more control over the accounting function, leading to informed business decisions and aiding in improving business financial health. How?
Accessing critical financial and accounting data from anywhere and at any time improves operational efficiency. Instead of waiting until you get home or to the office, you can sign in from any device to check your cash balance or follow up on a customer receivable. Control helps to support growth.
Additionally, cloud-based programs open the door to bringing on remote team members, such as a bookkeeper or sales rep. Remote capabilities improve your chances of securing qualified labour, especially during the great resignation Canadian business owners face.
Real-Time Access to Data
Technology has become more efficient with new software programs and features appearing in the past decade. One such feature is real-time access to data. Most accounting software programs now come with seamless integration of your bank and credit card accounts. This means that transactions are automatically uploaded into your general ledger when they happen.
As a business owner or manager, clear insight into where current expenses, charges, and income falls is critical to maintaining and tracking growth. Maybe a large cheque cleared that you weren’t expecting or a deposit you were relying on never hit. Understanding the balance in your operating account and knowing which items are still hanging out there is critical to avoiding overdrawn and returned payments.
In addition, real-time access to data allows you to pull financial reports, like the income statement and balance sheet, at any time. Growth stems from reviewing progress regularly and adjusting your operational and financial goals. Noticing that your profit is lower than your predictions indicates that you may need to look into what expenses you incurred or set a budget for you and your employees.
Key Performance Indicators
The more data, the better, right? Producing accurate data is only half the battle business owners face with interpretation on the other end. You can generate quality financial statements using software programs, but what does it tell you? This is where key performance indicators, known as KPIs, come in.
Key performance indicators give you added insight into operational and financial information, including:
· Retention – How many repeat customers does your business have?
· Churn Rate – What is the amount your repeat customers are producing?
· Customer Acquisition Cost – How much does it cost to obtain a new customer?
· Income Per FTE – How much income is each employee generating?
· Return on Assets – How efficient are your assets?
· Current Ratio – How much do you owe compared to what you own?
These are just a few KPIs that can provide your business with value and uncover potential areas of improvement. Finding the correct KPIs for your business will depend on the industry you operate in, which is why many business owners choose to engage the help of a qualified consultant to leverage this piece of technology fully.
Effective Marketing Insight
Although KPIs are a great starting point for practical and compelling marketing insight, there are other technology programs and applications that aid in growth. What is one of the most popular forms of marketing going into 2022? If you said social media, you would be correct.
The way a business markets is directly connected to growth and profitability. The more consumers you reach, the more likely you are to generate sales. It’s as simple as that. Your business should leverage numerous social media platforms, including Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, and Facebook. You do not need to use all of these platforms, but selecting the key one for your business does make a difference.
Regularly posting content to these sites leads to visibility for your business. One viral Tik Tok video has the potential to reach millions of consumers. Moreover, all of these platforms have marketing tools built-in that provide insight on who generally views your videos, how impactful each post was, and demographic information.
Using the information is critical to tailoring future marketing campaigns to the right target audience. Maybe you were initially targeting consumers between the age of 40-60, but the insight from these apps showed that the 20-40 age group is your primary consumer base. This is crucial information when it comes time to release your next marketing ploy.
Quick Communication with Team Members
Technology programs, like Microsoft Teams, promote quick communication amongst team members. You can rapidly reach employees through video calls or instant messaging to discuss mission-critical actions. This is critical for growing your business, especially if you employ a remote workforce.
Communication with accounting professionals also improves with technology. Email communication is becoming more prevalent and safer, with many providers offering secure document uploading. This safeguards your business and customer information and prevents data loss due to hackers.
Do any of these technology-based strategies make sense for your business? As a Canadian CPA and business owner, I’ve seen firsthand the power technology has on business growth. Find ways your business can optimize operations and financial reporting with technology, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Martha. “How many businesses use technology?” ICSID, 4 Nov 2021, https://www.icsid.org/business/how-many-businesses-use-technology/. Accessed 1 July 2022.