If you’ve ever wanted the power to say, “make me an offer that fits my budget or I walk away”, then you are going to love the 2020s. Never has even the smallest of businesses had so much clout in the marketplace. That’s because the same forces that are acting on retailers, restaurants, and family businesses to win customers by offering a unique experience, are also driving their technology suppliers to do the same by adapting to a new small business technology spending budget.
The result is a market where your small business technology spending budget is the most important aspect of the sales conversation. You get to dictate the tech you need, the solutions you want, and the duration of your financial partnership. Today’s vendors are so eager to win your business they don’t want big upfront fees or long-term commitment… they just want to make you happy, so you’ll stick around.
That is a great way to begin a discussion about how you want to spend your tech budget.
What’s the Right Tech Price?
There’s a lot of “new” and “exciting” in the world of commerce tech, but anything you spend on your business must make a difference to your bottom line or you’re just wasting resources on buzz.
Start by mapping out the basic flow of transactions around your business and then build out from there to all the admin, staffing issues, and customer awareness and service needs that go into those sales. There are tech improvements to be had at each phase, but before we look at those you have to find a way to accommodate them into your small business technology spending budget.
The answer is subscription services. Flexible, on-demand digital business services that operate under pay-as-you-go monthly or annual conditions will dominate the professional world throughout 2020. Known as Software-as-a-Service companies, these third parties provide the storage, maintenance, and provision of the digital tools you use to run your business. There are no big upfront payments or infrastructure costs as you don’t own the tech, you just pay to access it when and how you choose.
And there’s no commitment on your part. If you’re not happy with the way your tech is working, you just walk away.
There’s never been a more affordable way to fill your business with the latest technology. And there’s never been so much technology available to help you run your business.
The Tech You Need
Now that SaaS models let you calculate a reliable monthly tech spend – support, maintenance, and upgrades should be included in your deal – you can enhance every aspect of your business with the latest and greatest digital advances.
The four main areas of small business technology spending are finances and accounting, security, customer service, and Cloud computing. That last category is arguably the most important as it makes it possible to manage your business from anywhere in the internet-connected world.
The Cloud is what makes all this affordable SaaS tech possible. It is essentially just a big third-party data storage arrangement whereby you rent access to business software. What’s great about it is you can access these digital tools from any device and share that access with anyone who needs it. Using the Cloud, you can complete purchase orders, check your staff rosters, or follow live sales transactions from your tablet, phone, home computer, or in-store point of sale platform.
Finances and Accounting
There are a host of digital platforms currently available that can monitor the flow of every piece of inventory you own as it moves from purchase order to customer purchase. These integrated apps let you analyze sales data in real-time, create unique customer loyalty programs, and automate tasks such as restocking popular items.
Under such digital surveillance, every piece of customer and business data that would otherwise just flow out the door is captured, analyzed, and made clear so you can shape your business to your customers.
Every online and digital transaction comes with a degree of risk. You’ll feel it your dealings with suppliers and your attempts to engage with the wider world through online orders, but your customer experience it most keenly with their financial transactions. That’s why you have to invest in the latest end-to-end encryption and authentication technology, and the hardware to safely accommodate all manner of preferred payment options, including contactless, smartphone, and chip and pin solutions.
The most dynamic field of small business technology is the customer-facing options. While there are high-end virtual reality and augmented reality concepts being trotted out in trade shows, you only need to give your customers access to what they want in order to make them happy. In most cases, this will mean little more than an iPad with your complete online catalog and an alternation function. You can fold this functionality into your point of sale hardware to create a powerful hybrid self-service/customer service hub.
Don’t overwhelm your customer to the point that they can’t see your product for presentation.
As with all these new technologies, your customer service tech should integrate with your wider business in order to create a logical flow to all that you and your team do. The simplest way to achieve this is to merge all your new tech into one unified package.
Put It All in One POS Package
The most convenient solution is always the best. That’s why it can be worth your time to seek out an all-in-one tech solution that covers as much of the front and back of house ground as possible. These solutions are generally centered around your point of sale equipment and processes and centralize all your tech needs under a single digital sign-in.
A digital POS solution begins with simple hardware, usually just the register, iPad, and pay point you already use to connect with your bricks-and-mortar customers. Via the Cloud, you then pour all the necessary software solutions into this main terminal and make it accessible across any internet-connected device, and any business-related person, be it staff, suppliers, regulars, or inline/in-store potential customers.
You’ll have no trouble finding a vendor willing to parcel all this potential into a subscription service that reduces your small business technology spending down to a single, monthly, non-committal figure. That’s all your inventory and ordering, staff rosters and admin, point of sale and customer service tech on a shared bottom line.
And if you’re not happy, walk away and try again.
The POS systems created by talech are all-in-one solutions that give you the power to run your entire business. From service connections that help your staff better work together, through to back-of-house admin automation that reduces paperwork, our product can streamline your working world. Sign up for a free demo and find out how talech can improve your business.