business tech

Business Technology for Small Business Owners

Belle Wong

If you’re a small business owner looking to solve a business-related problem, the number of business technology solutions that are available may seem overwhelming. This can be especially true if you think of yourself as more of a technology novice. However, the diversity of tech applications and services out there also means it can be easier than you think. The adage “there’s an app for that” rings especially true when it comes to solving small business issues.

What does this mean for you, the small business owner? Finding the right business tech application to address your issue can often lead to a boost in growth, profits and efficiency. And while the term “business technology” can seem daunting, chances are you’re already using specific types of business technology to run your business right now.

At its core, business technology is basically any technology-based solution that helps you handle the variety of tasks that come up during the course of doing business. For example, the small business owner who utilizes an accounting software solution, such as Quickbooks, is already leveraging the power of business tech to effectively tackle a task. Relying on that software helps them keep their business’ books, a task that used to require a lot of time or money.

And most business tech solutions are designed for ease of use, making it easily accessible for the average small business owner. In fact, today’s business technology is so accessible that many non-tech savvy entrepreneurs are engaging in business startups based on high tech business ideas. Whether you’re a novice when it comes to tech applications or you’re in the process of starting your own tech company, SBA has the resources to guide you through choosing the right business tech solutions and starting up your own tech business.

Business Technology Solutions to Power Your Business

The past decade has seen an incredible growth within the tech industry, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the number of business tech solutions available for small businesses. No matter what your business problem is, chances are there’s at least one app on the market that will solve it. And for the small business owner, the end result is often greater efficiency. This, in turn, translates into savings in both time and money, both essential (and limited) resources for most business owners.

Computer technology. The majority of businesses these days use some form of computer technology. For example, if you’re using a laptop or a desktop computer to help you run your business, you’re showcasing a successful use of computer technology. With processing speeds getting faster every day and new computer peripherals being developed that leverage these blazing speeds, up-to-date computer tech enables the small business owner to level the business playing field substantially.

Software technology. As a subset of computer technology, software technology puts the full processing speed of your computer tech to good use. The variety of software applications that are available for the small business owner is immense. Whether you’re looking to manage your inventory, track ad campaigns or streamline your human resource processes, there’s likely a software solution available to help you meet your specific business needs.

Still not certain about diving more deeply into business technology solutions for your business? Consider the following categories of business management apps that are available to the small business owner:

  • Finances. Financial technology apps cover a lot of areas. Whether your business needs an all-in-one accounting system, budgeting software or a sales forecasting app, financial tech solutions work to address financial issues common to most small businesses.
  • Marketing. Marketing is essential for growing your business’ client or customer base, but gone are the days when marketing meant running ad campaigns in regional newspapers or through local radio stations. Newer forms of marketing, such as social media marketing, internet marketing, and influencer marketing benefit from marketing apps that can perform a range of tasks. These can help from developing and creating campaigns, to monitoring and tracking results.
  • Productivity. In the business world, time most definitely is money. Productivity applications play an important role in helping small business owners manage their time more efficiently. From project management to time tracking, a productivity app can be as simple as a calendar application or as complicated as a complete workflow system.
  • Collaboration. For many businesses, collaboration plays a crucial role in day-to-day operations. In this particular tech space, apps can enhance communications between team members and make it easier for businesses to work in partnership with other complementary businesses.
  • Learning. Training and development is an important part of your business’ HR management. A wide range of learning apps are available to help your employees develop and maintain their specific skill sets. From training webinars and remote industry conferences to online courses, learning and education technology helps you provide your employees with the training and development they need.
  • Customer service. Customers are the lifeblood of any small business, and businesses that are able to provide stellar customer service stand to reap the many benefits that come from having happy, satisfied customers. Examples of customer service apps include chatbots to help answer customer inquiries, help desk systems to handle customer complaints and customer relationship management software.
  • Remote working. Having the ability to work remotely gives small business owners several advantages. Today, remote and mobile work apps provide efficient solutions for conducting business while away from the office. One particular benefit of remote work apps is that most are not device-specific, enabling employees to work using whatever device they have.
  • Online business. Many businesses run an online storefront even if they also maintain a physical location to service customers. Online tech solutions keep the online arm of your business functioning 24/7. This enables you to easily run your business, even in your sleep.

Choosing the Right Business Technology Solutions for Your Business

With such a wide range of business tech apps and solutions available to help you manage your business more efficiently, choosing – and learning to use – the right set of tech tools can be a challenge on its own. After all, an app that requires a steep learning curve or a monthly payment plan that adds up over time may take away from the benefits you gain from using it.

So, how should you go about choosing the right tech solutions for your business? In many cases, doing the right kind of research can help provide you with the guidance you need.

  1. Identify the problem. Tech products are typically developed to address specific problems. Because of this, it’s important to spend time thinking about the particular problems for which you want a tech solution.
  2. Know the features you need. If price is an issue, it’s important to know the features you need. Applications that come with all the bells and whistles can sometimes mean you’re paying for features you won’t ever use, which can be an issue for your bottom line.
  3. Compare and contrast. You’ll likely find more than one potential business tech solution that will do what you need it to do. At this point, your research hat will come in handy. You want to check out not only the app that looks most suitable, but some of its competitors as well.
  4. Read the fine print. It’s important to clarify the basics of the tech solutions you’re looking at. For example, paying a monthly subscription fee might have more of an impact on your budget in the long term than a single upfront price.

What is a Business Tech Startup Business?

As you can see, these days, business tech in all its various forms is very accessible to the small business owner. This levels the playing field, not only in terms of running your business, but also when it comes to starting up a tech business.

What is a tech startup business? If you’re a tech novice, it may surprise you that the business that you’re considering starting may actually qualify as a tech startup. If the product or service that is at the core of your new business idea is tech-based, chances are you’re looking at starting up a tech business.

You may be feeling a little uneasy about launching a tech startup when you don’t consider yourself to be particularly tech savvy. But whether you’re looking at software development, a new streaming service or even a 3D printing venture, the key to a business tech startup is to either hire or partner with individuals who have the technical skills to handle the development side of your new venture.

How do you go about putting together the right technically skilled team for your new tech business? Funding your startup can follow traditional routes such as bank loans, but tech startups can also be very attractive to venture capital providers and angel investors. And even if you don’t yet have the budget to hire people with the necessary technical expertise, you also have the option of taking on a more tech knowledgeable co-founder, whose expertise can be yours for the cost of a percentage of equity.

High Tech Business Ideas and What to Do with Them

Because business technology solutions have become so common, it’s not at all unusual for an entrepreneur to come up with high tech business ideas. After all, many business ideas are developed as a result of trying to find a solution to an existing problem. If you’ve ever run your own business, you may have had to deal with problems that became the inspiration for a tech-based business product or service.

For example, if your new product or service idea involves app development or web development, you’re likely looking at starting a tech business. Specific tech business ideas cover a wide range of areas, like:

  • data entry services
  • providing video content
  • offering live streaming
  • influencer marketing apps
  • ecommerce software for website owners

The good news? Tech startups at their core are really not that much different than starting up a more traditional business.

Starting a Tech Business?

Just like a more traditional type of business, there are issues you’ll need to consider if you want to start a tech company. And in addition to all the regular considerations that come with starting a new business – such as the marketability of your product or service, the amount of risk you’re willing to take and your ability to manage startup costs – you should also consider the pros and cons that are specific to launching a tech company.

For example, one key advantage of a tech startup is that once you have a tech savvy individual on your team, whether this person is a co-founder, employee or a contractor, you will usually be able to develop your product or service without having to purchase or rent expensive equipment. Coding typically doesn’t require anything more than your average PC or laptop, and an experienced coder won’t need any additional computer training.

Having said that, it can be difficult to get the funding necessary to hire an employee at the very start of a tech business venture. You’ll often need to provide a prototype to demonstrate your product or service’s key features to potential investors first. One disadvantage of tech startups is that you may end up having to provide an equity share in order to attract a co-founder with the technical expertise you need to develop your product.

Once you feel comfortable going ahead with your new business idea, you’ll find that launching your new business will follow much of the same process as starting a non-tech business. As with any general business venture, if you’re starting a tech business, the resources offered here at SBA are designed to give you the head start you need.

Even if you consider yourself to be a tech novice, chances are you’re already using some form of business technology to help you run your business. While investigating additional business tech solutions may seem daunting at first, it’s important to know that most of the tech products and services on the market today are designed to be easily accessible to the average business owner. And if you’ve come up with a tech-based solution to a business problem that doesn’t seem to be adequately solved by an existing app or service, starting up a tech company is just as accessible to the non-tech savvy entrepreneur.

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