How Can Non-Tech Companies Continue to Thrive in a Tech-Oriented World?
When the 90’s ushered us into the digital age, cutting-edge businesses began making websites and building their digital presence. However, only in the last ten years has it become absolutely necessary for every business, no matter how non-tech, to be fully ‘digitally transformed’. What this means is that your business needs a well-made website, an interactive mobile app, online customer service, and a suite of software that supports your industry functions. Even if you are a small brick-and-mortar business with a local-only customer base, society has changed. Foot traffic and street signs are no longer the primary way people choose a business and phone lines aren’t even the leading form of customer contact anymore. Instead, your customers are using search engines and mobile apps to find the venues and services they want, they check online reviews, they investigate a business’s website, and they might even reach out through live chat, text, or email before making their decision.
In order to keep up with not just the competition, but the customers themselves, no business is exempt from the need for digital assets. The problem is that these assets need to be maintained, repaired if anything goes wrong, and secured against hackers and technical problems. If you’ve been trying to figure out what to do about your tech stack and digital presence without the hassle and expense of an IT staff member, that’s exactly what we’re here to help with today.
The Tech Every Business Needs
The first thing to assess is the technical assets your business actually needs and would benefit from. Don’t let anyone talk you into services you don’t need but also take the time to look for any way a digital product or service could improve your business. Software has been designed for almost every industry and aspect of modern business and new solutions are constantly being developed. The right tech for your business will fit a few clear criteria.
The Tech for Your Business Should:
- Improve something about your business
- Fit within your budget
- Uphold your physical and cyber security
- Make it easier to be part of ‘the cloud’
- Reduce your costs
- Increases your customers
- Improve customer relations
- Building an online community
Any software, platform, or online service you incorporate should be considered for these factors. The integrity of your tech stack and digital marketing success are all tied together and influence each other in this way.
Building Your Tech Stack
Your tech stack is the combination of technology you use. A simple example of a tech stack might be running an inventory management program on a Windows desktop computer. The hardware is the computer itself and stacked on top is the Windows operating system and the inventory program. For running an entire business, your tech stack may include software solutions for finance, customer service, customer relations, marketing, logistics, and cybersecurity, and point of sale. In fact, most businesses try to cover all of these bases and there are many great programs available to streamline these concerns.
Start by choosing hardware that is reliable with a good brand reputation for performance and security. Most businesses go with the latest Windows operating systems unless you have a reason to prefer Linux or Macintosh. From there, look for software solutions that meet the criteria and have APIs that work well together. This way, they can share data, dashboards, and integrate together into future solutions.
Salesforce is currently the leading customer relations manager providing integrated tools for sales, customer service, marketing, online shopping, and community building. WordPress is the leading website development platform, QuickBooks for accounting, and Slack for remote collaboration.
Building Your Digital Presence
Beyond improving your central business functions with tech is the need to build a digital presence. As search engines have made it possible to look up anything before making a decision, search engine results have become increasingly important to business success. You need a website to show up on search engines (SEO), a Google Business listing so that navigation apps can find you, a presence on social media to host your online community, and any number of optional measures to reach out to, attract, and build a relationship with the online aspect of your target audience.
Your goal should be to build an amazing website that represents your brand and provides information about your business that potential customers would be interested in. Once you have that, focus on writing great content for a blog and maintaining a fun presence on social media.
Providing for Modern Customers
The final aspect of a modern business’ technical involvement is the way you offer customer service. While there are still a few enterprises that only offer a simple email address, a mailing address, and phone number, most customers today won’t even bother with a company that doesn’t at least have a contact page on their website. Remember that while your customer base may be local, they all wield smart phones and are part of the online culture just like the rest of the country.
Your sales, marketing, and customer service teams need to be equipped with the communication channels and features are popular today. These include email, live chat built into your website and mobile app, texting and SMS, video chat, and finally telephone calls at the end.
Know the Staff You Need, Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource
Of course, the one complication to streamlining your business practices with even a few technical solutions is the fact that many businesses don’t actually have a tech team to do the implementation and maintenance. The vast majority of your business tasks even a software stack may simply not generate enough technical work to warrant even a part-time technician or the workload you have may only temporarily rise above the capabilities of your current team. But you still need the support of skilled IT technicians and software experts during installations, upgrades, and to fix any problems that occur.
You know better than anyone what your business needs to run smoothly in the day-to-day and the staff you need to function properly. When you add the consideration of demand and expense for an in-house IT professional, it may simply be impractical. Fortunately, you don’t have to take the risk of trying to implement and maintain your own tech stack. Because there are so many specialized tasks now required of any well-rounded modern business, outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular. Small skilled teams of specialists like marketers, IT support, and sales technicians offer their services to a number of companies, finding enough work and professional development through multiplying the limited amount of help each individual business needs.
Long story short, the best way for a non-tech company to do well in an increasingly tech-oriented world is to adapt, build a digital presence, integrate a few industry software solutions, and don’t be shy to outsource for the professionals you need when you need them.
For more information, advice, and tips on how to advance your non-tech company through software and management services, contact us today!