Small Business Productivity: How to Take Your Company to the Next Level through Efficient Technology

Small businesses thrive when productivity is maximized. The best way to maximize productivity is through efficient technology. Business success is based on having the right product or service at the right price at the right time and in the right place. Efficient technology for small businesses probably will not create the next great product or service, but it will help you with everything else your company must do to get that product or service to market and to deliver it to the customer.

Many small businesses fail because they do not utilize technology adequately or efficiently. Key elements of business technology must interface, function properly and make employees more efficient in serving customers. Critical efficiency areas for any business are in communication, information (data) management, and product sales and delivery. When these critical efficiencies are supported by the right technologies, moving a company to the next level becomes easier.

How can efficient technology help you move your company to the next level? Let’s consider the three critical efficiency areas.

1. Communication. Communication is critical for any business. Every company must communicate internally, with vendors and suppliers, with sales outlets, and with customers. In this age of instant communication, every business must know that at least key employees and company leaders are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The world has become accustomed to instant responses to questions, instant access to information, and instant solutions to problems. Communication technologies include:
• Cell phones, hand-held communication devices
• Internet visibility
• Remote access to data
• Customer service access
• Vendor/supplier access
• Access to market trends and other data
• Access to data for competitive analysis
• Web and video conferencing
• Corporate intranet
• E-commerce

2. Information (data) management. Access to information is essential in any company. Employees require access to market analysis, product information, customer information, and corporate information. Technologies enable small businesses to manage information in critical ways:
• Information gathering
• Information storage
• Information integration
• Product information, including production, inventory, specifications
• Remote access to information
• Real-time information on inventory, etc.
• Information sharing
• Reporting

3. Product sales and delivery data. The key to financial viability is management of inventory and money. Sales and product delivery are critical aspects of the success of a small business. Whether your sales team is on the road or in the office, whether your inventory manager in meeting with vendors or discussing a large sale with a sales rep, or whether you need to know what functions should be added to a new product, you need instant access to product information. This information might include:
• Product descriptions and specifications
• Sales statistics
• Inventory levels
• Products in development
• Customer sales history
• Customer relationship data
• Production schedules
• Customer needs
• Shipping and delivery information
• Customer satisfaction data

Efficient use of technology to manage these issues of accessibility and data integration will make your business operate more smoothly and effectively. Choosing the right systems, the right programs, the right accessibility options, and effecting optimal system integration, will provide the communication, information, and sales information every small business needs to succeed and grow.

Copyright (c) 2007 Thomas Burns