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Cloud-Based Technologies to Support Small and Medium Businesses

It is now almost redundant to say that a website is an important tool for any business in the modern era. Websites are a great platform to market your business, to build an audience and inform them about developments in your business, for attracting new business from prospects (both locally and worldwide) and can create opportunities to further monetise your business through e-commerce, affiliation and advertising. You can also utilise the mass data of internet users, to pin point target your advertisements to your key demographic on social media and through PPC adverts.

Most business owners know these facts and utilise their website to drawn in new business and build an engaged social media and email audience. Surprisingly the amount of small businesses without a website, is expected to be between 35-50% and in some estimates exceeding 60%. In 2015, this could be considered promotional malpractice, with 93% of business decisions beginning with a search engine search. Without even a basic web presence, small businesses are missing out on the opportunity to be found by potential customers, looking for their exact product or service.

How can websites and technologies assist business processes?

For small and medium businesses that do have a website, with the goal to draw in new business. Many are yet to leveraged the internet services and their websites, to streamline and better organise their business process.

Many SMEs waste a lot of money on time consuming inefficient systems of data entry and tedious repeat task. Tasks like inputting and editing customer details, keeping track of stock, keeping track of prospects and leads, communication with your customers and following order process. These processes can be assisted with software to make them automated; saving your business money.

Here are just a few of the key ways, websites and software can be utilised to give a more effective and efficient system.

Contact details entered, can be automatically added to your companies CRM; organised by key attributes that suit your business.
Orders of products can trigger - updating stock lists, shipping details and customer communication.
Booking of services can update your calendars and block out time slots for booked sessions, allowing potential customers to pick a free slot and avoid double booking.
Orders can update account systems automatically, giving you accurate and up to date records.
Real time feedback on the use of your website, allowing you to learn how to optimise your site to suit your customers.
Apps to input data and have it collated and analysed in real time.

A small but powerful example

Following is a small example of how even a micro/small business can increase profitability by implementing these types of technologies.

Julie is a masseuse and has built up a network of customers through friends and family. She has recently paid to have a website made, advertising her services. This has increased the number of clients booking sessions, making her more money.

Up to this point she used a system of phone calls and paper calendars to book and organise sessions. Like most small/micro businesses Julie is the sole employee and was unable to take phone calls during a session and would frequently loose potential business.

After assessing that she had a problem. Julie decided to pursue a web-based solution. She implemented a session booking calendar on her site; that would up date in real time when clients booked online, saving her the need to answer calls and avoiding double booking. The customer is promoted to input contact information when booking a session, which is then added to Julie's CRM and mailing list; growing her audience. Up on completing a booking the customer receives a confirmation email with the detail of their appointment as well as any promotional materials that are relevant.

The specifics of this example are fictional but the methods and benefits are very real. There is a vast range of online services, all designed to help and support businesses in a myriad of ways. These range from free (or very cheap) online recourses for small businesses, to large bespoke software built specifically for purpose.

What next?

If you would like to discuss how implementing these types of systems could benefit your business, contact a member of our expert team now; 0800 669 6457 or enquiries@bluehub.co.uk.