Starting a business and working from home or a small office is a huge accomplishment. Since the internet began, many more small businesses started to emerge. Then with the rise of social media, we saw even more companies opening up from their home offices.
It’s incredible how many people are now managing to work from home, using social media to market their products or services to their friends, family and eventually the rest of the world. From beauticians to plumbers, there are hundreds of thousands of people making money thanks to today’s technology and the way we communicate. So, how can technology help you if you are self-employed and will it increase your turnover and generate more money?
There are many devices that we use every day to enhance our businesses. From the computers we use to plan out our latest marketing campaign, to the smartphones we use to send and receive emails on the go. Making the most of our connectivity means we can increase our productivity. You are now able to work on the train or while sitting and waiting for a client who is running late. We no longer need to fill the gaps in our days. We can use every moment to generate sales and finish work projects.
This is great, but it can eat into our home lives and take precious time away from our families. We may also find that we are so connected we spend a whole day getting distracted by emails or messages. Luckily, the technology we have today means we can hire a virtual assistant to manage all of that for us. Working remotely, your VA can monitor your inbox and categorize everything, so you only get notified of the essential communications. You can structure template emails to ensure that you are responding to all new business leads and potentially generating more income. A VA will also be able to answer your phone lines for you when you aren’t available. This means you can be open for business almost 24/7, even while you are asleep.
Automation is now part of our daily lives. We are monitored and categorized, analyzed and targeted every time we step foot in the digital world. This works well for your business when it comes to advertising. Regardless of the size of your business, you can utilize several advertising platforms to reach your consumers even if it is within your local areas. Pay Per Click adverts are a great way of increasing your brand awareness. Finding a company that specializes in this will take a lot of pressure off your working day. If you offer plumbing services, you can set up your PPC for home services, including location. This means that all adverts will be targeted just within the area you work, so you don’t have to pay for adverts that have been seen by people outside of your target area.
In the past, some small businesses have struggled with taking payments. Cash and cheques aren’t used as often as they were. We spend more online, and most people prefer to carry a bank card or pay on a credit card. PayPal leads the way in online payments and still is used by most big stores as a safe and secure way to buy online. It offers protection for the consumer and the business too. However, recently small card readers that work with an app on your phone have become available. This makes home businesses much more accessible. Even a local jam maker can take a payment on your card, providing they have access to the internet. This means you aren’t losing sales simply because people don’t carry cash.
At home, we are probably using systems like Alexa to let us know what the weather is light or turn our lights off via voice command. However, systems like Alexa can help with our businesses too. Intelligent machines can help you to monitor stock levels or your energy usage, ensuring you always know where you are and can reduce your outgoings if you need to. This is especially useful if you are selling products that you keep in your garage or warehouse. If you have a robust stock level system, it will ensure you can keep up with supply and demand.
Thanks to the advancement of audiovisual technology, many homes now have access to cameras that can film in 4k. This high-quality footage helps us to improve our advertising or create relationships with our stakeholders. Small businesses can use GoPro cameras or even the camera within their smartphone to record information regarding their products or services. If you are a nail technician, you can take photos of your clients nails and use them to promote your business. You could also film a short piece on how you use different techniques. This opens up your brand and expands your audience, which will bring you new clients. If you are a heating engineer, you could create useful videos to help your clients complete simple tasks such as bleeding a boiler or show them valuable tips on keeping their heating systems working efficiently. This is a service that helps build a strong relationship with clients without you needing to leave your home.
Cameras can also be used to bring you face to face with the consumer without either of you having to step outside. There has been a rise in video conference calls being used by counsellors to reach their clients and talk freely within the safety and comfort of their own home. This can save you money and help you fit in more clients around your family commitment. It also ensures you can connect with the client and strengthen your relationship. Remote working has risen steeply over the last decade. It opens up a lot of possibilities for small businesses. You can now work on projects with the very best people wherever you are in the world.
The future of technology is fascinating for businesses. With various new platforms emerging and ways of interacting with your consumers. Augmented reality is a fast-growing tool that will change the way we do our work. If you are a kitchen designer, using virtual reality to help immerse your clients into your designs will become a superpower for sales. They can walk around their new kitchen before you build it, taking a 360-degree view of the complete design. You may already be using a simple form of this if you are selling products online. Using a basic VR structure, your clients can spin images of your products to see them from all angles. There are apps which hairdressers can recommend that will show you how you will look with a different hair colour or cut. This is a game-changing technology that will be available for all businesses, big or small in the future.
Drone technology is also developing fast. Drone cameras help us to capture action if we are demonstrating a product such as mountain bikes or equipment for a motorbike. You can set up the drone, so it follows your every move. This is really effective if you use a 360 drone camera which can make your customer feel they are on the bike and able to look around as if they are riding the bike themselves.
Drones are looking like the future of delivery too. We aren’t there yet, but Amazon has been developing using drone technology to deliver a same day service to its customers. It also saves on delays due to congestion on the roads which improves the customer experience. It could also reduce your company costs and give your customer better value for money. Not to mention the fact that drones are better for the environment than cars, lorries and planes. So you will be helping to reduce your carbon footprint and doing your bit to save the planet too.
In the medical and healthcare profession, they are also looking at drones arriving at the scene of an accident before an ambulance. This can ensure a more rapid response time and help to seek out patients in remote areas. All of this could be really handy for your business in the future so keep your eye on how this technology is developing and get creative with how you could use it.
There are so many incredible ways we can improve our working life thanks to the new tech that is available even if it is just through productivity apps on our smartphones. We can save time, save money and improve our customer’s experiences, all from the touch of a button. Search around and find what is out there for you and how you could use it to benefit your company. Then get excited about where the future is heading and how technology will bring us even closer to the consumer and help us deliver a better service and a better experience to everyone.