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What can tech do for you?

Ok… it’s been four years since the first article in this series. Times may have changed but, if anything, the question “Who needs technology” is more relevant than ever before.

The technology has changed too. It has become more affordable, and it’s everywhere. When I wrote part one of this series, Windows 7 was the latest PC operating system, and smartphones and tablets hadn’t yet taken over from laptops, or pushed desktops into our closets and basements, gathering dust.

Now… the landscape has changed significantly in four years. Windows 10 is the new PC OS – three major versions beyond Windows 7. Windows Phone is no longer a thing. High-speed Internet access has gone from a premium option for the privilege few to being the disruptive technology – perhaps the biggest game changer since the personal computer. Small Business owners and operators are now more tech savvy than ever, and are no longer dependent on “IT professionals” to make choices and decisions for them.

Keeping up with technology is now as commonplace as following the local sports team, or staying on top of your favorite TV show. Heck – television itself is forever transformed, as high-speed internet and streaming services give the power of scheduling to the viewer, and advertisers scramble to adjust to the death of “must-see TV”. In this brave new world we find ourselves in four years later, let’s take a brief look at some of the technology that can now be used to put marketing power and control over profits directly into the hands of the Small Businesses.

* Mobile. More than half of web searches and web activity occurs on mobile devices. Mobile is always in your pocket, and always knows where you are – therefore there are things that can ONLY happen via mobile. Are you positioned to take advantage of it?

* Marketing automation. It’s not enough to collect email addresses, or even just send out “email blasts”. If your process of engaging contacts, generating leads and creating customers isn’t automatic, you’ll only do it sporadically and inefficiently. You don’t need a “magic funnel” – you need a sales pipeline.

* Anytime, any place. Forget “the cloud” – that’s just marketing hype for computers you don’t own that are accessible via the web. GMail is “cloud-based“; so is Facebook. Are you still stuck to one computer in a physical location, storing all your valuable data on one hard drive that’s subject to failure and catastrophic data loss? WHY? Move that $#!+ into the cloud, baby — NOW!

* Instant Contact’s Gonna Get You. Do you have a website? Do you have a smartphone? If the answer to these questions is “yes“, do you have live chat on your website? Why not? Are you just hoping for business to fall into your lap, or are you gonna go out there and GET IT, now?!!

* Digital Payments. PLEASE tell me you’re not still getting paid with checks and cash… what is this, 1968?? ANYBODY can open a PayPal or Stripe account and not only sell online but, much more importantly, accept credit and debit card payments and create and submit digital invoices that get paid IMMEDIATELY. C’mon – get with the program. Welcome to the 21st Century… already in progress.