When you’re running a small business it’s a real and constant challenge to keep up with bigger (and richer) companies. With a budget many times smaller than the multinationals, and lacking the in-house expertise of the big guys, deciding which direction to take with new technology is always a difficult call. However, modern communications technology is one area that will always provide a return on investment for farsighted companies. Today’s modern communications tools have the power to bring real and lasting benefits to your company – and used well, they can help you punch above your weight to compete with big businesses.
PR and promotion
Marketing and communications go hand in hand – so communications technology is a natural tool to turn to when promoting your brand or your products. Image is everything, and it’s important to get out there, spread your message and communicate with as many potential clients and customers as you can. Here are some communications technologies that can help the process:
It sounds futuristic, but augmented reality is already with us and is beginning to be used to great effect by forward-thinking businesses. More than simply a gaming fad, augmented reality provides the opportunity to let customers ‘try before they buy’ – for example, by overlaying an item of furniture into a space in their house to understand whether it’s a good choice for their home.
Not such a new phenomenon, webcasting is nevertheless a communications tool that can be used really effectively to help promote your goods or services. A combination between a broadcast and an interactive conversation, webcasting is great for product demonstrations, ‘how to’ guides, reaching more people who can’t make it to your real-world event, or even hosting a get-together for fans. Whatever the content, an ideal webcast contains a combination of interesting content and interactive elements, allowing attendees to ask questions and give their input. After the broadcast a webcast can remain available for those who couldn’t make it at the time. You can also drum up interest on social media by posting your webcast there.
Pitch your product to clients from afar using remote conferencing tools to chat face-to-face. The visual impact of your presentation will always be greater than a two-dimensional voice over the phone, and the low-cost nature of the medium means that you’ll be able to reach more people – all you need to do is turn on and log in, rather than travelling the country to promote your wares.
When it comes to your workforce, smarter communications technology can be a really positive and proactive addition to your arsenal of business tools. This is where technology comes into its own; if you so choose, it could revolutionise the way you interact with your staff, communicate key ideas and ultimately, get the work done.
Remote working is a growing trend that benefits businesses and workers alike. With the right setup you can save valuable cash on overheads by encouraging staff to work from home either full-time or in between meetings, using conferencing technology to stay in close contact. You’re also likely to nurture a positive relationship with your employees and see your productivity soar, by allowing staff the freedom and flexibility to work where and when it best suits them.
Client relationships can flourish with the aid of canny communications technology. Instead of submitting written progress reports or to-ing and fro-ing by email, you can get straight to the point by conducting meetings, checking in with progress updates or even holding interviews remotely, using the latest multifunctional conference software. Clients really value good communication, so this is one area where you’re likely to see an improvement in customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Getting together is easier with the right technology. A virtual meeting room service can be an important asset that allows regular meetings to be held without the hassle of travelling from different sites.
Coping with disruption
Larger companies are likely to have policies and processes in place for every eventuality, but for a small business this may not always be a high priority. That’s OK as long as everything carries on as normal, but robust contingency plans can make the difference between sinking or swimming when the worst happens.
Today’s innovative communications solutions can help you to be prepared and stay afloat in times of disruption, be it mild or severe. If you experience unforeseen issues that threaten to slow your business down, communications technology can offer solutions to enable work to go on as usual.
Managed virtual events are a way to hold meetings ‘virtually’ from any location. Delegates can either travel to an appointed virtual meeting room site nearby, or link from any device, anywhere, to attend the event. Great news if your HQ suddenly becomes a no-go area due to fire or other circumstances beyond your control, it looks as though virtual reality really will be a part of our working life in the future.
Video and audio conferencing allow colleagues to keep in touch wherever they are. So, if there’s something stopping you from getting together in person, be it illness, childcare issues or severe weather, these technologies help you to keep calm and carry on with your day-to-day business.
Looking to the future
To stay ahead in business, it’s always important to keep one eye on future trends. And communications technology is an area that is always changing and developing. How will tomorrow’s workforces use these technologies to do business? All the signs are pointing to a business climate where more and more communication will happen virtually, rather than in the flesh. That may sound cold or detached, but in fact the very opposite is true; communications technology employed correctly will help you to connect more effectively, and more frequently, with more people – all the ingredients you need to help your small business take on the big guys.
Investing in new, streamlined communications technologies is a smart move for a smarter world – guaranteed to help you stay well ahead of the curve.