With so much technology out there, and new solutions becoming available every day, it can be hard for small businesses to keep up. Researching the latest tech trends can be a full-time job – and we know you’ve already got one of those!
So, while you’ve been focusing on running your company, we’ve done the research and selected five key tech trends you should be looking at.
You’ve probably already heard of the cloud and might be using cloud-based services like Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive or Dropbox to access email and important files while you’re on-the-go. But what you might not know is the cloud can also put a world of new technology right at your fingertips. As storage computing power moves from local servers to remote data centres, enterprise-grade solutions that were previously too complex or costly for small businesses, are now available as cloud-based offerings. TELUS Business Connect, for example, is a cloud-based phone system with a robust set of features, like an automated attendant and call routing; audio and video conferencing; call flip, and a single number that can be used across multiple devices, that can be subscribed to on a per-user basis. A powerful user friendly interface puts the business in instant control and is simple to set-up and manage. No upfront investment or additional technical expertise is required.
Almost everyone carries a smartphone, but small business owners are just starting to realize the productivity-boosting benefits of equipping themselves and their team with tablets as well. By pairing a smartphone with a tablet, sales representatives can deliver more effective pitches, designers can easily showcase their work at out-of-office client presentations; and consultants can quickly edit and send documents to clients while on-the-go. For many small businesses, the tablet has become an integral part of their day-to-day operations. Select a tablet that’s right for your company and watch how it boosts your team’s productivity and dramatically improves the way your company operates.
For small business owners, there’s never enough time in the day, but luckily there are thousands of free or inexpensive mobile apps that can help boost your productivity. Dragon Dictation, for example, allows you to verbally dictate notes, emails and text messages to your smartphone or tablet.. Another great app is SG Project Pro 5, a project management solution that helps you keep track of issues, risks, action items and costs, right from the palm of your hand. Whether you’re an engineer, designer, lawyer, realtor, restaurant owner or anything in between, there are apps out there to help almost any type of small business.
As more and more employees want to use their personal device at work, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs have been gaining popularity. More than 75% of businesses support an employee device program, and that’s expected to reach 90% over the next two years. BYOD has some big advantages: your employees can use the device and operating system they are most familiar with, and you can reduce your wireless expenses by sharing costs. However, if you choose to implement a BYOD program, make sure you’re aware of the security concerns that come with allowing personal devices to share sensitive information. By collaborating with your employees to develop a BYOD policy, you’ll be able to increase flexibility and productivity while maintaining security and mitigating risk for your business.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is game-changing technology that’s transforming how businesses operate. Think of the “things” in your business that could be connected to save you money and make your business more efficient – vehicles, heavy equipment, security cameras, refrigerators, digital signs, etc. A fleet management solution can save a delivery company thousands of dollars a year per vehicle in reduced fuel and repair costs, while smart sensors in kitchens and food-storage areas can save a restaurant tens of thousands of dollars a year in staffing and food costs. We’ve even made it easy to find a ready-to-implement solution for your business with the TELUS IoT Marketplace, where many of the solutions can simply be added as a monthly charge to your TELUS bill without an upfront investment.
Small businesses need to be innovative to stay competitive, and these tech trends have huge potential to drive your business forward. But, technology is only one of the many challenges small businesses face, which is why we launched The Small Business Challenge. Now in its fifth year, The Small Business Challenge is an annual contest, conducted in partnership with The Globe and Mail. It shines a spotlight on Canadian small businesses and aims to help them overcome their biggest hurdles and reach their full potential with more than $150,000 in awards.
From now until June 1, we’re asking small businesses to submit their biggest challenge and explain how $100,000 would help them overcome it. Sound like a contest for you or someone you know? Click here for more information.