There’s no denying that digital devices have propelled businesses to be better. We live in a tech-driven future that’s fuelled by innovation, online engagements and multiple platforms to stay connected over global distances. It’s any successful entrepreneur’s playground of possibilities.

Implementing the latest technology is key for small businesses eager to boost productivity and networking opportunities. But it’s a strange paradox this digital age has created too. On one side,  social media platforms connect us in real-time better than ever. On the other, it’s the ever-growing advances in technology that bring us closer to a reality where we may never need to engage with another human being for business, in person, again. Isn’t that a crazy thought?

Tech has been changing the way we do business for the past decade. But 10 years ago we weren’t glued to our smartphones and laptops the way we are today. What was once used for basic means of communication has boomed into a revolutionary medium with limitless potential. Want to drive small business success? Grab a glass of wine and read on for the tech-tips you should be implementing:

1. Embrace the Times

If you’re still tapping away on an ancient computer that’s running on Windows 7, don’t expect to overtake your competitors in the tech-department anytime soon. Success is driven in many ways. But devices that are sluggish and out of date will only slow down the process. Instead, embrace the times and make sure the technology you’re using is increasing business efficiency and improving performances.

Cloud computing is a prime example. 92% of small businesses currently use one or more cloud-based solutions, and this will only continue to increase. Working with online documents and using software tools directly from the cloud encourages a better way to do business and get work done. And you don’t need to lug around a bulky hard drive or be worried about losing your data again.

Other smart innovations like video conferencing is another one to embrace. Virtual meetings are becoming the norm, providing a fantastic way for small businesses to foster relationships and make connections without the need to travel. It simplifies the way we do business and gives you the chance to check in with remote workers and collaborate.

2. Industry Specific Tech Support vs. Tech Support

Outsourcing your tech support to the experts might not seem like an expense small business owners are willing to fork out, but when your systems are affecting productivity then it’s well worth the investment. And it only takes a detrimental security breach or a painful week of computer crashes and errors to know there’s no turning back!

Investing in tech support doesn’t just help safeguard security and system problems, but it frees up more time for you to run your business too. Make sure you opt for industry-specific IT support over generic though. Engaging in external services that are aligned with your business means they’re better familiar with the software you need to succeed. For example, retail small businesses can use software systems like Galileo, GaP and Vision, whilst financial businesses can utilise Bloomberg or AusKey.

3. Expand Brand and Customer Reach with Social Media

Social media is as important as ever. expand your brand and customer reach by knowing where your audience connects online. You don’t have to be on every social media platform – just the ones where your customers are interacting the most. Utilising the right social media channels is a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website and put your brand at the forefront of consumer’s minds. It also gives you the perfect platform to share quality, relevant content in the industry and learn more about your target market. Use social media to hunt for new opportunities and connect with like-minded people in your niche.  hh

4. Drive Results with a Great Website

Your website is your greatest asset because it acts as the virtual shop front of your business. Well-designed websites that are optimised for search engines will attract more visitors to your brand than anything else. Make sure it’s loaded with great content that provides real value to readers. This gives them a chance to engage with your brand.

A good website works hand-in-hand with social media. Make sure you include social media share buttons to encourage visitors to share your content and amplify your reach.  For a website to really shine, it must be compatible with mobile, properly optimised to be found in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), fast-loading and user-friendly. Get into the habit of producing great content with a content calendar and position yourself as an expert in your field with an online blog to attract people to your site.

5. Take Advantage of Mobile Technology Trends

Let’hs face it – mobile is a must-have for entrepreneurs. Mobile interactions are only on the rise. And if your website isn’t mobile-friendly or you’re not taking advantage of the latest mobile trends, you’ll get left behind.  The digital-driven age means more people are using their smartphones, tablets and laptops to research, compare and make decisions than ever.

Small business owners need a competitive edge to stay ahead of the game. It’s not just about learning what’s relevant and new for you either, but understanding what your competitors are doing with the latest technology advances too.