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Seven tips to help small business owners benefit from what technology can offer.

Technology can boost your business


By —— Bio and Archives--January 5, 2011

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If there’s some part of your small business that needs managing, chances are there’s an electronic solution. 

If you’re like most business owners, your hands are full just keeping your operation going. Who has the time to find out about new technology and tools, set up the systems and then learn how to use them?

Besides, some of us are just plain techno-challenged. We don’t know what’s available or understand what we need.

One thing for sure - technology will only become more imbedded in everything we do. If you’re not making the most of it in your business now, you could be missing both an opportunity and a real competitive edge.

Chartered Accountants Ralph Machon of Business Technology Solutions Inc. in Toronto, and Kevin R. Williams, Director of Finance, Bell Canada in Mississauga, share their top seven tips to help small business owners benefit from just some of what technology can offer.

Decide who you are and where you want to go – “People often fail to plan for what their businesses will become,” Machon says. “They buy the first product that meets their needs…today. Businesses can grow and change quickly, and fast-fix tools may not keep up. Changing software is not fun, so do your homework first to find products that will allow your business to develop.”

Get knowledgeable advice about information tracking – Your accountant should be the first person you talk to about getting the right information collected and properly reported. He or she can recommend other experts who will help you further as your business and its needs develop.

Small businesses can be mobile businesses – “Electronic devices are how people communicate now,” says Williams. Modern service providers are designing their customer programs around services rather than features. The value is in providing “an-office-in-a-smart phone” that enables small business people to spend more time with customers and doing actual work.

The goal is business intelligence – “People want to mine their own product and customer data,” Machon says. More and more, he says small businesses want to really know their customers and where to focus the business. Look for systems that help you manage the customer relationship, track contacts and keep on top of communications.

Get technology working for you – The next best thing to making money is saving money. Williams says that small business owners no longer need to buy big, expensive equipment in order to get the kind of fast, state-of-the-art services that the big guys have. Pretty much all the electronic services needed to run a small business can be purchased from a host or provider, and paid monthly.

Keep clients in the loop – Want to stand out in the crowd? Keep in touch with clients to give them well-timed, helpful information that’s important to them. Today, there are all kinds of ways to make your communications direct and personal. And most can be orchestrated with your phone.

Information is power – The intelligence that’s built into electronic tools and systems now extends to sales, marketing, purchasing and more. At the press of a button in your hand, you can get integrated information that’s sorted, analyzed and able to tell you what’s likely to happen. Why let all this great stuff sit idle when it can be put to work, helping your business succeed?

Brought to you by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario


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Inst. of Chartered Accountants -- Bio and Archives | Comments

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario is the qualifying and regulatory body of Ontario’s 33,000 Chartered Accountants and 5,000 CA students. Since 1879, the Institute has protected the public interest through the CA profession’s high standards of qualification and the enforcement of its rules of professional conduct. The Institute works in partnership with the other provincial Institutes of Chartered Accountants and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants to provide national standards and programs that are used as examples around the world. </em>


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