Each year, new technology seems to speed up faster than the years past. We live in smart homes, drive smart cars and run smart businesses. Whether you are just getting started in your industry, or you want to take things to the next level, tapping into some of the top tech devices on the market can free up your time and ramp up productivity.
What Is the Next Booming Technology for Business?
Stanford’s latest Artificial Intelligence Index Report found private investment in artificial intelligence (AI) soared to $93.5 billion in 2021–doubling the amount from the previous year. If you’re looking for one technology certain to grow in the next few years, tapping into AI is a smart investment.
You can use machines to automatically send emails to customers, greet people via live chat–chatbot–and manage customer relationships. Basically, anything you do repetitively can likely be automated by a computer using AI.
Of course, AI isn’t the only way you can improve business operations. We spent some time researching what small business owners appreciate the most. Some of the tech devices that will help you move your business from blah to wow, include:
1. CRM System
Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the top buzzwords among small business owners. People aren’t always loyal to your brand, but if you can communicate and meet their expectations, they will order from you again and recommend you to their family and friends.
A CRM system automates things such as reminders. You can tap into AI as mentioned above and let the computer write automated responses. Just be aware at what point a live agent should take over. You don’t want your customers to feel they are just another number. A good CRM software helps you show them you care and personalizes messages.
2. Fast Performing Computer
You can buy any computer you’d like, but the Macbook Air has a few features we think you should consider. The MacBook Air outperforms similar models. The model holds the ARM-based chip and was priced competitively compared to other Mac computers. Another bonus at the moment? You can buy a refurbished one and save money. Business owners are hopeful the next release will be affordable and functional like this model.
If you’re a diehard Windows user, you should seek a model that has fast processor speeds but is lightweight enough to take anywhere. You never know where you might have to take the office.
3. Latest Smartphones
Statista recently reported 6.6 billion people own smartphones, with an expected 7.7 billion by 2027. No longer is a phone just a cell phone. They are like mini computers you can carry with you everywhere.
For small business owners, a smartphone can be a lifeline to stay in touch with clients, stay on top of project management and do work on the road. For employees, the ability to work in the field frees up their time and energy. They can log into the database and record notes about a client visit, for example.
4. Cloud Storage
The cloud services market is a $266.4 billion industry–and grows every year. With more and more workers taking the leap and at least working from home part of the time, cloud computing meshes up nicely with a remote workforce.
Your field technicians can access data from anywhere at any time. Your employees can stay home with an ill family member and still get work done on an important project with a tight deadline. You’ll gain better security, more storage and better access to your data.
5. Financial Management Tools
Hiring a bookkeeper is a smart move for a growing business but it might not be in your budget just yet. Fortunately, there are tons of technology tools that will help you track income and expenses for tax season. For example, you can use Quickbooks and download their app so you can upload receipts and input expenses on the go.
Some programs allow you to send invoices and track which clients have paid. Look for tools that keep you informed about where you are each quarter. With a small business, cash flow can become an issue before you realize it. Stay on top of what flows in and out so you can fix any problem areas quickly.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Although we listed five interesting tech devices to take your business to the next level, these are far from the only ones. Many companies are looking into using virtual and augmented reality to pull customers into an experience. Smart cities are popping up everywhere. Your only problem will be limiting yourself to just the best possible devices for your operation.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor-in-chief of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn.