“I feel uncomfortable using software.” “I am not a technology person.” “I hate technology, it causes too many headaches.” “It creates too much extra work.” I hear these types of comments from women business owners all the time.
According to 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, commissioned by American Express, the number of women-owned businesses has grown 114 percent in the last 20 years, compared to the overall national growth rate of 44 percent among all businesses.
However, the study shows that even though women-owned businesses account for 39 percent of all U.S. firms, they contribute only 4.2 percent of total business revenues. Women-owned businesses are often small, riddled with manual processes and not scalable. The owners are hesitant to invest in technology; they feel it is too disruptive. Studies have shown that they are less likely to embrace technology than their male counterparts.
As a technology business owner, I can assure you that using technology is one of the best ways to stay ahead of your competitors, grow your business and make it scalable. Here are a few things to consider:
Use the cloud
The business landscape has changed dramatically with cloud technology. You are now able to access everything you need, from anywhere. Whether it is resource planning, inventory control, accounting, e-commerce or marketing, cloud software applications can help you function from anywhere in the world. If you work with remote staff, cloud-collaboration is a must. Use web/mobile apps to manage workflow, while cutting costs.
Software as a Service solutions are usually available at a lower cost and allow scalability and integration with other SaaS applications. Upgrades are easy and less expensive. If your business is a retail-facing business, consider a mobile-enabled point-of-sale system, online ordering and payment options. Although cash transactions are still used extensively, digital transactions are growing. Invest in a solid customer relationship management system. Use email marketing effectively to stay in touch with existing customers and reach out to new prospects.
Make sure you choose a company that can help you with effective implementation as well as keeping your information secure and private.
Automate and integrate
Consider automating manual and repetitive tasks to save time, reduce errors and improve efficiency. Forward-thinking small business owners have a plan to modernize their existing processes and systems. Look for ways to automatically interface with applications and reduce redundancy. Partner with trusted solution providers that can assess your needs and suggest long-lasting technology solutions.
Focus on data
Are you using data to grow your business? How do you identify your targets? Sources of data are virtually endless. Start by identifying the data you already collect. Analyzing this data can help you understand your customers’ spending patterns.
Most modern software applications come with useful dashboards and scorecards that help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Review them regularly, take appropriate actions and review them again — and keep repeating this process again and again.
Purba Majumder is the CEO of Cybervation Inc. Purba has led Cybervation through 20 years of sustainable growth, scaling the company almost four times in the past 10 years by making significant technology investments. Her nonprofit, CoolTechGirls, in partnership with the city of Dublin, seeks to create a supportive and collaborative environment for school-age girls to ignite their passion in science and technology, through workshops and role models.