You might assume that tech solutions are the province of bigger or more wealthy companies. But the right tech can save you time and money and it may be of even more value to small businesses, with fewer staff, than larger ones.

Use tech to improve your customer service

If you’re a solo entrepreneur or you run a business with very few staff, finding time to respond to customer queries (and doing so swiftly) can be a problem – but there may not be the need or the money to employ a member of staff to deal with it.

The answer? A chatbot; a technological virtual assistant.

Chatbots don’t need lunchbreaks, holidays, tea and coffee in the staffroom or an ergonomic keyboard. After the initial set-up, they’re there; you won’t need to train a new one because the old one left!

They have a better memory and are more consistent than human customer service assistants, giving standard answers to the most frequently asked questions and knowing when to refer customers to a real person. They can also make the first move in a conversation, engaging customers for longer by enquiring if they need help and highlighting any promotions.

Use tech to improve your bookkeeping and accounting

Forget labouring over an Excel spreadsheet or, horror of horrors, accounting ledgers (you don’t, do you? Please tell me you don’t). These days, accountancy software packages can link your bookkeeping to your bank account, issue quotes and invoices, chase late payments and provide all sorts of useful reminders, reports and analyses.

Even better, some now use the cloud, meaning your financial details are always up to date and you can access your financial records anytime and anywhere there’s an internet connection. You can also work collaboratively, share your records in real-time with your accountant and rest easy, knowing that your information is secured by the provider’s security measures and held on multiple servers in multiple locations – meaning that if any of your devices are stolen or suffer damage, your data is still intact.

Try our accounting software Pandle, praised by users for being powerful, intuitive and easy to use. It’s also free!

Use tech to improve your stocktaking and business analysis

Another tiresome task that could be done with a spreadsheet or even a pen and paper is stocktaking and analysis.

What do you sell most of on Tuesdays? What promotions work best to bring customers back? If it takes three days to bring in new supplies of those scented candles, when should you order a new batch?

There’s no need to pore over the figures and do complicated calculations to answer these and similar questions anymore. Let the tech do it for you.

Dott, Vend’s AI tool launched in November last year, “aims to help retailers make better decisions about their stores and how to grow” and “can learn things about retail and develop insights that haven’t been available for small to medium retail store owners.”

It works on the back of the Vend platform. When you use the Vend POS software, Dott watches, analysing sales, product, customer and inventory information in real-time. It then makes suggestions on anything from managing inventory and when to order new stock to reminding you to fulfil an order.

But it’s not only your business it’s learning from. It also gains insights from other Vend users, using their successes to give you tips.

Why not give tech a try – and see what benefits it could bring your business?

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