Low-cost technology tips to upgrade your business

When we think of technology at the workplace, artificial intelligence, high capacity rendering software and state-of-the-art production lines immediately come to mind. However, for small business owners or home office workers, such technologies may seem out of reach. Does this mean technology should only be reserved for specialists or large-scale enterprises?

While AI and highly automated production lines provide technically advanced (and often outrageously expensive) solutions for those with deep pockets, smaller businesses often look in different directions to enhance their operations. Try these three low-cost tech tips to boost your productivity – all you need is a computer with an Internet connection!

1. Virtual assistants

Swamped with work? Consider hiring a virtual assistant! Although virtual assistants won’t be physically located at your workplace, they are essentially freelance or contract-based support staff who can help you with most everyday tasks – such as clerical work, marketing, web design, bookkeeping and more (depending on their skills and qualifications).

Before you go looking for a virtual assistant, it’s important to come up with a list of duties you would like to outsource. If you’re having trouble finding candidates, consider using a freelance platform like Upwork or Freelancer to look for potential candidates or post a job listing.

2. Cross-channel and multimedia connections

Although creating a website is essential for any business, an active social media presence allows you to truly connect with your audiences. According to statistics from Social Media Today, 80 percent of audiences tend to remember what they see online – meaning if you include a strong visual, you are much more likely to stand out from your competitors who are relying on a text-only approach.

Given the user-friendly interfaces of most entry-level graphic and video editing software, adding visuals to your posts is a quick and easy way to boost audience engagement. In the case of Mercedes Benz, a post on Instagram about their 2018 A-class model received 15 times more likes and responses than the Facebook counterpart simply because of the power of visuals.

While Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and Twitter are the “big guns” of social media, consider branching out to trendier platforms like Tiktok (Douyin in China) to get your brand name out to a new demographic. Alternatively, if your business targets a more professional audience, establishing a LinkedIn page is a great way to create connections with potential partners and clients.

3. Automating and simplifying processes

There are many online apps aimed at making your work easier. For example, if you publish to multiple social media accounts and want to create a new post across several platforms, having to do upload each post manually can quickly become tedious. Consider syncing up your accounts under a social media manager like Hootsuite to simplify and speed up the process.

Traditional emails can also get messy, especially when trying to pick out specific details amongst hundreds of emails, or trying to juggle multiple threads at once without dampening your efficiency. Platforms like Slack help mitigate a lot of the frustration with emailing. Allowing you to divide conversations like an instant messaging chatroom, these types of platforms enable you and your staff to prioritise tasks that are most urgent.

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