We're living in a time of extreme global competition and rapid technological changes. For your business to remain competitive, you have to stay on top of day-to-day improvements and advances in technology. You might think you have an automatic handle on shifts in technical knowledge since you're in the industry, but it's impossible to stay on top of everything unless you make a concerted effort to do so.
In a survey of 1,000 technology buyers in North America and Europe, researchers discovered 44% of businesses plan to increase their tech spending in 2020. You need to balance buying with gaining new customer spending in the sector. The only way of doing both is making some solid improvements in your tech business. Here are nine things we advise spending your money on:
1. Improve Communication Methods
Tech companies are sometimes great at figuring out computer problems and burying themselves in work, but not as great at communication. Bring in people to train your employees on how to reach customers. Improve your communication systems, so buyers can connect in multiple ways and get consistent responses.
2. Update Your Website
As a tech company, users expect your website to be up-to-date and easy to use. If you live in a top city for web designers, you're in luck and can easily find a freelancer. Fortunately, designers mainly work remotely, so you can hire someone with a specialty niche such as UX design to upgrade your site.
3. Renovate Your Building
Maybe you've been so busy focusing on the computer side of your business that you've neglected your office space. Spend a little time updating your look. Add some beautiful flooring or renovate for energy efficiency and comfort. Something as simple as covering concrete floors with linoleum adds to the atmosphere. Even if clients never come into your place of business, your employees need comfortable and beautiful aesthetics to inspire them.
4. Prepare for Artificial Intelligence
Have you embraced the artificial intelligence (AI) advances in recent years? Computers are thinking more autonomously than ever before. Add a chatbot to your site that covers the basic information a human would normally offer. Upgrade your software to work more intuitively. Invest in AI now before you fall behind your competitors who do so. AI could replace 40% of human jobs by 2034, so get a handle on how it might change your business and prepare for the coming advances.
5. Upgrade to 5G
Do you provide mobile phones for your employees? Even if you just have a smartphone yourself, get on a network that has 5G capabilities. It isn't available everywhere yet and will likely only work in major metropolitan areas, but it promises to offer faster connectivity than ever before. Simply upgrading your data plan may be all you need to increase productivity and stay in touch with your top clients a bit better.
6. Streamline Your Tech Tools
As a technology company, you likely embrace new trends as they come along. However, some systems actually hinder your ability to do business. Take a long, hard look at the software you're using and see what is helpful to your particular business model and what may drag you down. Anything that is no longer benefiting your growth should be replaced by a better solution.
7. Adopt Augmented Reality
You've likely heard the words augmented reality (AR) over and over again in the last year. Businesses everywhere are using AR to better connect with customers and improve the shopping experience. For example, if you create websites, offer a virtual walkthrough of a wireframe of the potential client's site. Whatever you do, figure out a way to show the user the end result. You could even start a game to get people engaged. Think about some of the more popular AR tools, such as "Pokemon Go" and IKEA's mobile app that highlights what items look like in your home.
8. Invest in Project Management
Business is about juggling various projects, especially as your company grows. Invest in the best project management software you can afford to keep on top of big projects and plan new ones. You'll need a built-in communication system, project organization and the ability for team members to access the information from anywhere. Customer management tools are also a valuable part of any such software.
9. Automate Marketing
Marketing isn't easy for any business, especially for a tech company. It is sometimes difficult to track how well an advertising campaign worked or know if your money is spent wisely. With social media, some of this has changed, allowing you to better track customers and manage return on investment (ROI). However, social media can be a huge time suck for the marketing department.
Improve your social media management by investing in tools that automate your efforts. You can utilize sites such as Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule posts ahead of time. There are even services that will suggest a pre-generated meme your audience might be interested in or share news items with your followers.
Spend a little time looking back at the last six months and figuring out where your strengths and weaknesses are. Focus on improving weak areas and maintaining your strong ones. With a little effort, you'll see big results.