Home business owners looking to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their ventures with limited starting capital can turn to technology for assistance. Dozens of new technologies emerged over the last five years to help you do more with less while continuing to expand your business.
Learn about some of the best new technologies for your small home business below.
The Best New Technologies for Your Home Business
As a home business, chances are you do not have that many employees. Often the owner, manager, and lower level employees are all you. While this permits you to have control over every aspect of your business, it also eats up a lot of valuable time and energy that could go into serving customers or expanding your base. Hiring a temporary employee through a freelance or contractor website like Upwork, Elance, or Fiver is an easy solution to this problem.
Virtual Freelancers and Contractors
These virtual freelancers upload information about themselves to the website, usually including a sample portfolio, previous work experience, and reviews from former clients who hired them through the site. Once you decide you are interested in hiring a contractor through the site, you can set up an online interview and discuss your needs all from the comfort of your home. These sites generally take care of all the financial transactions for you while taking a small to significant fee.
Operating a business out of your home generally means minimal space to store important files and documents. More than 90% of small businesses use cloud services like OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. to address this obstacle. Once you scan the document onto your computer and upload it into the cloud you can file it away in another location like a storage unit or another place out of the way, but not necessarily accessible.
Freedom and flexibility is the other big advantage of using a cloud service. Since all your records, documents, images, data analysis, spreadsheets, presentations, and other important files are all together online, it makes it easier to share the information with virtual contractors, potential partners, associates, and clients with a quick invitation instead of struggling with attachments and emails. You can also keep up to date with projects if you work somewhere other than home, or do not have access to your work computer.
Chatbots have revolutionized how small businesses can interact with clients on a regular basis as well as addressing customer service complaints. New companies who build customized chatbots keep appearing and allow you to create a personalized chatbot unique to you and your goods or services.
Clients can communicate with these chatbots while shopping for items on your website, ask them questions about your products, and help guide them towards the goods or services they are most likely to purchase. Their usefulness does not stop there. You can even find chatbots that act as a personal assistant, like Niki.ai, that will schedule your dentist appointment or order you dinner.
Being a one-worker-show means that you cannot easily get away from the office for important meetings with deadlines looming and other daily tasks. Making connections with clients and other people within your industry is especially important as a small, home business, but you do not want to sacrifice getting work done in order to foster these connections. Video conferencing with a webcam eliminates the need to physically travel somewhere for a meeting and brings the meeting to you.
If you do not have a lot of funds to start, you can use a free video chat service like Skype or even set up a meeting through Facebook Messenger. Sometimes these do not provide clear enough pictures or you experience audio lag. Investing in a paid real-time communication service like Agora or Cisco can end up saving you money in the long run if you do not need to travel for these meetings or deal with technical issues during the conference.
Augmented reality, known as AR, is appearing more and more in everyday life. Consider how popular PokemonGo became after its release. As the popularity of AR increases and the cost to use it decreases, AR is becoming more and more accessible to small and home businesses. You can use AR to create viral marketing campaigns through fun smartphone applications, engaging advertisements, and whatever else you can dream up. Small real estate companies have been using AR for several years through virtual house tours online.