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Technology for small business: a cost that pays.

Technology has completely changed the small business landscape in recent years. With the widespread adoption and availability of new technology tools, small businesses are now able to keep up with their big business counterparts. However, technology can be a blessing and a curse for small business owners because of the learning curve that comes with it, as well as the additional resources that may be required.

Nonetheless, keeping up with technology trends and making the right decisions can pay off for small businesses without being overwhelming. Following are some technology tips that you should consider as you plan for ongoing success.

An online and social presence is worth it.

Even if you don't transact on the web, a website is crucial to any small business. A website gives your business credibility, as most customers look online first.

Much like a website, social media is also a must-have for small businesses. Determine the social platforms your customers use and then develop a strategy to be on those platforms to get in front of your customers virtually.

Consider mobility.

To take your business and online presence to the next level, mobility is a great solution for small businesses. Make sure your website is mobile-optimized, as customers are now more likely to search online on a mobile device than on a traditional computer.

Mobility can also be extended to your point-of-sale solution, as with the Bank of America Merchant Services Clover[TM] Station. Solutions like this all-in-one mobile payment product help enable you to go mobile by offering a comprehensive way to handle it all, which makes managing your business easier and more efficient. Take payments. View inventory. Track sales. Manage employees and monitor their time.

Add custom apps for your business that will allow you to send special offers directly to your customers' mobile phones.

A big advantage of this type of solution is the easy access you enjoy, no matter where you are. For example, with Clover, you can access your funds as early as the very next day, provided you have a Bank of America* business checking account. And it even features an offline mode, so if your Internet connection goes down, you'll still be able to take card payments (though you would still be responsible for chargebacks). And it's secure: each transaction is fully encrypted, giving you and your customers real confidence and peace of mind.

There may be other benefits to tablet-based, point-of-sale systems as well. They are cheaper for small businesses than traditional registers and can provide valuable data-based insights and show trends over time that may help you gain that all-important competitive edge.

Big Data and the cloud aren't just for enterprises. Big Data--the term used for a massive amount of data that is so large it is a challenge to process--doesn't have to be "big" to be insightful and actionable. By measuring a few key factors like financials, customer surveys or web analytics, you can find big business insights on a small business scale.

Much like Big Data, the cloud can also be adopted on a small business scale. The cloud allows your data to be stored, protected and accessible 24/7, around the globe, from any device--enabling you to work on the same scale as big businesses.

Stay current to stay competitive.

What would customers think if they saw you using a typewriter instead of computer? Outdated technology, or a lack of technology, can be a red flag to customers and potential customers. Small business owners need to challenge themselves to embrace tech and invest in what they need.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats. Instead of adding another responsibility to your plate, find a partner or technology expert you trust who can help determine the return on investment of a technology within the context of your cash flow and business goals. Partners like your small business banker can assist you with technology investments, maintenance costs and financing.

Technology is leveling the playing field to help small businesses compete with their larger counterparts, allowing your key differentiator to be about how connected your business is versus its size. Get passionate about technology and see how it can benefit your business.

COMPANY BIO

Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 48 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,800 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with 31 million active users and approximately 18 million mobile users.

BY DAVID SOLIS, BANK OF AMERICA SMALL BUSINESS CENTRALIZED SALES EXECUTIVE

CONTACT

Bank of America

David Solis

Bank of America Small Business Centralized Sales Executive

Bank of America Corporate Center

100 North Tryon Street

Charlotte, NC 28255

Phone: 888-BUSINESS

(888-287-4637)

Website: bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/
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Comment:Technology for small business: a cost that pays.
Author:Solis, David
Publication:Franchising World
Date:Nov 1, 2015
Words:837
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