Technology today it a vital tool for all business’ small or big. Whether the business is online or through a physical location like a shop, you cannot work without the basics like smart phones, computers, credit card machines etc.Technology drives sales, improves brand images, helps in effective advertising and keeps your business active.
Running a small business or an at home business means you need even more tools to help you sustain your business. Small business owners are, many a times stay at home parents, artists, designers and craftsmen. Most of these people do not have the luxury of time due to their circumstances to devote to their business or the finances to hire additional people for help. This is where technology becomes essential. From online tools to various phone applications the small business owners now have the power of technology to build their business, increase sales, advertise, and reach a much larger audience.
Soon after I started my business I realized that I will be spending a lot more time promoting and trying to sell my jewelry, rather than in designing and making it. Without technology, I would not be able to sustain my work. No matter how good your product is, without technology most businesses cannot be sustained in today’s world.
Mentioned below are the online features that I use, and some other technological aspects that are important to my business.
1. ONLINE STORE
For small businesses and at home businesses, the concept of an “Online Store” works well. Not only does it save overhead costs, it also allows the business owner to work at their convenience and for the customer to shop at theirs. Having said that, the absence of the “personal touch” makes it harder for some people to sell their product online.
For me personally, designing jewelry has always been about using my design abilities to create pieces of jewelry that will enrich a person’s life. It could be a piece of jewelry that enhances an outfit, adds an extra boost of confidence at work, elevates someone’s mood, makes someone feel special or well put together. Even for many online sales where I cannot personally guide a customer, I am available online through email and whatsapp to help them make their purchase.
2. FACEBOOK PAGE:
Though face book is widely used for personal accounts, it’s an excellent tool for marketing. Most big or small brands have face book pages, which apart from their website, offer news, event details and fun facts that customers can follow. Facebook also has additional features for businesses and their advertising rates are some of the lowest. Clients today enjoy being connected to the person or the people who develop or design the products they love.
Pinterest is a tool I started using very recently. Even though Pinterest is a good way for sharing your products with a larger audience, I find it more effective in sharing my brand as a whole, which includes me the designer. Pinterest evolves around choosing “pins” or things, people, words you see and creating your own little world out of them. It helps others to see your personality, your tastes, likes and dislikes.
As the name suggests is an instant share of your product. It’s an instant update through photographs that you can take with your phone and load immediately. It’s a great tool for taking people behind the scenes.
5. MAIL CHIMP
There are many websites that let you design and mail out “news letters” to clients on a regular basis. The one I use is Mail Chimp. It is a more formal way to keep in touch with your client data base and it allows people to “subscribe” through your website and “unsubscribe” if they want to.The design feature is easy to use and the end product looks professional.
6. LOYALTY PROGRAMS
A loyalty program is an award program that gives customers an added incentive to purchase from you. It can be either in form of points, cash back or free merchandise. I very recently introduced the SSL Loyalty program for my customers that lets them earn 2% cash points back on every online purchase. These cash points can be collected over a period of two years and can be used to make purchases online at www.shikhaslamba.com
Apart from these there are many other technological aids that the small business owner can use like the online networking site twitter, websites like Fresh books for accounting, photo shop for editing pictures, lucid press for making flyers and brochures. By using technology effectively a small business owner can stay connected, and the clients can stay involved and informed. If you have a problem or need help with any aspect of your business there will be a website, an app or a technological tool that can help you run a successful business.
Shikha S Lamba Designs
Blog Author: Shikha S. Lamba, Jewelry Designer and Gemologist (G.I.A)