For small business today, there are exciting developments in online business systems making your life easier and more flexible. Cloud computing or software-as-a-service is simply using the internet instead of your computer or mobile for processing and storing files and data. Your business systems such as your bookkeeping program, your database, and your diary can now be online. Not to mention your photos, videos and music. As we increase the number of computing devices we have and become more mobile the key is synchronisation. Your desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile can be set up to sync automatically so your information is available from any of your devices. You are not so reliant on one computer. If you ever have a computer crash you simply access your information from another device. Be aware however, of how your online business systems back-up and assess the risks of your data not being available for an hour, a day or a week.
An essential online system for your website is an analytics program giving you insight into your website visitors. Taking the guesswork out of understanding your website visitors comes down to testing and measuring. Google Analytics is an easy to use, free service that is continually improved. With so many statistics available, its important to decide what you will measure, how often and how you will use the statistics to improve your website. For example if some of your website’s pages are more popular than others, you can focus on and promote that area of your business. Measure how many unique visitors and return visitors you have to your website. The aim is to increase your unique visitors through online marketing. Tracking how people found your website, i.e. by searching in a search engine or typing your web address directly into a web browser like Internet Explorer is also important. Knowing which browser (including mobiles) most of your visitors are coming from means that you can ensure your website is working correctly in those browsers or mobile devices. Your website may look great in Firefox but out of alignment in Chrome. And viewing in a mobile, well that’s another story!
Ensure your web designer tests your site in various browsers. Sharing information and files online with others in your business including your team, your clients and suppliers creates opportunities for business. As small business owners often work flexible hours and combine work and family commitments, there are often times when you are waiting around. To access your business system online allows you can be more flexible and responsive. It’s a huge timesaver and it allows you and your team to work wherever there is an internet connection.
Just make sure you have regular time out too!