As technology evolves, so do your customers. It’s not enough to catch up to technology a year after it hits the market. Competition could leave you far behind and during times when profits are down, it’s essential that you take advantage of every available boost. Your business doesn’t need to spend a year’s worth of profits to keep up with technology. Take a brief moment to speak to your employees and find out what you need. You may be surprised to find out that you already have a lot of the technology you need. Is your business still using outdated computers and software? Sure, it may work “just fine” but think of the benefits your business can reap if you update to better apps and equipment. You’ll find that processes and operations are done more efficiently and it never hurts to keep your small business future-proof. How do you stay current on relevant developments in your industry? It’s not as simple as subscribing to a service and receiving all the necessary tools in one sweep. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to greatly improve and streamline operations: 1.) Get your team on the cloud. You can have all the information that you need to run your business, but if it’s unavailable to your employees when they need it most, then it could mean lost sales and disgruntled customers. Make sure all the relevant information is available to them by using any of these reliable cloud-based storage tools: – Dropbox – Google Drive – Box.net Not only can you back-up files with these services, you can also share files to clients and transfer important documents as well. 2.) Stay on top of news with your RSS reader and social media. Thanks to social media and industry blogs, it’s much easier to keep up with market trends. There are many free tools like Feedly and Flipboard that can help condense industry news and present them to you in a neat updated list. Finding out what the competition is using and how clients are responding is as easy as taking a few minutes to check your RSS reader and social media platforms. 3.) Use cloud-based CRM systems. Knowing your customer can make or break a sale so having a cloud-based CRM system that’s available on an employee’s tablet or phone is a great advantage. When they’re with a client, it’s essential that they have access to important information like recent sales histories. Popular CRM systems from Salesforce and Insightly offer cloud-based tools that will keep your business running smoothly.