Using technology to streamline and scale your business

Business is a lot like life. It’s about moving forward.

If you aren’t moving forward you’re doing one of two things: you’re either at a standstill or you’re regressing. If you’re at a standstill it means you’ve become stagnant, and regression means you’re in danger of being left behind.

Now, moving forward isn’t easy to do, but to give your business a fighting chance, you need to be streamline and agile; you need to be nimble enough to adapt to change.

Take Netflix for example. For the first time in a decade they’ve reported a loss in subscribers. Beyond blaming password sharing amongst users, their reliance on original and licensed film and TV, while competitors have explored other avenues like sport and news might explain why.

To regain their standing in the market, they’ll need to look beyond subscription fee tweaks; they’ll need to leverage the power of technology.

By the same token, technology can also help streamline business operations, and help establish a clear path for sustainable business growth by identifying gaps and trends in the market.

Trim the fat with automation

To achieve scalability, you first need to streamline business operations. The first step in doing this is trimming the fat by embracing automation.

The most valuable resource your company has at its disposal is time. From onboarding new employees to communicating with customers, it’s vital that you streamline each process as much as possible, so you can save time wherever you can.

By leveraging technology and software like machine learning, you can start to automate manual, repetitive and labour-intensive tasks previously fulfilled by your employees.

Machine learning algorithms will look at historic performance data to ‘learn’ which functions are needed for a particular job, and then perform accordingly.

This means essential business processes can be carried out with practically no human intervention, while your employees can focus on tasks that require creativity and critical thinking. It also means that these mundane tasks are carried out to a higher degree of accuracy and far quicker than before.

A good example of this is engaging customers via email in a bid to retain them. Rather than assigning this task to an employee, CRM software like Salesforce will schedule and monitor email activity, collecting valuable customer insights and automatically sending follow-up emails.

Leverage software to strengthen relationships

Scaling is no good if your customer experience suffers as a result.

Your focus might be on expanding as a business and securing a larger market share, but you can’t afford to lose sight of who put you in this position in the first place: your customers.

Technology is an effective way of managing your relationships with customers and ensuring they aren’t forgotten as you take on more business.

This is where a CRM system comes in handy. It will help you keep track of important information about each customer, such as past orders and interactions they’ve had with your company, so that when you do engage with them you have the most pertinent information to hand.

Platforms like Zoho, Zendesk and Salesforce encompass everything from customer service communication to lead generation. They allow your team to closely monitor all forms of communication with customers and make use of analytics to assess performance.

Not only does a comprehensive CRM system help improve communication with customers, but it will also aid better communication internally. With client communications tied up neatly in one place, all interactions with a customer (regardless of who they spoke to in the business) are clearly visible and accessible.

Cast your net wide

When it comes to sales and marketing, technology is the equivalent of a passport.

It’s the tool you need to travel beyond borders; it enables you to transcend the geographical location where your business is based.

This starts with a strong online presence – everything from a website and social media apps, to a defined SEO strategy. But really, these only represent a fraction of what’s possible with technology.

When looking to scale your business, data is the ultimate driver. However, endless amounts of data is useless unless you can turn it into insights – which is where data analytics comes in.

By focusing on what the numbers tell you, your marketing strategy can be informed by, and take advantage of, when algorithms provide insights into particular customers or untapped markets.

Data allows for more effective customer journey mapping; it opens your eyes to gaps in the experience your users are having. It helps you make smarter choices about which changes to make, which in turn influences brand loyalty and trust.

Ultimately, data can assist you in aligning your product with what the market demands; it helps you uncover disruptive opportunities within your industry.

But data insights aren’t restricted to your customers. Data can help transform traditional methods of talent acquisition and retention too, which will aid your mission to scale faster.

Adopting a hiring process that incorporates technology in its decision-making will give you access to candidates who are the right fit for your agency, enabling you to access new talent pools beyond geographical boundaries.

We aren’t suggesting that you should do away with the human side of recruitment all together – empathy and people skills are still important, and you wouldn’t want to hand that over to a machine. But, you can use technology to find suitable candidates quicker and then you can make a judgement at the interview stage.

That’s what technology is all about. It’s about working with it to create better results for your business rather than solely relying on it.

Outsource niche skills

The prospect of outsourcing a job or a project might sound scary, especially if you’re a small team or a startup that wants to keep everything in-house and under your control.

In reality, it’s far less daunting and a sometimes necessary step to take if you want to scale – and scale quickly.

There will be times in a project where a very specific, niche skill is required. It could be a one-off requirement that doesn’t justify hiring someone full-time, or might fall out of the scope of your current workforce and training would take too long.

It’s at moments like these that outsourcing can be a valuable time and cost-saving exercise. And you guessed it – technology is the way to make this happen.

Whether you need an animator to create a short brand film, or an SEO copywriter to help boost organic traffic to your website, using a freelancer marketplace like Upwork can be a lifesaver for your business.

You’ll gain instant access to experts in their field, and while you might have to pay a premium, the job will be finished quickly and to an extremely high standard.

Your plans for scaling your business shouldn’t be held hostage by a desire to keep absolutely everything in-house.

Could tech help your business scale at pace?

Here at 6B, leveraging the power of technology to streamline and scale businesses is our bread and butter.

Technology has enabled us to be more efficient, reach completely new markets, and establish strategies for sustainable growth – and it could do the same for your business.

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