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Staying on top of new technologies can give your business a competitive edge. But when there are countless new offerings available, it can be hard to decide which ones to adopt.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to create a system to identify and apply the software and hardware that will best support your goals. To do this, you need to know what your goals are and find a dependable way to learn about new options.

Identify ways you can improve

Before doing too much research about tech solutions, pinpoint the business problems that you want to solve, such as reducing costs or improving customer relations. Here are some examples:

  • Streamline payments. Ever-improving technology is helping small businesses accept multiple forms of payment — including major credit and debit cards — more affordably. Contact your local bank to learn about the newest payment processing technologies. Tech advances also mean that you no longer need to waste time and gas traveling to a bank branch to make deposits. Instead, you can use a desktop check-imaging unit to deposit checks online. And when the process is handled electronically, you don’t have to worry about manual input errors for check amounts.
  • Boost security. Employ the latest cyber security protocols to help prevent data breaches. Industry standards include secure web pages, multi-factor authentication, and watermarks for images. Implement a cash-management system that allows for multiple users, but lets you control the type of information each user can access.
  • Improve competitiveness. Technology can help you get a leg up on your competition by letting you track time, manage email, and stay organized. By running your business more efficiently, you can increase customer satisfaction and possibly even increase sales.

Know your “go-to” sources

The technology you use to run your business may change, but the sources you rely on to identify breakthroughs can remain constant. Trade publications and business newspapers, as well as your personal mentors, are all good places to start. Local bankers are also good sources. Representatives of financial institutions such as First Bank & Trust stay up to date on technologies related to accounting, invoice, payroll, and cash management.

Establishing an ongoing relationship with someone who knows about the latest advancements can help you find the best business solutions for your company.

Every day brings a new technology that can help you improve your business. Choose the best for your situation by keeping up with the latest advancements and matching those technologies to your specific business needs.

Margarette Burnette, NerdWallet
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