Last week I got an email communication from by bank, Absa informing me that soon my branch will be merged with another.
As any human being would, I got into thinking how that would affect me. I realised it had no material effect on my operations since in the recent past I have tremendously reduced visits to the bank, more so my branch.
With smooth and cheaper online banking, I do most of my transactions at the comfort of my office and only visit the bank when it is absolutely necessarily.
This is just one of the many ways firms are leveraging on technology to reduce expenses and give customers better services.
Unfortunately, some small firms and individuals are slow to invest and adapt to various technologies to improve their offering. When they lose out, they usually complain of competition or tough economic times.
One of the greatest benefits of technology is the ability to do more with less. Most of the processes that used to be done manually and at high cost are getting automated. In addition, they are done better, faster and at lower costs.
Many businesses overlook technology because they look at it as an added expense instead of embracing it as an essential investment for business growth.
Basically, to increase profit in any business, one has to do any of the following three things: increase the selling price, sell more units and benefit from high volumes or reduce cost.
In today’s highly competitive market where consumers are spoilt for choice the first two are very hard and costly to implement.
The last one, cutting cost is the easiest to implement if done well. With the right technology you can simplify, automate and speed up many of the tasks you do in your business every day at very low cost. You can work with fewer staff who may not be domiciled in your office.
In some cases, customers don’t mind paying a small premium to use a technology that has other benefits such as efficiency and quality and is reliable.
Customers tend to be drawn to businesses that are ahead in technology. Various studies show as high as 90 per cent of consumers would consider taking their business elsewhere rather than deal with a company that uses outdated technology.
Although technology alone cannot guarantee you success, you can hardly succeed in business without it. Thus, embracing technology enables one to be more efficient, more productive and more responsive to customer needs.
Some technologies such as customised software can help you do several that cost many man-hours faster and with few errors.
Functions such as accounting, gathering and analysing customer data, stock management, sales prospecting, financial management and marketing can benefit greatly from even the slightest touch of automation.
Seeking a qualified expert in your area can guide you on what technologies you need to reduce cost, increase efficiency and grow your business.
Just as you would go to a doctor for medical check up and treatment, visit experts and seek who can diagnose your business and tell you what you need today and tomorrow for growth and optimal profitability.
Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’