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Core Small Business Skills - Technology Management

Research has shown that 90% of small business failures have cited a lack of management skills as one of the key reasons why the business failed. There are a number of core management skills required in order to keep a business on a fast track towards profitability, growth and success. Here we will look at the one area that has had the greatest impact on business in recent times - technology management.

Standard Operating Environment

Establishing a standard operating environment and a standard set of desktop applications makes life simpler and easier for you to manage your business systems network. Your operating environment relates to the network and operating system you are using whilst the desktop applications include standard word processing, spreadsheet, database and other administrative type applications such as e-mail. Given this environment is the system upon which your business systems will operate it is essential you have a thorough understanding as to how it is connected and how it operates.

Accounting and Payroll Systems

You need to manage the evaluation, selection and implementation of an appropriate accounting and payroll system package to manage the bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, financial reporting and taxation matters relating to your business. A thorough understanding of these matters, will assist you in the management of your business's finances and enable you to work proactively with your accountant and tax specialists.

Internet Banking

Internet banking allows you to make payments and enables direct deposits electronically. This saves you much time, allowing you to bank at your convenience rather than standing mindlessly in bank queues for what seem like forever. It also allows you to complete your reconciliations quickly and easily by downloading the transaction files and importing them into your accounting system.

Retail Point of Sale Systems

Point of Sale Systems are vital for retail businesses and many service businesses. These systems capture the transaction details at the point of sale and feed into the accounting and customer relationship management systems.

Customer Relationship Management Systems

Customer Relationship Management systems are becoming central to most business operations and it is important to understand the database system itself and how it interacts with other systems in the workplace.

Supplier Management Systems

More and more, suppliers are providing their own supply management systems to their customers to streamline their own operations. It is imperative to understand these systems for the effective order and supply (especially timing) of your own operations.

E-Commerce Websites

Knowledge of e-commerce is almost a must for most businesses. You need to be able to understand the internet and also be able to implement and manage the website store just as you need to be able to manage your real world store. If you do not have expertise in this area, I suggest you co-opt the services of experts in this area and ask them to empower you by teaching you the skills required to effectively manage your website. Skills include establishing web metrics, search engine optimisation techniques on online marketing techniques.

E-mail and Social Media Marketing

Technology advancements have seen the advent of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Understanding the power of social media marketing, combined with the more traditional email marketing/autoresponder methods, is vital to the successful marketing of your small business. You need to be aware of how these sites work and how each can work interactively to promote and grow your small business.

Understanding the power of technology and what it can do to increase your capacity to deliver is essential. Knowing how to capture and utilise the various enabling technologies can provide your business with the competitive edge needed to compete on an even basis with your larger competitors. Knowing how to harness this power and manage it effectively can see you trading effectively and efficiently on a global stage.

Karen L. Paiyo is an Australian Small Business Counsellor, supporting and nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Asia Pacific Region. Karen empowers small business owners by transferring to them the skills and expertise needed to help them take their business ideas from creative concept to profitable reality, faster and with less risk.

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