Running a business can be a difficult task, whether you are doing so on a freelance basis, as a contractor or as a consultant. One problem some self-employed people have is that of growing their business, gaining clients and entering new markets in order to boost their profits.

It might be the case that you know your subject area extremely well and are great at performing your job, but you simply are unable to translate this into growth. Luckily, if you have hit a stumbling block in this area there are plenty of options available to you that will enable you to overcome it.

One of these is technology. You probably already use a laptop, smartphone or tablet in your day-to-day life and in the running of your business. But it is possible you are not using these devices to their full effect, and unlocking the opportunities they offer.

Here are some of the many ways you can use technology to boost your business, giving you an advantage over your competitors and helping your income grow:

Engagement

iStock_000078062365_MediumSocial media has been a huge asset to businesses, and even contractors and consultants can benefit from it. However, there are a number of ways people use this technology to make it inappropriate for businesses, and even end up hurting more than helping.

To make the most of your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts you will need to really understand your target audience and what they will respond well to. Light-hearted jokes and funny images might work really well in some cases, but if you want to be taken seriously as a businessperson in your sector it might not be the best idea.

You also need to separate your business from yourself. Don’t use your business accounts on social media for any of your personal interests. It is also a good idea to be careful how you respond to criticism; remember, it is not a personal attack. Your best bet is to respond politely and save face rather than getting into an argument online.

Communication

Technology: PhoneIf you don’t already, you should make sure you have an email account, social networks and instant messaging on your mobile phone. Modern smartphones allow you to do all of this, and it is definitely worth doing so, as it allows you to provide a much better service to your clients and customers.

You might have to travel a lot as part of your business, and staying in touch with people is going to be difficult without using your mobile device. If you can set up a range of different ways for people to communicate with you while you’re out of the office, you will find that you rarely have to keep your clients waiting for you to respond.

This might not seem all that important, but it is actually vital. If a client – or potential client – emails you, but doesn’t get a response for over an hour, they are not going to feel like your number one priority. Responding as soon as possible will make them feel valued, and you will be surprised at how much this improves their opinion of you and your services.

Organisation

iStock_000068919349_MediumThe number of helpful apps and programs out there is huge, and is only going to rise as more and more as technology advances and developers create software to meet every need. This means you are bound to find one to help you organise any part of your business. This can come in the form of something for your office computer, or even an app for a smartphone so you can stay organised on the go.

One example is Evernote , a simple app designed for note-taking on the go. Everything from to-lists to complicated documents can be created with this program, and it also allows for collaboration and discussion between multiple people.

For something slightly different, Asana is a project-management app that allows you to create and schedule tasks, monitor their progress and discuss them with your collaborators. In this way you can keep yourself organised and avoid the trap of having so much to do you lose track of important jobs.

Of course, there are some things you don’t want to rely wholly on apps for. There has been a rise in programs to help you work out expenses, and while these can be great, some technology will not be able to offer the expertise of an actual accountant. For financial advice and accounting services, why not contact Brookson?

Want more information how technology can help your business thrive?

Read some of our related blogs:

3 Things you need in your first office   |   Top 10 Apps for the Self-employed   |   Top 3 Smartphones to look out for in 2016