Businesslife

Businesses adapt with technology

It always amazes me when I get to see firsthand how local businesses adapt and change with challenges that are presented to them, whether it’s a downturn in the economy, increased competition or rising costs. These owners are looking for quicker and more efficient ways to operate their business to reduce costs and increase sales. Today, using technology is one of the key ways to find efficiencies each day.

In this month’s Business Life in Airdrie video (go to Airdrie Economic Development’s YouTube channel to view), we talked with Glenn German, CEO and president of ZyTech Building Systems. German told us how he’s invested in leading-edge technology to increase speed and efficiencies, and reduce waste in the construction industry – making ZyTech a world leader. What’s also fascinating is that German has done this in an industry which really hasn’t seen a lot of change in the past 40 years.

ZyTech’s achievements are very impressive; however, most small businesses don’t have to spend millions to gain efficiencies by using technology. There are many examples of ‘simple’ technologies that can make small changes with a big impact on your business.

Take smartphones, for example. For smaller businesses, there are such apps as Square, a mobile-payment device that attaches to a smartphone to accept credit card payments on the go. (Find a vendor using it the next time you visit the farmers market.) Businesses can also use e-transfers to quickly send and receive money through e-mails. No more running to the bank to drop off a deposit bag!

Even the City of Airdrie has implemented online tools to make things easier for businesses. Did you know MyAirdrie (find it at airdrie.ca) allows you to apply for and renew your business licence, update business information, manage utility accounts – all from the convenience of your office 24-7?

Other technologies that small businesses are using include “cloud service” to outsource data storage. Dropbox is a popular way to share documents across many different devices, and it allows businesses to have a backup system in case of emergencies. Other programs, such as web-based teleconferencing, allow businesses to make video and voice connections using basic computer equipment to collaborate with other businesses or talk directly to suppliers or customers – no more travelling across town or the country to meet!

This is just the tip of the technological iceberg. With websites and e-commerce technology, local businesses can sell products and services around the globe – and we have many Airdrie businesses doing just that. Social media is another huge expanse of technology for businesses, and many locally are adopting it. In fact, a group launched a social media breakfast event in Airdrie this summer – to learn more or attend the next one, just give us a call at 403-948-8844.

But where do you go to find out more about this daunting world? Online, of course. There is a plethora of blogs, podcasts, e-magazines and websites to get you up to speed (mashable.com and Fast Forward Online are good places to start or check out the federal government’s site at canadabusiness.ca).

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