The end of any calendar year is always a good opportunity to take stock of how your business is currently travelling.
Are you on target to meet your objectives? What opportunities are there for further growth? How can you reduce costs and improve efficiency? These are all questions you should ask yourself.
As we stepped into 2024, it is fair to say the business landscape will continue to evolve rapidly, especially when it comes to new technologies and equipment. So, to help you stay competitive and potentially be more profitable, here are ten innovations that could take your business to the next level.
1. Advanced Computing Devices
In the last few years, the capabilities of computing devices have really advanced. So, it is worth establishing whether the hardware you currently use in your business is working as well as it can for it.
State-of-the-art laptops, desktops and tablets can make it much more efficient by being better equipped to handle complex tasks and resource-intensive applications. Moreover, with their powerful processors and sleek designs, they can also facilitate swift multitasking and give female entrepreneurs the flexibility to work from any location.
This, in turn, enables them to be more responsive to enquiries, run a more seamless operation and, ultimately, increase their productivity levels.
2. High-Speed Internet Connectivity
Like most other businesses, your operation will be nowhere near as efficient without your internet connection. But have you ever wondered how much more efficient it would be if you had better connectivity than you currently have?
Robust and reliable, high-speed internet connectivity can be a real game-changer, particularly for small business, as it can ensure seamless communications, fast data transfers, and efficient online collaboration to anywhere in the world.
The average small business needs a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and upload speed of 3 Mbps to conduct everyday tasks like emailing, videoconferencing, using cloud-based software and exchanging files. However, download speeds of 1000 Mbps might be more appropriate if you are a medium sized organisation with in excess of 20 employees.
As a small business owner, the beauty of equipment for high-speed internet connectivity is that it is not just reserved for dedicated office or home office spaces. It can also be used to when you are on the go.
3. Smart TV
Smart TVs are an under-rated business tool which can be utilised in several different ways across your business.
For a start, if placed in your reception area, they can be used to introduce people to your YouTube channel as they wait for you to greet them. This is a particularly good way to educate people about specific aspects of your business, including its products or services.
During meetings, you can use Smart TVs to perform dynamic presentations, provide better communication in videoconferencing or to easily conduct screen mirroring of information from another device.
You can also stream training and team building sessions to employees and display real-time dashboards of data you might find useful during the course of your working day.
4. Ergonomic Chairs
Most people devote between 35 and 40 hours a week to work, and if you are a business owner that figure can be as high as 70 hours. So, you can’t underestimate the importance of a good chair as it can have a big influence on the productivity and well-being of yourself or your employees.
Ergonomic chairs are crafted to be comfortable, while concurrently supporting the natural curvature of the spine, providing adequate lumbar support and minimising the risk of back pain and other musculoskeletal issues.
An uncomfortable chair could be one of the main reasons for not being as productive as possible. consider upgrading to an ergonomic one with adjustable seat height and armrests. By reducing the strain on the neck, shoulders, and lower back these chairs help you better focus on your work – not the discomfort you are feeling.
Moreover, they can help to create a healthier and efficient workforce who do not need to take time off due to soreness or injury.
5. Security Solutions
In recent years businesses have placed an increasing emphasis on cybersecurity, to safeguard sensitive data and digital assets. However, it is important not to overlook the protection of a physical premise as well.
Security measures like CCTV cameras, burglar alarms and access control systems that require facial recognition or biometrics can all help to maintain a safe and secure environment for your assets, employees and the information in your workplace. They are worth the investment, given the potential risks of not having them.
If there is one thing that Covid-19 taught us, it is that illness can have a devastating effect on business. But, even before that, in 2015, a report by AIG suggested that Australian businesses could collectively lose $7 billion in sick days every year. One of the most common reasons for people taking sick days is the flu, and while you can’t prevent yourself or your employees from getting it, splashing out on a top-notch humidifier can go a long way to keeping you healthier for longer.
Office-based workers tend to spend around 90% of their work time indoors. Unfortunately, during this time, they can be subjected to, and eventually succumb to, viruses and bacteria, which thrive in indoor environments with very wet or dry air. However, you can potentially solve a lot of these issues by having a humidifier put into your office, as this piece of equipment enables you to facilitate better air quality in your office by controlling its humidity levels.
Just by keeping the humidity at a constant and comfortable level, you will reduce the chances of the flu, common cold, dry eyes, sore throats and headaches from afflicting your workforce, especially in the winter when the heating tends to be on full blast, and you don’t have the windows open.
7. Mobile Payment Systems
As the world moves closer to a cashless economy, businesses, in particular, small businesses, retailers and sole traders, are becoming more reliant on mobile payment systems. Thankfully, equipment like Smartpay mobile EFTPOS is able to handle financial transactions with convenience and efficiency.
Through their smartphones and mobile apps, customers can make secure payments via contactless payments, which contributes to a faster and more seamless sales or checkout experience. Furthermore, features like biometric authentication and robust encryption provide strong security for both the customer and the business.
8. Noise-cancelling headphones
While the ability to work remotely has been warmly received by those who face long commutes into the office, have young children or just prefer a change of scenery, it can have its issues in terms of distractions. The noise from pets and family members at home and other people around you in a shared working space, can cause you to lose focus. For this reason, it is a good idea to invest in a noise-cancelling headset.
As remote work tends to involve regular virtual meetings, video conferences, and audio calls, they can be an excellent solution that allows you to take in all the information gained from one-on-one and group meetings online.
Essentially you have two options when it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, one that operates via wireless Bluetooth or one that can be plugged into your laptop. Both should be effective in facilitating clear and proper communication.
9. Professional Photography and Video Equipment
Thanks to the emergence of YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, the marketing function of many businesses is defined, now more than ever, by the visual content it produces. Subsequently, showcasing high-quality images and videos in these mediums is crucial to effectively market and brand your business.
If you produce this content yourself, it is a good idea to invest in a top-quality camera, lighting equipment and video editing software, as this will enable you to create visually appealing content for your website, social media, and promotional materials.
At the end of the day a professional image enhances your brand’s credibility, which should therefore attract a larger audience and potentially generate more in sales.
10. A Good Coffee Machine!
Okay, so you might scoff at this. But hear me out. There is a strong case for getting a good coffee machine in the office. A recent survey by Nespresso revealed that 81% of the Aussies they surveyed believe that drinking coffee enhances workplace conversations. Granted some of these might be about people’s plans for the weekend or what happened on last night’s episode of Married at First Sight, but plenty would be about work-related issues too – where ideas, knowledge and experience is passed on in a casual and friendly way.
However, perhaps the main reason for getting a coffee machine in the office is because it will save wasted time. Coffee lovers will naturally want to get their fix if they don’t have access to a good quality coffee machine in the office. Therefore, if it takes each of your employees on average 10-15 minutes to grab a latte or macchiato from the nearest cafe, that equates to about 40 hours of lost productivity a year, per employee. If you have 12 employees or more, that is at least two whole weeks of work time lost.
Add in the fact that coffee machines can make a good impression on clients and boost staff morale and workplace culture and it should become a no brainer.
The dawning of a new year always provides businesses with the opportunity to grow and one of the best ways to do that is to invest in equipment that will make you safer, more competitive and productive.
All ten of the suggestions listed above can help you do that in a way that elevates your business to the next level. So why not take a leap of faith, embrace them and see where they can take it?