iStock_000019991402XSmallIt’s time for another installment in our ongoing series, “Small Business Stories You Might Have Missed.” At Zoho, we hope this series is helping you stay in touch with small business news and also giving you helpful tips to improve the state of your own business.

This week, we will be looking at everything from how good writing can improve your business’ online presence to the importance of embracing new technology.

Want to learn more about how you can better reach your audience in 2013 and the future? We have an article for that too.

So grab your laptop or tablet and a cup of coffee, and enjoy!

Not Embracing Technology

This story from Fox’s Small Business Center really surprised me. You would think that in 2013, small business owners were no longer reluctant to use technology for running key aspects of their business. Evidently, this is not the case.

A study from online marketing firm Yodle found that less than 40 percent of small businesses surveyed use technology for many key business operations such as scheduling or appointment booking. Additionally, the study found only 34 percent of businesses use technology for customer relationship management (CRM).

Even more unsettling is the fact that half of all small businesses don’t have a website and 90 percent of businesses don’t have a website optimized for mobile use.

Lesson here? Don’t be like these businesses.

Writing is Still King

Kyle Wiens of the Harvard Business Review examines the importance of clear and effective writing and how it can make or break your company.

Referencing classic speeches in American history, Wiens talks about how great writing should be a “company-wide endeavor.” In fact, Wiens believes great writing can be the separating factor between a good or bad business and between a “sale or no sale.”

From using grammar properly to communicating large ideas in the fewest number of words, make sure your company isn’t suffering from poor writing. This includes everything from your website’s copy to emails.

Modern Day Storytelling

I personally like this article a lot. If you have been keeping up with recent trends in marketing or advertising, you have probably heard or read something along the lines of how companies need to tell a story to reach an audience.

Gary Vaynerchuk has a great post on Linkedin about storytelling in 2013 and how you can use it to better market your product and brand. Gary discusses how his key to success hasn’t been based on his good looks or charisma, but on his ability to understand where consumers are at any moment and where they are headed in the future.

From learning who is using new technology like Snapchat or Vine, to figuring out how to tell your story using these applications, you can take the first step toward staying relevant in our “ADD society.”

It’s Okay to Laugh

This article from Bloomberg Businessweek is from a few months back, but it is a nice summary of how your company can use humor in advertisements to make a name for yourself with your target audience.

And while many small businesses believe they don’t have the budget for clever or professional-looking advertising, “any brand with an understanding of its audience and a little imagination can use humor effectively, in any form of media. Few do—more should.”