If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely had a quarter or two where you did a ton of work, served a million clients, and ended up with nothing more than a few pennies in your bank account. Don’t fret though, I hear this is “normal.” There’s a popular saying that you need to spend money to make money. And that may be true. But if you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve wondered if success could be a bit more affordable than it currently is.

Most businesses today lose money due to procedural delays, human error, and fees paid to middlemen. Can you imagine what your bank account would look like if you could speed your business up, eliminate silly mistakes, and kick those infernal middlemen to the curb? If those ideas sound like mere wishful thinking, you’ll be surprised to know that they are actually quite possible.

What the heck am I talking about? Making your business faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective with blockchain technology.

But what is blockchain?

Blockchain is a type of technology that records transactions to a digital ledger where they cannot be changed or altered. These records or blocks of information are linked using cryptography. The info on a blockchain is easily verifiable and open to the public. Blockchains are also decentralized, so the data is shared with all the computers on the network.

(P.S. If you’ve ever wondered why decentralization is so important these days, just take a look at this.)

A number of applications are built on the blockchain. Blockchain applications provide a wide variety of solutions you need to improve your business. How can you use blockchain technology to increase your earnings? Consider the 5 ways outlined below.

1. Use Smart Contracts

A smart contract is a self-executing contract that has the terms of all parties written directly into the code. The code and terms of the contract exist on a decentralized blockchain network. Smart contracts ensure all parties in the agreement do what they are supposed to. These self-automated programs run without downtime and without the interference of external parties.

So how does a smart contract help you get more money? Well, it ensures you get paid once you deliver on your end of the deal. Plus, if the other party backs out on short notice, your goods/services are returned to you. This means you never have to use lawyers, government officials, or other fee-charging middlemen to settle disputes. All in all, a smart contract is a fantastic tool to use when you are forced to do business with jerks, people you don’t trust, or people you simply don’t know.

2. Hire Better People

A team is only as strong as its weakest member and the same is true for your business. It is important to choose the right people to work with you so that your business can grow. Hiring the right employees requires a lot of time, effort, and research. However, blockchain technology can make the job a whole lot easier.

Have you ever tweaked your CV to make it look a little more impressive to potential employers? If you’ve done it or considered doing it before, you can be sure your potential employees may think about doing the same to you. Job candidates often use Photoshop to forge impressive documents or they may claim to be the former captain of their high school basketball team even if they don’t have a single athletic bone in their body. The main reason they do this, is they know you likely won’t have the time or resources to double-check their qualifications.

But just imagine having access to easily verifiable records of a potential employee right at your fingertips. Academic records, extracurricular activities, past employment records, and references are all stored for you on an unmodifiable digital ledger. If you encounter an impressive candidate, you can quickly confirm the authenticity of his or her qualifications and hire the individual on the spot. Having trustworthy data that is readily available reduces the length of the hiring process and helps you hire the right people to improve your business.

3. Make Faster, Cheaper Payments

Blockchain had its start in Bitcoin. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used to pay your employees. Making crypto payments on the blockchain is especially beneficial when you have international and/or remote workers. Blockchain allows you to compensate your workers in less than an hour without the outrageous transaction fees associated with traditional banking systems or remittance services.

Paying employees using cryptocurrency may even help you save money in other ways. Having records of your transactions on the blockchain makes it easy to track your cash flow and keep track of all your payments. So you’ll never overpay on your taxes and you’ll have nothing to fear if the IRS comes knocking.

4. Get to Know Your Customers Better

Blockchain facilitates reliable identity management. Your customers and your employees have digital IDs that make it easy to verify their identity. If this information is stored on a blockchain network, it reduces the risk of identity theft, money laundering, fraud, and other cybersecurity concerns.

As the information on the blockchain cannot be changed, it allows people to take control of their personal data. Clear transaction records also help you and your customers to see how your relationship has progressed over time. With blockchain technology you can identify loyal customers, learn more about their spending patterns, and steadily build your customer base.

5. Improve Your Marketing Campaigns

Good marketing is vital to every business. But with the number of businesses competing for attention today, it may be difficult to get yours to stand out to potential consumers. I’m sure you’re already familiar with using social media posts, billboards in high traffic areas, TV commercials, newspaper advertisements, and direct mailing as methods of promotion. However, blockchain may make your marketing efforts even more effective.

Blockchain can be used by marketers to keep track of client information and consumer behavior. With this data, skilled marketers can craft clever campaigns that bring greater ROI. Any changes made to your campaigns or other media releases during development can also be identified with ease. If you encounter a mistake down the road, you can use the blockchain to find out who made it and when. Finally, blockchain allows marketers to verify that the traffic they attract is from real people. When your marketing stats are not inflated by bot activity, you get a much bigger bang for every buck you spend on marketing.

It is evident that blockchain technology will soon take over many of the everyday processes that businesses undertake. Why not stay a step ahead (and put some money in your pocket) by trying it out? It is already a reliable option for a number of traditional businesses in the banking and insurance fields. Even if you’re a budding entrepreneur, by harnessing the power of the blockchain you can get an immediate leg up on your competition.

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Written by: Demetrie Thompson