Today's innovative technology enables small business owners to operate in ways that would have seemed impossible only a few short years ago.
Versatility and efficiency are increasing, and technology is adapting most processes already in place. And where adjustments are needed to enable this progression, technology is helping there too.
While technology can't negate bad business, it can benefit those small business owners who understand and apply the fundamentals of acceptable business practices. For those businesses, technology could facilitate unprecedented growth.
But of course, there's a transition to be overcome, new systems to instal and adaptations to be made. However, the benefits far outweigh the challenge.
Here are some of the ways your business can use technology and benefit from the results.
1. Mobile working and telecommuting
2020 became the year of remote working thanks to the pandemic. Mobile working and telecommunication came to the forefront, providing us with the flexibility needed to adapt and overcome the challenges.
And according to CNN Business, "83% of businesses now say that, even after today's crisis has passed, they plan to put more flexible work policies in place", and "a full 94% of employers surveyed said their company productivity was the same".
This leads us to believe this change could be permanent.
But it's not just larger corporations who are benefiting; small business owners are also enjoying the ability to work from numerous locations. Many are using technology to create mobile offices, with mobile access to high-speed internet, virtual phone numbers, and cloud-based services (like Google Drive), allowing access to files wherever and whenever needed.
The restrictions that once restrained us are no more; technology has given us the freedom to be truly mobile.
2. Ease of communication
We can now do business with anyone and anywhere, thanks to the ease of communication. Once restricted to fax, phone, and email, recent technology has truly transformed how we communicate.
Now there are numerous ways of communicating, all unimaginably affordable and fast, both domestic and international. Recent developments in video technology, such as Zoom, have truly changed how we communicate, barriers have been removed, and the world is now open to anyone with an internet connection.
3. Web-based payment systems
Of course, Elon Musk was ahead of the pack when he founded X.com (his online financial services/payments company) in 1999, which became PayPal the following year.
Web-based payment technology has come a long way since, but so has our willingness to use it. Now companies such as Authorize, PayPal, Google Checkout, Amazon Payments, Dwolla, and Stripe provide small business owners with numerous ways of paying for business running costs and receiving customer payments.
With seamless integration with most accountancy programs, payment flexibility provides small businesses with numerous ways for customers to pay, increasing sales for products and services.
4. Simplifying the branding process
Branding was once the realm of major corporations, but with the rapid advancement of AI machine learning technology and the instant ability to promote simultaneously across multiple platforms, the playing field has been levelled. This means small businesses can create high-quality, prominent corporation branding at an affordable cost.
Branding companies such as Tailor Brands led the way in this recent branding revolution by being the first to offer AI created logo designs. And with instant accessibility and affordability, small business owners quickly took advantage.
Now, with digital marketing and the help of branding platforms like Tailor Brands, small businesses owners can create, implement, and track high converting campaigns from the comfort of their remote office and on a laptop.
5. Small business social media
Another way technology helps small business grow is through the use of social media. Now small business owners are actually at an advantage over large corporations due to consumers demand for transparency and the ability to connect and engage users on an emotional level.
Small business owners can now build brand awareness in a fraction of the time it used to take. Increasing their customer base, connecting with new leads, and using this technology to convert users into lifelong brand followers.
All of this is possible due to businesses now having the ability to research target markets and observe their buying habits. Information like this has only become accessible due to the growth of ecommerce within social media.
6. Productivity apps
There's an App for that!
Digital innovation removes human productivity experts' need within a specific business field; now, small business owners can perform just as effectively by having the right app on their mobile device.
However, only a small percentage of business owners are taking full advantage of what's on offer. You can run every aspect of your business and sync all your devices using apps. Many are free for primary use and offer very affordable monthly subscriptions for those small business owners who need a higher level of service.
Some of the best small business apps are:
- Microsoft 365 – Small business office software platform
- Fresh books - Accounting software app
- RingCentral Office - Business phone system app
- PayPal - Online payments app
- Asana - Project management app
- IDrive - Cloud storage app
- Avast Business Antivirus Pro - Mobile antivirus app
7. Analytical tools
We can now access analytical data pertaining to a business' performance, such as strengths, weaknesses, competition, customers, and marketing campaigns.
Analytical tools, many of which can be instantly deployed, now give small business owners all the information required for running a successful business on a small budget. Powerful insights such as website page loading speeds and visitor percentage statistics are key performance indicators that enable us to adjust and improve where and when needed most.
The adage, 'knowledge is power' has never been more accurate or accessible because of the analytical technology that's now at our fingertips. Enabling us to make decisions that create small business success in real-time.
8. Store data in the cloud
The days of having to invest in high-capacity storage devices at an unaffordable price are now behind us.
Cloud technology enables us to store unlimited amounts of data at an affordable price and share it with peers via a simple invite link. The implications of which are staggering when compared to only a decade ago.
Some ways cloud storage is helping small business are:
- instant access to data via any device from anywhere in the world
- automated backups ensuring valuable data is never lost
- unlimited storage space for data
- instant, real-time collaboration
All of which enables small business owners to compete with larger, more established businesses.
9. Customer service
Excellent customer service has always been crucial to any business' success, but never more so than now as success becomes more dependent on customer reviews.
And technology now provides small business owners with ways of ensuring their customer service is faultless.
You can use it to improve communication lines, maintain customer relationships, increase customer loyalty, respond to customer problems in real-time, and keep them informed so they know you're looking after needs. All of which you can do using an app on your mobile device.
Copyright 2021. Featured post made possible by Tailor Brands.