Let’s start with an example. Many of us know how Kodak, a photography leader that failed to embrace digital imaging and new business models ended up filing for bankruptcy. The same applies to any enterprise today, irrespective of their size and industry. Let’s admit that technology is inescapable. It pervades every facet of our life and business and continues to evolve by the day.
In the 2020s, if an organization decides not to keep up with technology, they are likely to fade away into obscurity. In fact, successful enterprises don’t view technology only as a means to automate processes, but instead, use it to open up newer avenues of doing business.
Talk about small businesses, apart from reducing costs and boosting process efficiency, these entities are increasingly relying on technology to enhance customer relations, improve collaboration and learning, respond to new threats, innovate and do things differently, and create a competitive edge in every sense.
In this article, let us look at how, as a small business owner, you can use technology effectively to scale your business and reach newer heights in 2020.
Storing Data on Cloud – Anytime, anywhere access
For small and mid-sized businesses, cloud computing is expected to be the most widely deployed technology for 2020. Earlier, most companies depended on in-house servers for storing data. Now they prefer to store their humongous data in the cloud. Storing data online on cloud servers will continue to be the next big thing as it allows unlimited storage. Moreover, it ensures affordability and the data can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world.
Today, social media has given small businesses a platform to build their identity and gives them a wealth of insight into the audience’s behavior – something that was unheard of even half a decade ago. Be it for the purpose of promotion or sales, networking with existing and prospective clients or managing your online reputation, small businesses are jumping into the bandwagon, making it an inseparable part of their existence. With the rise of social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, and many others, the trend is here to stay.
There are numerous analytical tools that help small business owners make informed decisions. Tools such as Google Analytics can be deployed within a matter of seconds, for example, to gauge the percentage of visitors that browses your website on their mobile browsers or you can understand bounce rate of your site and return visitors and many more. You can use predictive insights to take action, a trend that will continue to mature in the 2020s with changing customer preferences.
Collaboration tools can help boost employee engagement and productivity in the workplace. While emailing was always a powerful communication tool, in today’s digital world, where enterprises often rely on remote workers or outsource their work, the idea of every person talking to or emailing each other often becomes cumbersome. A better solution is to have all team members on a single platform where they can all connect, engage and update each other with the latest processes and happenings, so as to help employees make informed and intelligent decisions. For these purposes, businesses often use collaboration tools such as Slack, Yammer, and Chatter, or embedded applications such as Microsoft Teams and JIRA to facilitate employee communication and grow their business.
Resorting to a remote workplace
As the internet becomes ubiquitous, and technology continues to evolve, hiring a skilled worker is no longer limited to the proximity of your office place. As a small business owner, you may not even have an office in the traditional sense, but you may operate through a virtual office, and build a network of like-minded people across the world who can work remotely with you in various capacities. If you have the right productivity apps, say a Zoom or Skype for meetings and other collaboration tools, or ensure the use of time-tracking apps and tools, like to-do lists and calendars, remote workers can also help you grow your business.
Technology for security
Small businesses are attractive targets of cybercriminals because they typically have fewer resources dedicated to cybersecurity. But there are cost-effective ways to safeguard your data. By using the right tools and techniques such as implementing strong password policies, installing up-to-date antivirus software, educating employees, using multifactor authentication as well as backing up data regularly helps small businesses keep data and devices safe.
Online Payment Systems
Online payment systems ease payment transactions and are a boon for small businesses. Be it Paytm, PayPal, Obopay or Google Pay, you have a host of payment gateways available in the market. Most platforms are linked directly to the business owners’ bank accounts. Online payment also offers greater flexibility to small business owners who can gain access to entirely new customer segments and help them do business anywhere on the globe.
Growing your small business doesn’t have to be expensive. But it requires great passion and dedication. You should start by doing your research and creating SMART goals. You can have a brilliant idea for a product or service, but the marketplace will determine whether or not your idea can be turned into a viable business. And to grow your business, you should constantly chase this fickle and changing marketplace. It’s not about your bright idea, but what the marketplace will purchase. And it is here that the right use of technology can help you make the right decision.
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