One positive aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid acceleration of digital migration worldwide. Small and large businesses now leverage technology to improve operations, achieve efficiencies, and perform successfully.
The traditional brick-and-mortar model will no longer work to stay afloat during challenging economic times. However, technology will play a pivotal role in bringing businesses closer to their customers and achieving their short- and long-term goals.
Here’s how small or medium-sized businesses can level the playing field and compete with larger companies by using various types of technology to achieve their goals.
Why Should SMB’s Utilize the Latest Technology?
The 21st century brought many changes to the business world. One of the most important is technology.
New technologies continue to emerge, and the businesses that use them often perform better than those that do not. However, it’s vital to consider which technologies are worth investing in — some may offer more value than others, depending on the industry you serve.
It’s crucial to perform a cost-benefit analysis before choosing to adopt the latest technology, whether it’s artificial intelligence (AI), customer management software (CMS), or fleet management software (FMS). This will help guide your decision-making process and justify adopting new technologies to reach your bottom line.
These are some basic benefits your small business can reap when utilizing the latest tech:
- maximize profitability;
- achieve higher levels of productivity and efficiency;
- improve your lines of communicationi
- enhance your security measures; and
- provide quality customer service.
How Can Small Businesses Leverage Technology?
Here are some ways small businesses can use technology to level the playing field and capitalize on the positive aspects of their operations.
1. Use cloud-based solutions.
One benefit of using cloud-based technology solutions is that you can easily access sensitive company information without worrying about cybersecurity threats. Cloud-based platforms are extremely secure, in addition to being scalable. Hence, you can operate efficiently without experiencing cyberattacks as your business grows.
There are many cloud services you can research to learn more about how they might benefit your business. Examples of cloud services include Microsoft Azure, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Cloud services are useful and will help you compete with larger companies, whether sharing files with team members or collaborating on a project.
2. Establish a remote workforce.
With the transition to remote work taking place globally, it’s no wonder that more companies are establishing remote workforces. Hiring home-based employees is nothing to fear — in fact, they tend to achieve high productivity levels.
Remote teams need tools to help them accomplish daily tasks, so determine if you want to use company-issued technology like laptops or tablets or adopt a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. You may want to consider using employee monitoring software such as Hubstaff, Teramind, or ActivTrak.
3. Utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline workflows.
Large companies across several industries leverage AI because the benefits make it a worthwhile investment.
For example, Twitter uses AI and natural language processing (NLP) to sort through tweets and find the most relevant, appropriate content for its users.
AI can streamline workflows, automate basic tasks, and help bridge any gaps between you and your customers. It may be costly to implement initially, but it could positively impact your business in the long term.
4. Reach more customers with email marketing campaigns.
Did you know that six in 10 millennials would prefer watching a video attached to an email rather than reading a company newsletter? In addition, the same research shows that one in two millennials will interact with an email that contains a video element.
Email marketing is a tried-and-tested method that many companies leverage to reach new and existing customers. Large companies often have customers sign up and agree to receive emails with discounts attached. You could be missing out on a substantial audience if you choose not to use email marketing as a core strategy. Consider using tools like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or MailerLite for your campaigns.
Leveraging email, company-issued devices, AI, and cloud-based services can help bring your business to the next level. Your company may be small, but today’s landscape is more about the strength of your technological muscle.
The Future of Small-Business Technology
There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many industries, and small businesses were among some of the hardest hit during this time. Thankfully, it seems that consumer attitudes are shifting in their favor.
People have rallied around small businesses to help them survive this ongoing pandemic. For example, this year, 49% of consumers planned on shopping at local stores for Small Business Saturday. According to the same research, 63% agree that the pandemic has strengthened their loyalty to smaller companies in their region.
Leveraging technology to meet ever-changing consumer expectations and demands will help your business outperform its competitors. Consider implementing new tech to reap all the benefits it has to offer.