How Small Businesses Can Benefit from Using Advancements in Technology to Improve, Market, and Scale Their Businesses
When evaluating their options for growing their business, most small business owners find themselves at a crossroads between balancing what works and embracing what is new.
In the digital age, technology is empowering smaller firms in new ways that were previously thought impossible before.
Not only does technology give small businesses a competitive advantage, but it can also mean the difference between growth and stagnation as well as relevancy and obsolescence.
While each industry has its own needs and conventions, broadly speaking, we’ve identified four immediate benefits technology can bring to firms of any type.
Preeminent among the benefits technology brings to a small business is automation. Whether this is in production-related tasks or in administrative, automation is not replacing current workers so much as it is augmenting the workforce and allowing greater efficiencies as a result. From payroll to billing, customer service, and production, automation could open up a whole new world for your small business if pursued in a strategic manner.
One emerging area where automation is showing huge gains for small businesses is customer service. As chatbots and other programs become more sophisticated, they are capable of handling increasingly complicated customer service issues. Beyond that, they are becoming critical in the triage process for handling customer relationships.
Data and analytics derived from the Internet and customer behavior not only tell you who your target audience is but also a lot about your company itself. From finding new market areas to pivoting to more relevant strategies, analytics help shape the ways companies formulate strategies for the future.
From reaching a local audience to expanding to a global stage, digital advertising gives small businesses a cost-effective route to growing revenues within their current market or expanding into new ones. Whether companies are using precise targeting or more generalized methods, digital advertising is a game-changer when it comes to finding new opportunities for your business.
Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all products and strategies. Modern business demands customization. This could mean anything from the product itself to the way the business relationship is handled. For example, online stores increasingly accept cryptocurrency as payment. This is in addition to traditional methods, like credit cards and debit cards, but is also augmented by the recent wave of consumer credit lines and services like Paypal. In other words, online stores are offering as many options as possible for getting payment.
This kind of customization to meet the diverse needs of many customers is a far cry from the past when they were expected to conform to common business practices or not participate. Other examples of customization include individualized marketing and offers that address the specific customer’s needs. A prominent example of this in the retail space is Nike’s shoe customization options. Powered by the Internet and apps, among other things, Nike’s ability to translate a customer’s unique aesthetic into a deliverable product is something that was completely unthinkable at scale just two decades ago.