The Role of Technology in Small Business Operations
When you look around the world we live, everything is subjected to constant change. The world doesn't look the same today as it appeared a few years back. This is cushioned by technological evolution. Small businesses, in particular, face unique challenges due to their limited size and resources. There comes a point where they have to make the best use of whatever they have. This is precisely when technological assistance steps in to bridge the gap.
As per Forbes' small business statistics, over the last 25 years, small businesses have generated a staggering 12.9 million jobs. This showcases their significant contribution to the economy. However, it's essential to acknowledge that despite this success, the reality is that 1 in 5 small businesses face failure within their first year of operation. So, it becomes obvious to focus on nurturing their growth and ensuring sustainability.
As a solution to this, a wide variety of online tools have emerged that can help small businesses on a daily basis, starting from platforms to host their brand to provide better customer service. Technological invasion is very much essential for small businesses to stay on the path of their growth.
So, in this blog, let's go deeper into-
- "Why small businesses need new technologies?"
- "How technology supports their constant growth?"
What is the Role Of Technology In Small Business Operations?
There are many transformative advances that technology could bring to business growth. It can make running a business comparatively easier than it was when everything needed manual attention. The recent advancements contribute to business growth in different ways such as:
- Streamlining Business Operations
- Expanding Market Reach
- Improving Productivity
- Collaborate Online For Classes And Services
- Enabling Online Payments
- Data-Driven Decision Making
- Strengthened Security
- Improving Customer Engagement
Let’s have a look at these in detail now,
Streamlining Business Operations
Nowadays everything screams automation. When it comes to business, task management tools help to streamline day-to-day tasks. It takes care of all the repetitive tasks that employees would have to do diverting the workforce to tasks that contribute to the actual growth of the organization. Digital tools such as appointment scheduling, automating bills, automating payments, employee scheduling, and more, make it easier for business admins to handle time-consuming and error-prone manual work. Industry-specific software can do an even better job streamlining all of these functions. For example, a tool like Briostack can improve pest control business operations because it’s designed specifically for pest control companies. With this, business owners can focus on improving the quality of services, reducing administrative heavy lifting to a vast extent.
Expanding Market Reach
You may run any kind of business, yet the key to keeping your brand name shining out from others in the market is efficient branding and marketing. Technology serves a big role in not just establishing a strong online presence but also creating strong brand visibility for any new business. We can witness continuous developments in the area of marketing such as social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and email campaigns because of the use of the right technology.
Small businesses can use social media tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and more to improve engagement with target audiences, build their brand, and promote their businesses.
Also, there are booking and scheduling solutions and online marketplaces that help in building a virtual storefront where customers can directly contact businesses. These storefronts help in showcasing new services as well as exploring services, booking appointments, and more. These software are a cost-effective way of marketing and spreading the word about any service-related business.
In addition to this, there are lots of marketing automation tools like Mailchimp, Hubspot, Zoho CRM etc. help to run your campaigns with not much effort.
With this, the traditional costly advertising methods have become unnecessary, as these help businesses reach their customers better with a much more targeted approach.
The integration of technology in team management significantly reduces the business processing time in half. There is a lot of software solution available in the market that helps in effective team management by keeping track of the tasks that needs to be completed every day. For example, tools like Slack, Jira, Monday.com, Asana and ClickUp help businesses to manage their teams a lot more effectively.
Other tools that help in effective communication between employees foster a more productive work environment. For example, cloud-based collaboration tools enable collaboration with team members, this helps in faster access to information and facilitates employees to respond faster and better to inquiries. This helps in achieving higher levels of productivity, ultimately leading to greater business success.
Collaborate Online For Classes And Services
As the passion economy is gradually thriving, people have started to capitalize on their talents, which appear as a very good means of income. This also brought in the need for video conferencing tools. For example, when you ideate to provide home fitness training, it can be easily achieved via video conferencing tools such as Zoom meetings and Google Meet. Even booking and scheduling platforms such as Omnify offer native Zoom integration, simplifying online classes for both trainers and clients.
These tools help businesses to effortlessly reach a global level, enabling easy global reach and attracting a diverse clientele from all corners of the world. By imparting adaptivity, the technology helps businesses to fly to new heights and stay interconnected with clients across the world.
Enabling Online Payments
Secure and easy payments are always looked forward to in any business transaction. As we transitioned from cash payments to cashless modes of payment there are a lot of developments that streamlined the payment methods. These modern methods not only offer convenience but ensured safe and secure transactions throughout. Clients can now have a painless queueless payment experience, settling bills from anywhere they could.
Not only that, businesses can easily track their financial transactions. So, no need to maintain a separate log for every single transaction in the business. It’s no doubt that the shift to secure and easy payments has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we conduct transactions.
Data-driven Decision Making
We all know that in a business, all that truly counts is data. However, before the presence of real-time analytics, businesses needed to take many chances before they knew where they went wrong. This is also taken up by new tools such as Google Analytics, which collects and tracks real-time data. These data serve as cruise control, offering vital information to steer the business toward growth.
Now, businesses can keep track of their daily growth status. For example, if you’re using a booking and scheduling software like Omnify, which offers inbuilt dashboard analytics, it helps you keep track of the number of bookings, revenue earned, refunds, cancellations, client check-ins, and more, enabling businesses to make better decisions day by day.
The provided reports make it easier to monitor disengagements, abandonments, and no-shows, empowering businesses to tailor their services to meet the needs of their customers effectively. Real-time analytics has emerged as a guiding light, helping businesses navigate the path to success.
When you run a business of any scale you are responsible to let your clients know about the safety and security policies of your business. For this, electronic waivers come in handy, it serves as an e-signature. Draft these waivers in a manner that provides a transparent overview of all legal liabilities and related risks conveyed to your clients.
By incorporating these technologies, businesses can guarantee an unbreakable reputation for their brand among customers, contributing towards unhindered growth and success for the company. Trustworthiness is the starting point for the journey towards customer loyalty for a growing small business.
Improve Customer Engagement
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of a business - the coveted end of the funnel of every business. Technological advancements like Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) help you to improve the way to respond to your clients and customers and improve their overall experience. This is very important for targeted marketing, as they help you to comprehend customer preferences, purchase history and feedback.
Businesses will have valuable data that helps to come around in targeted marketing. With this invaluable data in hand, businesses can build stronger connections with their customers, which is essential to sustain in this competitive business environment.
Challenges Faced By Businesses While Adopting New Technology
As much as technology is essential to run any business these days, businesses do face challenges in integrating them. Let’s have a look at the three common challenges faced by businesses.
- Choosing The Right Software
- Difficulty In Integrating Existing Systems
- Adopting New Technology
Let’s get a better idea by reading further-
Choosing The Right Software
There are a variety of software solutions available in the market with almost similar features. Businesses will have a hard time figuring out which one will be suitable for their business needs. It is important to know about the products in the market and choose the best-suited option out there. Businesses should ensure that these platforms serve as an all-in-one solution for their essential needs. There is no point in investing in multiple platforms when they can effectively manage everything under one comprehensive solution.
So, analyze and choose the best platform that could simplify your business operations, saving you much more time.
Difficulty In Integrating Existing Systems
Some businesses may be using a particular technology for a long time and become accustomed to it. However, such technology may have become outdated, posing difficulties in integrating it with new platforms due to compatibility issues. Additionally, the process of data migration and maintaining data integrity throughout this transition presents a significant challenge for businesses.
Overcoming these hurdles requires careful planning, a willingness to embrace change, and a commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest advancements. If you're using Salesforce for example, you can consider customizing it to stay on top of new developments and tailor it to your own needs.
Adopting New Technology
Whenever a business decides to adopt a new technology it is a long process. Initially, introducing the team members to the tool's features and providing them with the necessary training for daily usage demands considerable dedication. However, once the ice breaks the technology will start to blend in with your business operations.
As the team becomes familiar with the new tool and adapts to its functionalities, everything starts falling into place. Breaking the initial challenges to easy adoption is essential to ensure smoother workflows and enhanced efficiency in the long run. That's why it's crucial for businesses to consistently offer thorough onboarding to all team members, helping them to grasp the ins and outs of the technology way more quickly.
So, technology has become inevitable in each and every step we make in a business. When used right, they could impart unimaginable developments to your businesses. But the trick lies in the most suitable platform for your business. Businesses should consider the investments, features, and ability of the tool to blend in with their business and ease up administrative activities. Adopting new technology is not merely an option for businesses; it's strategically essential for a small business to thrive in a competitive environment.
Featured image by RDNE Stock project