As a small business owner, a few requirements must be in place to ensure survival beyond the one-three-year business mark. According to the Small Business Administration:
70% of small businesses do not survive within the first year
66% of small businesses do not survive 2-3 years
50% of small businesses do not survive within five years
According to CPR's Moral Leadership Coaching tidbit series, a leader must eliminate negative leadership attributes categorized as weaknesses or threats. If you have not viewed episode #2, "Business Sabotage," please note the link below https://youtu.be/o106Wp9o73c. Today we will explore the importance of technology and what is available to assist the small business leader. Let's begin!
Technology and Small Businesses
Small business owners wear multiple hats while juggling multiple projects. In an era where technology has proliferated globally, leaders must ask how to incorporate technology to benefit the business. Providing you are following the CPR Moral Leadership Coaching Tidbit breakthrough series, my initial worksheet categorized technology as a weakness. Again, weakness is an area where one needs to develop further and is actively doing the work to become more proficient. While I am well versed in technology, new technology emerges daily. As a small business leader, it becomes a hefty challenge to juggle many areas without assistance. This blog post is timely if you are a small business leader or aspiring entrepreneur. Ready, set, buckle up, and enjoy this journey.
Innovations were devised to increase productivity, enhance interactions, and reduce discrepancies and redundancies. In the 21st century, technology is another way to manage your business. The 2019 articles "The 5 Most Important Technology Solutions for Small Business in 2022" and "Best Technological Apps for Small Businesses" provided recommendations for small business leaders. Suppose you are currently using any of the mentioned applications; comment and provide feedback on their efficacy on your business.
1. SOFTWARE FOR A REMOTE WORKFORCE While remote work has been possible for many years, it’s now even more of an option for businesses that wouldn’t normally consider it. As remote work becomes more commonplace, businesses need software that can help them keep up. The rise of SaaS technologies Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies are thriving thanks to the rise of remote work. 2. THE EMERGENCE OF 5G Upgrade from 4G wireless networks to 5G. With 5G:
Network speeds are expected to increase.
Allows for better internal communication,
Offers faster transference of data and enhanced coverage around the globe.
Speeds up workflow and reduces download times for large files
It makes it more accessible for employees to deliver items to clients, whether it’s an online product or a physical one.
3. AI AND DATA PRIVACY AI is currently used for Navigation apps, streaming services, website chatbot, and ride-sharing apps. For many small businesses, AI will be used to (1) track customer behavior and provide insights on trends and (2) provide companies with information for advertising and marketing.
4. MOBILE SITES AND PAYMENTS In addition to better AI in e-commerce, more companies are also looking at how they can take advantage of trends in mobile.
5. Stronger Analytics Inventory management software often offers integration with other software to give small business owners a better sense of where they can improve. This information can include which payment method is most popular, which products may be underperforming, and when transactions seem to reach their peak. 6. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Regardless of your industry, a leader can generate leads and convert them into paying clients to make a profit using CRM. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is a cloud-based software that lets you manage your business’s relationships with potential leads and existing customers.
7. Payment Processing System
Payment processing is a critical business function across all industries. A payment processing system allows you to prioritize customer convenience by accommodating diverse payment options. Platforms like Braintree and the more commonly used payment gateways such as PayPal, Venmo, and SecurePay are good options.
8. Cybersecurity Solution
Digital tools make modern life easier, but they also invite new threats. Cybersecurity is a serious concern for any business owner.
9. Project Management Platform
Managing multiple projects can get tricky, especially when many people are involved. Project management software is the solution. Tools like Trello and Asana allow you to see who is doing what and ensure projects are progressing on time.
10. Inventory Management Software
Inventory management software can help your business improve data analytics and reporting and streamline operational workflows.
11. Social Media
Social media isn’t just for sharing photos with friends and family; it has become a valuable marketing and communication tool for small businesses. 21st-century business requires social media to attract new customers, convert them to leads, and maintain engagement with existing customers.
12. Business Website
Your business website is one of your most valuable tech tools. This space gives consumers critical information about your business, such as products and services offered, prices, and opening hours. Failing to have a website makes your company look unprofessional and can be a turnoff for consumers.
13. Location-Based Technology
Thanks to mobile technology and GPS, consumers can use location-based tools to find services and products in their vicinity quickly. This is yet another way to attract consumers and boost your business’s success. A localized web presence is critical to ensuring your business appears in area-specific listings like Citysearch, Yellow Pages, and Yelp, Google My Business.
14. Customer Interaction Management
There are many ways to interact with consumers, including chatbots, social media, review sites, telephone, email, and website contact forms. As a small business owner, it can be overwhelming to keep up with these communications. A customer interaction management solution lets you track your consumer interactions in one place. You enjoy better oversight of customer communications and can improve the consumer experience with more responsive, real-time communications. Tools like Genesys and Podium are both practical.
15. Additional Small Business Tech Tools
Depending on the type of business or industry, additional tech tools may prove beneficial, such as:
Mobile Scanning App
Third-Party E-Commerce Software
Bottomline, the twenty-first business requires 21st-century solutions without losing the human experience. The goal is to apply technology to improve business problems while maintaining the human experience, which is one customer service technique that can neither be replicated nor duplicated. Taking inventory is beneficial at the end of the year. If you still need to take advantage of the opportunity, start NOW.