The pandemic shifted the course of life for everyone around the globe – from individuals to business organizations. Now that vaccine roll-outs are increasing and people are slowly getting back to the normal course of life, there is an increased reliance on technology. As a result, technology is no longer just a buzzword; it has dominated homes, workspaces, and even the health sector.
Due to the lockdown restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we also witnessed an increase in small businesses. If you want to start a small business, whether for selling products or offering services, you may have to use technology one way or the other to run your business. Here are the top eight uses of technology to look out for as a small business owner.
Project Management Tools
Most small businesses have small teams with at least one member working remotely, like a remote marketing assistant helping create sales and ad copy. To streamline operations as a small business owner, you must use at least one project management tool, platform, or service. Many collaborative tools are available in the market, like Slack, Todoist, Teams, and Toggl. Most tools offer a range of solutions within the platform, like task management, data sharing, or video conferencing. As a small business, investing in an office space or a warehouse may be out of budget. You can leverage technology for inventory management by renting a space driven by self storage technology like the ones offered by OpenTech Alliance. If you run a small-scale storage business, OpenTech Alliance allows you to leverage technology for marketing to automate payments.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has dynamically changed the course of almost every industry – from healthcare to education and the business sector. From predictive data analytics to help businesses rank in search results for their specific keywords, AI has been a game-changer for small, medium, and large enterprises. AI allows businesses to leverage technology to understand consumer behavior and shape their marketing and production strategies accordingly. Numerous AI tools frequent business operations for assisting in creating sales and ad copy that helps with sales conversion or helping with keyword research and SEO. Where manual work slowed down productivity and shifted focus from high-value tasks, AI helps save time, boost efficiency and maximize sales for small businesses.
The roll-out of 5G technology has many implications in the business world. 5G technology, though it emerged in 2019, its growth was overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, the benefit of the fifth-generation cellular technology has reshaped data transmission. Unlike its predecessor, 5G promises little to no delay in transferring data which can be a significant boost for small businesses that operate in the e-commerce industry. A high-speed 5G connection promises faster online communication, which may help counter delays and boost business growth. Since many small businesses are also shifting towards AI and augmented reality tools, a faster connection like 5G will become necessary.
Though older than AI and augmented reality, cloud computing has reshaped the business and tech worlds. As the global need to become more reliant on technology is increasing, there is also a need to store data safely and securely. Especially small businesses that may collaborate online for marketing, communication, or selling their merchandise require safe storage for data. In addition, many small businesses have team members working remotely or in different parts of the world. Therefore, cloud-based technology is increasingly dependent on sharing data and other tools. For example, the SEO, graphic design, or online inventory management tools you may use as a small business owner depend on cloud computing.
As the demand for technology to share data and collaborate effortlessly increases, so does the need for safety and privacy. Over the past couple of years, there has been a stark increase in cybersecurity threats. Cybercriminals spare no one, from big and small organizations to individuals lacking digital literacy. The chances of getting scammed or targeted in one way or another are high. Many technological innovations are on the way to prevent cybersecurity threats and combat fraud. As a small business owner, data protection and privacy is one concern, but affordability is another. It is expected that affordable cybersecurity channels will open up in no time, given the fast pace of technological innovation.
Digital marketing has witnessed incredible growth in the last couple of years. It has allowed thousands around the globe to start their brand and create a unique niche to connect with their followers or audience. With a niche market in a big industry, influencers target their potential audience through visual and audio content. Small businesses, particularly, have benefitted from influencer marketing because it requires a lesser budget than traditional marketing efforts. It can also be mainly remote – from communication to content creation and, of course, marketing.
Social media marketing
Most small businesses don’t have the budget to create an e-commerce website or don’t find it feasible to operate their business through an e-commerce provider. Thus, social media becomes the last resort. With e-commerce and advertising integrations in most social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest, many small businesses leverage social media to promote their brand or product. It is easier to create an e-store on social media platforms and collect necessary consumer data, like when most of your audience is active on the platform or searching for keywords. Collecting this data helps customize your marketing strategy for sales generation in a much more affordable way.
SEO and keywords
Similar to influencer and social media marketing, small- and large-scale businesses use search engine optimization (SEO) and keywords to make way for their brand in an increasingly competitive market. SEO helps make your website, blog, or brand’s page rank-worthy, so potential customers looking for your targeted keyword come across your brand. For instance, if you’re selling handmade stickers online, your target keyword might be “handmade stickers.” Now, you can create audio and visual content and write copy around that keyword to ensure your brand’s visibility to larger audiences.
Depending on the needs and desires of your business, technology can leverage great benefits like boosting productivity and efficiency. You may also reach larger audiences with tech-driven marketing efforts like SEO, social media advertisement, and content marketing. However, simply adopting technology in your business for its trendiness may not sufficiently benefit your small business. Therefore, look for technological innovations that promise your niche or brand results.
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