It is difficult to imagine American commerce without small businesses, which make up a majority of firms in the country. Through employing many in their communities and sharing their products globally, it is clear that small business owners do not have little impact on the commercial scene as stated by Technasite. While technology is rapidly changing our experience of the world, small businesses are also evolving to this trend.
A recent US-based survey found out that a staggering 84% of small businesses are connected to at least one online platform. How are small businesses affected by technology? Stick around and find out some of the ways that small businesses benefit from and are threatened by technological advancements.
1. Efficient Data Organization
As computer systems are rapidly evolving, so do their processing capabilities get better by the day. They can process much more information accurately in the blink of an eye, way faster than human employees can on the same task.
Computer systems can also produce long-term reports and in-depth analysis of your business, a real benefit for the business owner. Data storage is much more efficient since tons of information can be stored on a single computer and retrieved almost instantly on command. Paper transactions have not yet been eliminated, however, though that could be a reality in the not-so-distant future.
2. Richer Customer Relations
With the advent of social media, instant messaging and email, communication with clients has never been easier for the small business owner. Through advertising on social media, email newsletters, and blog posts on your websites, clients always remain up to date with your brand, your products, and your future projects.
On the other hand, customers can give their feedback instantaneously, saving you some of the hustle to get some while providing an opportunity to enhance your business. A glaring disadvantage of online communication, however, is the potential danger of losing the face-to-face interactions that have built trust and loyalty for centuries. Online conversations are a huge plus, though, if managed well!
Once you start setting up your business, you will need assistance with various aspects of it and according to Bizop, social media is a big segment. Once it is set up properly, you can use it to grow much more quickly, but you want to do it right from the start.
3. Collaboration Opportunities
All thanks to internet-based solutions, small businesses can offer flexible working conditions all round the clock. Firms can now hire employees from all over the world and collaborate with other agencies to produce their best. Other processes that are too complex, too expensive, or time-intensive can be outsourced to partner businesses and regularly monitored through online communication systems.
Team management software have also been on the rise recently. From a central hub, the company can initiate and manage teams working on collaborative projects, no matter their location. Real-time feedback and 24-hour support are now possible at a marginal fee, a plus for every small business.
4. Access to a Broader Talent Base
Small businesses have always been at a disadvantage compared to big companies- top-rated resources and employees are more available to big firms. Technology is bringing a paradigm shift to the scene, however. Small businesses do not have to hire locally.
As long as the pay is right, small and big companies have a huge potential of attracting talent from all over the world. Virtual interviews are easy to set up, and with the right amount of luck, you might find yourself the perfect fit a thousand miles away! Your prospective employees can also be trained through e-learning platforms, further easing the transition.
With the latest technology in website development and advances towards a cashless economy, the hottest shopping sensation is no longer at a shopping mall- but right there on your laptop or mobile phone. With almost everything on sale available online, many small businesses are going with the flow.
Selling and shipping products online to their customers all over the world is now more convenient rather than setting up a costly store on the ground. Other existing companies are also moving their services online to widen their scope and reach clients farther beyond their physical location. Online payment methods and cryptocurrency have helped propel this movement forward, a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down soon.
6. Requires Knowledge
The online space has not been entirely a bed of roses, however. One of the significant challenges arising from the use of technology is that it requires specialized training on how to use the technology. Highly skilled workers on paper are increasingly becoming irrelevant to the market- if they do not update their portfolio to include technological skills.
As technology continues advancing, even the current tech-savvy staff will have to refresh their knowledge, sometimes at the cost of the company. Previously, many businesses have retrenched some staff due to the automation of tasks, adding to the pinch felt while transitioning to online systems.
7. Threats to User and Business Data
The transfer of operations to a computerized system always comes with concerns about the safety of both user data and company information. Numerous companies have had their online systems attacked by malicious individuals, putting a large number of small firms out of business.
A recent study reveals that small businesses receive about 40% of all cyber-attacks compared to a paltry 14% who are prepared for them. Cyber threats are usually very costly to manage, costing an average of $200,000 to the business every year. While the number of cybercriminals increases exponentially every day, all firms must assess and upgrade their security frequently.
As the world is becoming more of a ‘global village’ through technology, small businesses must strive to remain relevant in this dynamic world. Competition between companies is also on the rise, and only those who are fit for the market will survive. A surefire way of expanding your scope of business and reaching out to a worldwide market is through embracing technology throughout your cycle.
By introducing technology to your business, you stand to gain from faster communication with your team and customers, opportunities for collaboration and high data processing, storage, and access efficiency. While transitioning to a new system, an element that should not be forgotten is the security of your data and that of your clients.