From the latest reports, America was home to over 30 million small businesses. Those that strive to deploy the latest technology in their operations have the edge over their business rivals. Below are six trends in technology that business owners should expect, given that any of them may have an effect on their business.
1. Popularity of Automation Software
Most people doubted whether artificial intelligence (AI) and other automation technologies would impact small businesses. That seems clear now, especially with the AI revolution, which makes several processes among small businesses easy and viable, including:
- Customer service,
- Email marketing,
- Data entry.
Digital business experts at Max Funding say, “with AI apps becoming continually appealing to small businesses, such businesses will probably compete better with bigger companies.” They suggest, “consider automating and optimizing routine processes for it saves time and money. Also, it boosts productivity and efficiency in operations.”
2. Social Media Marketing
There is an expected escalation of the number of small businesses that will use social media marketing to promote their products or services. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn improve on their technology to boost the marketing return on investment for their users.
Small business owners continue to realize the role played by social media influencers as well. These are people with huge followings and can easily introduce your product or service to their followers. Bringing a social media influencer on board for your marketing campaign is, therefore, a great way of ensuring that you get value for every penny spent on marketing.
Just like telecommuting, technology affecting the workplace environment is making it easier for people to run side hustles that give rise to new small businesses. The gig or freelance economy enables people to monetize their one-time hobbies by providing insights and working with different clients.
Faster and more reliable telecommunications has seen more professionals compete for graphic design, writing, marketing, web design, and other jobs online. For instance, leading platforms such as Upwork provide the perfect environment for freelancers, and their growth doesn’t seem to slow down in 2020.
4. Working from Home
Future remote work statistics given by Upwork shows that by 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers. Futurists foresee a business world where working from home will become the norm for millions of people working with small businesses. Most people are warming up to remote working, as it was initially thought to result in low productivity. However, this is far from true. Research shows that employees working from home are more productive, owing to fewer disruptions and the fact that they don’t commute.
Small businesses will most likely continue to try out telecommuting for a couple of days in a week. Business owners will incur fewer expenses on operations, while employees save on commuting. These effects would, therefore, mean a more productive environment.
5. Changes in Investments
The success of small businesses in the competitive market may necessitate a complete overhaul of the old technology. Such businesses may have to do away with obsolete equipment and practices such as technologies, cloud computing and 5G networks shaping the modern business world. While this means investment in hardware, software, and personnel, the cost promises a bumper return. Businesses that continue to hang onto older and out-dated technology will always fall behind their sprier, tech-savvy competitors.
6. Customer Support
Most consumers prefer online customer support to phone calls, probably because real-time chats facilitate faster and better handling of customer queries and complaints. This, however, has a couple of effects. First, it enhances customer interaction among those who dislike phone calls or the idea of waiting to be connected to an available representative. Further, AI has presented a window for offering solutions online in place of humans. What’s more, it makes rationing easier whenever customers request to be connected to a representative for an inquiry.