In an increasingly digital world, we are living in what could be observed as the golden age of tech.
The development and progress are quite overwhelming and fast if you follow the news media with a close eye.
From eCommerce, blockchain, neural networks, smart AI chat assistants, and robotics, all are now providing customers tools of accessibility never before seen.
They help you choose your new pair of jeans, schedule an important meeting, to answer virtually any question you need about a product.
Today, there is a better, more improved solution for any traditional brick-and-mortar business process. Why is it so important for entrepreneurs to utilize technology, and how can they keep up?
Falling behind on tech leads to irrelevance
In a new study published by Salesforce, up to 68% of marketing professionals reported that the customer experience had become the primary focus of their competitive efforts, which is unsurprising.
The University of Exeter Business School has emphasized just how important it is to have an in-depth understanding of an audience to stay ahead of the curve.
Personalized experiences require every stage of the customer purchasing journey to be as painless and relevant to them as possible. Delivering the most intimate of suggestions is impossible with the adoption of modern technology.
This is the reason that competitive businesses invest substantial amounts of capital into big data, artificial intelligence, analytics platforms, and blockchain, among many other innovative technologies, to deliver the ultimate customer experience. Choosing to eschew the best of these techniques might result in obscurity for your business as you will continue to fail to deliver what customers want and need.
Tech provides the competitive edge
When a massive firm decides to fully embrace technology, they have the resources and funds to implement it on a massive scale. This advantage is rarely possible for small businesses. Yet, there is a window of opportunity here.
Entrepreneurs must pass through a few steps to test and adopt modern technology. The lack of administration allows them to rapidly develop new solutions from scratch.
This is precisely why the likes of Facebook and Google acquire smaller startups to absorb the technology and the intelligence of the minds behind it.
Legacy corporations have higher costs for coordination, requiring additional time to implement new technology into their services.
For instance, if large companies desire to utilize modern video conferencing software to improve the management of projects, they may first need to conduct research on the product.
Next, they need to submit a request for department approval, then ensure compliance by legal. Finally, they need to hire trainers, have the IT department approve the software, and plan a rollout.
Smaller businesses that are forward-thinking will be able to more easily bypass this timely procedure and implement the new software in an efficient time that lets them improve their communication with customers and teams.
Entrepreneurs aren’t simply working against their mega corp counterparts.
They must also compete against other small businesses to ensure growth and gain traction in the market. By failing to stay on top of technology, you can easily lose businesses to competitors that do. Nearly 20% of all startups that fail are attributed to heavy competition.
Using technology saves money and streamlines the process
When creating your startup, it’s critical to keep a close watch on the dichotomy between profit margins and costs as much as possible.
The good news is that entrepreneurs can find plenty of opportunities to automate and streamline processes, thereby saving money in the long run.
For the restaurant industry, it has been reported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that over 130 billion pounds of food go to waste each year. Such a statistic is not only a socioeconomic and environmental concern; it represents a significant loss of money for all involved establishments.
The adoption of technology for inventory management ensures that restaurants have superior tracking for what is needed versus what is already in stock. Consequently, the over-purchasing that would normally lead to waste is prevented.
Technology can also be used by entrepreneurs to automate the customer support experience with the aid of AI chatbots and systems for call routing. Furthermore, project management software ensures that resources are maximized and are completed in time. There’s also financial management as well as automated invoices, which benefit HR.
Entrepreneurs need to contend with tight budgets, harsh competition and maximize every opportunity to grow. Such a feat will continue to remain impossible without keeping on top of modern technologies.
Here are some of the essential tools entrepreneurs can use to stay on top of changes in the world.
Internal Chat Platforms
Most companies still primarily rely on email for internal communications. New technologies such as HipChat improve accountability and speed in discussions. It provides employees with the opportunity to bond more deeply with one another.
Project management software
Every team needs to have a flexible, powerful, and simple-to-use application for project management in the cloud. Sufficient software nurtures and preserves ideas while providing a proper platform for collaboration.
Threads for discussion are able to form when good ideas are brought to the table, and when ideas manifest themselves into a project, you can add resources and develop a timeline.
One of the best online and mobile tools for managing user credentials and online passwords includes LastPass. By only having to remember a single private key, it helps companies work more efficiently and centralize important data.
Video is now the main marketing asset in the digital space. Instead of spending costly resources on pricey videographers, teams can be empowered to create high-quality content by providing portable, easy-to-use video equipment.
A small investment can produce a noticeable difference in video quality made with a proper camera.
Scalable Plans For Data and USB Modems
For more remote businesses, teams need to be encouraged to stay connected and work in areas where they feel most productive. Furthermore, they should collaborate on the device that suits their needs best.
This means it’s critical to enable them by purchasing scalable plans for business data and hardware which allows connection to the Internet–even when there is no Wi-Fi.
On any device, anywhere in the world, Slack allows team members to communicate with seamless ease. You can establish informal networking groups for investors, employees, CEOs, and more, continuously sharing knowledge and contacts.
Getting hands-on with all members of a team is essential. The time investment made for face-to-face interactions is amplified when paired with effective training that’s delivered in a way that people can pace themselves.
Through the creation of training software lessons, teams are provided the tools they need to add, revisit, and share as the company scales.
Companies like the Verge onboard new members of the team with Lessonly, which lets them quickly scale.
Technology for Stress Management
Although certain stress reduction tools have yet to be endorsed by the scientific community, one of the things that have shown results is guided meditation and yoga.
Providing employees with gift cards to access products like Pocket Yoga for unwinding in the office is an effective manner of getting employees to reduce sick days and take better care of personal health.
A fundamental building block to the modern success of any entrepreneur doing business online for the past decade includes SEO. It allows their concepts and ideas to be instantly presentable in front of investors, potential clients, and customers.
One particular tool for productivity that showcases your rankings in the search engines in addition to competitors and target market keywords is RankTrackr.
Businesses rely on blogging and SEO to provide value upfront to customers, solving pain points and recommending either their own product or others for visibility and profit.
Growth is a key strategy for any entrepreneur, and regardless if you are a leader of a global brand or the head of a small business, it’s safe to say that all your strategies should revolve around business development.
There is a multitude of directions in which you can take a company, but prior to doing so, you need to have a proper strategy that will facilitate success and scale the operation by keeping employees productive. Technology is at the core of this strategy.
Build A Social Media Presence
Digital marketing is the cornerstone of modern business development and is one of the essential tactics for growth over the long term.
This is especially true now, considering that everyone has access to the Internet like never seen before.
As the world becomes increasingly connected to the web and various other devices with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) applications, you now have the best opportunity to capture global audiences’ attention and transform your business on an international scale.
Of course, every digital marketing method should be utilized to ensure growth, but special attention needs to be paid to social media.
While these public networks are on the rise across the globe, they present a unique opportunity to develop a loyal following for the brand and establish strong marketing approaches inbound that will attract high-quality website leads and inspire viewers to convert.
This means that, over time, you will not have to invest heavily into paid advertising and be able to acquire organic, lifelong customers.
Leverage Cloud Computing
Although cloud computing has existed for quite some time, business leaders are finally beginning to recognize the raw potential of migrating their entire operation to a more long-term platform.
Given that cloud computing brings superior operational efficiency with enhancements to cyber security and tailored applications, it’s natural that companies of various sizes are increasingly embracing these digital platforms.
To make this transition more effective, you need to have a professional team that can successfully handle the process of migration to maintain service availability and efficiency such that you can stay online and productive at every corner without wasteful resources.
Upon completion, your business can enjoy the myriad benefits it brings to the table, helping your company grow over the long run.
Enhanced Communication With Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
An additional pillar to success and long-term growth include communication. There are two ways to leverage these tools to grow the company externally and internally. The first includes a hierarchy for good communication, and the second includes technology.
While hierarchy stands on its own, the latter is essential to achieving success, efficiency, and productivity.
This is a solution based in the cloud that acts as a digitized phone system for the entire company. Proper VoIP providers and services need to offer national and international calls at the lowest costs but also need to deliver optimization for mobile devices.
Handy features like call forwarding and scheduling, video conferencing, virtual assistants, and more need to be handled.
After successfully integrating VoIP technology, you’ll be able to manage teams remotely with ease, strengthen the sales department, enhance public relations and human resources, as well as facilitate growth.
Optimize All Processes For Mobile
Mobile devices have the largest market value imaginable because they are where the overwhelming majority of Internet traffic comes from.
This is not a surprise seeing as how everyone uses their phone on a constant basis to make purchases, browse the web, communicate, and efficiently organize their lives.
Growing trends such as this need to be taken advantage of to optimize processes for the demographics. From having mobile-friendly websites and recruiting platforms to market and sales, there are endless possibilities.
Making Use of Big Data Analytics
Strategies for corporate growth should be backed up with verifiable, relevant data. This means that you need to utilize analytics for big data.
With all the information floating around the web, this can only be hoped to be achieved through combining artificial intelligence with big data analytics to properly organize vast swaths of data without wasting money or time.
Having the right data in your hands allows you to easily adapt strategies and tactics along with the entire approach on a moment’s whim.