15 May Tech Trends for Small Business 2018
Small businesses are constantly faced with the challenge of doing more with less. There never seems to be enough time or resource to get everything done. For this reason, many business owners feel that they’re too busy to keep track of the latest technology trends, but that could be a mistake. Many of the current trends in technology are geared towards saving time and money whilst improving productivity and marketability. They are, for the most part, readily available and small businesses should definitely try to incorporate at least some of them into their work routines. Here are a few of the most useful.
Data and AI
There is currently so much data available to companies to track. All the social media platforms collect huge amounts of data about the people visiting your pages and interacting with your content. Your website and all the online interactions your company makes generates a ton of trackable data. This data can provide you with incredible insights into your customer base, and should enable you to to create unique customer experiences and brand loyalty.
However, managing and analyzing it all can be daunting, if not impossible. This is where AI can help you. In 2018 we expect to see more technology geared towards handling huge amounts of data. AI algorithms can help you to see patterns in all this seemingly random data which in turn can help you to focus your marketing to win more business.
IoT or the Internet of Things is the network of physical devices connected via the Internet. Pretty much anything with an on/off switch can be connected to the Internet. It’s predicted that in the future practically everything will be connected. The opportunities this offers are limitless. On a more practical level, your company could implement some smart devices to help speed up simple tasks and help to cut costs. Even if this is as simple as automating the lights being switched off, locking up and setting the office alarm at the end of the day, it can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
The ability to access software or services on the Internet or Cloud Computing is ideal for small businesses. With the cloud, you only need to pay for what you need when you need it. Smaller businesses can now gain access to state of the art technology without the overhead of costly hardware or upkeep. With most of these services, you can scale up or down as needed. This flexibility is perfect for the fluctuations that so often accompany small business needs. The efficiency and cost savings that go hand in hand with cloud computing really shouldn’t be ignored by small businesses.
More and more consumers are using messenger Chatbots to make purchases, whether through Facebook, Whatsapp, Slack etc. Offering app-based purchase options is a way to simplify the sales process which should ultimately lead to more sales. For more information about the benefits of Chatbots and how to get started with them, you can refer to this recent blog post.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
Blockchain is essentially a digital ledger in which transactions made in Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrency are recorded in a secure environment. Cryptocurrencies are almost certainly part of the future of online payments, but maybe you think you should wait until they become mainstream before adopting them. However, accepting Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrencies is something you should definitely consider for your company now, as it can help your small business to grow. Cryptocurrency will lower or completely eliminate your transaction fees and payments will be processed faster. It will make global transactions simple and moreover, it will enable you to tap into a new market because there are already lots of customers out there who want to pay in digital currency. It also makes your company look super savvy and forward thinking. Accepting Cryptocurrency is as simple as setting up a wallet and integrating it with your current online payment system. There is no reason why a small company shouldn’t lead the charge in this direction instead of waiting for everyone else to incorporate it first.
The almost daily progress being made in the world of technology can be overwhelming, especially if, as a small business owner, you already feel stretched in every direction. However, there has never been a better time to embrace cutting edge technology as it is now more accessible and affordable than ever. There are so many off-the-shelf and DIY tools out there that will enable you to engage processes that just a few years ago, would have required an entire dedicated IT Department to implement.
There is always a learning curve when adapting to new technology but the benefits to your productivity and cost-efficiency should be well worth it. The technological advances outlined here are by no means definitive.There are lots of other innovations out there that could potentially help your company to propel itself forward but these are a good starting point to take your company into the future.