5 Ways Technology is Impacting the Way We Do Business
As an entrepreneur, you should always be striving to improve the customer experience, and keep in mind that technology is an all-encompassing term that can benefit you, the small businesses owner, just as much as the consumer. Here are five ways technology is impacting the way we do business.
New Payment Options
Paying employees, whether contract or salaried, can be done with the click of a button thanks to a variety of payment apps available on the market. Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Square Cash, and PayPal all make financial transactions fast and easy for everyone.
Look to new technology such as Bitcoin and Bizx to take traditional currency (and central banks) out of the equation by using a form of digital currency between parties. There are no transaction fees and you don’t even need to use your real name. Small businesses like them because there are no credit card fees and international payments are easy and cheap because, Bitcoins for example, are not tied to any country or subject to regulation.
Mobile Beacons and Location Marketing
Mobile beacons provide consumers with mobile push notifications such as special in-store offers and coupons. These are meant to give more traditional brick and mortar storefronts a competitive edge against the online industry. Pro for the small business owner, the location based app will in turn record valuable customer data allowing you to develop competitive price points and promotions.
Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. This allows for rapid expansion and mobility without the fear of downtime, crashes, and permanently lost data. Companies have begun adapting some of their most sensitive processes to cloud-based programs, such as customer databases and accounting software. This provides them with on-the-go access to their most important software and documents, no matter where they are.
Check this out if the idea of cloud computing makes your head spin.
Technology, and “the Cloud” has broken down workplace barriers in more ways than one. “In the office” can mean so many things – home office, coffee shop, co-working space, corporate building or beach. Punching in just means getting online. Coworkers and employees are now available via text/video chat at a moment’s notice thanks to apps such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Slack. With online organizational tools like Asana and Basecamp, collaboration is made easy and virtual – hiring is now completely different as well. Data sites and job search engines such as ZipRecruiter, Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor make searching for the perfect candidate a snap.
Immediate Social Response and Impact
Thanks to the Internet, your business now should maintain two identities, or more. There’s your actual storefront or website brand personality, but also your identity on social media channels such Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Yelp.
The rise of social networking has made the world seem much smaller, now anyone can connect regardless of geographic location and demographic. This interconnectedness has pushed real-time customer service and product reviews into the spotlight. If a consumer has a bad experience, be prepared, because everyone is going to hear about it immediately. The social impact of a bad review is swift and quick – that’s why business owners need to be on their toes and carefully craft, then maintain, a strong digital footprint that is proactive instead of reactive. Use social networking to your advantage by staying engaged online, thereby reaching a whole new audience that wouldn’t know you exist otherwise.
Read more about how social media can help you launch and promote your new business here.
What Do You Do Now?
Don’t stress, and please don’t think you have to rebuild your business from the ground up if you aren’t using all the technology available all the time. It can be overwhelming. Instead of trying to implement everything, strive to understand how emerging tech trends may affect your business (for better or worse) and use only what you think will work to your advantage and improve your customers’ experience.
Jack Uldrich, an author and futurist, suggested this while presenting at a conference in Arizona.
- Take a full week each year – a “think week” – to ponder the disruptions your businesses might face and study emerging technology as it might apply to your overall business model.
- Enlist the help of one or more “reverse mentors” or younger people who view the world from a different perspective. They might alert you to opportunities and new technology that you aren’t aware of or haven’t had the time to understand.
Comment below telling GROW how technology has benefited your business and for more information check out the 25 best apps for small business owners in 2017.
And, know that our staff, our facilitators, and volunteer mentors are here to help you address technology in a way that supports your business. If you have specific questions, feel free to contact us today.