Running a small business is no mean feat, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of courage to put your business out there and compete with already-established big businesses. Fortunately, technological advancement has made it easy for small businesses to operate on a level playing field with larger businesses.
Here are 5 must-have technology updates small businesses should integrate into their strategy to facilitate speedy growth.
1. AI for Customer Service
It is said that customers are the lifeblood of any business; this means that every business needs customers to survive and grow. With so many factors of a growing business to handle on a daily basis, it may be necessary to discover the right tech tools to enable you to juggle this aspect of your business.
An artificial intelligence system will do a good job of getting the data you to understand your customers’ needs and help you interpret it, effectively eliminating any form of guesswork from your customer service process.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of computer programs and chatbots that make use of artificial intelligence to carry out intelligent conversation with humans. Small business owners can equally harness the power of chatbots to facilitate their customer service.
Microsoft Bot Framework provides a good starting point as it allows businesses to build bots that can connect and interact with users across multiple platforms, including Facebook Messenger, websites, Skype and others.
2. Social Media
It is no longer hot news that social media has affected virtually every aspect of our lives. If used correctly, these platforms can boost your business significantly and help it grow.
Studies show that people spend as many as 9 hours of their time on different social media platforms every day, and at last count, there were more than 2 billion people with active social media accounts. This is a veritable goldmine of a market for small businesses.
A vibrant social media presence can help you boost your brand’s visibility, putting it in the face of millions of potential customers. However, the secret is knowing the right platform or application that will help you reach your target audience quickly and cost effectively
Every small business should include social media in their marketing budget as this has been known to bring in high returns.
3. Monitoring and Analytics
If your plan is to grow your business, then you need to constantly monitor patterns and trends that show your customer’s lifestyle and habit changes so that you can be better positioned to meet them. Fortunately, business intelligence is no longer the sole domain of big businesses and large corporations.
Analytics also help you monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, so that you can know where you need to put more effort and where the impressive results are coming from.
There are actually tons of analytics programs on the internet. Some of them are free, while there are those you have to pay for.
4. Cloud hosting
Cloud hosting allows you to deliver your business opportunities to a wider market without any restrictions. Not too long ago, you had to have a website located on a server in the country where your target market was. But with cloud hosting, this is no longer necessary.
“What cloud hosting does is provide a level playing ground for both small and big businesses to compete equally in any market, local or international,” says Brenden Wilde of www.openhost.co.nz.
Small businesses can enjoy patronage from markets that they would otherwise not have access to. If, as initially pointed out, customers are needed for any business to grow, then putting your products and services in front of millions of customers regardless of location or language will definitely speed up the process of your business growth
5. Mobile Apps
The world has gone mobile, and everyone knows it. Already mobile devices are the tools of choice for consuming content on the internet. Customers are using their smartphones and devices to access information about the products and services they need, along with business locations and other forms of information. While having a responsive website has its place, a well-designed app can put your brand in your customer’s view every time they use their phone and devices.
There are hundreds of technology updates and tips that can help speed up the growth of your business, the above 5, however, are a good place to start. By implementing the ideas explored above, you will be able to generate sales, reduce costs, and put your business in a good spot to grow.