We’re living in a peculiar time. According to a recent report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, around three new businesses are opened every single second. This amounts to almost 100 million annual business openings. That’s over and above the many well-established companies and corporations that are already making it big.
So, this begs the question that, whether you’re a bootstrapped start-up or a medium-sized business that’s looking to expand, how do you gain an edge over your competitors and start playing with the big dogs? Well, hard work, determination and individuality sure help, but in this day and age, technology is perhaps a more appropriate answer.
By making the most of new technological innovations, you can leverage small amounts of capital to make exponential changes in the productivity, efficiency and profitability of your business. From beefing up your security and streamlining operations to improving your marketing strategy, technology can do it all with little investment on your side.
Let’s take a look at 6 technologies that will make the biggest change in the way you do business in 2020 and beyond.
Cloud computing is shaping up to be a miracle solution for businesses of all sizes. It’s already being adopted by big name brands across just about every department, and small businesses are slowly catching up as more of them realize the countless benefits that come with moving to the cloud.
The highlights include improved security measures, better scalability thanks to pay-only-for-what-you need pricing models, incredible efficiency and productivity improvements, increased flexibility thanks to integration capabilities and the fact that it’s simply a futureproof, all-round software and hardware alternative that every business can benefit from.
Online Learning Resources
Online universities and e-learning solutions have really taken off in the past few years. But, it’s not only scholars and job-seeking graduates who can benefit from these web-based study opportunities. Your current employees can head online in order to expand their knowledge, improve their skills and increase their eligibility for advancement.
Aside from online short courses in day-to-day business tasks, there are also fully-fledged, accredited and certified online universities that your employees can enrol in to improve their qualifications. For instance, those in your HR department can consider obtaining this master of human resource management degree.
Compared to the vast majority of marketing methods out there, social media is a clear step above. The incredible return on investment that it’s capable of providing when used right is unmatched. Spend long enough on Twitter or Instagram, and you’ll quickly notice how some businesses are exploding in popularity by simply leveraging social networks.
Aside from posting the right posts and using pay-per-click marketing on social media, there are a number of other ways to make it work for your business. For instance, you can obtain valuable information from your customers about what they like and don’t like about your business as well as being able to see exactly what your competitors are up to.
AI is another hot tech topic that will continue to infiltrate a growing number of industries as we move into the 2020s. Even for smaller businesses, it holds a great deal of utility. This comes in the form of voice assistants, analytical tools, personalized customer experiences and smarter software that increases your productivity.
With its promising capability to automate manual tasks, your business could soon see AI carrying out many daily operations with little requirement for human input. Artificial intelligence will also be capable of analysing important data about your business and provide useful insights as to where you can make improvements.
When most people think of wearable technology, fitness trackers are the first thing to spring to mind. However, the same tech will be able to give businesses new insights into how their employees feel and whether they’re performing.
By being able to track their body metrics and movements, businesses will be able to better understand how they can make the workplace a more hospitable and enjoyable environment.
Wearables can also be used as an incentive to make your employees more active. In the same way that insurance companies provide discounts on premiums for clients who track their fitness levels, you can offer a similar bonus in your company.
After all, healthy employees are key to your success. The healthier and happier they are, the better they will perform, so the benefits are clear.
These days, there’s a potent software solution for just about every common function you perform in your business. By adopting these new ways of handling finances, communication, marketing, administration, productivity and customer service, you could easily go paperless, becoming a more efficient and environmentally-friendly business.
For instance, the use of time-tracking software, project management tools, digital filing systems and cloud-based services can save your business thousands of hours every year. Using invoice software, budget trackers, accounting tools and open source financial software will save you thousands of dollars per month.
Using software to develop a stronger digital marketing plan, starting a SEO-optimized blog, using newsletter marketing and promoting your business on social media will get your name out to thousands of people every day. Using an online helpdesk, social media and review websites to conduct customer service will solve thousands of customer problems.
The list could quite frankly go on forever. If there’s a problem in your business or an area that’s in need of improvement, chances are that the solution comes in software form. Be sure to keep an open mind to innovations like these. They’re popping up around every corner on a daily basis, so it pays to take a look every now and then.
With the astronomical pace at which technology is currently advancing, there’s no telling just how much innovation 2020 will bring to the business world. What we can say for sure is that it will be exciting and possibly revolutionary. For now, the best you can do is adopt what’s already out there and do it to the best of your ability.