According to a recent Google report, 80% of small businesses in the United States aren’t taking complete advantage of the technology tools that are available to them. Small business owners often resist new technology for a variety of reasons, including perceived cost barriers, lack of understanding, or they think technology tools don’t apply to their industry. However, these notions about new technology innovations are wrong and with the rise of technology, especially due to COVID-19, has driven changes in small businesses and consumer expectations.
Growth-minded small businesses who readily adapt to new technology stand to benefit greatly with increased revenue, more efficient operations, reduced expenses, and faster growth. Here at bva, We offer flexible and transparent Pricing and Plans that adapt to your needs so we are able to provide you with custom IT Services and Solutions built specifically for your business. We’ll help you stay ahead of the curve because adapting to new technology is more important now than ever before. Here are Top 5 Small Business Technology Trends For 2021:
1. Decentralized Operations
Prior to the pandemic, many businesses were realizing the benefits of nixing their brick and mortar offices (lower overhead costs and a desirable work-life balance for employees) in favor of adopting remote operations. As pandemic-related closures started happening, many businesses were forced to adapt to a decentralized operating scheme. No matter what you decide is the best long-term operating strategy for your business, adopting remote working capabilities is going to be essential.
Businesses will rely heavily on cloud-based programs and data storage. Additionally, finding remote human resources technology will be key to maintaining a solid foundation of employees. This includes software for advertising open positions, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding in addition to software that allows you to keep track of your existing employees, the hours they work, and the benefits they use.
2. Technology-Assisted Client Interactions
Small businesses often rely on their high-quality, person-to-person service models to compete, they’ve had to adapt to less personal customer interactions and tech-assisted transactions to stay relevant against a backdrop of enterprise-level companies that were able to make the shift to offering no-contact services. Encourage your service team to capitalize on new video communication technologies and host Face-to-Face virtual meetings to maintain the personal relationships and open communication with clients.
There are many softwares and applications available to make this more convenient for your service teams. For example, Loom allows employees to record video messages of themselves, their screen or both and share seamlessly over email. Not only is this faster than an email or meeting live, but it also adds a personal touch. With the ease and convenience of tech-assisted transactions, your clients will likely continue to use these services long after the need for no-contact service disappears.
3. Artificial Intelligence and Automation
The benefits of automation in your small business: higher productivity, cost saving, increased compliance, better financial insight and so much more. Along with automating manual processes, small businesses can look into adopting and integrating technologies that use AI to automate a variety of repetitive tasks. Whether you have an AI bot respond to basic online inquiries or adopting software that automates data collection and entry, your businesswill benefit by being ahead of the curve.
Integrating AI technologies into operations is important as these advancements only become integral in the future. This will reduce the time employees need to complete their work, and the number of employees needed on each task, so automation and AI translates to more hours focused on doing work that drives profit. Your employees will be able to focus on high-level work that drives your business forward.
4. Software Integration
As small businesses increasingly adopt new technology tools, there will be an increasing need for software integration. Software integration is the process of bringing various software systems together to make one unified system. Just like you have different employees bring different skill sets to work together, softwares integration is the same thing. Different applications “talk” and “work” together to complete a goal.
With the growing demand for a unified software solution, be on the lookout for new platform integrations that will save time and increase accuracy across your company’s department. Start by looking at ways to integrate your back office. Technology integrations allow for more data in your accounting system, more quickly, eliminating errors, and at a lower cost than with manual processes. This will also help free up your employee’s time, which translates to more labor hours for you.
5. Heightened Cybersecurity
Cyber attacks put businesses at risk of incurring financial losses and reputational damage when your personal information and your client’s personal information are exposed. As more and more business functions move online and into the cloud, cybersecurity becomes increasingly important. Not only do employee’s risk a personal data breach, but proprietary company information is also more vulnerable.
According to research from BullGuard, 60% of small business owners don’t think they’ll be the target of a cyberattack. Unfortunately, 61% of small businesses fall victim to cybersecurity breaches.Take these steps now to strengthen your business’s online security:
- Update your software regularly.
- Invest in end-to-end encryption software for online and point of sale transactions.
- Provide regular employee training regarding the recognition of online scams, phishing, and malware.
- Implement security protocols and processes for passwords and physical security on-site.
- Hire bva as your IT experts for your business, we’ll make sure your network is bullet-proof!