4 Ways in which Technology Helps Small Businesses to Compete
Most mistakes (and some of the worst) that SMB owners tend to make are those related to finances, often mismanaging their company assets. As a result, this can lead to a multitude of problems for the company. On the other hand, running your own business is one of the most thrilling career paths you can take, despite it being perilous and risky. So many things can go wrong and you don’t have much wiggle room, so your mistakes have to be minimized in order to determine a positive future of your business.
SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) have had little help in the past, and had to rely on their expertise, but also a huge amount of luck. However, thanks to technological advancements over the last two decades (and especially over the last 10 years), this has changed, as SMBs today can rely on technology to help them grow and stay competitive in their markets. Let’s see how you can use new technologies to make your SMB’s life easier.
1. Extended reach
Thanks to the Internet, any SMB can have the whole world in the palm of their hands. Just 15 years ago, SMBs had only the most local reach when it came to marketing their business. They could reach out to people in their neighborhoods and hometowns through tiny media outlets (e.g. local TV or newspapers). Today, a small design team from a small town in Spain can create and put a video on YouTube that can reach a potential client in Australia. Also, talent is also closer than ever, and you can find and hire an app developer from Sweden or Denmark to help you develop your latest app. Small companies now have the opportunity to compete for the best talent, regardless of where it is, and to grow thanks to it.
Extended reach also means being able to get services from companies half the globe away. For instance, if you just came up with a product you can sell online, you can get services from a Sydney-based ecommerce web design agency like Quikclicks, even though you are not even based in Australia.
2. Bringing data-driven decisions
How to know when to make a certain decision? This is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to running a small business, because any big decision you make will have a long-term effect on your company’s well-being. For example, when to take on half a dozen new accounts or when’s the right time to hire 15 more employees? Maybe it’s time to reallocate more funds into marketing? Maybe it’s time to take out another loan, so should you seek for an angel investor or do it through personal connections?
Before, people used to consult other industry experts or go with their gut feeling. Today, SMB owners can base their decisions on their experience, data, and predictions based on their analytical skillset and expertise.
3. New software pricing models
Many people find it hard to see a change in the way SMBs pay for their software as a technological development. They also don’t consider pricing models as a part of this story, because it really seems unimportant (at first). However, it is a technological development and it is very important. Today, software doesn’t have to be purchased physically (on a CD or USB) and installed directly on your company computers, and this is the primary achievement of new technologies. Instead, an SMB can rent out software (as they would a service) thanks to greater internet speeds and the development of cloud technology.
All this allows smaller companies to get access to various software solutions that used to be way out of their purchasing power, and achieve better results without hiring any experts. Tasks related to paperwork, accounting, and HR, that were once considered complex and required more employees to handle them, can be done via proper software. You can take care of your finances, manage projects, communicate and address HR needs, all online.
4. Smarter HR
One of the biggest SMB money mistakes is nonexistent or bad HR. Traditionally, HR has been more of a large company thing, and SMBs today still believe that it doesn’t make any difference in their companies.
The truth is, hiring is a big part of HR, and real subsequent costs of bad hires are much higher than one might think. It’s even more noticeable in a small business. Bad HR practices cause newly hired employees to become productive later than they would with the right onboarding process. Also, bad HR can make it more difficult to retain the best employees once they begin receiving new offers.
Today, there’s great HR management software that allows SMBs to structure and formalize at least some semblance of quality HR practices within their companies. From hiring software to employee management solutions, HR software can definitely help you make smarter HR decisions for your small company.
There are so many different ways in which new technologies can help small businesses compete with large enterprises that we could go on for days. Making mistakes is an integral part of any experience, as well as of running a small business. You can’t avoid them, but with the right software and smart practices, you can minimize them, and avoid catastrophic consequences.