As a small business owner, you may feel as if you’re not at the forefront of using technology for your company in the same way enterprises do. Still, technology plays a crucial role in the efficiency and growth of your business. Given how much things have changed due to 2020’s COVID-19, these small business technology trends are bound to be more important in 2021 and the following years.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small bakery or a new business handling lifetime coverage of health insurance, technology is at your service. While new infrastructure, like AI and 5G, will continue to gain traction globally, other trends – such as cybersecurity, personalized marketing, and software unification – can also directly impact small businesses.
Business Tech Trends for Small Businesses
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been buzzwords in the tech industry for years. As newer technologies into more solutions, small business owners will continue to incorporate them into current and new processes in 2021 and beyond. This could mean a variety of implementation scenarios, from personalized customer experiences and voice assistants.
Although artificial intelligence may seem like a tool only large enterprises use, many small businesses are adopting it. After all, AI is designed to help businesses of all sizes to offer a more personalized customer experience by automatic manual tasks and maximizing their time. If your team spends almost a quarter of the day on manual tasks, AI and automation prove as huge assets.
Comprehensive HR Tech
One area that increased in relevance in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was human resources. HR software and tech can help small businesses keep track of their employees in terms of their performance and needs. A majority of the focus on HR tech comes from the shift to remote work, though HR software has already been assisting businesses pre-pandemic.
The shift to remote work has changed companies in terms of engagement, communication, employee development, and productivity. It has also highlighted the need for better HR technology to address these challenges. A centralized HR information system can help businesses manage their people and meet employee/employer expectations.
Researches have revealed that nearly 60 percent of small businesses are confident that they will not be targeted in a cyberattack. However, many small businesses have been victims of cyberattacks in 2020. This year should be the year that small business owners should start fighting back.
Newer standardized tackling and blocking game plans keep today’s businesses safer than before. Also, small- and medium-sized businesses now lockdown on comprehensive disaster-recovery-and-backup solutions to protect their information.
In response to the quarantine and other COVID-19-related disruptions, many businesses have turned to online shopping, mobile scheduling, and mobile tech to create a contact-free shopping experience. Mobile payments are no longer a convenience to escape long checkout lines; they are now a requirement for most retailers. Mobile terminals and checking out with QR codes are now the norm for most businesses, too.
Since vaccinations have not yet reached a critical mass in the US, these tech-assisted shopping methods may remain in 2021 and beyond.
Personalized marketing and social media influencers are viable avenues for showcasing products while establishing stronger relationships with customers (both current and new). These two tools help businesses establish a dynamic marketing strategy, which means working with influencers is still a must for this year.
Remember: consumers want more authenticity from brands. In terms of ads, they prefer recommendations from people they trust, such as influencers.
Personalized marketing via influencers can help you connect with customers, as well as establish your niche within the industry. Partnering with influencers requires a thorough understanding of your business’s needs and determining the people who are influential within the industry.
How to Incorporate Tech in Your Small Business
The key to being a successful small business owner is constantly finding ways to upgrade your technology. When you incorporate technology into strategies, you get more work done and get a leg up on the competition.
Here are some tools that can help improve your small business:
- Web development
- Cloud data management
- Artificial intelligence
- Social media dashboards
- Mobile app development
There are many possibilities in terms of technological solutions on the market. It’s important to pay attention to these trends not just in their current state, but as they evolve in the future. Future-proof your business by integrating tech into your operations.