All businesses rely on technology to run efficiently. Technology has helped small businesses find ways to compete with large corporations, improve relationships with customers, and help improve internal processes.
Small businesses use various technologies, including laptops and desktops, mobile devices, equipment, and more, to help them succeed.
Small businesses must continuously look for ways to implement new and emerging technology in their business operations. Unfortunately, technology is always changing and evolving, making it difficult for businesses to catch up.
Here’s how technology’s ever-changing nature affects businesses.
Communication and information sharing
Every business needs to communicate internally with employees and externally with customers.
Today’s digital landscape and technology allow for easier, more efficient ways to communicate.
Applications like Slack, Zoom, and chatbots simplify information sharing, and businesses can’t track conversations and get analytics based on consumer behavior. With better communication comes deeper intelligence to obtain customer data and use it to improve experiences and new marketing strategies.
Communication through effective technology use helps businesses create personalized messages and automated communications to improve marketing and allow professionals to reach new customers.
But, of course, there is a point when communication becomes ineffective. Businesses mustn’t lose the personal connection they have with their customers.
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Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, can help businesses manage their employees and daily operations remotely.
Everything from sales and marketing to customer relations can be done with the use of high-speed internet and the right software.
Of course, mobile isn’t just for business’s internal processes; it can help improve your relationships with your customers and the public.
Consumers are using mobile devices to shop around, make purchases, and find local businesses while sharing their experiences with the public. So, technology doesn’t just enable businesses to communicate internally, but it’s the main driving force behind many consumer decisions.
Through the use of mobile devices, businesses can communicate internally with employees via instant messaging apps and video chat, or they can use it to send personalized, targeted messages to qualified customers.
However, mobile is sure to stick around, so businesses must continue to find ways to leverage it.
Technology enables a remote workforce. Although remote work had already been growing for years before the pandemic, many companies were forced into a remote work environment in recent years to keep their employees safe. As a result, many companies chose to give up the office environment altogether.
Companies have had to use technology to support remote work, including remote logins, video conferencing, and project management tools to allow for easy collaboration.
Instead of managing employees depending on the hours they worked, many employers shifted their employees to salaried positions that focused more on output instead of hours spent.
Remote work makes it easier to attract and retain talent, but it can also increase productivity as long as employees have the right technology and tools.
However, as technology continues to support a remote workforce, many business leaders still disagree with the effectiveness of working from home, so the jury is still out on whether the future of work is remote or a more hybrid experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence impacts businesses of all types, making it a great way for small companies to get a competitive edge against corporations.
AI can do many things, including machine learning and customer support, and even improve daily processes by automating tasks while tracking buyers and predicting their behavior.
There are competing views on the use of AI in businesses. Some experts believe that it will result in fewer jobs available, while others believe AI could possibly create jobs and new roles.
Technology has the ability to improve collaboration in many different work environments.
With the use of remote work tools, such as Google Docs and Zoom, many employees can collaborate on the same project without the need to schedule time together. Most work environments depend on some type of collaboration, including gathering information and responding to emails.
Many collaboration tools are available to simplify team discussions, improve file sharing, and manage projects.
With more technology, you can expect better collaboration, increasing productivity and efficiency whether employees work remotely or in the office.
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By improving productivity and efficiency, technology can help businesses save money. For example, allowing your employees to get more done in a day means spending the same amount of money for more output.
Additionally, technology can be used to find savings opportunities. For example, you can use technology to manage your expenses and find areas of the business that cost your money the most.
Technology also allows you to reduce your costs. For example, accepting cryptocurrency can result in lower transaction fees, allowing you to earn more on every purchase. Even if your business doesn’t accept cryptocurrency, you can reduce your spending and earn more on every sale by using technology to source materials and automate inventory.
Improved customer experiences
Technology can be used to enhance the relationship customers have with your business.
You can solve customer problems faster than ever by using chatbots and customer service tools. Not having this technology can result in lower sales and unhappy customers, which can impact word of mouth or result in fewer sales and repeat customers.
Most of this article has been about the benefits of technology. However, technology does have its downsides.
When used ineffectively, technology in business can lead to employee burnout and higher turnover rates. In addition, whether your employees work remotely or in person, businesses that use technology to over-communicate with employees can leave them feeling drained and unable to accomplish tasks.
While tools like Slack and Zoom can improve communication, they can also be used to micromanage or distract employees, forcing employees to have to spend more hours working to accomplish the same amount of work.
Because many business leaders view technology as a good thing, they don’t understand how it can also inhibit productivity and affect employee mental health. Before businesses implement new technology in the workplace, make sure to understand the potential negative implications it can have on employee wellbeing and productivity.
Technology will continue to evolve, and businesses are eager to understand how new technology can improve their business operations and increase employee productivity while saving them money.
First, business leaders should understand all the possible implications new technology can have on their business. Technology can have many benefits when used effectively, but it can also drain employees and productivity when overused.
About the author
Ellie Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality with a minor in Marketing from Chico State University. She enjoys doing freelance writing on general business, wellness, and lifestyle tips. During her free time, she enjoys catching up with friends and family or attending local events.