Having an online presence is more important than ever, especially for small businesses that want to stand out. To take it one step further, sometimes, a total digital revamp is needed to bring your small business up to speed. These digital transformations don’t just improve customer interaction—they can also improve productivity. Today’s employees are typically well-versed in technology and expect better or at least the same quality of technology that they use in their personal life. Providing a first-class digital experience for your employees means you can better attract, hire, and retain the best talent. And digital transformations aren’t just for the large enterprises, either—small companies rely on technology to perform daily tasks and improve efficiency, using everything from work computers to cloud storage.
By arming yourself with the latest digital tools, you can streamline your business operations, reduce costs, and improve employee productivity.
Every business is at a different stage in its digital evolution, but here are five technologies that all companies, but especially small businesses, should embrace to ensure continued success:
1. Build Strong Cybersecurity
With emerging technological developments, there are new security concerns that businesses must address. Many customers determine where they want to shop based on payment and identity protection. Therefore, companies must prioritize cybersecurity to ensure that all sensitive data is secure.
Surveys have shown that 43% of small businesses have no defense plan in place for their cybersecurity. This leaves their most sensitive financial, customer, business data, and ultimately their companies, at risk. By recruiting assistance from IT professionals, small businesses can implement firewalls and other safety measures to protect corporate and customer data. Advanced security solutions monitor movement within the system and alert management when it detects suspicious activity. These solutions enable businesses to isolate and respond to threats quickly.
2. Embrace Data Analytics
Many small businesses do not believe they have enough data to generate reports and analytics. However, companies can collect valuable insights by tracking transactions, social media activity, and website traffic.
Organizations can optimize data collection and analytics by implementing forecasting solutions software to generate detailed reports. Management can use analytics to develop actionable insights to improve internal processes, customer interactions, and strategies. Knowing and understanding your audience and how they engage with your site is invaluable information, and could be the missing puzzle piece to your success.
3. Advertise & Connect Digitally
Finding creative ways to keep your brand relevant and break through the digital noise is more critical than ever. There are a wide variety of both free and paid tools that can help your sales and marketing team stay connected to both prospects and clients, all thanks to the current digital marketing and social media landscape. Advertising models are continuing to shift toward digital media, social media advertising, and influencer marketing, so this is something you should focus on if you do not already.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that event-based marketing will be augmented or entirely replaced by community marketing. There has been an explosion of virtual and hybrid events. Even with “Zoom fatigue,” people will find ways to be connected through 2021 and beyond.
If digital marketing is daunting, start with a social media campaign—entry costs are low, and you might be surprised at how effective it can be. Ensure your sales and marketing departments are fully armed with everything they need to stay relevant, in touch, and top of mind with your target audience.
Digital communication tools are also a great way to relay supportive messages, keep your current clients informed of your business operations, and provide upbeat content as a way of keeping them engaged.
4. Utilize Artificial Intelligence & Automation
Automation means time and money straight into the pockets of small business owners. The main benefits of automation in a small business include: higher productivity, cost-saving, increased compliance, better financial insight, and so much more.
While adding automation, small businesses can also integrate technologies that use artificial intelligence to take on a variety of repetitive tasks. AI may seem inaccessible for a small business, but it could be as simple as using a bot to respond to basic inquiries or do your data entry.
Automation and AI translate to more hours focused on doing work that drives profit by reducing the time needed to complete work and the number of employees required for a task. This means your employees can focus on the high-level work to take your business to the next level.
5. Integrate & Unify Software
As small businesses adopt new technology tools, there will be a significant need for software integration. This is the process of bringing different software systems together to make one unified system, making various applications “talk” and “work” together to make your business function more smoothly.
For example, when your customer service team updates an address on one platform, it needs to be updated in the other places it’s stored automatically. These integrations allow your data to work together, eliminating errors at a lower cost than manual processes.
There’s more to digital transformation than identifying and understanding the tools and trends to use—you must then implement them and embrace the change across your leadership and employees, so everyone is on the same page.
At Markaaz, our goal is to simplify your business processes so you can get back to business. Markaaz is the world’s first platform to enable small businesses to discover new suppliers, manage them, and improve their cash flow. The 119M+ companies listed on our platform are pre-verified and undergo rigorous verification to ensure authenticity, legality, and good standing. Finding and maintaining a trusted network of suppliers is a full-time job in itself, which is why we pre-verify all the businesses on our platform. We also are coming out with features to reduce friction in payments and cash flow. This will all be seamlessly integrated into our existing pre-verified directory for small businesses, helping you pare down the tools you need for your business to function smoothly.
The Markaaz team is always working on bringing a world of opportunities to you. Join Markaaz today to gain access to our transformative features.
Casey Pontrelli, Content Manager
About the author: Casey Pontrelli is a multi-talented professional with a background in content creation, branding, and social media marketing. Whether writing for a newspaper, eCommerce website, B2B startup, or a marketing agency, she has taken her strong background in journalism and turned her focus to SEO and content marketing. She’s written about everything from boutiques to cars to online lending, but she’s especially passionate about supporting small businesses and giving them equal access to opportunity, which is why she’s a proud member of the Markaaz family. When she’s not writing up a storm or creating eye-catching social media graphics, Casey enjoys hanging out with her two cats, Eddy and Larry, going on long bike rides, and, predictably, reading.
Follow Casey on LinkedIn here.