“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Or so the saying goes.
Nowhere does this quote seem to be more applicable than in the technology industry. Since the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1990, the world has gone through multiple evolutions thanks to discoveries and inventions in technology. Innovative technology in business has reached new heights at the start of this new decade.
Innovation for small business has especially received much attention. If you’re starting this new decade by launching your own business, first of all, good for you! Secondly, consider the following new tech products that can potentially contribute to the success of your new company’s launch and traction:
Artificial Intelligence as a Service
While the concept of artificial intelligence, or AI, isn’t new, AI as a Service, or AIaaS can assist businesses in organizing data they collect on customers, and perform trivial tasks that allow business owners and their employees to concentrate on more important work. AIaaS makes it possible for small businesses to implement AI technology into their budgets without having to invest in infrastructure to make it happen. It also makes it easier for individuals who don’t have a strong background in machine learning or AI to understand the technology and still be able to get their work done. And according to Tractica, small businesses are expected to invest more in AI to increase their productivity, as the “annual global AI software revenue is forecast to grow to $126 billion by 2025.”
Many small business owners are investing in automation to help streamline their workload and increase efficiency where they can’t afford to employ a full IT department. Automation tools and programs offer many ways to integrate existing software with different applications so that start-ups can still get the following essential tasks completed sans a full staff:
- Data management
- Email marketing
- Customer service
VoIP Business Telephone
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, also known as IP telephony, allows small businesses to deliver voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol networks. Companies can connect their telephones and unite with colleagues anywhere in the world at any time. Small businesses can run meetings with an advanced, cloud-based, hosted telephone system that includes business-class service.
Consider the following ways small businesses can benefit by using VoIP technology:
- Better Accessibility
- Enhanced Call Quality
- Call Recording Capabilities
- Easy Setup
- More Affordable
- Virtual Concierge
- Voicemail Transcription
Blockchain’s employment of cryptocurrency has really taken off over the past few years, as it has gained popularity with consumers. Cryptocurrency that was once associated with black-market purchases or ransomware payments to hackers is now preventing small businesses from having to invest in payment processors.
Blockchain technology can also be useful in other ways including securely transmitting financial contracts or data with built-in verification to ensure everything’s accounted for.
According to Statista.com, the number of blockchain users has increased from 3.1 million in 2015 to 28.9 million in 2020, as the technology has gained trust and improved efficiency.
Check out Keap's Lifecycle Automation Assessment to determine where your business stands among the industry's top performers.
It’s essential for small businesses to invest in data analytics, as they provide a wealth of internal information that tracks consumer data including email open rates to time on site to completed conversions.
Tools that include Google Analytics, IBM Watson and Tableau enable small business owners to collect information that will further influence business decisions and help set goals that streamline efficiently. Data analytics technology makes it easy for small businesses to outsource their data gathering processes and implement Analytics as a Service.
Human Resources Technology
Technological advances in human resources have impacted small businesses in a large way, as small business owners have invested in cloud-based tools that offer real-time data for decision-making. HR technology also makes it easier to recruit candidates, onboard new employees, engage with staff members, establish health and wellness programs as well as fulfill ongoing training.
HR technology also benefits potential candidates during the application process with improvements in self-service apps and form fills that allow them to see the status of their applications and their progress in the hiring process, giving everyone more control over their data.
Expanding Mobile Technology
Now that we’re in 2020, it’s almost mandatory that your company’s website is responsive and compatible with mobile devices. If not, you’re behind the times. As a small business owner, you want to ensure your website is accessible and readable on any device, providing the same services all around. Without it, you won’t have a competitive edge.
In addition to an advanced and optimized website, providing a way for your customers to buy items via mobile online payments is always a good idea even if you have a website and a brick-and-mortar store.
Mobile payments in-store make it possible for customers to pay for their items by just simply holding up their phones to a payment terminal or scanner rather than making them swipe or insert their credit or debit cards. They’ll appreciate the convenience and be impressed by the investment in advanced payment systems and seeing your business keep up with the times.
With the dawn of mobile wallets including Apple Pay, PayPal, One-Touch, and Visa Checkout, customers can easily make a transaction with one click while checking out online, having a more positive impact on your conversion rate.
There’s never been a better time to be a small business owner with all of these advanced technology products in which start-ups can invest. As these technologies improve and evolve, small businesses will be expected to adapt as well. Think about where we were 10 years ago: smartphones were just starting to take off and small businesses ran just fine without them. Today, smartphones are ubiquitous and open so many more opportunities for small businesses to leverage the new technology for increasing sales in brick-and-mortar stores and online.