Alright, so perhaps we’re pushing it a bit by looking at how we can help small businesses prepare now for 2020. However, we’re of the opinion that with the speed in which technology and business practices are advancing, we may as well give our small business readers a heads-up so that they will meet 2020 comfortably prepared and on a continued path to success.
2020 is already less than 2 years away and now is the time to make ready, not when it arrives. Don’t be caught in the trap of having to pay premium prices to catch up! In the here and now, in 2018 small business owners must keep future competition in their forethoughts. Small businesses must stay in line with the trends now to remain competitive and be on top of their game at the beginning of 2020.
Let’s take a look at the current small business mindset
- According to a survey by Blue Corona Marketing, only 30% of the small businesses surveyed believe that remaining atop of technological advances is a major issue.
- Insight reports that only about 53% of small U.S. business owners even have a website in place.
- In a report provided by Fast Company that only about 50% of current small business owners have invested more than 5K in the past few years of business on IT solutions vital to the growth of their business.
If just these few attitudes toward technology investments in small businesses continue, competition nightmares are certain to ensue and soon. As a matter of fact, in an article published by Business Insider – “Gartner projects that more than 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020.” The bottom line is, the sooner small businesses arm themselves with proper technology, the better their opportunities for market advantage by 2020.
Here are just a few ideas that will provide an immediate and long-lasting edge that small businesses should begin implementing now in order to remain technologically aligned and prepared:
- Cloud Computing – According to an article in Forbes – “78% of U.S. small businesses will have fully adopted cloud computing by 2020.” This will afford small businesses the ability to store as well as access programs and information via the internet as opposed to depending upon hard drive storage (that can naturally become vulnerable). By making use of the operations and business tools, Cloud Computing will undoubtedly offer your business savings. It will also create a more effective team from a mobility standpoint. Collaborating would be instantaneous, and scalability simplified.
Services that small businesses can move to the Cloud:
- Accounting Capabilities
- Business Telephone Systems
- Internet Web Hosting
- Business File Storage and so much more
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Artificial Intelligence is going to become vital to small businesses to help them keep up with their clients/customers. If as a small business owner you would like to get your feet wet, implement a chatbot on your website for starters. Many forms of AI are already in existence and are heavily in use. Small businesses may wish to begin now implementing AI.
- Many companies specialize in AI, and with subscriptions and customer service can help you get set up. Some of them will allow their users to create chatbots that not only interact with their clients/customers on websites but will also communicate with the by SMS among other services. Some other possible services AI offers are predictive maintenance (industrial), client services management and even virtual assistance that will keep your calendar up to date!
Mobility Will Quickly Become Vital to Small Businesses:
- As of now, according to the SBA, approximately 56% of consumer traffic that leads to U.S. websites is routed through mobile devices (smartphones, pads, etc.). According to Google, about 61% of those users who are unable to access a business website by a mobile device will not return to the site, and that about 40% are likely to visit your competitor’s website instead of waiting for a way to until they can get to a device that will access your site..
- Small businesses must also consider the fact that receiving payments through mobile devices is expected to surge by 2019. Making payments to your company accessible by a mobile device will be an essential investment to make now. Employee mobility will become equally as relevant to your business by 2020.
Employee and Client/Customer Communications Will Become Necessary:
- Internet-based operations and Cloud Computing provide you, your employees and clients the ability to communicate and collaborate from nearly any location on the globe in real-time. Tools such as Dropbox and Google Drive, for example, will continue to make collaboration and file sharing extremely simple for employees and even clients/customers if needed. Small businesses may also opt to use VoIP (Voice over IP) applications to remain connected. This will allow for a broader range of connectivity with employees.
The time is now to make these changes. There are other small business tools that will keep your business up to date and moving forward, that are both easy and affordable, and that can be implemented by small businesses. It will be vital that you remain abreast of technological trends now so that you aren’t lost in the crowd as the 20’s roar in, in the not so distant future. We will continue to watch small business technology trends and report them to you here.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: