The small business is under siege. Many small business owners do what they can to compete, but it seems like there is no solution for their revenue woes, as larger organizations are able to attract a larger part of the market share. This has been the case for some time, but there are market forces at work today that make it even more difficult for businesses to contend with competitors that have more resources.
Many smaller businesses look to a niche market for sustainability; and, while this seems like a decent strategy on the surface, if demand falls in that niche, you could quickly be faced with some very disheartening questions. Other businesses decide to forgo this strategy and continue as intended, relying on their people’s expertise or experience to guide them through rough patches in business. This is a great strategy until your larger competitors pilfer your organization’s talent with offers of more pay and better benefits.
The truth is that there are no easy answers on how to sustain a small business through turbulent times. For this reason, one avenue almost any small business can venture down is to make improvements in technological resources to try and mitigate the gaps in financial and productivity deficits. Technology, if leveraged properly, can build additional efficiency to your offering, making business move faster. The problem for the modern small business owner or manager is ascertaining what technology investments make the most sense for you.
Where Do Mobile Devices Fit?
Mobile has been a popular discussion point in every technology-of-the-future discussion for the past ten or twelve years. This means that the future is now for mobile and while there are a lot of things to love about mobile devices, for small businesses they may do more harm than good. For the small business that has already covered their bases with a thorough mobile device management platform and a BYOD strategy, leveraging the positive attributes out of mobile will be simpler than those who are starting from scratch. Of course, it’s easier to build a bridge if you’ve already procured the materials you need, but without some idea of what you’ll use it for, what’s the point?
For a small business, mobile devices can have some positive effects on employee engagement, awareness, and for cultivating the relationships you depend on. On the other hand, mobile devices can be a hopeless waste of time, which just happens to be one of the most critical resources to manage for the small business owner. With well over 90% of a smartphone’s utility wrapped up in distractions, it seems like that is an endless amount of monitoring and management for a very little return. As long as your organization has clear rules in place to manage data dissemination, access, and communication, mobile will continue to work for your business. But, if you are just getting on the mobile bandwagon, be sure to create your mobile policies before relying on mobile as a way to build more revenue.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is what mobile devices were a few years ago: a wild new frontier filled to the brim with entrepreneurial ideas. Where there are a pool of entrepreneurs there is capital, so expect the Internet of Things to continue to come on fast and produce experiences like nothing you have ever seen before. For the small business owner, it will be difficult to pinpoint which solutions will be of benefit to your company. Since many of these devices are going to be marketed to “build efficiency” in some kind of task, it will be on you to determine which products will work for your organization.
There has been some technologies that have already been developed that are sure to work for many organizations. Innovations that allow people to remotely control locks, thermostats, and security infrastructure can go a long way towards protecting a small business. Another technology that has gained traction already is the mobile point-of-sale. With credit card readers that you can take anywhere, it's easy for anyone to get paid. Technologies like this already work for small businesses and it will be interesting to see how many of the 20 billion devices that will be attached to the Internet by 2020 can be useful for your business.
Luckily, nobody who has successfully run a small business thinks it’s going to be easy. So while no one knows what the next big thing will be, by using the technology that is available proficiently, your business may be able to navigate through the perils of entrepreneurship and find success. For more information about small business technologies and how to use them to make your business more efficient, contact the professional IT technicians at 4IT at 305-278-7100 today.