In 2023, there are millions of small businesses around the world that produce a wide range of goods and services. In America alone, there are estimated to be 31.7 million small enterprises that cater to consumer markets and other business customers. Many of these businesses will rely on a range of software packages and various forms of technology to enable them to function in their day-to-day operations.
If you are a small business owner or an entrepreneur looking to set up a new small business, this article will be of great benefit. You may be unsure of what forms of technology will be required to support your business and allow it to grow and function effectively. In this article, five distinct types of technology that are suitable for a wide range of small businesses will be explored in detail. Regardless of your sector of operations or the industry your business is based in, there will be suitable applications for this technology within your firm.
A professional website
All forms of small businesses can benefit significantly from having a professionally designed and high-functioning company website. This is especially true for companies that specialize in e-commerce or wish to sell their products or services on the international marketplace. Put simply, a fully functioning website can be an integral part of building a customer base as it enables purchases to take place online effectively in a secure environment.
If your small business does not have a dedicated website, it is losing out on a large marketplace of online customers. It is estimated that there are around 2.14 billion people around the world who shop online. Tapping into this market is vital for the long-term success and viability of all small businesses. However, if you do not possess the coding or IT skills to create a website, there are many other options to consider. Today, there are several high-quality website design sites that allow small businesses that may not have web developers in their teams to construct fully functioning websites. Some of these are also available free of charge (with some reduced features and support) and can be the ideal solution for a business that seeks to sell online.
To share designs
A diverse range of small businesses will specialize in creating complex products that require accurate designs to be made before prototype models are built and testing can be carried out. Many small electronics firms will use sophisticated components and printed circuit boards in their products and will use CAD applications to ensure that they are designed correctly and fit for purpose. However, there is a need to share these designs and plans with wider teams in an efficient manner. In this type of situation, many small businesses use applications such as the Gerber viewer to view and share electronic designs. These designs can be quickly uploaded to the internet and then shared with other stakeholders in the production process to ensure that collaboration can take place easily and that the final design can be confirmed.
Social media platforms
Every small business needs to have an effective promotional strategy to build its market share and benefit from improved sales revenues. Increasingly, technology is being used to achieve this in the form of utilizing social media channels for marketing activities. An estimated 4.89 billion consumers use social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok in 2023, and companies are increasingly tapping into these online platforms to sell their goods and services.
By using tailored marketing strategies such as social media scheduling apps that appeal to your business’s target market, you can effectively reach a massive global marketplace. Ensure that promotional activities use a consistent brand image and tone that appeals to the target market and link these adverts back to the product page of the items that you are promoting. In short, promotional activities on social media platforms can be a relatively low-cost way to reach a large online marketplace and increase the customer base and market share of your small business.
Many small businesses will be comprised of small teams of specialist staff who focus on a particular area of operations. In recent years it has become common business to allow the workforce to work remotely or adopt hybrid models of working. This was a necessity for many small businesses during the recent coronavirus pandemic, but today it is a form of working that many employees wish to keep.
Remote and hybrid models of work can allow your staff to improve their work/life balance and give them greater freedom in how they approach the working day. However, it is imperative that these staff members have access to a range of cloud-based applications to allow them to work effectively from a remote setting. Cloud-based servers can allow a small business to store applications and information that can be accessed simply with an internet connection and password. This enables staff to access systems remotely and work effectively from a remote setting. In addition, the use of cloud-based video conferencing applications can allow team meetings to take place without the need to be physically present in one shared location.
Password management tools
As a final example of essential technology for small businesses, password management tools need to be considered by all enterprises, regardless of their area of operations. It is an unfortunate fact that cyber-attacks are an ever-present threat to businesses of all sizes, and a successful cyber attack can devastate a small firm. One common way for cyber attacks to take place is by “hacking” the passwords that are used to access business systems and applications. Even in 2023, many staff still use extremely simple passwords as they are easy to remember. However, simple passwords can be cracked by reasonably proficient cyber criminals in an extremely short period of time, which then allows access to business systems.
Online security should be one of the prime concerns of any small business, and it must take steps to ensure that complex passwords are used to protect access to applications. Thankfully, this can be achieved easily by using a reputable password management service. These applications securely encrypt and store passwords so that they cannot be retrieved simply by using a master password. Password management tools can also be used to generate and store complex passwords that cyber criminals would find incredibly difficult to guess.