With remote capabilities and automation sweeping the globe, the way the world does business is changing at a rapid pace. You don’t have to have a multinational corporation to benefit from the latest IT trends. Small businesses worldwide are realizing the power of ecommerce, AI, data science and SEO. Here are some of the best tips and practices that your small business can use to take your tech game to the next level.
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1. Outsourcing eCommerce Efforts
Small businesses across industries are looking at ways to offer eCommerce options to their clientele. Restaurants are taking custom orders online, grocery stores are accepting orders for pick-up, and even bakeries are taking a slice of the eCommerce pie.
However, setting up and managing an eCommerce site isn’t as easy as it looks. Sure, there’s been a lot of user-friendly packages released that create an environment anyone can use. For small businesses, however, taking the time to manage an eCommerce site is challenging.
Outsourcing eCommerce website management can help you easily navigate this process, attract more customers and scale your business. Handing over the reigns to a contractor or service provider who is already comfortable with the ins and outs of online shopping technology improves the return on investment. Small business owners will also appreciate the opportunity cost implications of not having another iron in the fire.
2. Automating Low-Value Tasks
AI and automation have created incredible opportunities for small businesses to compete with larger organizations. Small business owners who have a lot on the go can reap significant benefits from automation.
Automation is best for low-value daily tasks. It’s important to understand that a low-value task doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. In this context, low-value tasks refer to things that need to be done in a business but don’t generate income. For example, a business owner who spends a lot of time doing scheduling and processing payroll must complete these tasks. However, the time spent working on them could be spent growing the business and generating revenue.
Another form of automation and capitalizing on the accessibility of AI is incorporating chatbots and autoresponders. What was once a luxury limited to only large businesses with resources to support the technology is now readily available to the masses.
Chatbots and auto-responses give your customers the instant gratification they desire in a society with a short attention span. Furthermore, it allows you to answer frequently asked questions (business hours, for example) without repeating the work for every inquiry. Yes, it may only take you two minutes to stop and answer, but that time adds up and disrupts your concentration.
By automating daily tasks using AI, things like scheduling, bookkeeping, social media scheduling, etc. are handled while the key stakeholders are doing what they do best: running a business.
3. SEO for Voice Search
Many small business owners are vaguely aware of SEO and what it can do, without understanding the depths of the subject. One significant tech trend for both small businesses and large organizations is optimizing for voice search.
As smart technology becomes more commonplace in society, businesses have to meet customers where they are. More consumers are using smart assistants, from Siri on their iPhone to Alexa in their home.
What does this mean for businesses and SEO? When someone types a Google search, the sentence structure is often fractured. When someone asks a smart assistant to conduct a search, they typically frame it as a question. “Best Irish pub Seattle” becomes “What is the best Irish pub in Seattle?”
This change in long-form keywords creates a subsequent shift in the content Google looks for when ranking a website. By incorporating content that optimizes your website for voice search, you can get an edge on the competition and bring your small business into the future.
Future Tech Trends
While the rapid evolution of technology has created a paradigm shift in IT and small business operations alike, these three areas are a smart starting point.
Set goals to incorporate these trends into your small business operations. Ensure that you’re doing each task well before adding another change. By structuring these adaptations in a sustainable way, you’ll get a lead on the competition and take your business to the next level with ease.
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