Small businesses play a crucial role in building local communities and driving the country’s economic recovery. In 2021 these companies employed almost 47 percent of the country’s private workforce. Although owners continue to face many financial challenges, they remain optimistic about the Future. These entrepreneurs recognize that continually upgrading their businesses by investing in modern technology is essential to improving productivity and running a successful operation.
Leverage Small Business Administration Resources
The U.S. Small Business Administration and supporting organizations also recognize the role technology plays in the health and wealth of 32.5 million small businesses. Equipping businesses with digital resources created the Small Business Digital Alliance (SBDA) partnership with supporting organizations. “In today’s economy, small businesses are moving online to attract customers, open new markets, develop new products, and obtain capital – and there is a range of new digital tools and services that can help, particularly when small businesses partner with their community,” said Jim Doyle, President of Business Forward. “By leveraging their community’s local tech incubator, VC firm, university lab, training program, and free digital tools from global businesses – small businesses are more likely to succeed. Collaboration is critical, and the SBDA will help small businesses and their communities work together to achieve and maintain critical mass for success.”
Start with the Essential Requirements
Owners often believe that incorporating new technical solutions into their organizations comes with a hefty price tag that outweighs any potential benefits. In reality, failing to upgrade limits the company’s potential growth and gives competitors a distinct advantage that increases over time. Start by focusing on technological advancements essential for operating the business, securing data, and improving productivity.
Hardware store owners may not consider the ability to work remotely to be a priority. However, if the department manager is offsite at a convention, a natural disaster occurs, or there is a resurgence of the pandemic, it’s best to be prepared. Employees can continue to function and collaborate if the company is equipped with software that facilitates communication. Apps such as BaseCamp or Slack are readily available and can maintain business flow. Additionally, Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies can tailor the software to meet the business’s technical specifications requirements.
Enhanced Digital Security
Cybercrime is an ever-present danger that is often ignored until the company becomes the victim of a ransomware attack. While it’s commonly believed that hackers prefer to go after bigger fishes, criminals know that small businesses can be easy targets. Almost 20 percent of small businesses have been victims of cyberattacks. It may be surprising to learn that 40 percent of companies with 50 or fewer employees have no cyber defense plan in place. Securing data protects proprietary information, financial accounts, and information customers expect is safely secured. Installing multifactor authentication to access business applications and devices will improve security and deter criminals.
Improved Inventory Management and Analytic Resources
The inability of a store to accurately track inventory can result in an excess product in the storage area or empty shelves during peak selling seasons. Both situations can cause issues with cash flow. However, inventory management systems are available that quickly identify what products are in stock and those that need to be ordered. These programs make owners aware of how specific products are selling. Some independent hardware stores may already have this capability and utilize this function through their point-of-sale system. Inventory management software can also provide analytics that points out business areas that can improve, such as transactions, payments, and slow-selling merchandise.
Put Technology to Work for You
The digital age has technical solutions that can take your business to the next level of success. Most large companies were small in the beginning—think Amazon or Apple. Although your dreams may be different, every organization can benefit from improved productivity, better data, and streamlined communications.