Embracing Technology to Grow Your Business

April 17, 2018 | Small Business Support

In business, it’s always important to know what’s coming next so you can plan, budget and leverage opportunities.

Harnessing the power and tools of technology can help your business grow. By keeping your eye on what’s new in tech you’ll be at the cutting edge of competitiveness.

According to research conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, “technology leaders far outperform their peers in the marketplace… and create[d] jobs almost twice as fast as other small businesses. Technology leaders also increased their annual revenues 15 percentage points faster than companies with lower levels of technology adoption.”

Here are a few ways you can grow your business through technology:

  • Improve customer service processes by optimizing your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system: Personalize current customer interactions with an automated system to save time and resources. Use your CRM to generate leads and funnel potential customers into the right section of the sales pipeline to ensure that neither of you are wasting your time.
  • Take advantage of online crowdfunding sources like Kickstarter to finance a new venture. You can also find angel investor and mentor groups online to help your business grow.
  • Capitalize on the power of the Internet of Things (IoT): A network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity[1], the IoT enables those objects to connect and exchange data. By connecting things like your washing machine, cell phone or FitBit™, they can exchange data when they ‘talk’ to each other. This means, for example, that the wearable device you use in the workplace could tell you when and where you were most active and productive and share that information with other devices that you use while working[2], ultimately improving their function.
  • Harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI): In a survey conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, 84% of respondents say AI will enable them to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage; 83% believe AI is a strategic priority for their businesses today; and 75% state that AI will allow them to move into new businesses and ventures. AI can automate your marketing, manage your supply chain, provide customer service and support, and create entirely new sources of business value.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) is fast surpassing its cousin Virtual Reality and can be useful for industries like tourism that want novel and interactive ways to showcase their region. Closer to the real world than virtual reality, AR is “an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real-world, thus enhancing one’s current perception of reality.”[3] It enhances the things we see, hear, and feel. Applications might include providing your customer with an interface where they can see your products in 3D in a real-life environment (think new furniture someone is considering for their living room) or you might create AR games like Pokémon Go.
  • A growing number of items are being printed in 3D every day. 3D printing is even being applied to producing body parts! It can be used for rapid protyping in, for example, manufacturing, medical, industry, and sociocultural sectors.
  • Big data is extremely large data sets that are analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. By harnessing and analyzing the data your business collects daily, your business will be better equipped to understand who your customers are. A recent example is Cargill, one of the world’s largest agriculture companies, who is offering shrimp farmers “predictive software that relies on machine learning and sensors to help farmers analyze everything from the size of shrimp and feeding patterns to water quality and weather on devices, including phones and tablets.”
  • Cloud-based technologies can help you save on IT expenses. These web-based technologies allow multiple users to collaborate on a single document or provide unlimited data storage. You can also use them to streamline inventory management using, for example, a cloud-based tool like Oracle. These cloud-based tech companies also provide backups and upgrades, and are often pay-as-you-go.
  • To stay current and competitive, source software that can help you create business and marketing plans you can access and update from anywhere, any time. Or streamline financial management with a tool like QuickBooks.

Technology can help you generate sales and reduce costs. Can you afford to be a late adopter while your competitors latch on to business building technology? “You can’t sit and wait for technology to adapt to your business; you have to adapt to the technology and figure out a way to help your business,” says Solomon Thimothy, founder and CEO of OneIMS. Understand how technology can help your business grow, learn what your competitors are doing, and jump in!

CEDEC Small Business Support certified GrowthWheel® advisors are eager to show you how you can use GrowthWheel® to launch and grow your business – from any where, any time, on any device. Reach out today for a free consultation!

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