Small business? Do more business with digital
Posted on May 21, 2018
Until recently, small businesses were limited in terms of market size. Local was local; and there wasn’t much to discuss beyond that. Over time, digital networks overcame this constraint, and today many small operators compete directly with large enterprises every day.
Particularly during the last decade; mobile systems and cloud technologies have begun to alter the scale of commercial markets themselves. Together, these dual-realities have largely marginalised issues of ‘smallness’, and now provide commercial advantages in terms of nimbleness, speed and flexibility.
So how can digital technologies help your small business move up to the next level?
Size doesn’t limit commercial success
As a simple business case, consider a small shoe manufacturer, utilising little to no technology. The company operates in a small city adjacent to a flood zone. Based on experience, the company projects annual revenues based on sales proportions driven by the town’s walk-in population. Year in and year out, the revenue density remains the same, until the local dam breaks, causing flooding. The extended impact causes many folks to move elsewhere, creating significant damage to the manufacturer’s future revenue prospects. From a pure market reach perspective, the company is in real trouble—as the local population begins to decline, so does its walk-in business, along with its consequent revenues.
If this same manufacturer utilises mobile and cloud technology, despite losing the walk-in revenue, the larger global market is still available for business. As long as the company’s factory operations are secure, and connectivity is maintained, production and sales can continue. A forced shift from a walk-in sale model to a digital approach will potentially allow the company to do even better than before.
Digital tech evens up today’s business field
Today’s digital systems allow even the smallest operators to compete head-to-head with multi-nationals, depending on the particular market.
Take a small company in the automotive performance segment. Many of these companies only sell and market online, and its workforces number in single digits. Regardless, they still produce enormous annual revenues, while offering internationally noted brand values; all the while competing head-to-head with conglomerates like GM, Ford and Fiat.
That said, however, they all exhibit similar levels of tech-savvy when it comes to utilising sophisticated marketing, sales, and financial systems. From extended mobile systems utilisation, virtually-socialized sales/market programs, and pre/post-sales business intelligence, to inventory, transaction management, and customer service capabilities.
How small businesses can act bigger
To give you a sense of what types of systems are available for small-scale operators, here’s a short list of current technologies that apply right now:
- Mobile systems: According to Small Biz Trends, “…more than six billion people worldwide used at least one mobile device (in 2016); a number that is expected to increase to nearly seven billion by 2020.”
- Mobile apps: In a recent trending article titled “,”Mobile App Strategies Boost Revenues for Small Business Owners Scott Shane, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University commented; “In an increasingly mobile world, having a well-developed and well-tested mobile app… (is) a highly effective marketing strategy.” Consequently, any small operator should involve himself with app development, whether it is done internally, or with help from a third-party partner.
- Marketing automation: Automated software systems have made it easier for small businesses to execute comprehensive marketing plans. Advantages here include the ability to quickly validate lead qualifications, execute mass message scripts, and trigger response processes tuned to particular customer needs have become critical.
- Cloud-based solutions: Systems providers such as Vocus Communications, and particular products similar to Microsoft Office 365 are becoming emergent. Cloud solutions provide a host of advantages to small operators including ready scalability, security, and operational flexibility.
As one might expect these suggestions are only a glimpse of the kinds of systems and capabilities available to small business operators, and none of them will break the bank either.
To learn more about these and other valuable tips contact Vocus Communications, and set up a meeting to discuss your own detailed needs.