Why SME Business Leaders must Embrace Technology in Every Business Process
The twenty-first century marketplace is digital. This year has emphasised this salient reality. Technology has ingrained itself into every stratum of human society. We see technology play out in quotidian interaction across sectors, states, and geographical regions. Technology and the digital space are proving to unite individuals even more than family ties.
With a few clicks on any of the well-patronized ride-hailing service app, you could get from your home to work without the slightest hint of how to drive. A most recent update on the global messaging app, WhatsApp, includes an icon that allows users to access the catalogues of business account owners. What that means is that WhatsApp has saved business owners who trade using the app the stress of printing out a list of items available for sale. By taking a handful of bright pictures, any user in any part of the world can have access to the catalogue.
So why exactly is technology important in business? Quite simple. Organisations are leaning towards technology and digitalisation with each passing day. A breakdown of the processes of any existing organisation would reveal at least one task that requires technology. Gone are the seasons of tentativeness over the reliability of technology. If there remained any iota of doubt, the COVID-19 outbreak did justice to such.
An editorial on Nairametrics says, “Persistent and continuous advances in technology means that it should no longer cost small businesses an arm and a leg to startup and operate successfully.” It goes on to review tangible operational costs businesses can minimize through technology. Some of which include: staffing costs, material costs, communication costs, and payments.
Technology will continue to revolutionise the business sector. As the owner of an SME, here are some advantages technology offers your business:
1. Technology improves Communication:
Many brands are maximizing technology to establish trusted communication between the company and the clientele. Newsletters and email lists are a necessity for any brand seeking to grow potential, reach, and customer base. Through these channels, you can trade your customers’ up-to-date information on the operational end of the business. Technology allows for instant feedback through customized phone services and round-the-clock chatbox options available on websites. In-house, technology eases the transfer of data between employees and departments. Employees can constantly seek new ways to finetune their deliverables with technology.
2. Access to a pool of knowledge:
How long does it take to “Wikipedia a topic?” Less than a minute, probably. Beyond random Wikipedia searches, technology is structured to ease research processes within companies. Through technology, you can discover new ways to execute ideas. There is no limit to the information within your reach. You have access to valuable insights that pertain to your customers, your products, and your brand. You are excellently equipped to understand customers’ needs and create services that meet those needs.
3. Technology allows for expansion:
The traditional model of expanding a business involves securing a new outlet in a different geographical location. This is followed by investing as many resources as you have in the inaugural outlet, in this new outlet. With technology, you can expand your reach all from the comfort of an office. Through developments like artificial intelligence and digital marketing, you can create a wider reach for product advertisement. You can likewise obtain data about market taste over varying locations, and then channel the procured data towards seamless delivery.
4. Technology improves efficiency:
Nothing beats having the resources to execute your deliverables from a remote location. At least one in five employees prefer to work from home, provided they can communicate with team members via teleconferencing apps. Efficiency is easily strengthened when mundane stresses are reduced. Artificial intelligence allows companies to automate some processes that could be considered rigorous. For example, the usage of chat boxes saves time and effort, which has never been a disadvantage.
5. Technology boosts finances and capital:
Business leaders hesitate from turning to technology as a result of the cost. Many technological pieces of equipment are considered high-budget and high-cost. However, rather than drain the finances of a company, technology boosts the financial stance of brands. It does this by saving principal costs in communication (working with the archaic landline system, for instance). It also saves costs in staffing (outsourcing or automating some support staff duties rather than hiring individuals to execute them). Finally, it helps save cost on materials (encouraging remote work as often as possible, rather than spending huge chunks on renting office space).
6. Technology eases business processes:
You just completed a four-hour long meeting with a prospective client, engaging in back-and-forth arguments over terms and conditions in that duration. You are all sweaty, and the room feels like a sauna. Now, the client is about to append the deal, but there’s a hiccup.
Payment is yet to be made. The client promises to get it done early the next morning, then show up briefly at the office to sign the papers. But given the huge sum, the bank delays your client for a period of three days, which affects the project’s rate of execution.
7. Imagine an alternate scenario:
You schedule a meeting with all interested parties on a teleconferencing app. The meeting runs smoothly given your uninterrupted network. As the meeting approaches a conclusion, you inform your client to make payment. Within a minute, payment is completed through a mobile banking app, or a non-bank payment platform. You confirm the receipt of the funds, exchange closing jokes, and end the meeting. Technology takes this experience from imagination to reality.
Adapting technology is essential for any business growth. With incessant developments in technology and the digital space, business leaders must hop on the movement or risk being left out. No one knows for certain what the future holds. Dispatch riders are as commonplace as street-side kiosks now. Would we be welcoming drones in the next few years? Who knows!
The certainty remains this, we are experiencing a technological evolution. The world is a global village. The thriving marketplace is digital. Automation and artificial intelligence are invading different sectors of the economy. Rather than ignoring the trend, choose to adopt technological advances. If you do business, then you must do technology.