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Small business technology trends to follow this year

How can small businesses compete and even exceed the growth of big enterprises? By investing in the right technology. When you upgrade your business with technology, you are opening a vast universe of opportunities that will allow it to flourish, meet the demands of modern consumers and connect with larger global markets. 

If you're still confused about how to integrate the latest technological trends into your business, you came to the right place. Read on to learn about four technology trends and options that boost growth and expansion opportunities for small business owners everywhere and, most importantly, how to use them on your terms.

Top 4 small business technology trends

The past two years have sped up technological processes worldwide. As a result, consumers prefer and expect to reach and engage with small businesses through online channels- yet 80% of US small businesses haven't reached their full digital potential

Businesses that don't invest in their full technological potential could miss out on growth and revenue growth opportunities. According to Deloitte's Connected Small Businesses in the US study, digitally advanced businesses get the following benefits

  • Earn two times more revenue per employee.

  • Experience four times as much revenue growth as the previous year. 

  • An average employment growth rate was six times as high as their competitors.

The following are the top four technology trends for small businesses:

1. AI Chatbots

Even if AI sounds like a modern sci-fi movie tool, it's more accurate than you think. The amount of organizations using AI has increased 270% over the last four years. 

AI seeks to replicate human cognition and problem-solving skills with software. Their algorithms help business owners make a set of decisions based on relevant data, predict, and allow you to automate tasks. 

For current and prospective customers, online support has become a priority; 53% of all customers prefer using online chat before calling the company for help. The good news is that artificial intelligence can help meet their high customer service expectations. Integrate AI chatbots into your website, Whatsapp, and social media channels to answer doubts and questions about your services or product to fulfill this growing consumer trend.  

Below are some of the best Chatbot options for small businesses: 

  • Aivo and IBM Watson are the best low-code options for beginners.  

  • Dialogflow is a more advanced option by Google. You'll need to code it, but it has additional features that can help you improve traffic and reduce consumer acquisition costs. 

  • SnatchBot: If you want to send out messages on multiple platforms and target different specific audiences.

2. Cloud Computing for data integration

Cloud Computing allows business owners to access their data and programs from any device- tablet. Instead of paying a traditional hosting service program to store your information in a physical server space, cloud-based hosting carves out a virtual server space just for you. 

Cloud computing services can help small businesses increase productivity, collaboration among team members, and innovation- even if one of your employees are working from a remote setting. The main types of cloud computing services include the following:

  • Cloud storage: Allows files to be shared, synced, and accessed regularly.  

  • Cloud backup: Unlike cloud storage, a cloud backup's primary purpose is to keep your information safe in case of a ransomware attack or if your server crashes.

  • SaaS Solutions: This stands for software as a service. They use the web as a platform to provide a service. Some options are Salesforce, Office 365, or Google Apps. 

  • Cloud hosting allows businesses to share data and use other services such as email, application hosting, and web-based phone systems. 

Cloud computing services options for small businesses

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): Amazon's different cloud hosting services are based on payment plans. They offer website hosting, mobile data backup, and business apps. 

  • Box: Box offers a free personal plan with 10 GB of storage. Business plans are also accessible, starting from $5 per month with 100BG storage. 

  • Dropbox: This is a classic option used by big brands and small businesses alike. You'll be able to share Dropbox files even with users who don't have an account. 

  • Microsoft OneDrive: This is an excellent option for small businesses with large amounts of data. The business plans start at 1TB per user for $5 per month and come with a free trial. 

3. Cybersecurity systems

You'll need to invest in cybersecurity as you optimize your processes with new technology, such as cloud-based storage systems and AI solutions. Unfortunately, small businesses are attractive targets for hackers. Small businesses with less than 100 employees will experience 350% more social engineering attacks than larger enterprises. The most common threats to business network programs are viruses, spyware, hacker attacks, and identity theft.

Your best bet to get a wholesome cybersecurity experience is investing in network security programs that combine tools and features such as antivirus tools, virtual private networks, and intrusion prevention systems. 

Best cybersecurity network options for small businesses are the following: 

  • Fortinet: The best option for businesses with an IT team can dig into extensive information about any device and quickly detect cyber threats. 

  • SentinelOne: Quickly identifies and mitigates known and unknown threats. 

  • McAfee Antivirus Program: You don't need an IT team to install this easy-to-use network security program that offers antivirus and anti-spyware programs.  

  • Kaspersky Antivirus: If you're working with a remote team and host lots of online meetings, this is the best option to keep your webcam privacy safe. 

4. Customer Relationship Management Software

Customer Relationship Management programs don't just allow you to connect- but also detect, collect, and analyze critical information about your customers. Instead of second-guessing, you will be making more accurate decisions because you'll have helpful information about what customers want in your hands. 

When looking for the best CRM platform for your business, you should prioritize that they are easy-to-use, contact and sales management tools, automation, and customization. 

Best CRM options for small businesses: 

  • Collaborative Systems: For businesses with different areas, such as a marketing and sales team that work together to improve customer experience.

  • Operational Systems: The best option is to have one sector dealing with different tasks. It allows you to save time by streamlining and automating processes. 

  • Analytical CRM systems: If your business has been running for years and you want a system that can help you make long-term insightful decisions based on data, this is your best bet. 

  • Artificial Intelligence CRM platforms have AI assistance to guide you through the CRM experience. 

Learn about how to find the best CRM option for your business: What is CRM Software: Benefits & Types! 

Invest in technological improvements

Competition is fierce, even more so in the digital world. Don't let your business fall back. If you need funds to invest in these top technological trends, we can help.

Get pre-qualified in only minutes and access a funding expert to discuss your business needs and options to determine what funding types best meet your needs. Remember, when you invest in technology, you invest in your business growth.

Disclaimer: The content of this post has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult with your tax, legal, and accounting advisor before engaging in any transaction.

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