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Posted 04/04/2018 in Technology by Alphonse Rutayisire

Top 10 digital technology resources for Solopreneurs

Top 10 digital technology resources for Solopreneurs

Many small business owners are in the rush to fit into the growing digital era that has significantly reshaped the way of doing business. The digital age has helped in the leveling the playing ground and reduced discrepancies between large corporations and small businesses. Due to a lot of innovation and competition, many small businesses can now access several sophisticated technological tools at very affordable rates. These technologies have made it possible for small businesses to operate in the same league with large multi-national corporations. The following are some of the common technological trends that many businesses are increasingly adopting into their operations:

1. Workforce turning virtual

According to a 2015 survey done by Virgin Media Business 60% of all office-based employees will be working remotely from their homes by 2022. The raise of this trend has been attributed to the raise productivity applications together with supporting platforms like BaseCamp and Slack. Many companies are using these technologies to maintain a fully distributed workforce. 

It may not be so necessary for a company to slit up its workers but for a small business, this technology can be very helpful in increasing the size of potential talent pool when filling a position or outsourcing tasks. 

Small businesses can use this technology to overcome geographical limitations by developing a virtual workforce.

2. Automated marketing

Small businesses can leverage marketing automation software to forego the need for complex marketing experience as a guarantee to success. It also enables businesses to forgo the fees that are charged by dedicated marketing agencies. 

Marketing automation allows business owners and marketer to set a particular goal and have software that handles all the tasks involved for instance publishing a post on the several social media platforms. Solutions like Eloqua and HubSpot can handle funnel management, CRM and web optimization and deliver personalized messages to client that the right time during a consumer buying cycle. This significantly reduces the burden for business owners. 

3. The use of mobile apps

The use of marketing tools ultimately drives traffic to the business. With this in mind, many businesses are capitalizing on mobile phones as opposed to the use of desktops. This has led to the raise in the use of mobile applications for business purposes. Although this may seem more applicable to big and established businesses, some platforms like Appy Pie enable even the non-technical users to develop apps for Android, iOS, Kindle, Blackberry and Windows Phone with a lot of ease. 

Additionally, advancement of some platforms has made it easy to incorporate click-to-call video and voice communications. This has made it very easy for businesses to incorporate video chat into their app hence enhancing communication with its customers. 

4. Digital customer relationship management

Communication with customers is very important to the success of every business. a well established Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system offers a variety of services to customers hence enhancing their experience. It also helps in streamlining the internal operations which are related to customer care availing a single customer data location hence making interactions more efficient. 

Some of the best and well known CRM solutions include Salesforce, One Page CRM and Insightly which are used for comprehensive social media management and interaction between a business and its customers. The solutions also enable business to collect important data like the rate of response and customer demographics which can be fed into the automated marketing software for marketing purposes. 

5. New payment methods

Apart from changing the way people communicate, smartphones have also changed the way people lead daily lives. They are use for business purposes, time-keeping, entertainment among others. The latest trend in the use of mobile phones is making payment. Several online payment platforms like Apple Pay and PayPal are quickly gaining popularity and their accompanying apps have added to the long list of mobile payment methods already available. 

Embracing these new methods of payment will enable businesses to streamline their business operations and also that businesses are quickly embracing the future. 

6. Smart inventory management

A 2015 survey done by Wasp Barcode Technologies showed that 46% of small businesses with a workforce of 11-500 do not track inventory. This means a lot of stock may go unaccounted for hence reducing the business’s sales potential, interrupt cash flow and affect the smooth management of the warehouse. Luckily, the solutions like Fishbowl Inventory make it simple and quick to manage and track levels of stock. By using these solutions, a business is able to reduce on cases on unaccounted stock lying idle and collecting dust.

7. Using analytical tools for business intelligence

When used together with Business Intelligence (BI) tools, knowledge of a business inventory can be turned into a very powerful business tool. This software consolidates several metrics from a variety of business operations to offer real-time access to data and its analysis which enhances a quick understanding of different business processes. This information helps business owners to make informed decisions. 

8. Email marketing technology

Since the 1990s, many businesses have used email marketing as a tool to promote their businesses. This technology is still favored among others as an effective and affordable promotional mechanism for small businesses. In a research done by Econsultancy 2016, email is the leading form of marketing in terms of return on investment. 

To maximize on email marketing, many businesses are coming up with innovative methods of using emails for marketing. Many are opting for targeted messaging which takes into consideration the unique needs of every customer as opposed to with “batch and blast”.

With many people using mobile phones to access their emails, many businesses are using “mobile-first” when designing their email marketing campaigns.

9. Real-time live chat customer service

Many businesses are shifting from focusing on customer service to customer success. This entails assisting customers achieve their goals in the shortest time possible. This is mainly done online using several digital platforms like live help, chat bots, social media and text/SMS.

Many business websites have a live help widget which is mostly located at the lower-right-hand corner of the first page and always have a standby agent to engage customer in real-time and at the point of need. This entails offering guidance, answering questions and recommending resources and products for individual customers. 

10. Recognition of cyber security as a number one online challenge

As small businesses increasingly go digital, the need to protect and secure sensitive information has also risen. According to the 2015 SMB Routes to Market Study done by the SMB Group, small businesses consider cyber security as the leading online challenge. To solve this challenge, many businesses are adopting end-to-end, rules-based solutions.



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This is Part Four of The Seven-part Digital Transformation Series For Small Business Owners(See Part Three). In Part Five, we will discuss some of the ways  to encourage "Buy-in and or user adoption"  in order to ensure successful digital transformation. Until next time, Follow us on twitter or share this page, get in touch, leave us a comment and like our Facebook page.