Businesses, especially small businesses, have been steadily adopting new technologies for some time now. While adopting new technologies is a great move, formalizing your business structure as an LLC can also provide benefits, find out more about how to form an LLC to protect your assets and gain tax advantages. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw sudden and enormous transformations in the fields of both business and technology. While 2020 opened new opportunities that tied business to technology, many were apprehensive and saw this as a temporary phase that would pass soon. However, 2021 proved that these new trends up are here to stay, and businesses will never operate the same way again.
Consequently, the year witnessed many small businesses adopting numerous technologies to a wider and deeper extent for better business continuity and growth. Here are 8 technologies small businesses welcomed wholeheartedly and adopted in 2021 for more smooth operations and better profitability.
Video Conferencing Tools
As the pandemic gave an enormous boost to previously lesser-known WFH (Work From Home) practices, with meetings, conferences, and lectures all moving online. Businesses restricted due to lockdowns started using online video communication tools such as Google Meet, Zoom, MS Teams, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, Webex Meetings, Skype, and more.
Digital Payment Systems
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused customers and businesses to rely more on online, digital tools and channels and less handling of paper currency. Many enterprises have therefore started giving more importance to computer systems for transactions, such as POS machines, credit card readers, and e-wallets during 2021.
Work Collaboration Tools
Online work collaboration tools are another type of technology that small businesses adopted widely because of the pandemic. This has allowed small businesses to continue their operations remotely, keeping all staff coordinated while working on a specific project, whether remotely or in the office. Team collaboration tools such as Google Docs, Karbon, GitHub, Trello, Asana, and Dropbox have a range of features that help teams stay on track and meet their deadlines.
Medical Safety Devices
Medical safety, health, and hygiene became a significant concern this year when businesses and offices re-opened as lockdowns relaxed. This has relied on certain technology and approaches to keep staff, visitors, and customers safe while continuing to conduct business. Social distancing, touch-free devices, and diagnostic tools have become popular this year. To this end, thermal scanners, touch-free sanitiser dispensers, and access control systems based on eye scanning, facial detection, and automated doors are just some of the technology that many small businesses adopted this year.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is where the largest number of people gather online. With 2.74 billion monthly active users, there are more Facebook than the most populous country in the world. Additionally, more people are using their mobile phones to accessing services, shop, and pay their bills.
These factors have led to small businesses focusing more on social media and other online platforms to expand their customer base. Facebook Marketplace is one such example where small businesses can showcase their products and services to reach a wider audience and many enterprises find such tool an excellent asset for their marketing.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has become a commonplace technology today. Many small businesses have embraced this technology, mostly in the form of chatbots. These thinking digital assistants help answer customer queries, make suggestions of products based on what they learn about the customer’s preferences and inclinations, and even assist them with aftersales service. AI-based chatbots use Machine Learning (ML) methodology to study each customer by following their online activity to offer better and more personalised services.
As more businesses moved online, this has generated more data for them to handle, and small businesses have found it easier to rely on cloud technology to store and manage their business transactions as well as customer information. Cloud storage is convenient and economical, and allows businesses to do away with massive infrastructure such as servers and other physical systems to store and process their data. Moreover, cloud service providers also take the responsibility of keeping all data confidential and secure using state-of-the-art cybersecurity software. Therefore, this technology allows small businesses to save money, time, and space.
The shift to an online presence and the use of digital business tools due to the pandemic has also become a reason for many small businesses to adopt cryptocurrency payments. This opportunity promises a host of new global customers since the cryptocurrency network has no geographic limits. Not to mention that crypto offers cheaper and faster transactions.
Since the onset of the pandemic, many small businesses have realised the potential of modern technology and innovation. Technological advancements are also becoming more and more affordable and accessible, further encouraging small businesses to adopt them. Many entrepreneurs are now convinced of the potential benefits they can reap by leveraging emerging technologies such as Cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence. 2021 has set the ground that will define the path enterprises and businesses will follow in the coming years.