If you’re a small business, the likelihood of you wanting to stay that way is slim. That said growth is hard to come by, especially as disruption has become the new norm for many in the industry, and the lack of a disruptive or innovative plan being in place, often does not bode well for success.
It’s something that Dell EMC’s South African GM, Doug Woolley, is acutely aware of, with him adding that an understanding of key technology trends and the implementation thereof are vital if any small business wants to grow, or suffer the fate of being left behind.
“Today, almost any business can be ‘Amazoned’—and you can’t afford to get stuck on what used to work. As a small business owner, you must understand the key trends that are impacting businesses of all sizes—and adapt your business to stay ahead of the curve,” says Woolley.
Where to look
The technology trends that Woolley eludes to are being driven by radical changes in the way that the workplace, and consequently workforces, is in the midst of, with millennials in particular highlighted as the driving reason for this.
“The gig economy is growing, and businesses are relying more on contractors and freelancers to get work done. More people are traveling and telecommuting,” he says.
Woolley also notes that there has been a serious shift in the power dynamic between seller and buyer, with the latter now possessing more power than ever before.
“With the internet in our pockets, everyone can access information, ratings and reviews about almost anything, anytime, anywhere—raising the bar for what customers expect from your company,” he adds.
Furthermore regulatory turbulence is having an effect on the requirements and legislative hurdles that businesses must adhere to. “Figuring out what laws and regulations will impact your business is tough, but the onus is on businesses to stay on top of these regulatory twists and turns,” notes Woolley.
All of these factors now mean that technology, and the use thereof, are intertwined with successful business results.
“Your businesses must figure out how to use technology to modernise the business and capitalise on change—or risk becoming a dinosaur,” warns Woolley.
What to do
This changing thinking around technology is something that businesses are cognisant of too.
Woolley highlights recent SMB Group research which shows that today, three-quarters of small businesses (companies with 1–99 employees) agree that using new technology effectively is key to their company’s survival and growth, and that technology is reshaping their business models and their industries.
Placing the wrong types of technology, or outdated solutions within your business can have a catastrophic effect.
“For instance, if you neglect cyber security, your company can suffer financial and brand damage if data is compromised. If you put off deploying CRM or analytics tools, sales may dip if you can’t tap into changing customer requirements and preferences. If you overlook backup capabilities, a storm could destroy your systems—and wipe out your financial and customer data,” Woolley points out.
“In contrast, the right technology solutions can not only help to support day to day business requirements but serve as a springboard for growth. As change becomes the only certainty, you need to use technology to facilitate the innovations that will help your business to grow,” he advises.
With that in mind Woolley says it’s important for businesses to interrogate their vendors, service providers and partners to find out if they are willing to not only help with day-to-day support, but also help serve as a springboard for the company’s growth.
“Vendors that only push price without much care for the sustainability of those purchases end up doing a lot of damage to digital cultures,” says Woolley.
Added to this, Woolley highlights SMB’s findings that only 21 percent of small businesses strongly agree that they have a well-defined strategy to use technology to transform their businesses for growth.
Turning to Dell
“To get the best outcomes from technology investments and figure out what’s right for you, you need guidance and support.
This is where Woolley advocates for Dell EMC’s Small Business Central, which gives users access to the company’s technology advisors, who are able to provide answers to their most pertinent questions about technology and growth.
“Our new SMB Group Perspectives report, Putting Technology to Work to Help Your Small Business Grow, examines this topic in detail,” says Woolley.
“We discuss key business and technology trends, the initiatives and technology solutions that small businesses are betting on for to protect and grow their businesses, and how Dell Small Business Technology Advisors can help you to prioritise and select the solutions you understand and capitalise on technology—so you can focus on running your business,” he concludes.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]