When some people think of small businesses, they think of quaint, family-run operations that work out of a cozy brick-and-mortar while answering landline-based phones. The term “small business,” however, doesn’t mean “antiquated”.
Transforming businesses with technology isn’t a new idea by any means, but incorporating technology is now a must-have for a business.
From manufacturing and retail to design and creative services, all businesses – no matter how small – can improve, innovate and grow.
Taking advantage of new technological advances is one way to immeasurably improve productivity, staff wellbeing, customer service and innovation. But with so much new technology and an ever-changing digital landscape, how does a start-up, scale-up or established business take advantage of tech to up their offerings?
Here are some ways your business can be transformed with technology.
Saving business costs with a digital workforce
With burgeoning costs associated with running a business impacting revenue and profits, many businesses are making the move towards removing their expensive office space, and encouraging employees to work from home.
In a recent report by Vodafone that quizzed British employees, 54 per cent said that working flexibly made them more productive. The study also found that almost 60 per cent of British organisations now equip their workforce to work remotely by enabling them with technology.
For many forward-thinking organisations, presenteeism has been replaced with a focus on increasing productivity, and this modern way of working is set to become the new norm.
Equipping staff to work from home can be as simple as providing them with a Mac notebook that is linked up to the company operating system.
However, using shareable document platforms such as Google Docs, superfast broadband connections, easy access VPNs, conference calling tools and cloud-based storage means that working from home isn’t a poor relation to being in an office. The iPad and iPhone also fit perfectly into this, as they can be used on the go.
Using data to anticipate trends
In today’s technological age, big data can be leveraged to anticipate changes and trends in the business market.
We have access to much more data nowadays, which can be collected from social media, metadata and reviews, and analysed in shaping the future of decision-making in many organisations. Greater insight into the future offers not only potential financial and job security for a business, but can also help to boost productivity and overall job satisfaction for staff.
In fact, by 2020, it is predicted that big data will be used more and more to shape the future of businesses. Big data analysis will improve, and real-time data streaming will be used to provide instant information that can be used to make decisions on the spot.
Flexible working to aid staff wellbeing
Increasing staff wellbeing in the workplace can go a long way towards transforming your business.
As we move forward over the next ten years, increasing demands for flexibility by millennials and Generation Z, as well as environmental and social pressures to reduce traffic and car use, will result in more organisations adopting a more flexible approach to business. Both of these things will have a sure-fire effect on the happiness of employees.
In the Vodafone survey, they also found that three in four workers felt working flexibly boosted their job satisfaction. It goes without saying that less time spent in traffic jams means more time to spend walking the dog, playing with the kids, or even taking a Pilates class.
The rapidly increasing in popularity of wearable tech is an example of technology that is ready to take the business world by storm. With wearable tech, employers will be able to track employee wellbeing and use the overall data to find ways of improving productivity for their workers.
Some larger companies already give out fitness trackers to employees, to ensure that they stay healthy, shed pounds and feel better, and the incorporation of tech such as the Apple Watch can help businesses to stay ahead of the game with a wellness initiative. There’s also tech out there that can stop you from slouching at your desk, remind you to drink water or purify the air that you breathe.