How to increase profits with latest technologies for small businesses
“Small businesses are the backbone of the modern economy” is perhaps the most cliched line in the arsenal of politicians, the leading line of every blog about small business and startups (exhibit A), and drunk self-proclaimed geniuses about the nitty-gritties of modern economy.
And while, yes, this line is wrought in banality, it is very much the truth. Small businesses do it all: they’re a major contributor to the GDP, to exports, they create jobs, they comprise of the largest fraction of businesses that act as employers, they produce more patents than any large corporation, and the fact of the matter – all businesses start small.
However, even with their limitless potential to grow, small businesses in India come across a whole lot of obstacles like sub-optimal scale of operation, increasing competition – both domestic and foreign – and shortages in working capital, and inadequate manpower. With such a turbulent mix of variables and a constant uncertainty of the market, survival indeed comes down to the adaptability to these changing times. Here is a short compilation of how adopting the latest technologies is helping small businesses grow.
- Online stores and marketing
One of the biggest revolutions in the way small businesses operate has been the progresses in e-commerce technology and digitalization. Everything, everyone is online. An increasing number of consumers are going on the internet to make purchases, most often straight from their phones. Such a radical change in the canonical framework has been unseen. Businesses are becoming more efficient, can extend their reach to amazing lengths, vastly improve communications, and substantially cut down on infrastructure costs.
Adopting digitalization is key to surviving in today’s world. Small businesses that go online are able to double their profits, as compared to businesses that stay offline.
- Automation and Robotics
Automated machinery has broken beyond all expectations. It is impacting individuals and businesses in more ways than anyone thought were possible. A new generation of robots, with increased flexibility and user-friendliness, have ushered a new era of human-robot coexistence in the small business sector. This boosts output of mass produced items, increases productivity. Many manufacturers are already taking up on this change. Around 59% SMEs are already using some sort of robotics. Complete automation is basically affordable, and the human-robot collaboration aspect is what makes automation affordable for small businesses, and still retains the element of tradition in their craft.
Automated robots working with human employees create tremendous advancements in industrial processes. The robots can be programmed and re-programmed to suit operator needs and thus increase the flexibility of the entire process exponentially. Moreover, this gives the small businesses enough capability for growth to maintain their competitiveness in a global landscape. Small businesses have a need to protect their intellectual property that they have developed through home-grown means. Since these robots are user-friendly and don’t require professional help to operate, this intellectual property remains safe with them.
- Better business analytics
Software have made it possible for lenders and businesses to assemble and study huge volumes of data related to consumer expectations, preferences, market options, and so on. The small businesses have been, thus, able to study and decipher consumer behavior better to offer their target market customized solutions. They can more easily analyze their competition, track their progress. This innate need to outperform their peers in a similar business has resulted in increased revenues and performance. An analysis conducted by the Boston Consulting Group targeted 4,000 Small and Medium Enterprises across the US, China, Germany, India, and Brazil. The test was done to find the relation between technology and business performance. The results were very clear in that SMEs that adopted these new technologies were able to increase their revenues 15% quicker than their technology-less counterparts and created more jobs as well.
- Access to mobile phones and clouds
Smartphones are getting cheaper and more accessible to the common man by the month. To promote this, service providers are introducing cheaper mobile data plans. New businesses are adopting this shift to mobile technologies in order to increase their revenues and tap into this extra potential. Shifting to mobile offers a better client experience, and this new landscape is clearly more efficient. Coupled with easily accessible cloud services, the entire brick and mortar of a small businesses can be directly translated to an online experience. This levels the playing field for small businesses and give them a great chance against the corporations in the big leagues.
This is not just a boon for the businesses. Small businesses can now use VoIP calls and collaborate with employees and customers, even if they are based abroad. This new evolution has resulted in greater accessibility amongst employees, and employers. No longer is anyone restricted to working within the four walls of an office. They can work from any place in the world with an internet access. Meetings are held over conferencing apps like Skype, thus increasing productivity and saving a whole lot of time.
- Billing Software
Billing software are fast replacing the traditional, handy cash drawers. Unlike cash drawers, billing software can do much more – they can maintain your stock, keep a tab on your employees, offer customer loyalty, and reduce the overall cost of running a business. They are only called billing software but they act more as a secretary than a simple billing machine. This makes it easier for you to keep track of business, and focus on growth. A small business can manage multiple projects, assign tasks, have a list of invoice at the click of a button. This saves so much back-office work and cost by chipping away at human resource. Moreover, the human element of error is completely nullified in this system. Integrated with cloud computing, multi-store management becomes extremely simplified, and it doesn’t take a fleet of IT geniuses to manage the infrastructure.
So, these were some of the biggest use-cases of modern day technology that the small and medium businesses can choose in order to increase efficiency in their business, and hence increase profits.
Did we miss something? Feel free to let us know in the comment box.