Simple Technologies That are Changing Small Businesses
There is a fantastic number of incredibly complicated tech at the forefront of our societal changes in the next decade. Artificial Intelligence, clever blockchain tokening, and more are likely to revolutionize the way the world works in the ’20s. That doesn’t mean they’re the only technologies that are having a significant impact, however. There are some simple (or relatively simple) technologies that are already changing the way the world of small business works.
3D printing hasn’t developed to be the affordable solution everybody wanted it to be 10 years ago, but it is still changing the way small businesses work. It allows custom parts to be built quickly without the need for delivery costs or offer customization to their products that they have never before been able to do in the age of plastic. 3D printing will hopefully allow small businesses to manufacture their products themselves in the future, but right now, it’s too expensive to do that for most businesses.
Cloud computing doesn’t seem very simple; certainly, it has a very complicated back end, but the way it helps small businesses is easy to understand. It allows them to pay for the amount of computing that they actually use and access it from wherever they want to across the globe. This will enable businesses to scale very flexibly – if they require server space, they don’t need to buy a new server; they just need to pay for what they use. If a business is booming, it can use more space. If a business is slow, it can use less space and pay less.
HR is traditionally quite paperwork-intensive, meaning HR departments can be expensive due to the amount of manpower they need to use. Instead, many small businesses are opting for a payroll tool like Zenefits, which is a platform that allows payrolls to be managed easily. It facilitates direct deposits, reporting tips, different pay rates, and multiple schedules, as well as general ledger reporting and more. Payroll software like this takes the cost of hiring people to do payroll away and allows just the owner of the small business to manage everything with ease.
Data security software involves not just protecting the business against viruses, but regularly monitoring for breaches and treating customer data with extreme care. Many small businesses think they aren’t at risk of cyberattacks, but small to medium enterprises are actually very attractive to hackers. As a result, 43% of attacks are targeted towards SMEs. They rarely protect their data and consequently are relatively easy to hack, offering a moderate reward for the hackers but with little effort needed.
Chatbots are becoming all the more common due to their ease of implementation. Chatbots can range from conversational AI chatbots that help with customer acquisition and service to simple programmable bots that look for certain words and give specific replies to cues. AI chatbots are becoming increasingly popular because they decrease the need to hire actual people to interact with customers. If you’re the owner of a small business with a manageable stream of interested and existing customers, you can just have a chatbot and take all serious issues yourself.