It used to be that small businesses had little chance to compete with the big names in their sector. The lack of access to technology and resources was prohibitive to growth, but that’s all changing. Now, even bootstrapped startups have access to technology and information that would have been impossible to dream of even half a decade ago. This levelling of the playing field has caused huge disruption and now the biggest brands in the world are having to compete with new business models that are smaller but far more agile. Here are the technologies that all small business owners should be looking at and using in 2021.
Emails and Personalization
Email marketing fell out of favour in the early noughties and many people assumed that social media had made emails largely redundant. However, the last five years have seen emails re-emerge as the number one way to reach out to customers and make conversions. Personalization has changed the email marketing sector, with automation tools proving highly valuable for delivering specifically targeted messages at precisely the right time. If entrepreneurs have not yet focused on building an email list then they’re already falling behind.
Even if a small business owner has access to a large budget, it’s always going to be counterproductive to pay someone to be available 24/7 to answer a customer query. Chatbots are not new, but they have become a technology that is now largely expected by consumers. Using chatbots means that you can be available to answer questions even when you’re asleep and that means you’re earning money even during your downtime. Integrating chatbots into your online footprint has never been easier and should be a priority for small business owners.
Accelerated Mobiles and 5G
2021 is going to see rapid deployment of 5G all around the world and that’s going to greatly enhance the consumer experience when it comes to mobile shopping and browsing. A priority will need to be made by business owners to improve the loading speeds of their websites for mobile viewing (already essential for SEO). There are worries about 5G, which has led to a rise in the number of people buying EMF protection. However, 5G is coming. Entrepreneurs who want to make sure that they stay at the top of search engine results pages are going to need to ensure that their loading speeds on mobile devices are as fast as possible.
Social Media Shift
Facebook is changing. Now, an incredible 41% of Facebook users are over the age of 65, and if that’s not part of your target demographic then you could be wasting your marketing budget. Social media platforms are a technology that have changed the world, but they continue to evolve. As Facebook continues to suffer from its negative reputation, younger audiences are moving elsewhere. If you have yet to evaluate the importance of Facebook as opposed to Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Parler, or Reddit, then it’s time to take a closer look at your engagement and your conversion rates.
The Cybersecurity Mesh
With businesses reliant on the internet, keeping themselves and their customers safe is of vital importance. A Cybersecurity mesh is a designed system of online protection that has security built into its architecture, making it scalable, reliable and agile. The key to a cybersecurity mesh is the fact that it allows employees and consumers to access the digital business from anywhere and to do so safely. A mesh works by not just creating a protected bubble around the business, but around every user of the business assets too. So consumers are more protected, as are employees. When the repercussions of a data breach can dramatically harm a business of any size, keeping your business and your customers safe from those threats will need to be a focus for entrepreneurs. It’s a matter of protecting a lot more than just your business finances. Reputation and trust are going to be negatively affected if hackers break into your system or a random internet user manages to sneak past defences. Make the installation of a cybersecurity mesh a priority in 2021.
Knowing which technologies to pay attention to and which to ignore is going to be a major task in 2021. While AI, virtual reality and the Internet of Things continue to make their presence known, and as cloud computing gives entrepreneurs access to so many tools and resources, even the smallest business can now take on the biggest of rivals. Ignoring technology and how it can help your business to grow could be a mistake that your business can’t survive.