Small Business: The Tech Revolution Has Arrived

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Almost every company is a small business: 99.9% of businesses in the US and UK are classified as SMEs, and nearly half of us work for a company with fewer than 250 employees.

But these numbers will mask a great diversity of expectations and opportunities; Some of these are long-term companies with little interest in change, others are startups that embark in their first year of success or hiatus (and don’t forget that one in five will fail in their first year). In these millions of companies, there will be some who are obsessed with the latest technology, and others who will reluctantly embrace it.

But what is absolutely clear is that technology has become an unexpectedly high priority for many small businesses over the past couple of years.

Many have been forced to rethink how they work, with remote work quickly becoming a top priority. Others had to rethink their ways of reaching the market, increasing their use of e-commerce for example. Others still have to rethink their supply chains as global economic turmoil continues.

Little surprise then, that Some recent research By Verizon found that more than two-thirds of companies view technology as a key ally to help them overcome challenges when it comes to improving sales, boosting talent acquisition, and tackling rising inflation and supply chain issues. A similar proportion says revenue generated from digital operations is higher now than it was in the pre-pandemic period.

Companies that have seen the impact of technology on their operations (eg the 50% increase in e-commerce mentioned by some) are unlikely to go back to their old ways of doing business; Even if they wanted to, both employees and customers moved on.

One of the important technological trends that small businesses are increasingly using to their advantage is The rise of cloud computing, which at best allows the smallest companies to compete with the largest. Sophisticated business systems that were only available to companies that were willing to spend months and years implementing them (and who can afford the massive initial cost and teams of engineers for ongoing maintenance) are now available to the smallest startup in the form of SaaS. These innovations, in turn, increase the demand for other technologies, such as using digital marketing to increase sales.

But it is not just about maximizing revenue; Cloud-based technologies in particular can help small businesses address organizational challenges by supporting the transition to hybrid work. Companies that are able to be more flexible about when, where and how employees work are likely to find it much easier to hire them (a major problem at the moment) than those that were trapped in the past by inflexible systems. For large businesses, technology has always been a way to make systems and processes less time consuming and more painful; Small businesses can benefit from this too, and maybe more.

Of course, technology brings with it risks. Small businesses often lack the skills and budget to protect themselves as well as large businesses, and hackers will target small and medium businesses for exactly this reason. But even without a huge cybersecurity team, knowing and implementing the basics is often enough to deter hackers looking for an easy payday.

All of this means that technology is high on the agenda for small businesses. This ZDNet special report will look at future trends and challenges for small businesses, case studies on how companies are harnessing technology, tips on how to enhance cybersecurity, and much more.

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