As we head into Fall and the final stretches of 2021, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the past nearly two years and what it has meant for small and independently owned businesses.
The pandemic showed us the truth about a lot of things. In so many ways, we gained a new perspective and a sense of higher value for things we may have underappreciated or taken for granted over the last 18+ months, but nothing so much as the value of technology. I mean, just imagine what the world would have been like if COVID had hit a decade ago? Or two decades?
At our company, I can confidently say that today’s technology has saved our business. We were able to jump to remote to stay safe and continue communicating and working with clients. As a result, we were able to provide even more to our clients in a time when needs shifted for everybody.
As we start to get into what I hope are the last days of the pandemic, it’s important to appreciate the technology we have and how we can further its usage in our businesses even more as we move forward. Some of the most critical technology tools that small businesses are utilizing right now:
Data storage moving to the cloud, hosting data online, automatic backups and real-time collaboration.
Using social media to observe nearly every aspect of customer behavior, giving businesses an inside look into what customers actually want, are saying, and how they’re viewing, sharing and using your product/service. Though social media is a constantly shifting landscape, it is also a tool that allows us to build awareness, reputation and relationships. Social media has been a godsend for smaller businesses in terms of high-level marketing at drastically lower costs. Similarly, marketing campaigns have never been easier, and digital marketing campaigns, whether through social media or elsewhere, have given us the ability to offer precise targeting, accessible testing environments and immediate results. They also tend to provide higher returns on a marketing spend than traditional forms of advertising, making it more accessible to small businesses than other types of marketing.
From communication or team-building apps (like Slack or Basecamp) to time tracking, collaboration tools and so much more, productivity apps have made it possible to work together remotely and safely, saving many businesses from collapse during COVID.
In a similar vein, digital analytics tools have helped us save costs by better understanding our strengths and weaknesses and how to fill those gaps. We can track website and social media visitors and make better business, marketing and financial decisions in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.
Digital payments – this is a big one. Digital payments make sending or receiving payments easy, and they usually integrate seamlessly with accounting programs.
And there’s been so much more. As COVID nears its end, what technology have you utilized in your business to help get through or bounce back from the pandemic, and which tools are you planning on incorporating moving forward?
One final note: This month, on October 17-19, NAWBO is hosting our Virtual National Women’s Business Conference. For 2021, our major conference focuses are technology and sustainability. The world has changed in ways we never imagined possible. An overnight shift to remote work forced incredible innovation and progress that we will no doubt carry with us and evolve as we move into the future. What do we need to sustain this level of change and opportunity? How can we sustain ourselves through this time—and times to come? What technologies will we tap into to drive even more progress? This year’s conference is virtual, so there’s still time to register. I hope to “see” you there!