Did you know that 93 percent of small business owners use at least one type of technology platform to run their business?
Small businesses are often the backbone of communities, so making sure IT works for them is critical. From billing to tips, small business technology ensures that they can continue running.
Many recent trends are making a difference in the technology industry, and small businesses need to be aware of what is coming down the pipeline. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can be ready for some of the latest trends—both positive and negative.
In this article:
- Remote Work
- Hiring Shortages
- Environmental Impact
- 5G Rollout
- Broadband Access
- Social Media Regulation or AI
1. Inflation and Small Business Technology
In August, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the annual inflation rate of all items over the past 12 months was 8.3 percent. Although inflation has been improving since then, the impacts of inflation are changing everything, including small business IT.
Hardware is maybe the most obvious technology measure of the impact of inflation. The next time a small business owner purchases IT equipment, they may pay more than usual. Chip shortages were one of the factors that started inflation, but inflation is now making those chips more costly than before.
But inflation is also impacting software and business processes. For example, claiming to combat inflation, Amazon will raise seller fees during the holiday season, making it more expensive for small businesses to sell. Some IT professional services and software developers are also increasing their fees.
Small business owners need to be prepared for inflationary costs on their standard technology purchases. It helps to have a great IT provider with consistent pricing. IT providers can also help you purchase hardware at a lower cost than what can be found online or in-store.
2. Cybersecurity More Important than Ever
One cannot overstate how vital cybersecurity preparation is for small business technology strategy. Businesses experienced 50 percent more cyberattacks per week in 2021, and that trend is growing.
Business owners need to assess their cybersecurity vulnerability and prepare for the worst. While some industries are more at risk than others (such as healthcare and finance), cybercriminals don’t discriminate. They come for businesses of any size, and owners must invest in cybersecurity protection.
3. The Remote Work Revolution
Remote work became ever more present during the beginning of the pandemic. And now many employees prefer remote or hybrid work.
Owners must prepare for these workers, especially given the difficulty of hiring shortages. It’s essential to have security procedures, provide valuable equipment, and implement flexible work tools like Microsoft Teams.
4. Hiring Shortages and Small Business IT
In June, there were 5.5 million more job openings than workers to fill them. Many small business owners have experienced difficulty hiring, but finding qualified technology professionals can be even more challenging.
While in-house IT can be highly beneficial, developing an entire technology department is costly and time-consuming. For many businesses, it is better to outsource some or all your IT to a company that already has an IT staff developed.
5. Environmental Factors Increase
Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the products they buy, even at small businesses. Depending on what you do, you might want to consider the environmental impact of your business, and small business technology plays a vital role in those considerations.
From using local and efficient data centers to purchasing long-lasting technology equipment to even using digital ads over paper ones, there are several ways to consider improving the climate impact of your company’s operations. Companies large and small use it as a selling point, and with some improvements, just in the technology department, you can too.
6. 5G Rollout Makes Sells Faster
More consumers want to be able to do business online. And 5G is making that easier.
“As 5G networks improve high-speed connectivity, small and midsize companies that utilize the advanced technology will be able to expand the reach of their businesses to connect with more consumers,” Jefferson Wang, global 5G head at Accenture, told Fast Company. “That [efficient data distribution] is particularly key for small and midsize businesses that do not have the cloud technology needed to improve their business process and customer experience.”
Business leaders need to be prepared to distribute information to consumers quickly, but they can also expect their employees to be able to work quicker with faster internet. Fortunately, this small business technology trend helps both sellers and consumers.
7. Broadband Access Increasing
In a similar vein, business leaders can be excited about the increasing availability of broadband. Approximately 19 million Americans still don’t have access to reliable broadband service, but that is significant improvement from recent years.
Many counties still have low broadband accessibility within Tennessee, but grants and state investments will continue to improve this. For small businesses, this means working with more people within their region with the power of small business technology.
8. Artificial Intelligence Integration Increases
Artificial intelligence is one of the top buzzwords in the technology industry lately, but this is for a good reason. AI is helping countless employees whether they know it or not. From Face ID to Google search, AI is involved in our daily lives.
While there may not be a project AI can help you with right now, it is worth learning a bit more about what AI and the problems it can solve. Over time you may find something you realize AI can do for you.
Small Business Technology Strategy and You
Whether you’re a business owner or just an interested party, there’s no doubt that trends in small business technology are impacting everyone. The small business industry plays a vital role across the world.
Need help developing your small business technology strategy? You’re in luck. TenHats is the premier local IT company in Knoxville, and we’re proud to serve businesses small and large. Please, contact us to learn more about how we can help you.