The Latest on Tech to Level Up Your Small Business
Small businesses that incorporate technology are more likely to see growth in their sales, profits, and employment, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study indicates.
Here's a glance at a few of the tech trends that small business owners, entrepreneurs, and IT industry experts are discussing.
AI. Expect AI to continue making its way on
tech trends lists. "The hype isn't going to end any time soon," says "futurist" Bernard Marr in his Forbes blog about tech and business in 2023.
Marr, a strategic business and technology strategist, cites Google CEO Sundar Pichai's statement that AI will have a greater influence on human civilization than fire or electricity.
He says that although AI has been around for some time and is still evolving, it is already present in our daily lives when we conduct online searches, shop online, navigate while traveling, choose our own entertainment, organize our schedules, and perform countless other tasks, both creative and mundane.
"The maturing ecosystem of no-code AI solutions and as-a-service platforms will continue to make it more accessible," Marr writes.
Less of a barrier to entry in terms of technology infrastructure and (to some extent) finance, entrepreneurs with innovative ideas will be able to develop new AI-enhanced goods and services that improve or simplify our lives, he added.
Social media platforms. According to research released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most prevalent technology for U.S. small businesses is social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That trend is predicted to continue in 2023.
Nearly all businesses (93 percent) told the survey they use at least one technology platform.
Further, "small businesses plan to continue to increase investments in their use of technology platforms across their business in the next two to three years," says the Chamber's post about the study.
QR codes. When it comes to advertising predictions for 2023, some say more businesses will be using QR codes.
QR codes improves mobile engagement like few other marketing techniques, from Super Bowl commercials for cryptocurrency businesses to amusing-looking square stickers in the middle of restaurant tables, says Richard Fong, CEO, and founder, of Disability Help.
"This all adds up to some powerful marketing potential, especially for small businesses," he says in a Forbes post about advertising trends in 2023.
Landscapers could apply a sticker with a QR code large enough to read from a few car lengths away on the back of their trailer, Fong explains.
"Prospects just point their phone cameras and tap the screen to be transported to a landing page where they can schedule a free estimate. QR codes can even be stored on a phone to make it easier to share a scheduling page, professional portfolio or contact form."
Tech just for you. On a more personal level, entrepreneur and talk show host Mario Armstrong suggests busy small business owners check out the best and latest in noise-canceling earbuds and a new iPad accessory that lets you adjust your viewing level.
In the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine, the digital lifestyle expert included name-brand quiet earbuds and the iPad hoverbars on his "Mario's picks" list for new tech aimed at helping you focus and upgrade your work.
The Importance of Tech To Your Success
Because tech has played such an important role for businesses over the last few years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sought to measure the effect diverse tech platforms have had on small businesses and the economy.
This resulted in, "The Impact of Technology on Small Business" report, which was released in August after the Chamber Technology Engagement Center and Teneo Research conducted a nationwide survey and econometric analysis of the U.S. small business ecosystem.
American small business owners have used technology to withstand escalating economic storms during the past five years, the Chamber says, noting the Covid pandemic, supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages, inflation, etc.
However, despite these difficulties, small business owners have discovered ways to persevere, in part because of the advantage offered by the technological platforms that provide productivity, access to clients, in-depth insights, and the capacity to prosper, the Chamber said.
"This technology-enabled success has made meaningful contributions to communities and the broader U.S. economy."