If small businesses can see the future benefits of innovative technologies, they will have an edge in their market. Predictive analysis tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning are picking up speed, and fast! It’s safe to say that innovative technologies are more than a fad, they’re here to stay. If you aren’t yet on board with implementing some of these helpful and time-saving technologies, there’s no better time to get up to speed than with the start of the new year. 2019 is going to be bursting with innovation and you don’t want your SMB to get left behind.
Here are 4 innovative technology areas in which to upgrade your business in 2018 to make 2019 your most productive year yet:
Automation has been a prevalent theme this year than ever before. If there is one innovative technology you should use in 2018 to increase productivity in 2019, it’s to automate your business processes. The first areas for consideration should be processes that are time-consuming and labor-intensive. If you aren’t sure where to start, look at automating some of your online marketing functions.
Sending emails, personalization, and social media posts can all be automated to save you time.
You can also automate processes such as sending invoices to customers once their order is complete, batch image optimization, and scoring leads based on user actions. Leverage workflow automation to make your business more efficient, minimize errors, and save time and money. Implement artificial intelligence and machine learning programs.
If aren’t doing it already, now is the time to start analyzing your data. Using a free tool like Google Analytics, to help your business reach its goals more effectively and efficiently. While Google Analytics has been around for a couple of years, not all small and medium-sized business owners are taking advantage of the benefits it can offer. The ability to track your customers’ activity on your website and respond based on their actions, or inaction, is invaluable. Don’t let 2019 sneak up on you without taking the opportunity to upgrade your business marketing strategy to include data analysis.
Take the last few weeks of 2018 to do something critical to the success of your business in 2019–upgrade your business security protocols. According to the Cisco 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study,
“More than half (54 percent) of all cyber attacks result in financial damages of more than $500,000 including, but not limited to, lost revenue, customers, opportunities, and out-of-pocket costs.”
Ouch! That is not a position you want to put your business in, which means it’s time to get your digital security in check by making sure passwords are complex and changed frequently, implementing two-factor authentication, properly training employees, securing IoT devices, and ensuring IT security software is up-to-date.
You might think that artificial intelligence (AI) is only for large enterprises. But you’re wrong. Innovative technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning applications are all over the place and you come in contact with them every day. AI is no longer a fad, it’s the future. So why aren’t you taking advantage of all that AI can do for your small or medium-sized business? Keep in mind that it’s not realistic to think that SMBs will be building their own AI. That would be heavily cost and time intensive. But, if you’re thinking it’s time to upgrade your business in the way of AI, hone in on technologies and applications that already use AI, rather than trying to build something from the ground up. Many small and medium-sized businesses implement AI products that are easy to use “out-of-the-box.” One of the best ways to be a part of the AI movement is to use programmatic advertising with companies like Facebook and Google. You can even turn over the metrics from the analytic data you collect to an AI program to help you optimize things like how much to spend on digital marketing. AI is also becoming increasingly prevalent in areas such as data security, email, and payment processing. Implementing AI in SMBs can be cost-effective, simple, and get your business closer to achieving your goals.