Mobile technology trends for small businesses
Smartphones and tablets are changing everything
You probably own a portable device, such as a smartphone or a tablet – or perhaps both. Just like billions of people around the world, you use your mobile device every day, looking at products and services online.
This represents a great opportunity for your business to generate new sales. It also offers easier ways of managing your day-to-day operations.
Unfortunately, many small businesses are missing out. Some don't understand the benefits. Others just can't keep up with the fast pace of change.
So in this guide we'll explain how this mobile revolution can help you produce new revenue. We'll also look at how mobile technology trends are changing the way we all do business – forever.
Some facts and figures
The speed of change has been so fast that it's almost impossible to comprehend. Since mobile devices were first introduced, costs have plummeted. That's driven amazing growth, as these facts and figures show:
Forbes says the top 25 percent of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are seeing big gains from mobile. They're recording twice the revenue growth and up to eight times more jobs being created.
In some parts of the world, more than 94 percent of SMEs use their smartphone to help manage their business.
Two-thirds of SMEs save over 150 hours a year by using mobile technology.
Data plan costs for portable devices have dropped by 99 percent in less than 10 years.
Mobile technology is the fastest growing technology of all time.
What does this mean for your business?
It doesn't matter what industry your business operates in. You could be in retail, manufacturing or services. Whatever your industry, mobile technology is changing your business.
Now your customers can:
find your location – and find out more about you – quickly and easily
compare your products or services with those from other companies
read glowing reviews from other customers – and complaints too
discuss your business and share their thoughts with each other
communicate with you directly – more so than ever before.
Many businesses have realised this, and started to take advantage of it. They know that their customers want a better, more personal service. Portable technology is delivering that service.
So it's time to go mobile. Because if you don't make the most of this new world of business, your competitors surely will.
Understanding the benefits
The benefits of mobile technology can be broken down into three simple categories:
Communication From websites to apps, social media to instant messaging, smartphones and tablets enhance communication. They let potential customers contact you at any time, day or night. If you respond well, you'll win new customers faster than ever before.
Knowledge Portable technology gives your customers knowledge about you. But it also gives you knowledge about your customers. Analytics software will tell you where your customers came from, how they found you, and what they were looking for. It can also give you useful demographic information. All of this will help you improve your business by tailoring your products and services to suit your customers.
Responsiveness You now have the tools to change your business fast. Cloud-based applications let you manage your business from anywhere at any time. That means you can respond to business opportunities quickly and efficiently.
Five practical steps you can take
We've looked at how mobile technology trends are changing business for the better. But how do you take advantage of those changes? Here are five practical steps.
Optimise your website Smartphones and tablets have smaller screens than laptops and desktop computers. Your website should display perfectly on all devices. It needs a responsive design that quickly takes people where they need to go. Your web developer can help you get this right.
Step up your social media efforts Are you actively promoting your business via Twitter, Facebook and other social networks? If not, now is the time to start. Mobile users love social media, especially during unproductive time such as when they're commuting. Use social media alongside your existing email and text channels – those are still important.
Take advantage of the cloud You can streamline your business operations too. Cloud-based applications can be run from any device with an internet connection. They store your data remotely and securely. From accounting software to retail POS and inventory management, it's all available in the cloud.
Move your employees online Make use of scheduling and calendar apps to keep your staff connected. Consider BYOD (bring your own device) if you don't have the resources to give all your employees a tablet or smartphone.
Know your keywords and branding Consistency is important. Your mobile presence should reflect everything your business represents on other platforms too.
These five steps will get you started. Once you're comfortable with your mobile business you might consider going further.
For example, you could create your own app (a computer program for Android or Apple devices). But that may be expensive, so you should run a financial forecast before deciding whether it's worthwhile.
A tool for everyone
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. Those small, glowing oblongs may not take up much space. But they're making everybody's lives more connected.
Consumers carry their mobile devices wherever they go, and they use them a lot. So your target audience is always available, ready to engage with your company.
Meanwhile, your employees can be empowered to fulfil their roles in an agile and flexible way – wherever they happen to be.
It's all about speed
It’s clear that there are advantages and challenges when it comes to adapting to this new way of working. These are the same for every business – and those that adapt quickly will reap the rewards.
Above all, mobile technology trends are making business faster. They help you do whatever you're doing in a shorter timeframe.
That means you can get more done – and sell more of your products or services. So go mobile now, and watch your business take off. Interested in going cloud? Get in touch with us.