Technology provides multiple ways to stay connected at any time, and for small to medium sized business, this means big opportunities to stay competitive. This is provided that these businesses understand technology trends and use them to their advantage.
There are some businesses, such as small wineries in Northern California that have found a way to combine this modern technology with tradition. These winemakers use digital connections to tell the personal side of their wineries and their individual brands. Castello Banfi winery, located in the Montalcino area of Tuscany, provides detailed online information about the winery’s founder, John Mariani, who first opened a wine business in N.Y.C in 1919. These businesses are finding that sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube provide an ideal platform to engage customers.
While social media’s growth continues to boom, and continues to provide a great way for businesses to build relationships with key customers and keep profits up, there are also several other leading technology trends that are expected to amplify in 2013. These trends are expected to provide businesses with ways to keep their sales and customer satisfaction up.
It’s in the Clouds
One trend that is getting talked about a lot these days is cloud technology. This means remote computing, and leveraging the Internet. Cloud-based systems provide several tools, save costs, and minimize maintenance for small to medium sized businesses. Online cloud services commonly used by small businesses include Skype, Dropbox, and Google Docs. Another way businesses are successfully leveraging the Internet is by taking their workplace anywhere they are. Technology enables people to stay connected and work from virtually anywhere. Experts say that it is vital to be accessible at all times, especially if you run a small or medium sized business.
A great advantage of being able to work from anywhere is the ability to videoconference instead of traveling, which can be costly and time-consuming. Videoconferencing is a low-cost way to meet with customers, prospects, and suppliers from anywhere with computer and Internet access. Common videoconferencing resources include Skype, ooVoo, and Cisco WebEx, which all make it easy to communicate with individuals or groups. Another advantage of these sites is it provides businesses with a free way to communicate with their long-distance customers and business partners.
Mobile Apps for Business
In addition to being able to easily communicate, the apps that are available for mobile devices have become increasingly business-friendly. They make on-the-go work extremely easy. Plantronics Instant Meeting app, for example, allows one-click access to conference calls from a smart phone, which means there is no need to remember long conference codes or leader PINs when you are out and about. Other useful mobile office apps include Documents to Go and QuickOffice, providing efficient access to documents, agendas and analytics.
A final, but equally important, trend that is expected to amplify in 2013 is devices that talk amongst themselves. Fortunately, the ability for your devices to work together is now happening. This technology trend is called Unified Communications, or UC. It delivers voice, email, SMS, videoconferencing, and document sharing into a single interface so that you can easily relay any or all of your data to others.
While there is still a place for traditional media, businesses are finding other ways to get their message out. Take John Jordan for example, who is the CEO of the Jordan Vineyard & Winery. He says that with the digital advances today, winemakers no longer rely solely on writers at publications such as Bon Appetit or Wine Spectator to share details of their recent vintages. Experts say that even though at first it may seem overwhelming to small businesses to adopt each of these technology trends, when they do, they’ll find that it’s easier than they think and a smart way to help their business thrive.
“Seven big trends for small businesses in 2013” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Winemakers blend tradition and technology” USA Today.