As a solopreneur, you are probably used to handling everything on your own. But, as the world continues to change, you have to consider bringing in a helping hand every now and then. Whether this is added technology, freelancers, or simply restructuring your business to protect all you’ve worked for, the people and systems you put into place now can help your business stay ahead as technology continues to evolve.
In today’s Darbaar blog, we look at a few things small business owners like yourself can do to essentially future-proof your business.
Critical cyber incidents are nothing new. The Center for Strategic and International Studies has been documenting them since 2006. Unfortunately, it’s not just government and big tech that has to worry about data breaches and other digital dilemmas. Small businesses are perhaps the most at risk since the average entrepreneur is not fully up to date on how to deter cyber attacks.
Before you become a target, make sure to establish business protocols that will mitigate your risks. You’ll want to put programs in place, such as firewalls and multi-step authentication, to prevent such a tragedy. Zeguro asserts that maintaining cybersecurity compliance, which is crucial if you are in the health or financial industry, is a solid step you can take to protect your business and your customers’ personal data.
Establish a new business structure.
Business structure comes in many forms. As a one-man operation, you likely do not have an organizational chart. But, you do almost certainly have procedures that you follow to maintain productivity. Evaluate these and look for ways to create more output without sacrificing the customer experience. Workflow Max explains that project management and time tracking software can help you be more efficient and productive.
You’ll also want to take a look at the legal structure of your company. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with operating as a sole proprietor, as your assets start to accumulate, you’ll want to convert to a Limited liability corporation, or an LLC. An LLC is a business structure that removes personal financial liability for company debts. You’ll also avoid double taxation, and you’ll have greater flexibility as you continue to grow. For example, an LLC is not required to maintain any specific management structure whereas a corporate entity is.
If you don’t already have a partnership with a mobile app developer, it’s time to find one. Mobile internet, and specifically mobile app usage, continues to increase at breakneck speeds. In June 2020 alone, there were nearly 3 million apps released on the Google Play store. The Apple App Store published nearly 4.4 million in July. As your customers continue to demand mobile capabilities, you’ll only fall behind if you don’t comply.
Your app developer will help you create an app with features that make it valuable to your customers and organization. They will take your project from research and development all the way through design and publishing. A competent developer will stay with you during the testing stage and will work through any kinks or bugs on both Android and iOS operating systems.
Invest in artificial intelligence
As many businesses continue to expand their remote capabilities, artificial intelligence will replace many manual operations. AI, which includes things like chatbots, can help you stay on top of customer service and even forecast future business needs.
Microsoft asserts further that artificial intelligence can help you reach out by utilizing customer relationship management software. One example would be monitoring how your customers order and then sending them a friendly reminder or incentive to continue to place these orders from you. HP’s Instant Ink program is another great example of how artificial intelligence can boost business. The company utilizes smart ink cartridges to monitor customer usage and, for a very small fee, sends ink as it is needed. In this model, the customer does not have to worry about running out and, since they are paying a small subscription fee, has a predictable cost.
Monitor your reputation
Your online reputation is a valuable currency. What people are saying about you on the internet on sites such as Google and Yelp, can brighten or tarnish your business’s public image. Technology, fortunately, makes it easy to monitor your personal or business persona. Thrive Agency notes that Google Alerts, Social Mention, and Rize Reviews are just a few services that can help you see what your customers see as you are tagged or mentioned on social platforms.
The world is changing, and technology is taking the lead. If your business isn’t ready with today’s tools, you’ll be stuck in 2020 while your competition masters the finer points of the Digital Age. The above services, tools, and ideas can help you move forward so that you can advance with technology and not lag behind.
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