If you run a small business or you in the early stages of starting one, there’s a good chance you are drowning in conflicting advice. Some of it is clueless, some of it is well-intentioned, and most of it is designed to entice you into a sales funnel.
The one piece of advice that may be in short supply is “Things that you don’t have to spend money on right now.”
Before you make any long-term investments in your infrastructure, take a second look at the following small business tech trends in light of what a small business needs now.
The net without the web
Maybe you don’t need a website. You read that right. Contrary to practically everything you may have read online, a large percentage of small businesses are doing just fine without one. Although there’s no way to really tell how many companies are operating in offline mode, the latest estimates indicate that around one third of SMBs do not have websites. Even if your main source of revenue is selling items on a ecommerce site, you could save money by migrating to an ecommerce marketplace like Shopify.com or BigCommerce.com.
If you are not in a place where you have the time or employee resources to maintain a professional website, you’re probably better off without one. A half-hearted effort will only hurt your brand reputation. Instead, you can build a strong profile on the social network where your customers spend their time. Grow your network with warm calling, offline business events and local aggregators like Nextdoor.com
The cloud rush
Be careful about signing up for cloud-based services. SaaS applications can be a life-saver, but make sure your cost-cutting measures aren't impacting the customer experience. When you make your business dependent on the cloud, you are betting on the reliability of your internet connection.
In 2017 so far, 10 large scale cloud outages have disrupted commerce for companies of all sizes.
Along the same lines, cloud-based solutions aren’t always least expensive or the most practical option. For example, many small businesses have discovered that a cloud-based VoIP phone system isn’t even an option because their internet connection can’t handle the traffic spikes. In that case, you would want to investigate low-cost options of setting up business calling through your mobile carrier.
Millennials have developed a reputation for being “reluctant entrepreneurs” because the number of new small companies has been falling off dramatically in recent years. The US Census concluded that the total number of new businesses (less than one year old) has dropped by 44 percent over the past three decades. The Brookings Institute reported that overall there are more businesses are shutting down than there are new ones to replace them.
This is one of the best arguments for the claim that one single individual can make an enormous impact on the world. If you are considering starting your own business, there was never a greater need for your business than right now. In an informal survey, Inc. Magazine talked to people who wanted to launch a business but hadn't done it yet. Their reasons tended to fall in a small number of familiar categories:
- 62% said they wanted to start a business but didn’t know when
- 17% already tried but unexpected circumstances got in the way
- 40% didn’t have a good enough idea about what kind of business to start
- 22% are discouraged by the high failure rate of new businesses
No matter what challenges are holding back your small business, the past is not a predictor because there's new technology now that was never available before.
At Spoke, we want to see you launch a successful business for one very simple reason: small businesses are the primary growth engine of the US economy.
We’ve gone through the frustration and expense of setting up a business phone system. We’ve seen that put an undue burden on small business owners at a time when they need to concentrate on the mechanics of finding customers. So we’ve condensed a full-featured business phone system into an app that you and your employees can run on your existing smartphones in minutes.
Our AI receptionist will answers all the calls you can’t and makes sure that you don’t lose sight of important contacts. Download the Spoke app and you can immediately start to arrange conference calls, transfer prospects to the right person on your team, filter out unwanted calls, follow up on vital leads, and scale up operations on your own schedule. You can make your business a reality and Spoke can simplify some of your toughest challenges.