The economy is continually changing as consumer habits change, but there is one particular change that small business owners must be aware of: the rapid adoption of virtual technology.
Virtual technology is a very broad term and can have even broader applications but still highlights what small businesses should emphasize as part of their business model. As consumers adopt virtual technology, small businesses should strive to adopt and embrace virtual technology with two key outcomes in mind: (1) better fulfilling customers’ needs and desires and (2) enhancing internal management.
Fulfilling customers’ needs and desires can be difficult to specify due to its variability, but small businesses can identify them by examining customer data, even internal data. This data will indicate what the consumer deems important enough to purchase, when they purchase it, how often they purchase it, and so forth. Restated, simply examining the customer journey will tell the small business what it needs to know. If the small business is a startup with no data to evaluate, studying public records and competitors’ business models will strongly indicate what the small business owner should prioritize.
Regarding internal management, the small business owner should consider the immediate impacts of virtual technology, such as seamless meeting spaces and real-time KPI tracking, as well as the needs and desires of employees and potential employees. Adopting virtual technology can help small business owners improve the quality of management by providing much-needed data and by streamlining management practices to reduce unnecessary manual labor, which improves not only the quality of the data but also the quality of decisions. Moreover, adopting virtual technology to fulfill the needs of employees and potential employees is an excellent way to improve a business’s HR capital because it can be a competitive advantage and enhance the employee’s work-life balance, which, in turn, leads to attracting top talent and high retention.
In summary, virtual technology is here to stay and small businesses should embrace it. Doing so can produce positive, short-term results while also help position the business for long-term sustainability. Adopting new technology can be uncomfortable at first, but, as with all major technology advances, doing so quite often leads to a sustainable business.
Steve Beaman is a talk radio financial analyst and the chairman of the Elevare Club.
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