The cloud continues to roar
Cloud computing and cloud services continue their explosive growth with more businesses moving functions such as data storage, database management, customer service, and sales software to the cloud. According to Neueon.com, 37 percent of small businesses already run some of their business on the cloud. As the options expand and competition pushes prices downward the environment is becoming more appealing to small businesses wishing to benefit from this new technology.
How should you transition some of your small business’ tasks to the cloud? The key is to start slow and do your due diligence. Taking everything you already do well and uprooting, it is a recipe for disaster. Start by taking parts of your business, such as accounting and moving those to the cloud. This approach will allow you to continue operating your business without too much disruption. Yet you can begin using the cloud with all of the potential benefits such as convenience, advanced technology, security, and most importantly—cost savings.
Mobile advertising takes center stage
Spending on mobile advertising exceeded 28 billion in 2015 and could be above 30 billion in 2016. In addition, mobile advertising is projected to be 72 percent of all advertising spent and will soon overtake desktop ads in terms of total dollars. The trend is clearly towards mobile.
How should a small business position themselves to compete in this expanding market? The key to any advertising, especially mobile, is to correctly target customers.
Virtually all social media platforms and big advertisers, such as Google and Yahoo, are compiling legions of data about everything. The small business owner can do the same and pinpoint whom they wish to target.
A good website is also a key component and the site needs to be mobile optimized. The reason is that a mobile viewer from your ad may leave a site if the website looks dysfunctional on a mobile device. Consider using simple but quality still image ads as this may be a way to retain a mobile viewer, without the added costs of building video ads for a mobile viewer.
The “business” tablet is officially here
Microsoft has been trying to get business users from all sectors to adopt their Surface or Surface Pro as the replacement to the traditional work laptop. Apple has now entered the market with their latest iPad. The gadget makers want people to drop their old laptops and move their work lives over to a shiny new tablet. Is it worth it?
The answer really depends on what type of business you run, your existing technology, and your future technology needs. If you already have android or windows software technology, then switching over to iPads from a laptop may mean some challenges to ensure your data is where you need it after merging two different ecosystems.
However, if you can stay in the same ecosystem, a tablet for business can be a great way to de-clutter your work life and improve efficiency. With the increased popularity of pens, attachable keyboards, and apps for virtually anything you need, the tablet has almost done a full 360 and remodeled itself as the new laptop. It is getting harder and harder to tell them apart.
Security, security, security
There has been a string of high profile hacks and data thefts from big companies in recent years. The worries are not just for big companies. Intuit has indicated that the average small business owner spends more than four hours a day online; thus, security for your digital assets is critical.
Today's successful business owner must treat cyber security as they would life insurance or rental insurance policy—an essential non-negotiable expenses. A breach or theft of your customer’s sensitive data can all but destroy your reputation and credibility that you worked hard to build.
In addition, many small businesses rely on their website for everything from marketing activities to sales, so any down time due to malicious attacks can be expensive. Your website is your new storefront, like a good lock, it needs to be protected.
Technology will change how you do business, hopefully improving operations. Embrace the change, by exploring how technologies might help you become more efficient. The potential is unlimited and there has never been a better time to be a business owner than now.