Anatomy of a Global Problem Solver

| July 29, 2015

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We all care about certain issues. What are yours? Poverty, inequality, climate change? Today more than ever, we have the power to overcome these challenges. When we combine tech know-how, ingenuity, and social consciousness, we can help people thrive, build new commerce, and become guardians of our planet. Here are six top qualities of a Global Problem Solver.

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Grow is a leading Enterprise Fintech company, serving consumers through partnerships with top global financial institutions. By leveraging technology and data to reinvent the banking experience, Grow makes personal finances understandable and anxiety-free.

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4 Innovative B2B Marketing Strategies That Make an Impact

Article | July 19, 2021

You and your team have worked tirelessly for years, developing innovative products or services to fulfill the needs of other small businesses (in your own specific niche and beyond). You’ve even created—and deployed—a robust marketing strategy, and are using a whole host of proven B2B marketing tactics in your quest to turn promising leads into loyal clients. The challenge? Competition is fierce, so sticking to basic marketing tactics isn’t always enough. If the goal is to generate more B2B sales among new and existing clients, it may be time to harness some of that same creative energy you used to revolutionize your industry’s offerings in the first place to take your small business’s marketing strategy to the next level (thanks to the pandemic, you may be planning to update your overall digital marketing strategy anyway—so the time to do think specifically about B2B marketing has never been better).

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Ways to Protect Your Small Business Against Supply Chain Disruptions

Article | August 9, 2021

COVID-19 had a drastic effect on businesses worldwide. It affected small businesses in various ways, and owners faced unpredictable supply chain disruptions. However, the coronavirus pandemic proved to be a blessing in disguise. The supply chain executives attempted to sustain critical operations during the pandemic. This put their inventiveness, resilience, and adaptability to the test. In addition, the pandemic revealed areas of the supply chain that needed improvement, and it served as an actual test of corporate values and purpose. Supply chain disruptions can impact small businesses in various ways, including increasing expenses, reducing revenue, eroding market share, or causing production challenges. All these factors have the potential to impact a company's bottom line adversely. According to the Institute for Supply Management research, over 75% of the 628 firms questioned reported supply chain delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the same study, 57% of respondents indicated higher wait times for orders with Chinese suppliers. The global supply chain has been a lifeline for the response, ensuring critical medical supplies, food, and other critical commodities reach those who need them the most in time. Challenges Faced by Supply Chain The coronavirus caused a supply chain breakdown, adding a few more obstacles to the already existing ones. Supply chain disruption takes a variety of forms and sizes. Supply chain and operational expenses creep up from several sources and so become prohibitively expensive. In the absence of visibility and accountability for reducing them, operational expenses might rise. Demanding forecasting during the worldwide pandemic added another degree of complexity to the supply chain difficulties of many small businesses. COVID-19 shattered predictions for a variety of merchants and suppliers of consumer goods/services, putting them in the position of choosing how much inventory to hold or create at any moment. Global supply networks are fragile and are collapsing in the face of multi-country disturbances. Talent shortages across the supply chain and operations continue to place a high premium on human labor. A lack of flexibility hampers the inability to meet client expectations for personalization and customization. The resilience strategy was built on outmoded technologies, impairing visibility and decision-making. Risks in the Supply Chain The coronavirus has disturbed businesses and, more importantly, caused supply chain disruptions, altering consumer behavior, supply chains, and routes to markets, knocking businesses off balance. Businesses must move quickly and boldly to create and execute a short-term tactical strategy that will mitigate threats to human health and ensure the continued operation of global supply chains. This may be accomplished with robust data and analytics to comprehend complexity, anticipate possible disturbances, and develop a swift reaction. Methods for mitigating supply chain risks comprise the following: Prepare resources and assembly far in advance to act as a buffer against a brief disruption. Provide incentives to supply chain vendors who ensure operational continuity. Monitor the situation and take the necessary response/contingency steps. Utilize a recovery strategy to re-establish the original supply chain and mitigate the damage swiftly. Impact On Supply Chain The impact of coronavirus supply chain disruptions is severe. Small businesses' supply chains will be crucial in promptly, safely, and securely delivering goods and services. Numerous businesses worldwide rely significantly on manufacturing and supply chains in China, Southeast Asia, and other low-cost countries. However, recent global changes have compelled these businesses to reassess their supply chains, stability, and reliability in the face of an uncertain future. Over 30% of small companies indicated that supply chain interruptions had a material impact on their operations as per the estimates.Another third reported a negligible effect. In addition, over half indicated that the disruptions' effects are worse than three months earlier, while just 6% reported an improvement. The impact of supply chain disruption includes substantial and operational disruptions. These disruptions range from minimizing the impacts of reduced supply to managing disruptions to logistics providers and obstacles to achieving their contractual commitments to consumers. COVID-19 emphasized the critical nature of supply chain resilience to develop more robust long-term operations. As a result, the future repurposed and reshaped supply chains will have to include resilience and adaptation into their calculations. COVID-19 is causing supply chain interruptions in 94% of Fortune 1000 firms. 75% of firms have had a negative or significantly unfavorable impact on their operations. 55% of businesses want to reduce their growth forecasts (or have already done so). Here Are A Few Ways to Mitigate Supply Chain Disruptions For Your Small Business Locate Backup Suppliers and Vendors Identifying backup suppliers and securing them is critical for resolving supply chain problems on time; backup suppliers are the glue that holds a robust supply chain together. Unfortunately, numerous small enterprises rely on a single source for raw materials, resulting in the demise of many small firms. Manufacturers may safeguard themselves against supply shortages by arranging for backup sources in advance. To mitigate potential risks, manufacturers should consider selecting backup suppliers from various geographical regions. This will ensure that local material shortages and disasters have a minimal impact on order fulfillment. Still, it will also aid in developing a relationship with them to step in when needed. Finally, consider asking suppliers to carry business continuity insurance, equipment failure coverage, and other types of insurance to help decrease the probability of order fulfillment being halted. Incorporate Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) A supply chain breakdown may be a rude awakening for any small businesses that are operating normally. Supply chain management encompasses not just raw material sourcing but also the end-to-end flow of products and services and the planning and administration of operations related to sourcing, procurement, conversion, and logistics management tasks. Utilize cutting-edge technologies to assess possible supply chain risks. For example, consider adopting AI-powered mapping and environmental analysis solutions and aggregation applications that give global overviews and cyber threat assessment systems. Tools for supply chain risk management exist to assist you in tracking and controlling your supply chain. These tools may significantly improve the efficiency of order intake, shipping, ordering supplies, and inventory management. In addition, as supply chains grow more cloud-based or automated, it becomes increasingly important to use software to monitor your supply chain risk management program. Customers Should Be Informed For many small businesses, supply chain disruptions are unavoidable, and they will impact the products and services you expect to deliver. However, in this situation, it is critical to have clear communication with consumers. Keeping in touch with your consumers is essential for protecting your brand and the relationships you've worked so hard to build. Transparency with customers is critical when dealing with supply chain disruptions. Before customers make an order, be open about the reasons for the delay and potential difficulties, and communicate with them proactively about what is happening with your business and how you react. Never, ever leave your consumers in the dark. Bottom Line The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone in every country on Earth. However, not all breakdowns are internationally recognized, and supply chain disruptions are unavoidable. However, by carefully preparing your reaction, assessing possible supply chain risks, and identifying backup suppliers and vendors, you can help prepare for even the most extraordinary circumstances. Frequently Asked Questions: What is supply chain disruption? A supply chain disruption occurs when the manufacturing process of items and their distribution to clients are disrupted. Disruption brings everything to a grinding halt - the traditional spanner in the works. A supply chain disruption occurs when a sudden shift or crisis — whether local or global — has a detrimental effect on that process. What are some of the causes of supply chain disruption? Here are some of the causes of supply chain disruption: Natural disasters, Transportation failures and delays, Political, economic, climate, or cyber threats, Pandemics, Product problems, and Price fluctuations. How to handle a supply chain disruption? You can handle a supply chain disruption by: Diversifying supply base, Identifying backup suppliers and vendors, Creating a supply chain emergency plan, Communicating with your customers, Incorporating supply chain risk management (SCRM) and by Adopting risk evaluation tools. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is supply chain disruption?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A supply chain disruption occurs when the manufacturing process of items and their distribution to clients are disrupted. Disruption brings everything to a grinding halt - the traditional spanner in the works. A supply chain disruption occurs when a sudden shift or crisis — whether local or global — has a detrimental effect on that process." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are some of the causes of supply chain disruption?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Here are some of the causes of supply chain disruption: Natural disasters, Transportation failures and delays, Political, economic, climate, or cyber threats, Pandemics, Product problems, and Price fluctuations." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to handle a supply chain disruption?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "You can handle a supply chain disruption by: Diversifying supply base, Identifying backup suppliers and vendors, Creating a supply chain emergency plan, Communicating with your customers, Incorporating supply chain risk management (SCRM) and by Adopting risk evaluation tools." } }] }

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Artificial intelligence for Small Businesses – Transformation Guide in 2021

Article | July 9, 2021

The effect of COVID-19, the pandemic nationwide, was inevitable and became a catalyst for every business's digital transformation, irrespective of a large, small, or medium-sized business. 2020 saw a boom in digital transformation and escalated demand for artificial intelligence (AI). A few years back, artificial intelligence for small businesses was just a buzzword for owners, and today it is a new reality of our day-to-day life. Many companies have recognized the extensive benefits of AI. As the growing power of AI for small business owners has been considered, they have integrated them to achieve their goals. Artificial intelligence, also called machine learning, offers small businesses the opportunity to become profitable, efficient, and effective. With time and evolution in technology, AI delivers results and has become affordable for small businesses. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic crisis brought in a set of new challenges and forced small companies to change and improvise their business strategies. This crisis led AI and machine learning to play a substantial role in various aspects of businesses. According to statistics, the artificial intelligence industry will be worth $190 billion by 2025, with global spending on AI systems already reaching $57 billion by 2021. The machine learning and deep learning segment accounted for nearly 65% of the market in 2019. According to ReportCrux Market Research, the global demand for artificial intelligence in the IoT market estimated to be around $ 2.64 billion in 2019, revenues are expected to be around $ 15.72 billion by the end of 2027, representing a 25.0% CAGR from 2020 to 2027. Moving forward, before you hit the core topic of this blog, here are few additional aspects you need to know about AI and small businesses. AI and small businesses Today AI is the new headline of every business news and has become a prevalent technology adapted by almost every industry. However, before delving into the implications of machine learning and artificial intelligence for small businesses, let me throw some light on what artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are. AI is creating computer systems capable of performing tasks that generally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. Machine learning is defined as “an artificial intelligence application that allows systems to learn and improve based on experience without being programmed automatically.” AI and machine learning have become a mainstay of the new business world. Yet, as per the common misconception, this technology is still considered for bigger businesses with big budget to spend. However, as technology advances, artificial intelligence for small businesses has become more affordable, making it an industry reality for them as well. According to the 2018 Vistage survey on the role of AI for small businesses, 13.6% of small-to-medium companies (SMBs) are currently using AI technologies to improve business operations and customer engagement. In addition, according to another survey of CEOs from small and medium-sized businesses, 29.5% of CEOs support AI technology. Artificial intelligence has gained trust from few big names such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk. AI and deep machine learning can be implemented through AI tools and AI software across different parts of business operations. AI tools help streamline all the processes of the business, thus transform the industry. AI tools for small companies benefit in various ways, including helping to improve sales and marketing efforts, improving recruitment and HR activities, and automating customer service and communications. Here is how artificial intelligence (AI) can help your small businesses improve your performance efficiency. Top 5 artificial intelligence recommendations for small businesses in 2021 AI-Infused CRM Since the digital approach towards business operations, machine learning and artificial intelligence for small business operations are changing. However, it necessitates a well-planned marketing strategy for small businesses to maintain a personal touch in their approach. As a result, customer-relationship management (CRM) systems play an essential role in gathering customer data across various omni-channels such as email, social media platforms, and phone. This customer data aids in the improvement and automation of the sales process. HubSpot CRM and Salesforce have incorporated AI into their technology; these AI-infused CRM for small businesses can help their owners in analyzing customer feedback. As a result, marketing and lead generation activities will be adjusted based on that information. AI-infused CRMs not only improve lead generation results, but they have also begun to demonstrate how AI can be used to acquire marketing and sales-relevant insights, as well as to improve the customer acquisition process. Effortless data-driven predictions and decision-making Data plays a key role for businesses in the decision-making process. The data-driven approach helps to improve decisions, but for this, the companies need to recognize and adapt artificial intelligence (AI) into their workflow. Data holds the insight that enables better decisions, integration of AI and machine learning in workflow validates effortless data-driven predictions and more robust decision making for further actions. The question is, how does AI help in the decision-making process based on data? Here is the solution; firstly, AI examines massive amounts of data and then provides insights to business owners, who make decisions based on this information. Then, do you see how artificial intelligence for small businesses in workflow simplifies decision-making and makes data-driven predictions with ease. Application of artificial intelligence (AI) in human resource The human resource was the most unexpected department into which artificial intelligence (AI) crept. Effective implementation of AI tools in human resources helps to streamline the hiring and onboarding process. Furthermore, it is beneficial to obtain employee feedback on how HR can improve the hiring process. AI tools for small businesses offer their marketing teams to handle repetitive and tedious tasks like data entry, cleaning up extensive data, and testing sales campaigns' efficiency. In addition, artificial intelligence for small businesses empowers them to optimize their staff output. AI-powered customer service The big players in online retail are no longer the only ones. Small and medium-sized businesses are also gradually becoming a significant part of selling their products or services on an online portal. In the form of conversational platforms such as chatbots, IVRs, and visual bots, AI can enable proactive customer self-service. First, however, it is necessary to develop personalized customer service for their satisfaction. This can be done with the help of integration of the most used AI-powered chatbots. Many small business owners are investing in this process to provide customer communication and service. Chatbots use natural language (NLP) processing technology of the machine learning tool. Since the introduction of deep learning in AI, it has become a need of an hour to deliver better results to customers, as approximately 30% of all online retail transactions are made on a mobile phone. Most small businesses are utilizing AI to provide customers with first-hand product experience. According to Gartner, “46% of SMBs (surveyed) are currently using or plan to use a chatbot within the next two years.” Another 21% of the small and medium-sized businesses polled were evaluating chatbots for use, according to the study. Chatbots is like a sales and customer rep working 24/7 for you. Among the many artificial intelligence for small businesses available, this relieves stress and allows you to devote your time to more critical tasks. For example, with AI-powered customer service, you can simplify many tasks, facilitate customer communication and customer experience. Cybersecurity Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most businesses turned online, giving rise to online data storage by companies both big and small. Thus, exposing them to new cyber threats to business and consumer data, which are called cyber-attacks. One of the most talked-about cyber-attacks in 2019 is ‘Ransomware,’ a form of malicious software that is often deployed via social engineering tactics. According to the survey, ransomware attacks increased 350% globally in 2018, and ransomware attacks are expected to cost $6 trillion per year by 2021. For small businesses with a minimal budget to spend on cybersecurity or sudden ransom, such attacks can be devastating. According to recent reports, 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months. But luckily, cybersecurity powered by AI may provide some relief from these attacks. AI-powered cybersecurity programs look for unusual activity or cyber threats detected and can stop the attacks or raise alerts earlier. You can revitalize and empower your small business by employing artificial intelligence for small businesses to meticulously maintain an account database, stay in touch with customers, or protect your company from hackers. AI is the future of businesses In the future, AI can transform how businesses interact with customers, compete with one another, and grow in the market. On the other hand, the pandemic served as a catalyst for businesses to embrace the business benefits of artificial intelligence (AI). As a result, what would typically take years to implement on a large scale was completed in a matter of weeks and months. According to survey by Salesforce research, 51% of customers say their expectations of companies are now being influenced by AI. According to a report, the global artificial intelligence (AI) market was worth 28.42 billion USD in 2019. According to the same report, the AI market will be worth 99.98 billion USD by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 34.86%. Machine learning and artificial intelligence for small businesses help their owners reduce manual work and increase productivity with little effort and in a short period. FAQs Can small businesses use AI? Yes, small businesses can use AI and need an hour to implement it in their process. Small business owners can use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the first-hand experience of their products or services to their customers. AI helps small businesses to handle repetitive and tedious tasks with great ease. How can small businesses benefit from AI? Implementation of AI in a small business can help to improve sales and marketing, streamline HR tasks, automate customer communication, provide cybersecurity from unpredictable threats, etc. Thus, artificial intelligence for small businesses can completely transform their position in the market. How is AI implemented in small businesses? AI technology can be implemented in small businesses using various AI-based tools, applications, or software. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Can small businesses use AI?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Yes, small businesses can use AI and need an hour to implement it in their process. Small business owners can use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the first-hand experience of their products or services to their customers. AI helps small businesses to handle repetitive and tedious tasks with great ease." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can small businesses benefit from AI?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Implementation of AI in a small business can help to improve sales and marketing, streamline HR tasks, automate customer communication, provide cybersecurity from unpredictable threats, etc. Thus, artificial intelligence for small businesses can completely transform their position in the market." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How is AI implemented in small businesses?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "AI technology can be implemented in small businesses using various AI-based tools, applications, or software." } }] }

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How Small Businesses Can Get the IT Support They Need

Article | March 3, 2020

Of all the challenges facing small businesses, staffing is among the most difficult. Finding someone with the right skill set who fits into a company culture while sharing in an organization’s mission can be a tough needle to thread for any open position, but it is particularly challenging for IT departments. The skills gap isn’t a myth. A survey from CareerBuilder found that 60 percent of U.S. employers have job openings that stay vacant for 12 weeks or longer, a problem HR managers say costs an average of $800,000 annually. The Centre for Economics and Business Research calculated that the skills gap costs American businesses $160 billion every year.

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Spotlight

Grow

Grow is a leading Enterprise Fintech company, serving consumers through partnerships with top global financial institutions. By leveraging technology and data to reinvent the banking experience, Grow makes personal finances understandable and anxiety-free.

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