Small Business Technology - Key Investment Areas

Sneha Hull | November 25, 2021 | 7 views

Small Business Technology - Key Investment Areas
Today's business environment is highly uncertain and has a strong inclination towards embracing technology shift. Small business owners are also gradually heading towards the same path. Therefore, considering the future scenario and business prospects, focusing on small business technology investment has become imperative.

On the other hand, many small business owners do not have the luxury of investing in technology without a strategy. They cannot take a trial-and-error approach due to their limited budget, resources, and unpredictability of the business climate. However, investments in technology for small businesses play a crucial role, particularly in today's business world. However, the tech needs of a small enterprise are limited, but a few essential elements of technology should be implemented.

"We've moved from digital products and infrastructure to digital distribution and web strategy to now into more holistic transformations that clearly are based on mobile, social media, digitization and the power of analytics and we think it's really a new era requiring new strategies."

– Saul Berman, Chief Strategist, VP & Global Digital Business Strategy Practice Leader for IBM Global Business Services
 

Key Areas of Investments in Small Business Technology That Cannot Be Neglected


Focus Cloud Applications


Cloud apps are accessed via a browser and are available on both desktop and mobile devices., On the other hand, cloud computing has existed in the business sector for an extended time but has been underutilized by small businesses owing to budget constraints. However, cloud computing costs have decreased considerably over time, to the point that small business owners may now use this technology.

Gartner's study indicates that up to 60% of business owners would rely on the cloud to hold data by 2022, nearly double the percentage in 2018.

Cloud computing enables businesses to access data and apps from any location, time, and mobile device, all at a fair cost. Cloud technology enables small businesses to easily access data on the go, enabling them to be more competitive on a global scale. Cloud computing enables various cloud-based services, including cloud storage, cloud backup, and cloud hosting. Cloud computing has several advantages, including increased flexibility and scalability, ease of data recovery, increased data security, and cost-effectiveness.

Ultimately, small business tech needs cloud computing applications for seamless business operations in the competitive business world.

Must-Have: AI, Machine Learning, And Analytics


Often, small companies believe that AI applications, machine learning, and analytics are beyond reach, resulting in minimal investment in technology. However, it is no longer an issue since commercial software solutions incorporate new technologies that enable you to do more with your data.

Analytics provides insight into your company's performance, customer experience, risk identification and mitigation, and market trends. In comparison, machine learning enables the service to be more personalized through collecting statistical data and extensive data using AI.

Despite the pandemic, researchers expect worldwide AI software revenues to reach $100 billion by 2025. (Deloitte)

Here is an amazing real-world corporate example. An early adopter of machine learning, 1-800-Flowers, unveiled 'Gifts When You Need' (GWYN), an IBM AI helper. It enabled GWYN to adapt presents to the chosen occasion by gathering information through interaction. As a result, customers received customized service and knowledge while purchasing from home. This raised the number of new clients while also broadening the demographic reach. In addition, personalized product suggestions enhanced conversions through machine learning.

Trending VR and AR Technology


Post-covid, virtual and augmented reality technologies will play a significant role. With the advancement of technology, the viewpoint on the corporate environment and ecosystem will shift.

The benefits and applications of virtual reality and augmented reality technology in business come in various forms, including customer experience, staff training, and product creation. The application of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies enhances client experiences and contributes to the quality and speed of manual job operations. Given that AR and VR are effective tools for growing sales and income, it's easy to see why small business technology investment is critical.

AR and VR are altering both online and physical commerce in dramatic ways. As a result, this technology has had a significant influence on the eCommerce and retail industries.

According to Statista 2021, the AR market size is currently $12 billion. (Statista, 2021)
As per AR Insider, by 2023, AR users are estimated to reach 2.4 billion. (AR Insider, 2021)

Here is one interesting example of the use of this technology. The Nike app enabled users to scan their feet and get accurate sizing recommendations. As a result, online shoppers were no more reluctant and afraid to mistake the size and safely buy shoes online. This feature was handy, primarily due to the pandemic crisis where in-store shopping was declining.

Mobile Technology a New Necessity


The substantial influence of mobile technology has increased significantly over the previous 18 months due to the coronavirus epidemic. However, mobile technology is no longer a buzzword for small company owners. Due to the epidemic, many small company owners resorted to digital solutions.

Mobile technology is not restricted to smartphones, wearables, or contactless payments; computers and GPS devices may also be equipped. Furthermore, mobile technology comes in various forms, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, network services such as 4G or 5G, and VPNs (virtual private networks). In the absence of genuine work mobility, supporting employees' mobile devices for work via a BYOD or CYOD program is a prudent investment.

FAQs:


Q. How do small business owners use technology to improve their business?


A. Small businesses can use technology in multiple different ways. For instance, they can use technology to connect with their customers, communicate with their employees, sell their products or services, better coordinate between the employees, simplify manual work, and many more.

Q. How much do small businesses spend on technology?


A. Small businesses should acknowledge a few technologies in their business operations. Below are the mentioned requisites:
  • Cloud computing
  • Mobile applications
  • HR software
  • Drones
  • Emails
  • Data Security

Q. What are the latest business technologies?


A. The latest and trendy technologies that are in widespread use in the business world are mentioned below:
  • Internet of things (IoT)
  • Virtual & augmented reality
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Mobile technology
  • Blockchain
  • 3d printing
  • Drones
  • Robotics & automation

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How to Calculate the Growth of a Company and Improve It?

Article | April 12, 2022

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” - James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney Is the growth of your company healthy? If you are looking for an answer to this, you must measure its growth. Small business growth can be measured by using different types of metrics. However, effective business management demands meticulous planning and strategic judgments based on your organization's past performance. Assessing your company’s growth rate gives you an understanding of the current state of your organization. It also allows you to plan for the future and effectively allocate limited resources to your small business. In this article, we will discuss how to calculate the growth of a company and the ways to improve it. What Is Company Growth Rate and Why Is There a Need to Measure It? A company’s growth rate measures how a particular variable has changed over a specified period. 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Key Factors for Calculating Growth of a Company Calculating the growth rate enables you to have a better understanding of your company's current situation and plan more effectively for the future. The true challenge, however, is how to determine the growth rate of a business. For instance, if you want to compare overall sales growth from Q3 last year to Q3 this year, you'll need the relevant revenue figures for both the quarters. The company growth rate formula is: Total revenue growth = [(current period revenue - previous same period revenue) / previous same period revenue] x 100 Define Your Business Goals and Gather Data Based on the Goals The first step in measuring your business's progress is setting your objectives. Companies can focus on various growth metrics, including revenue, increased sales, profitability, and an increased client base. Having a realistic approach will help you succeed. Data must be collected to achieve the goals after the organization has determined it. Collecting more data can help track business growth more accurately. Additional data can also assist in identifying and resolving possible business difficulties. Evaluate Sales and Earning As a small business owner, the first things that you will consider are sales and revenue generation. Therefore, a steady increase in money earned from commercial activities is an important indicator to keep an eye on. The focus should be on boosting earnings after determining the core sales figure. Various factors impact earnings, such as operational costs, financing, assets, and liabilities. Analysts frequently want a continued rise in earnings per share (EPS). A company with a high EPS is considered more profitable — a regular review of sales and profits assists in forecasting the growth rates of the business. Compute Revenue Growth Revenue growth is one of the easiest ways to track a business's progress over time. The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is used to calculate growth. This computation helps quantify growth over extended periods, such as five, ten, or twenty years. Let’s have a glance at the formula used to calculate the compound annual growth rate. The formula for CARG is: FV / PV)1/t – 1 = CARG However, you need to follow certain steps while calculating the compound annual growth rate: Divide the investment's ultimate value by its original value Increase the results by one divided by the number of years in the investment term Subtract one from the preceding result Use the trailing twelve-month figure to obtain the most up-to-date results. Benchmark Your Company Against Competitors While growth is critical within your organization, comparing growth to your competitors’ helps determine success in your domain. If you build your reputation in the market, you will get more clients and expand your business. You can obtain competitors’ data through various digital channels such as websites and social media platforms and compare it to your own. In addition, you can get more information from news stories, trade journals, or media coverage of your competition. It gives you valuable insight into your industry's competition and helps you expand your market share. How to Improve Business Growth? The growth of a company is the top priority for small businesses. After all, growth and expansion create additional revenue prospects. Enterprises expand as a result of continuously refining and adjusting procedures throughout their operations. The following are a few ways to make your small business more efficient, which leads to a faster growth rate for your business. Improve your conversion rate: You can increase revenue by improving your conversion rate. Only a small percentage of people who are introduced to your product or service end up buying it. Create a sales funnel: After creating a classifieds-based sales funnel, you'll be able to identify and target the stages during which the majority of clients decide not to move elsewhere. In addition, by establishing a proper channel, your clients will be able to observe how they are now engaging with your organization, which will make transactions less risky and time-consuming. Improve customer retention: Having a loyal consumer base helps you expand your business. A retention rate is the percentage of customers that continue to use your product over time and make repeat purchases. A CRM framework can aid you in maintaining control over client relationships. Conclusion It is important to measure the growth of a company regularly. Regular calculations help company owners maintain records that provide valuable insight into their business's performance, development, and expansion. Additionally, it ensures they expand at a rate, consistent with their established goals. FAQ: How do you calculate company growth? 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PayPal | June 29, 2022

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NerdWallet To Acquire On The Barrelhead

NerdWallet, Inc. | June 24, 2022

NerdWallet, Inc. (Nasdaq: NRDS), a platform that provides financial guidance to consumers and small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), announced the entry into an acquisition agreement with On the Barrelhead, Inc., a data-driven platform that provides consumers and SMBs with credit-driven product recommendations to help improve their financial lives. Through this acquisition, On the Barrelhead will fully integrate into NerdWallet’s existing teams, brand, products and technology. NerdWallet’s trusted brand and knowledgeable financial guidance paired with On the Barrelhead’s proprietary data and technology solutions will enable consumers and SMBs to match with better financial products and make smarter money moves. “Our vision for a trusted financial ecosystem means we’re able to provide consumers and SMBs with a trusted platform to learn about various financial topics, shop for products, connect their data and receive data-driven nudges, On the Barrelhead’s data and technology solutions will help us advance toward our goal by enabling us to leverage consumer information to provide users with relevant financial guidance and more personalized and compelling product recommendations. Their differentiated technology solutions and NerdWallet’s trusted brand and reach will also strengthen our footprint in the lending space by providing significant value to our partners.” -Tim Chen, CEO and Co-founder of NerdWallet. On the Barrelhead was founded with a goal to help consumers and SMBs understand and navigate their loan options to improve their finances. Their platform provides consumers and SMBs with highly personalized credit recommendations by intelligently matching customer credit information with financial partner data. By leveraging data analysis, On the Barrelhead’s platform also helps users improve their finances by surfacing new product recommendations to manage their debt and save them money. “Finding trustworthy guidance and recommendations on how to access capital and consolidate debt is hard to come across for consumers and SMBs, We are excited to be joining NerdWallet’s dedicated and knowledgeable team to unlock more ways for our users to optimize their finances.” -Sam Yount, CEO and Co-founder of On the Barrelhead. NerdWallet expects that its trusted brand and massive reach combined with On the Barrelhead’s differentiated technology will unlock profitable growth at scale and help advance toward becoming a trusted financial ecosystem. In addition to NerdWallet’s ongoing expansion into new financial categories and geographies, this acquisition reinforces NerdWallet’s ability to vertically integrate, as proven with its successful acquisition of Fundera. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2021, On the Barrelhead generated approximately $38 million in revenue, growing roughly 90% year-over-year, and $5 million in net income. NerdWallet believes the acquisition of On the Barrelhead would have been accretive to NerdWallet’s revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2021. NerdWallet expects the acquisition will be accretive to NerdWallet’s 2022 revenue and adjusted EBITDA and reconfirms previously announced expected year-over-year increase in its 2022 annual adjusted EBITDA margin. About NerdWallet NerdWallet (Nasdaq: NRDS) is on a mission to provide clarity for all of life’s financial decisions. As a personal finance website and app, NerdWallet provides consumers with trustworthy and knowledgeable financial information so they can make smart money moves. From finding the best credit card to buying a house, NerdWallet is there to help consumers make financial decisions with confidence. Consumers have free access to our expert content and comparison shopping marketplaces, plus a data-driven app, which helps them stay on top of their finances and save time and money, giving them the freedom to do more. NerdWallet is available for consumers in the U.S., UK and Canada. About On the Barrelhead, Inc. Founded in 2017, On the Barrelhead is a data-driven platform that provides consumers and SMBs with credit-driven product recommendations to help improve their financial lives. On the Barrelhead’s platform is built on four sophisticated technology solutions: Plinko, Maestro, Recast and Squid, which combine to create an engine that leads to better outcomes for consumers, partners and their business.

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FINANCE,BUSINESS STRATEGY

M&T Bank Launches Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab for Connecticut Business Owners

M&T Bank | July 01, 2022

M&T today announced plans to open its Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This seven-week program is intended to assist local multicultural business owners in flourishing, growing, and pursuing new ideas by providing guidance and skills to expand and operate their businesses. Up to 50 entrepreneurs will be accepted into the program. M&T will collaborate with the Innovation Center at the University of Bridgeport. Classes will be held at the John J. Cox Student Center at the University. The Innovation Lab will cover topics such as creating a business plan, credit fundamentals, marketing, legal entity formation, and pitch tips, among others. The program will conclude with a pitch competition, with M&T funding grants of up to $6,000. Entrepreneurs who wish to participate in the program must submit an online application by August 5th, 2022, and must meet the following eligibility requirements: Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, or Asian American; No more than three years in business; and Annual business revenue of $150,000 or less. The M&T Bridgeport Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab will begin on September 21, 2022 and conclude on November 2, 2022 with a pitch competition. "This program will have a positive impact not only on local businesses, but on the entire community, benefitting the area's multitude of talented and diverse entrepreneurs, Through our conversations with state and local officials, community leaders, academic institutions and many local business owners, we have worked together to deliver a proven approach that can help these businesses thrive and grow." -Frank Micalizzi, M&T Regional President and Head of Commercial Banking for Bridgeport, CT The Connecticut Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab is part of M&T's bank-wide mission to create a culturally fluent bank that understands and addresses the needs of the communities it serves. M&T established the Multicultural Banking & Diverse Market Strategy segment in 2020 to specifically address the needs of multicultural communities, businesses, and individuals.

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FINANCE

New PayPal cashback Credit Card Launched

PayPal | June 29, 2022

The new PayPal Business Cashback Mastercard® is one of the industry's leading cashback business credit cards, with no annual fee and 2% cashback on all purchases, with no cap on how much cashback can be earned, allowing small business owners to be rewarded as they make business purchases. PayPal Holdings Inc. today announced the addition of a new business credit card to its suite of credit offerings in order to better meet the everyday financing needs of small business owners. The PayPal Business Cashback Mastercard, issued by WebBank and powered by the Mastercard network, is the company's first business credit card. The PayPal Business Cashback Mastercard provides a simple way for businesses to pay for both routine and unexpected business expenses, while also earning cashback rewards on all purchases. Small businesses require a variety of tools to fund their day-to-day operating expenses in a flexible manner. According to the Federal Reserve Banks' 2022 Small Business Credit Survey, credit cards were the second most popular form of financing sought by small businesses. 1 PayPal Cashback for Business Mastercard provides the opportunity for SMB owners to qualify for a business credit card. "Small businesses are a force multiplier for our economy, and it's critical to ensure that they have access to digital tools and solutions that support their needs and growth, The PayPal Business Cashback Mastercard is tailor-made to support small business owners navigating their day-to-day operations. Coupling dynamic, flexible payments technology with compelling rewards and resources, we're proud to team up with PayPal to deliver tremendous value and access to small business owners in the US." -Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships, Mastercard. PayPal's mission to democratize financial services for all – businesses and consumers – closely aligns to Concerto's corporate strategy, said Dan Duncan, CEO and co-founder, Concerto Card Company. Our goal is to provide the tools necessary for businesses to be successful – and the PayPal Business Cashback Mastercard helps both companies advance their respective missions.

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TECHNOLOGY,FINANCE

NerdWallet To Acquire On The Barrelhead

NerdWallet, Inc. | June 24, 2022

NerdWallet, Inc. (Nasdaq: NRDS), a platform that provides financial guidance to consumers and small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), announced the entry into an acquisition agreement with On the Barrelhead, Inc., a data-driven platform that provides consumers and SMBs with credit-driven product recommendations to help improve their financial lives. Through this acquisition, On the Barrelhead will fully integrate into NerdWallet’s existing teams, brand, products and technology. NerdWallet’s trusted brand and knowledgeable financial guidance paired with On the Barrelhead’s proprietary data and technology solutions will enable consumers and SMBs to match with better financial products and make smarter money moves. “Our vision for a trusted financial ecosystem means we’re able to provide consumers and SMBs with a trusted platform to learn about various financial topics, shop for products, connect their data and receive data-driven nudges, On the Barrelhead’s data and technology solutions will help us advance toward our goal by enabling us to leverage consumer information to provide users with relevant financial guidance and more personalized and compelling product recommendations. Their differentiated technology solutions and NerdWallet’s trusted brand and reach will also strengthen our footprint in the lending space by providing significant value to our partners.” -Tim Chen, CEO and Co-founder of NerdWallet. On the Barrelhead was founded with a goal to help consumers and SMBs understand and navigate their loan options to improve their finances. Their platform provides consumers and SMBs with highly personalized credit recommendations by intelligently matching customer credit information with financial partner data. By leveraging data analysis, On the Barrelhead’s platform also helps users improve their finances by surfacing new product recommendations to manage their debt and save them money. “Finding trustworthy guidance and recommendations on how to access capital and consolidate debt is hard to come across for consumers and SMBs, We are excited to be joining NerdWallet’s dedicated and knowledgeable team to unlock more ways for our users to optimize their finances.” -Sam Yount, CEO and Co-founder of On the Barrelhead. NerdWallet expects that its trusted brand and massive reach combined with On the Barrelhead’s differentiated technology will unlock profitable growth at scale and help advance toward becoming a trusted financial ecosystem. In addition to NerdWallet’s ongoing expansion into new financial categories and geographies, this acquisition reinforces NerdWallet’s ability to vertically integrate, as proven with its successful acquisition of Fundera. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2021, On the Barrelhead generated approximately $38 million in revenue, growing roughly 90% year-over-year, and $5 million in net income. NerdWallet believes the acquisition of On the Barrelhead would have been accretive to NerdWallet’s revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2021. NerdWallet expects the acquisition will be accretive to NerdWallet’s 2022 revenue and adjusted EBITDA and reconfirms previously announced expected year-over-year increase in its 2022 annual adjusted EBITDA margin. About NerdWallet NerdWallet (Nasdaq: NRDS) is on a mission to provide clarity for all of life’s financial decisions. As a personal finance website and app, NerdWallet provides consumers with trustworthy and knowledgeable financial information so they can make smart money moves. From finding the best credit card to buying a house, NerdWallet is there to help consumers make financial decisions with confidence. Consumers have free access to our expert content and comparison shopping marketplaces, plus a data-driven app, which helps them stay on top of their finances and save time and money, giving them the freedom to do more. NerdWallet is available for consumers in the U.S., UK and Canada. About On the Barrelhead, Inc. Founded in 2017, On the Barrelhead is a data-driven platform that provides consumers and SMBs with credit-driven product recommendations to help improve their financial lives. On the Barrelhead’s platform is built on four sophisticated technology solutions: Plinko, Maestro, Recast and Squid, which combine to create an engine that leads to better outcomes for consumers, partners and their business.

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