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How Technology is Shaping Small Business Operations

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

How Technology is Shaping Small Business Operations

In small business, every decision can be the difference between success and obscurity. Technology, in this case, represents both a formidable challenge and an invaluable ally. Entrepreneurs are utilizing the power of digital tools to improve operations and drive growth. We’ll now delve into insights from seasoned entrepreneurs and see how the technology affect different business aspects or niches. Let’s go!

Improved Communication

Technology has made it vastly better to communicate with employees. Email used to be the sole means for talking with colleagues, but now there’s Slack, Teams, and Zoom that make it easier to have a quick check-in when necessary. If I’m writing an email that I feel has crossed a line into being too complicated, I’ll schedule a meeting. Most people are punctual thanks to the ability to jump into a virtual meeting from anywhere, including using their phone.

Dustin Lemick, CEO of BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

Streamlining HR Operations with Modern Software

HR software is making a big difference for small business operations. As a small business owner, something that had been holding back my company’s growth and success was an inability to implement efficient means of hiring and onboarding new employees. We originally had no dedicated HR personnel, so I was the one who had to handle most of it. I was recommended BambooHR by a colleague and passed it up for a while, thinking it was just for medium/large businesses.

Then I actually looked at what it does and decided to try it — and it made a huge difference. I was spending a good 10–20 hours a week on HR tasks, and BambooHR automated most of them with ease. While we’ve hired an HR team, BambooHR has allowed them to focus on the less tedious parts of the job, and it’s allowed us to grow more than I expected over the past few years. This kind of software has also evolved with technology changes in recent times, like by incorporating new types of AI and automation.

Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love

Leveraging Automation and AI

I think developments in automation technology (including AI) have been some of the biggest and most revolutionary for my small business processes. Running a small business often means functioning with a small team, sometimes just a couple of people. Automation can allow you to improve your customer service and streamline your operations so a small business is easier to run on a smaller team. I tend to use this technology for things like responding quickly to customer inquiries, along with data entry and maintenance. 

David Kemmerer, co-founder & CEO of CoinLedger

Better Task Management

Technology has done so much, even for my little company. It used to be that I had to create spreadsheets to keep up with different projects people were working on, but now there are task management platforms like Trello and Asana. It’s made everything so much easier, and with the implementation of AI, it’s even less work. I can accomplish more in a day than I could before in three days.

Dustin Sitar, CEO of The Groom Club

Advanced Booking Systems and Integrated Software

The evolution of technology and automation has freed up a lot of time, which we can allocate towards more revenue-raising activities and focus on what we do best. For example, we have trialed several different booking systems. 

The space has become very competitive as platforms like Harbor Fare, Rezdy, and Bookeo constantly upgrade their software, adding more intuitive and helpful features. The interface between booking systems and accounting software like QuickBooks has come a long way, saving time on bookkeeping. The ease of use is also felt on the consumer side as customers find it easier to navigate their booking options.

David Peak, director of Boatique Sydney Boat Hire

Global Reach

In terms of marketing, technology has completely leveled the playing field for small businesses. Not that long ago, small businesses were limited to their local customer base. Now, because of technology and social media, small businesses have a worldwide customer base. You can easily reach a very broad audience through social media — a feat that used to be reserved for only the largest corporations.

Dan Gallagher, VP of Operations at Aegle Nutrition

The Power of Cloud Storage

One thing that has been particularly useful has been leveraging cloud storage services. Law offices are notorious for having plenty of paper, from contracts to legal briefs. Using cloud storage makes it easy for lawyers and paralegals to work from anywhere, meeting client demand without being anchored to the office. It also helps make sure you can still work or present your case, even if you don’t have your case documents on your person. Digitizing documents is also a great way to keep your clients safe – briefcases get stolen and folders get lost. When you store your documents digitally, you don’t have to worry about losing them and putting a client’s information at risk.

J. Tucker Merrigan, managing partner and attorney at Sweeney Merrigan Law

Accessibility and Affordability of Virtual Workspaces

Technology has made the service industry more accessible for underprivileged and differently-abled individuals. Some people are physically unable to come into an office for a consultation, demo walk-through, or even just to report a complaint. Technology makes all this possible through virtual workspaces. 

Some service providers also offer discounted prices for virtual sessions because they’re physically convenient for both the provider and the client. It’s even cheaper for clients because they can save the money they’d otherwise need to spend to commute to the provider’s physical headquarters.

Thaddeus W. Wendt, CEO of Feller Wendt LLC

Using AI for Product Design

New technologies like AI make it faster to launch new products. Creative direction and product design take a lot of time and effort. You usually have to input ideas manually and work with many collaborators to bring a vision to life. With AI, you can bring your product ideas to life quickly and on a large scale. You can create many versions of an idea fast, choose the best one, and refine it much quicker than doing it manually. Also, AI can find potential issues with a product and suggest ways to make it better so you can make changes before launching. These new efficiencies speed up the creative direction, product design, and development processes, helping small businesses get their products to market faster.

Anna Parvatova, brand manager & creative director of SNS Nails

Harnessing Productivity Tools and Software

Software and tech tools are powerful, productive, and collaborative: I am the CEO and Founder of Toggl. So I will give you a real-life example of how Toggl has changed the scenario for small and big businesses alike. At Toggl, we have built three productivity tools: Toggl Track, Toggl Plan, and Toggl Hire. Our effective, empowering, and effortless tools make:

1. Time-tracking and reporting on different projects is seamless

2. Let organizations plan meetings without any scheduling conflicts

3. Eliminate workloads by balancing each team member’s tasks

4. Make the hiring of the talent pool that has matching skill sets with the respective job roles a breeze

So, you see how tools and software make the life of small businesses easy and on track. There is not just one but several tech tools available in the market for small businesses. These tools have the capability of doing data analytics for making informed decisions, managing accounts and finance, and much more. Small businesses should harness the power of software and tools to enhance productivity and efficiency.

Alari Aho, founder & CEO of Toggl

Rapid Development and Outsourced Infrastructure

For all small businesses, but especially software-focused ones, getting the minimum viable product developed and your first customers is key. The challenge is to do this cheaply and without extensive business infrastructure. With recent advances in Large Language Models and the expansion of open-source tech, this challenge is essentially no longer a challenge. You don’t have to develop the majority of key components for your business in-house. Need a website? No problem. Need marketing copy? Not an issue. Don’t know that much about accounting? Don’t worry about it. You can outsource all the departments you can’t afford with ready-made tools. And for the development of the business’ product itself, laying the base is extraordinarily easy using a combination of LLM assistance, open source projects, and modern tech tools.

Ryan Furuness, founder & CEO of Enfix LLC

From Payroll Piles to Virtual Assistants

When I started out 22 years ago, managing payroll for my growing team was a Herculean task.

At our peak, I had 150 folks on the ground and two full-timers crunching numbers just to keep up with time calculations and payroll.

Fast forward to today, and it’s like we’re living in a different world.

The same job, with the same number of employees, is now handled by a part-time virtual assistant, thanks to modern payroll solutions. It’s a game-changer.

Technology has completely flipped the script on how small businesses operate. It’s streamlined operations to a point where what once needed a whole team can now be managed by software and a single person.

For small business owners, this means we can focus more on growth and less on the nitty-gritty of day-to-day admin. In many ways, it’s never been easier to run a small business with a fraction of the resources it used to take.

Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal

Streamlining Property Management for Independent Landlords

A large amount of small businesses consist of independent landlords who rent out extra properties and spaces as a side gig to make extra income or help pay down mortgages. Because these landlords are renting property in addition to working full-time jobs and raising families, they don’t have a lot of extra time to spend managing their properties. Hiring property management companies to do it for them can be pricey, so many are turning to property management apps that automate most processes such as tenant screening, lease signing, rent collection, and maintenance requests. Managing everything from their mobile phones allows them to save loads of time and money while generating passive income and building wealth.

Ryan Barone, co-founder & CEO of RentRedi

Generating Ads With AI

I use Flexclip to build my video ads for YouTube within seconds, which streamlines my advertising. Flexclip is an AI text-to-video generator that will sort through and generate a video based on stock images or videos from a prompt that I put in. This means, if I tell if to create an ad about burial insurance, it can create it within seconds. After this, I run the ad and it converts viewers into leads very well. This AI tech tool is going to replace my in-house marketers and save me hours of time from editing. I can just run the ad and watch the results happen within one afternoon.

Timothy Connon, founder & CEO of ParamountQuote Insurance Advisors

AI Tools Empower Creative Industries

In the creative industries, work is won or lost on the strength of the creative idea. Ideas are, by their very nature, ethereal & intangible, and so communicating ideas to clients (and potential clients) is difficult. Traditionally, creative businesses had a choice to make — either to spend time and potentially money, in creating spec work to demonstrate their idea (with no guarantee of actually winning the work) or just hope their words were effective enough to convince the client.

However, today AI tools have the ability to help creative industries to develop concept art that helps demonstrate ideas, and increase close rate on pitches. Businesses in design, advertising, video and many others are now able to effectively communicate ideas using tools such as Midjourney, ElevenLabs, Runway, Pika and many others to bring mere creative ideas to life.

Ryan Stone, creative director of Lambda Films (Company LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

Empowering Small Businesses to Compete Efficiently and Stay Agile

For most smaller companies, dramatically expanding headcount in a short period of time isn’t the best idea.

Sustainable growth comes from focusing on hiring the right people at the right pace and giving them the right tools to do the job.

Technology allows businesses to standardize and automate processes in the same way a massive enterprise would without a huge team of specialists, analysts, and consultants.

Software can take some — if not all — of the manual work out of the picture.

For instance, by eliminating repetitive operational paperwork or speeding up accounting tasks, small companies can focus on the things that will truly grow their business: delivering a great customer experience, responding to subtle shifts in the market, and making sure they’re using their resources in a way that protects their bottom line.

When they’re strategic about these things, they can more efficiently compete with the massive, household-name companies yet still stay right-sized.

Faith Kubicki, director of marketing at InTempo Software

A/B Testing for Improved Conversion Rates

Generating more sales, leads, or subscribers from your website traffic is no easy feat. Once a user hits your website, there is still a long way to go to convince that user to take the action you want them to take. Getting a higher conversion rate from these visitors is a key step in optimizing your digital sales funnel. One of the most effective ways that technology is shaping small businesses online is through A/B testing.

At its core, A/B testing is very simple. A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of something to determine which version performs better. On websites, you can A/B test anything from layout designs to pricing. Basic A/B testing works by sending half of your website traffic to one version and the other half to the alternative version, then measuring which version outperformed the other.

Charlie Render, data science consultant & owner of Render Analytics

How Technology Transforms Dating and Support Networks for Singles

Past generations relied on chance meetings or ads in the newspaper personals. Now, users worldwide can be matched regardless of location or routine. And they can video chat from the start, developing emotional intimacy at a comfortable pace before meeting in person.

So, technology, especially algorithms and AI, removes so much tedium and uncertainty around dating.

In the past, singles resorted to chance encounters or flaky online matches. Now, our AI-powered compatibility scoring can analyze profiles and predict highly suitable partners across geographies and demographics. It’s like having a personal matchmaker in your pocket!

Our website and forums harness the reach of the internet, allowing anyone to access our compassionate support 24/7.

We can also share inspiring daily stories through so many digital mediums now and this facilitates real community despite physical distances, nurturing through both individual coaching and peer empathy.

The positivity principles remain constant while the delivery channels adapt.

In the past, you may have had limited local options. Now, our team can remotely provide dedicated 1-on-1 coaching or instantly uplift someone having a tough day.

While it will always require personal connection to truly change hearts and relationships, technology assists tremendously in making that nurturing care radically accessible across the world.

Jonathan Hartley, relationship coach at Positives Dating


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How Technology is Shaping Small Business Operations