This article was written to frame The Insight Exchange’s SME Technology Summit in Sydney on December 1 – while many of the references are to Australia the issues apply globally.
Small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) are taking a larger share of the business pie, and increasingly driving economic growth. This is one of the most important trends in business today, and one that will shape the next decade of business, work and society.
This powerful trend is driven largely by technology and connectivity, creating a world in which smaller, more nimble, better connected companies can outsmart their monolithic larger brethren, competing globally and tapping opportunities as they arise.
At the same time, using technology well in business is proving to be one of the most prominent drivers of success. Almost every aspect of business is becoming driven by technology. This is obviously the case with services businesses ranging from graphic design to even house moving. However this is relevant to every kind of organisation.
Gardening and worm farm retailers Wiggly Wigglers in UK, Caminito Argentinean Restaurant in the US, Brasserie Bread in Australia , Martell Home Builders in Canada and many thousands of others around the world are examples of companies selling highly tangible, everyday products that have built outstanding success through the use of online social media.
There are six key ways in which technology is changing the very nature of how smaller companies operate today.
Customers look for and find businesses in very different ways than just a few years ago. Search engines, recommendations from friends on social networks, and online services exchanges are now how most companies are found. Marketing has completely changed.
2. Customer communication
With over six million Australians on Facebook and usage of other social media soaring, communicating with customers is shifting from to email marketing and beyond. The companies in the vanguard are building the most powerful customer relationships.
Email and mobile phones have made us far more productive but also are in danger of overwhelming us. New online tools, such as Australia’s global success story RemembertheMilk.com, are helping to make business owners and staff far more efficient.
With staff working flexible hours, often from home or in their cars, the ability to keep on the same page is critical. Technology allows easy coordination of far-flung teams working closely together.
Anyone can tap talented workers from next door or anywhere on the planet. Outsourcing used to be the domain of banks and telcos, now any company can outsource personal assistants, graphic design, research, or a million other tasks around the world.
6. Online revenue
With Australians expected to spend over $20 billion online this year, virtually every company is shifting their attention to how they can sell products and services on the Internet. It is a level playing field, where small can readily trump mega-business.
All of these issues will be covered in depth at the SME Technology Summit (http://smetechsummit.com), held in Sydney on 1 December, which will provide the tools for small and mid-sized businesses to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Come along to learn how to use technology to grow your business fast, build profits and leapfrog your competition!