Large companies are at the forefront of artificial intelligence and robotics in their need to stay competitive in a tech-savvy workplace. This thought process is now trickling down to small business owners who have come to a fork in the road in automation. The crux of the issue is time. Small business is starting to go digital, as smartphone apps, cloud sharing and automation help many of them get more work done in less time.
It’s no secret that hiring has been an apex issue with business. From low unemployment to lack of skilled labor, firms are becoming more flexible and experimental. As an aside, it is somewhat ironic that businesses are behind the curve on implementing employee requests until it is good for the firm. Businesses will play give and take with workers, but not at the risk of losing productivity. Case in point for smaller firms; one method being used to attract new workers is with shorter or remote work hours. How novel. Workers have been asking for this benefit for decades. Firms on the vanguard have incorporated this, but most have rejected the request for a myriad of reasons, most notably the lack of control of the employee.
The tight labor market and automation are bringing small business to its knees, so to speak, with nowhere to turn but automation and enhanced employee benefits. The general sentiment now is that employers would like to increase automation and reduce or make work hours more flexible. Echoing that theme, a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association showed that more than 70 percent of respondents felt it was “very important” to keep up with changing technology trends, yet more than 40 percent of them were concerned by costs and cybersecurity breaches.
The process of integrating work and life is somewhat easier for businesses that are not in manufacturing or other such operations work. Solutions like Dropbox, allow coworkers to share live documents and connect from remote locations. Dropbox can be an affordable option that makes it possible to get your business off the ground. Capital One and others are in the game helping small businesses to understand whether they are obtaining the best deals to invest in. Cloud-based technology is affordably available now to small firms. Eric Edelson, the CEO of Fireclay Tile who uses cloud-based technology to delegate assignments to his 150 employees, said that streamlined technology is all but a necessity in modern day commerce. Laborious meetings are now being replaced with timely requests via the cloud to increase productivity.
All you have to do is go to YouTube to see how video and social media have become integrated into the mainstream of both large and small businesses. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Countless entrepreneurs are using videos for everything from explaining how their product or service works, to upselling multiple income streams. Unlike a personal pitch that must be done individually, over and over again, a YouTube video can be done once, and tweaked again if necessary.
The key takeaway from all this is that technology is here to meet your business growth needs as well as the life needs of your employees. Take the time to implement and enhance your workplace experience and the sky will be the limit.