23 January 2023
Across the world, IT technology has had a profound impact on Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs). However, one may argue that the impact was greater than that experienced by larger businesses because technology offered two valuable benefits - flexibility and scalability. The former empowered them with the ability to ensure business continuity, enable service personalization, etc. In contrast, the latter made it possible for them to target and engage a wide customer base.
This became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the world went into lockdown mode. As you may have read and seen, a large number of businesses incurred heavy losses or even had to close down while trying to maintain the pre-pandemic status quo. This led to a large-scale dependency on IT support. For instance, effective chat engines emerged as a game-changer for small-sized businesses that relied heavily on employees being able to communicate with team members, customers, third parties, etc.
What are the top benefits for SMBs that adopt an IT-friendly mind-set
It became apparent that businesses that heavily invested in and implemented IT technologies were the first to survive the pandemic. They were able to pivot and improve aspects of their business quickly. For example, a digital travel company in the Middle East started to sell medical and safety products through its existing platform. In another case study, a SIM card provider began selling masks, which even went on to become one of their hottest-selling products ever.
Of course, the power of IT on small businesses extends beyond flexibility and scalability. It also helps them unlock measurable benefits, such as:
- Provide services on the cloud instead of brick-and-mortar stores
- Nurture the ability to share and collaborate with customers, vendors, partners, etc., in real-time
- Offer flexible work environments to employees and hire best-in-class geographically distributed talent
- Help increase employee productivity and performance
- Build meaningful relationships with customers - anyplace, anytime
- Expand into new market segments
- Provide secure virtualized payment gateways
Real-world examples of SMBs leveraging IT to level up
Many SMBs start small - doing business out of their garages or bedrooms. But down the line, they witness exponential growth. In the process, they stayed abreast of their competition and thrived by becoming market leaders. Of course, none of this would have been possible with the IT technology stack upon which they operate on a day-to-day basis. So, whether it's a homepreneur who has just started selling branded pickles or a small-sized restaurant looking to expand in a particular city, the way they utilize IT will significantly impact their business continuity and growth.
Need some proof?
Here are seven big-name brands that began as SMBs before skyrocketing - thanks to (in part) how they used IT technologies:
- 1. Nykaa
- 2. Airbnb
- 3. Astrotalk
- 4. Suta
- 5. StubHub
- 6. Weight Watchers (WW)
- 7. Headspace
A futuristic look at how SMBs can maximize IT power
Despite all the tech-fueled progress, the reality is that even future-proofed SMBs are in the process of maximizing the power of IT support and services. It is because many continue to wait to enter the next digital transformation phase. But there is a lot of pressure to modernize the different business functions of an SMB. Hence, today it may be crucial to carefully pick the most important business processes that need an IT makeover.
The future is a different story, as it is pertinent for these small businesses to build a long-term IT-first technology ecosystem strategically. That way, they could:
- Ensure that all technology components can connect without facing any friction
- Bring together multiple tools from different service/solution providers to accelerate growth
- Increase the internal ability to deliver the highest level of remote workforce productivity
- Create lengthy and profitable customer journeys with personalized milestones
- Maximize the level of security and compliance governance
After all, IT technology is the bridge that can take small-sized businesses where they want to go - at a quicker pace than they may have imagined. The real question is - how soon are they willing to start betting on the right IT tools?