Business and Technology: Expectations versus Reality
Updated: Mar 11
Technology has changed the way we do business, whether we like it or not tech will continue to influence the business and marketing world. Technology, especially that which is driven by the internet, can make or break a new business depending on how effectively it is used.
From bots to scheduling planners, blogs and websites, technology is affecting the way we communicate as teams, and how we present our business to the public. If you are new to business and tech, it may seem like a minefield and it can be difficult to know where to start or how to use the tools available to your best advantage.
Below is a list of common assumptions made about business technology that could harm your success, and finish your business before it's even started. However, every assumption is based within some reality, which if navigated correctly could give your new business a real head start.
Your New Website Will Hit its Traffic Target within 48 Hours
Every successful online business needs a website, it is a virtual shop window where you can display your finest goods. Many business owners believe that creating a website will bring a steady flow of new customers and generate new sales as soon as the publish button is clicked.
Sounds wonderful but is unfortunately unrealistic, website generation is only the first step! With over 380 websites being published every minute, it’s easy for yours to get lost amongst the noise. But don't let that put you off, by using SEO, linking social media accounts and building up a good email subscription list, your website can do very well in generating new sales. Also do not forget old fashioned word of mouth! Having a website printed on a business card or attached to email correspondence can greatly improve your sales rate and customer uptake.
You Don't Need to Use Social Media for Inter-Office Communications
Well, this one is kind of true, you don’t need to use social media for inter-office communications, strictly speaking. You can make a phone call, send an email or walk down the hallway. Recent research found that traditional communication methods are still the current favourite, however, Gen X and Gen Y entrepreneurs are likely to integrate social media into their workday communications, now and in the future. Either way, social media is changing the way we interact with each other and will likely continue to do so in creative ways.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve but are unsure where to start, try using Whatsapp as a way for small teams to schedule meetings. You can also try an instant messaging service for larger teams that span several buildings. People are more likely to respond quickly to instant messaging, and it saves your email inbox for more important messages. Do you have a team building or training video you want to share? Open a Youtube Channel and post it there. There are options to keep the channel closed to the public and the videos are accessible anywhere, goodbye USB stick!
If You Use SEO then You Have No Use for Marketing
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a great tool for online businesses to help customers to find them. SEO is used by large search engine companies like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to help generate the best results for their users. Results are based on algorithms that utilise and search for keywords to better understand what the website is about. It is a free tool that can be used by anyone to help their website get the top of the list, or ideally, the first page of those web results. However, search engines are constantly changing and revising their algorithms and words fall in and out of favour every day.
Market research still plays a vital role in how well your website will perform. If you are targeting a particular age group, it's important to understand what kind of language they use and how they are likely to enter their search data and when. If it is a subculture you are targeting, then it is important to keep up to date on the changing terminology, and the trends of that group. Channel this knowledge into your SEO to ensure your website is doing its best to be seen as many people as possible.
You Can Do Away with Traditional Employment and Build Bots Instead
In the not-so-distant future, maybe. Right now, not at all. People still value people and human-based customer service is greatly appreciated by customers.
Don’t get me wrong, bots are brilliant. They are becoming more adaptable and able and can deal with issues that have a simple answer, but they are nowhere close to passing the Turing Test. They are good for booking appointments and fetching and displaying information, but as soon as your customer needs something unique, then all you will get is a confused bot and a frustrated customer.
If your business is small and you cannot afford an army of customer service advisers, then employ a bot, but make sure it has a fail-safe option to send an email to a real human being, preferably a button that takes your customer straight to a contact submission form. Or do not have a bot at all, and handle all queries yourself until your business grows to such that you can employ someone to assist you. But make sure you can stay on top of it. Your customers will prefer to wait a while for the right answer then get stuck in a bot loop for the wrong one, or worse, no answer at all!
Do Nothing but Work Hard and Post More, and Success Will be Guaranteed
That’s what our parents and grandparents have told us, hard work always pays off. Usually, it does, but only if your work has a clear aim and reachable objectives. Businesses most likely to fail are those that work hard in the wrong direction. This is because they are either making the wrong products or targeting the wrong market. More social media posts and visitors does not necessarily mean more sales.
It could also be that they make a great product but do not market it at all! Understandable, it is scary building a business or product and then putting it out into the world to fend for itself, but if no one knows about your product then how can they buy it?
The best advice I was given was to do your research first. That way you can decide if the product is likely to sell, and what kind of social media posts are attracting likes and follows. If there is no market for your idea, and social media posts you happen to like are not overly popular with your target group, then you will have saved time producing and marketing something that will ultimately fail. Research may also help you identify a niche or product that people are looking for and you can decide if you can fill that void. If this happens then your customers are already waiting in the wings, and you know exactly when and what to post. The trick is to work smarter, not harder.
Technology is growing, new and innovative ways of using it are being created every day. The key is to keep up to date with the tech that is out there and understand how best to use it to your advantage. Websites and Blogs are a great way to generate new sales and retain customers, but understand that they cannot make your business successful all on their own. Bots are a great way to offload simpler tasks, but its important to understand their limits and not to underestimate the value of human interaction. Technology is leading the way forward but the traditional methods still have their place in the business world and mustn’t be thrown out prematurely. Integrating networking methods, online marketing tactics and seamless technological support will optimise your chances of building and maintaining a successful new business.
Lydia Lorraine is a freelance writer and content creator based in the UK. She has published works on the behalf of healthcare providers, retailers and social networking groups. She has a M.A in Research, and examples of her work and contact information can be found at www.lydialorraine.com.