Chamber of Commerce Hawaii represents more than 2,000 organizations including nonprofits and businesses of all sizes that encompass 210,000 employees from a wide variety of industries that are contributing more than $32 billion in revenue to Hawaii’s economy.
How Hawaii Small Businesses Can Use Technological Innovation To Stay Competitive
Innovation drives competition, making it a crucial investment for small businesses. However, many owners believe the cost is too great. In truth, today's technological advancements are highly affordable and well worth the amount spent. The key is understanding what your company needs so you can best invest your resources. If you want to stay competitive, here are a few technological innovations to consider from the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.
Utilize Digital Marketing
Marketing is essential to success, no matter the size of your company. However, according to research cited on Digital.com, marketing presents unique challenges for 76% of small businesses. Fortunately, there are plenty of virtual tools to help.
For example, you can create a memorable logo with an online maker — what’s more, some logo makers are free. These programs let you customize every aspect:
Additionally, the internet is an excellent resource to get your name out there. Digital marketing is incredibly cost-effective since you can reach a wide audience with relatively little effort.
Social media platforms are especially useful, as they're free and can amplify your voice through sharing. It’s important to keep your look and your content consistent across platforms. This doesn’t mean that you post the exact same content, but that your branding remains consistent.
Invest in Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence isn't a gimmick — it's a new wave of smart computing that identifies patterns and recommends corrections. Machine learning can make eerily accurate predictions, allowing you to prepare for upcoming market trends well before the competition. Keep in mind that machine learning is an ongoing process, so plan for upgrades and evaluations in the long term.
Adopt Collaborative Work Applications
Today's technology allows small business teams to collaborate no matter where they're located. Collaborative applications create a central hub where team members can keep everyone updated, access essential information, and share documents. Most applications also have communication tools such as instant messaging and video conferencing, allowing employees to answer questions in real-time. In addition to applications, use tools that make the documents these apps house easy to edit, modify, and share. For example, you can familiarize yourself with a PDF online editor that enables you to edit, modify, share PDF documents with your team, as well as leave and track comments and changes in real time.
Use a Cloud Server
The cloud has revolutionized data storage, allowing greater collaboration and flexibility. If you travel or offer remote work, access to a cloud server is essential. These servers are maintained online through third-party companies, so you don't have to worry about a physical connection. You can even find highly secure options for sensitive information.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
Small tasks add up over time, costing hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars. Automating these odd jobs boosts productivity for relatively little investment. You can easily purchase software to automate the following:
Reminders and follow-ups
Event promotion and registration
Email list clean up
There are even more robust ways for automating various business processes in order to make your business more efficient. The elements of business process management involve not just automating, but reshaping the ways in which people, systems, and data interact. The result is a more effective and efficient system
You may also consider getting a virtual assistant to streamline processes. This software acts as an automation hub, taking care of all of the above tasks with a single program. Having a one-stop automation shop can keep costs low and responsibilities organized as your company grows.
Extract Data Digitally
Data is a rich resource for enterprises, as it helps them identify customer demographics, popular products, and supply chain issues. Of course, not all information is digital. Data entry takes information from paper documents and logs them into your database, but the process is tedious. Digital data extraction cuts down on transcription time.
Once the relevant data is transcribed, you can use technology to analyze trends. Data analysis software runs in real-time, delivering insights right when you need them. This quick turn-around lets you respond to trends as soon as possible by either correcting errors or taking advantage of new opportunities.
By keeping the above pointers in mind – from using digital marketing and a cloud server to implementing machine learning and automation, including business process management – you’ll find that technology helps small business owners chart their future paths. With the right resources, you can build the foundations for success.
To find out how other Hawaii businesses are using technological innovation to stay competitive, join the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. Not only will you learn what other businesses are doing right, but you’ll gain access to helpful business tools such as networking, brand recognition, and business promotion.