Some SME owners use smartphones for critical daily activities, but have not capitalized on the gadget’s appeal in terms of digitalization.
The computing capabilities of the modern smartphone are easily on a par with those of supercomputers from the 70s.
In fact, the ever-growing range of smartphone features and capabilities driving personal technology adoption is also creating new opportunities for businesses.
A recent study by Bain & Company had found that 30% of consumers in South-east Asia have increased their online spending since the pandemic, with contactless payment platforms seeing significant growth both in users and transaction volumes. The study also found that consumers were expanding their smartphone use, with 77% of respondents saying that they had tried a new app that they plan to continue using post-pandemic.
Interestingly, while many small-business owners have readily embraced new digital habits in their personal lives, they often are not as quick to adopt the same digital mindset for their businesses. There is a broad misconception that digitalizing sales channels and back office operations require massive investments in infrastructure and personnel when in fact, it is often as simple as turning to their smartphones.
Here are some quick and easy smartphone tips and fixes from Kevin Fitzgerald, Managing Director (Asia), Xero, to help small business ingrain a new mindset:
- Develop your digital presence
Research from Blue Corona had asserted that 90% of consumers will check a business’s website before calling or emailing, yet many small businesses do not go beyond setting up a Facebook page.
While website development may seem daunting and complicated, there are now a multitude of e-commerce apps which have simplified the process. These services offer professional website templates that can be customized and set up in less than an hour, by just choosing a colour theme and layout and adding some public-facing information about the business.
- Get social with your customers
While print and out-of-home advertising are strong channels for generating awareness, the investment for these may be prohibitive for many small businesses. This is where organic social media offers a unique opportunity to engage with consumers.
To effectively leverage popular social channels such as Facebook and Instagram, make sure you have a steady stream of visually interesting content. You do not need an expensive camera—your trusty smartphone is more than capable of creating great, shareable content for social media posts. User-generated content—empowering your customers to share their experiences over social media—is also a proven method for growing that ever-so-valuable word-of-mouth.
- Optimize your IT spend
While enterprise technology has a reputation for being expensive, there are a multitude of business cloud applications and solutions available at accessible monthly subscription fees. This allows business owners to pay as they go, and add services as their businesses grow and they digitalize more of their operations.
- Stay cashflow-positive by getting paid on time
It may not seem like much when one small invoice is late, but many small invoices can add up to a big problem for a small business, particularly if a business is already operating on thin margins. Thankfully, automation and machine learning in products can support small businesses get paid by managing invoices, sending out payment reminders and more. Integrations with online payment providers also make it easy for customers to pay.
- Run your business from anywhere in the world
While many of us may not return to the office for some time, that does not mean we cannot manage our businesses, work with professional advisers, engage with customers and access accurate, up-to-date data from anywhere in the world (with cloud access).
Using platforms with substantial app marketplaces can provide comprehensive business solutions with real-time information and easy-to-use tools. Geographically-distributed teams can collaborate with live data, dashboards, and systems simultaneously, even on their smartphones.
In summary, the shift to digital for business can reap significant benefits in business continuity, resilience, collaboration and customer growth, and is often as accessible as checking out a new app for your smartphone.