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Small Business Technology Trends for 2020

By James Wantuck,
business.com writer
|
Dec 09, 2019
Image Credit: Scyther5/Getty Images
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Tech trends that can benefit small businesses include influencer marketing, digital healthcare and small business cybersecurity.

As the owner of a small business, you are always looking for ways to improve your company. Here we’ve highlighted some of the key tech trends in 2020 for exactly that. Whether you’ve just launched your startup or are trying to keep your business at the forefront of innovation, new technology is constantly being created for you to take advantage of. Below we’ve highlighted some of the new ways you can grow your market, improve efficiency and protect your company.  

Influencer marketing

Scrolling through your social media, it’s expected to find promotional and branded content. Today the highest-paid athletes in the world, such as Christiano Ronaldo, make more on Instagram than on the field. The technique of using a big name to sell something is not new however, social media platforms allow ads to appear on your screen with far more ease and subtly than traditional advertising. Instead of your company hiring a celebrity to appear in a commercial, that celebrity only needs to post online about the benefits of your product or service. This new age of advertising presents enormous benefits for your company if utilized well.

So why is having influencer outreach important? It’s simple; the experience is personalized. You have no choice when you’re watching TV regarding what pops up during a commercial break. But on social media, consumers have chosen who they follow. Maybe they follow someone because they appreciate their taste, their lifestyle or because they know them personally. All of these attributes cultivate a deeper trust towards a brand when a promotion comes from someone the consumer has actively elected to see in their day to day social media goings.

If you’re a small business, it’s most likely you can’t afford the assistance of celebrities or high profile influencers to grow your product, but that’s okay. Micro-influencers or influencers with smaller followings (think under 100,000 followers) often have a more loyal fan base and higher levels of engagement. Furthermore, those who follow micro-influencers are more likely to share a niche interest, and with proper market research you can reach an audience interested in checking out your brand.

Finally, keeping your brand active on social media is also important for those who might discover or further explore your business on such platforms. Just like when you meet someone new and search them up on social media, consumers are constantly checking out new businesses first through social media. 

Digital healthcare 

There are several benefits of the rise of digital healthcare that all small business owners should be aware of. Not only can it save time and money, but digital healthcare solutions are enabling fundamental changes to the job market that directly benefit small businesses.

There’s never a moment to waste when you’re running a small business. Digital healthcare is increasingly becoming an affordable way for employees to stay healthy while maintaining efficiency. In the past, if an employee of yours fell sick or experienced any number of conditions, they would have to take time off work to drive to the doctor’s office, sit around as they wait for their appointment, see the nurse, and sit around some more before finally being treated. This is all changing as new telehealth companies like PlushCare offer remote services for your employees. 

This means an employee can see the doctor from their office. Online doctor appointments typically last 15 minutes with patients receiving a diagnosis and treatment plan, including any necessary prescriptions, in this time frame. By seeing a doctor from work employees save incredible amounts of time that can be spent working. Furthermore, remote appointments are not limited to a single doctor’s hours, and your employees will find it easy to book with a remote doctor before or after their workday. These appointments are cheaper for your business and your employees while also providing instant access to care. But there’s another aspect to telehealth and it’s a relationship with small businesses. 

Digital healthcare solutions make healthcare more affordable for the growing workforce of contractors and freelancers who forgo employer-based insurance. More people feel comfortable giving up the comforts of traditional employment, such as health insurance because they have an affordable alternative in digital healthcare. This is highly beneficial to small businesses that cannot afford to give their workers' health insurance. Having access to a network of contractors and freelancers saves your company money but also allows you to hire the people necessary to get the job done at a reduced cost. If you are hiring via the gig economy be sure to talk to your contractors about digital healthcare as an affordable healthcare solution, especially if you are not offering health insurance to these workers. 

Cybersecurity 

The importance of cybersecurity can not be understated. As 2020 rolls around, the functioning of big and small businesses alike will continue to move online. New software solutions are being developed to unify the functions of companies, allowing smoother communication across integrated platforms. While this process is great for your business overall, such centralization also demonstrates the need for increased cybersecurity measures. According to a poll from Insureon, only 16% of small business owners think they are risk of a cyberattack. Unfortunately, 61% of cyberattacks are actually launched against small businesses, and the average cost of a small hack is $86,500, according to internet security firm Kaspersky Labs. While such a cost might not hurt a major corporation, it could be a devastating amount for your small business.

There are several steps you can take to protect your business from cyberattacks,

  • Regularly update your software. Installing new software as it becomes available is critical to protecting your data. Delaying even the most routine updates can have catastrophic effects.

  • Ensuring point-of-sale systems is safe. Businesses that perform transactions online should invest in the end to end encryption software. Not only does this safeguard your business, but it also protects your consumers and their trust in your services.

  • Teaching employees how to spot malware and phishers. Small business owners have to be proactive in the protection of their company, including looking inwards at potential risks for human error. Hold a seminar with your employees to discuss what dangerous malware might disguise itself as. 

  • Hiring an IT expert. If your company can afford to do so, hiring an IT expert is a must as the word continually shifts into the digital age. As a business owner, you don’t have the time or knowledge to do everything on your own, and no one can help keep your tech safer than an IT expert. 

Being in the know about the different technological channels you can utilize in 2020 sets your business apart. Promoting and growing your brand via influencer marketing grants you access to a concentrated market of potential consumers and clients. Knowing how to maintain efficiency and affordability while keeping your employees healthy and factoring in the wellbeing of contractors in the gig economy, sets you up to have highly satisfied workers at a lower price point. A cybersecurity approach that protects your company against data breaches and hacks from the ground up ensures all aspects of your business are high functioning. Small businesses with a comprehensive approach and knowledge of the latest tech trends as they apply to a range of aspects of the business are better positioned to outperform those that take a narrow approach.

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James Wantuck
James Wantuck
See James Wantuck's Profile
My name is Dr. James Wantuck. I'm the cofounder and Chief Medical Officer of PlushCare. PlushCare is a 4 year old telemedicine company that has served over 100,000 patients. We have a network of 50 doctors, treating patients via face-to-face video calls. It's been a long road to get to where we are today (~$10M in revenue). We started in the back of a dentist's office in San Francisco as a two person team. Today, we have 40+ corporate employees and have scaled 100%+ year over year. I'd love to share my entrepreneurial perspectives and learnings.
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