Supersizing Your Small Business
Look around at most tech news lately and you’ll find four consistent trends: Cloud, Mobility, Social Media, and Big Data. Talk to analysts and you find that those four actually break into pairs: Cloud and Mobility; Social Media and Big Data. And what becomes apparent is that each second half of the pairs is responsible for accelerating the combination of the two.
Essentially, mobility has sparked the cloud imperative and the cloud has given mobility greater value. One of the more compelling aspects of this is how cloud actually helps level the playing field for businesses, rendering labels such as SMB or Enterprise irrelevant at times.
Enter social media. Social media has evolved to become a necessary tool for SMBs. Yelp is now the de facto standard of rating businesses; Twitter has become an effective marketing tool to spread news quickly and Facebook lets businesses develop communities. So, while Cloud/mobility is interesting on its own, social media makes cloud/mobility imperative.
At the same time, cloud/mobility has an accelerant effect on social media. It’s what enables happy customers to recommend your place of business while on the go. Similarly, to take advantage of point-of-sale customer enthusiasm—and build on the momentum—the best way to do that is to offer wireless access so your customers can Tweet, Facebook, Yelp and employ any other number of social media to give props to your business.
But it doesn’t end there. If all you do with all that great data is conclude that your business is popular, you’re missing a big learning opportunity. “Big Data,” which refers to the wealth of information that’s flowing out there, is yet another important way for you to identify the key differentiators that can help your business grow. It’s no longer enough to simply say that your business has 3.5 stars on Yelp. You need to understand that customers that give your business 4 stars, speak glowingly of your dinner ambiance and wait staff while your 2-star customers complain about long lines and grumpy staff at lunch. It’s this color inside the lines that really helps you see the big picture—with its details.
According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, last year’s mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. Mobility, Cloud, and Social Media are all fueling the data explosion. Remember: Each can push your business to new levels—by helping you operate faster and more cost efficiently with greater reach, while gaining a greater understanding of market segment. Plus, these key elements put greater power in the hands of employees to get their jobs done and in the hands of customers to deepen their relationship with your business. It’s up to you to harness that power.
Time to level that playing field.