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Opinions expressed by LikendisLike contributors are their own.
Companies of all sizes are under constant pressure to keep pace with innovation — and, ideally, to stay ahead of the curve. But many business owners struggle to understand their own pain sores and manage operational problems. This has a negative impact on the company’s current and future growth.
A recent survey conducted by our company, Sage, revealed that the the main challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises including domestic competition, new economic policies and regulations, hiring good talent and finding time to focus on business growth. The people and products needed to overcome these obstacles exist today. Small and medium-sized businesses just need to know where to start.
Related: How to track technology as a business owner
Build trust and an authentic corporate culture during the hiring process.
The most important thing a small business can do is to cultivate a fundamental mission and stay true to those values. Leaders must be comfortable inspiring others to embrace this fundamental mission. Business owners need to be transparent and open with their colleagues about where they want to take the business and how employees will play an important role. It all starts with the initial hiring process.
Our survey found that almost 60 per cent of respondents in small and medium-sized businesses plan to hire between two and five positions this year. The biggest challenge is to hire the right people.
Hiring goes beyond job description. It’s about finding people who fit the needs of the company and who believe in the broader mission of the company. To build trust, business leaders need to be honest about the state of the business, where they see the head of the business, how they want to do it, and the skills needed to complete the team during the talent recruitment process at the beginning.
Related: Why technology is THE friend of HR, not its enemy
Adapt operations to a mobile workforce first.
Projections from analyst firm IDC suggest that increased adoption of mobile technology in the workplace will accompany big data and cloud migration as short-term central technology investments for businesses all over the world. That includes small businesses right here in North America. Our own survey results confirm this. In fact, 62 per cent of respondents told Sage that access to digital skills (including the ability to leverage mobile technology) would have the greatest impact on their business over the next year.
There is no doubt that using common and reliable applications in a work environment can significantly reduce overhead and make businesses more efficient. Therefore, small businesses should accept the use by staff of mobile devices and applications for business operations. This can include training, recording timesheets, or facilitating basic team communication. Business owners should explore relevant, enterprise-focused mobile and web applications that support mobile employee activity first. These workers already use popular apps such as Spotify, Uber and Venmo in their personal lives.
Related: 7 mobile trends that every business owner should follow this year
Tap into automation to enable growth and innovation.
More than 50 percent of small business owners who participated in the Sage survey believed artificial intelligence would be a big trend in 2017. Nearly half — 46 percent — felt comfortable with AI and bots running elements of their professional or professional lives. Surprisingly, the survey also found that 41 percent of small business executives would be skeptical about the ability of artificial intelligence to help accurately with their administrative tasks, even though the majority of them have spent two or more hours a day on administrative work.
Adopting automation can reduce overhead and free up small business owners to focus on the most important areas, such as perfecting their business or spending time with customers. As the audit firm KPMG points out, automating repetitive administrative tasks could reduce operating costs by 75 per cent.
Related: 7 parts of the job that every entrepreneur hates (and how to never do them again)
Small business owners are very aware of the time they spend on such tasks and the availability of new AI solutions to reduce this pressure. But there is a gap between conscience and trust. While it is the responsibility of AI manufacturers and developers to create reliable technology, small business owners must also understand and embrace the true value of AI, just as many of their competitors already have. Done.
Looking to 2018 and beyond.
As entrepreneurs move toward 2018, they need to link the company’s objectives to the current operational approach. Leaders need to think critically about how technologies such as AI and mobile improvements can help them navigate a new regulatory landscape, reduce costs, focus on business growth and hiring the right people. As our recent survey confirmed, small business owners should recruit strong talent and turn to technology with great potential to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks.