We live in an era where technology goes hand in hand with business. It impacts the pace at which businesses grow and it remains interesting to see trends that will emerge from some of these technologies. A good example is the emergence of chatbots that help in the instant messaging of customers/clients.
We asked entrepreneurs and business owners about the technologies that will have the biggest impact on technology and here are the responses.
#1- Marketplace lending
One of the most impactful technological developments for entrepreneurs is the advent of marketplace lending. Since the great recession, traditional lenders have tightened the reins making it tougher for small businesses to qualify for loans. It takes around 29 hours just to apply for a bank loan, and around 80% of applicants are rejected. The harsh reality is most small businesses fail within five years because they don’t have enough capital to keep the doors open. With a business loan marketplace, applications can take as little as 15 minutes and the average approval rating is around 60%. Not only does marketplace lending take less time, it’s more likely to work.
Thanks to Brock Blake, Lendio!
#2- AI-powered VAs
AI had already arrived into our households and daily lives – we have been using Siri, Alexa, and Google for managing our TVs, lights, and getting info on weather and basic info. How long before we start managing our email, calendars, and messaging with our voices while engaging in non-work activities? With AI-powered virtual assistants (VAs) small business owners can run their businesses while making meals, tending to their children, exercising, or gardening. Work from home trend is already moving towards work anywhere and use of voice+AI for input opens up new opportunities for productivity and work-life balance.
Thanks to Lilia Tovbin, BigMailer.io!
It dramatically expands the possibilities with remote work so prevalent now through faster communications, higher frequency data transfers, etc. making many types of highly skilled work possible from anywhere with better connectivity. Everything just becomes better, faster and more efficient, even on mobile devices with 5G. Streaming technology continues to improve as well as the internet and digital video become the focal point of our connected society.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
#4-Development potential of robots and cobots
Given the current progress in the technology of creating robots and in the process of their automation, we can say that they will firmly enter our lives in the foreseeable future. Surely we will face difficult decisions about replacing human employees with robots. However, there will definitely be a large number of positive factors. For example, it will be possible to reduce the participation of people in hazardous for health industries or in physically hard work. The technology of cobots will also evolve when human work will be improved and combined with automated robots, which will allow them to produce services or products faster and better. I think that entrepreneurs may already begin to think about how to use these technologies in their business.
Thanks to Alex Melchenko, Orangesoft!
#5- One that provides online alternatives
Technologies that allow us to take activities online that we previously had to conduct in-person will have the biggest impact on entrepreneurship. We already saw this trend happening prior to 2020, but now that reality of a global pandemic has touched all of our lives, we recognize that even if we do still want to do things face to face with people, we must have the option of doing them remotely. Technology providing online alternatives for everything from personal training sessions to virtual reality concert attendance is the future of entrepreneurship.
Thanks to James Zhang, The Bright App!
#6- Two technologies
AR and VR were already poised to be major technologies in 2020, and the coronavirus pandemic has only made them even more relevant. Augmented reality and virtual reality have far reaching applications in any area you can name – from gaming and entertainment to training, marketing, and education, even healthcare and occupational therapy. Virtual trial rooms, AR shopping apps and experiential marketing will make shopping from home a lot more compelling. Remote workforces could collaborate better and be much more productive with AR/VR. Employee trainings, virtual classrooms, VR powered travel and tourism, there are a lot of exciting opportunities in the AR/VR space right now. Even in non-consumer applications, AR/VR holds astonishing potential. American Psychological Association (APA) already acknowledges the merits of this technology for exposure therapy and anxiety treatment. Suffice to say that AR/VR will take center stage in a big way among entrepreneurs in the near future.
Thanks to Hiral Atha, Moveoapps.com!
#7- One that improves the speed and accuracy of communication
Any technology that improves the speed and accuracy on how to communicate with your team and stakeholders will help entrepreneurs. Running a business means the founder is accountable to all people including their staff, customers and investors and other stakeholders. It is vital to be able to communicate key information effectively and in a timely manner. So, tools that help to do this such as apps that help you write effective and to the point emails/presentation and tools that help you to communicate on a global basis like Zoom will create transformative results. In a world that's shifting to remote working practises it is more important than ever before to ensure communications still take place in an effective manner.
Thanks to Sukhi Jutla, MarketOrders!
#8- Automation Tools
Companies that can successfully implement automation into their business will gain a competitive edge over organizations that don't. Tools like Zapier, IFTTT, and Calendly can eliminate redundant, mundane tasks so you and your team can focus on your customers and growing your business. Entrepreneurs, in particular, have the most to benefit from automation tools as they can scale their services and compete with larger competitors.
Thanks to Sean Peek, Lightning Media Partners!
#9- Apps and online ordering platforms
I believe web-based ordering platforms and mobile apps already have a prominent impact on entrepreneurship and will continue to have this impact in the future. Apps and online ordering platforms allow customers to quickly place orders online. The business focuses on fulfilling the order for the customer. Then, the customer either goes to pick up the order or may use a delivery service to deliver it to their home. Amid COVID-19, this type of technology is allowing for contactless delivery and curbside pick-up which is keeping countless thousands of people safe and ensuring they receive their order quickly and accurately.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!
Without any doubt, we can say that blockchain is the one technology which will change the face of all business. No business is going to remain untouched by blockchain technology wave that is coming at them. The fact that blockchain can help streamline business processes and provide a fast and secure transaction, made it the most anticipated technology. Blockchain is being integrated into every aspect of business processes thereby providing an abundance of entrepreneurial opportunities.
Thanks to Dhanesh Haridas, Epixel MLM Software!
#11- Integration of online activities as a business driver
83% of people looking for a supplier or wanting to buy a product or service, start on the internet and do not get in touch with the supplier before a pre-decision has been made. So as an entrepreneur there is a giant need to embed and integrate the online possibilities into the buying cycle. Now, the important thing is to keep far away from stand-alone online marketing efforts, they are not very cost-effective. The Online channels and campaigns need to be aligned and integrated on database level and on customer profile level. Fortunately, the technology of online marketing tools has evolved using integration tools like API, Webhooks ,Bizzflow and Zapier. This creates the possibility to get a grip this first stage of the buying cycle. And if you do not want to organise this yourself: the next best thing is to outsource your online activities by using a Marketing as a Solution service.
Thanks to Marielle Dellemijn, CRM excellence!
#12- No-Code platforms
Entrepreneurs nowadays often need to turn to hiring developers to build their website or business idea. No code technology has the capacity to completely revolutionize the way we build these ideas into reality. Prominent companies like SquareSpace and Bubble IO are making great efforts in increasing awareness for the technology. I only see the growth continuing as development becomes more important.
Thanks to Chris Sheward, Repuzen!
#13- Artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is quickly growing in more complex ways and is already in many areas part of daily lives. People have smartwatches, Roombas, connected fridges. One major to be expected consumer roll-out os automatic cars. There are some countries that have published guidelines for Entrepreneurs regarding automatic cars and their use, Germany and the United Kingdom for example, BUT there is no specific applicable legislation to AI technology. Entrepreneurs will make AI part of goals-based, customer-centric programs. AI should not be implemented in an organization just because it is a new, exciting technology. Entrepreneurs need a toolkit to solve problems impacting their work, and Artificial Intelligence will in the end be one tool in their toolkit to solve a given problem. Therefore, the question from Entrepreneurs should not be ‘How will we use Artificial Intelligence to solve an entrepreneurial problem', but it should be ‘What is the entrepreneurial problem that we are trying to solve, why, and how will we solve it?'
Thanks to Gerard Blokdyk, The Art of Service!
#14- Personal privacy tech
I believe technologies that affect the relationship between companies and the data of their customers will have the biggest impact on entrepreneurship. Over the past many years, especially with the increase of social media and mobile internet access, companies have utilized technology that gives them more and access to user data. However, as the population of people who have grown up on the internet becomes the majority, I believe we'll see a shift towards users demanding more personal privacy tech. We'll also see a continuation of the trend toward the public demanding entrepreneurs and corporations to make their data more accessible. We'll see a complete switch in the relationship between companies, the public, and their data.
Thanks to Tyler Read, PTPioneer!
#15- Social media automation
I would say social media automation software, as social networks have become an integral part of any business. As social media marketing is one of the most effective ways of finding and establishing long term client relationships, software that can streamline social media tasks and integrate with your CRM can give your business an edge. Especially for entrepreneurs who run multiple businesses, having one platform that you can use to manage all your social media is extremely helpful. What I like the most about social media automation software such as Expandi is that you can synchronize your inbox from your social media accounts as well, which makes life much easier for me as an entrepreneur. I can easily keep track of all my clients and customers without having to sift through several inboxes across my social media accounts.
Thanks to Aleksandra Arsic, CapitalCounselor.com!
#16- Yext, Instagram and Ahrefs
Yext: as more businesses turn digital during the pandemic, technologies like Yext will play a bigger role in optimizing business listings on various marketing directories. With just a few steps and less than 5 minutes to complete, brands can ensure that they are discoverable on 80+ local directories. 2. Instagram: social media is still an immense untapped resource for many businesses that continue to rely on foot traffic to generate sales. Platforms like Instagram allow brands to build communities and relationships that don't end once the customer leaves the store. 3. Ahrefs: helps businesses understand their competitor practices when it comes to SEO and Google ranking. One of the best tools for increasing organic traffic and sales via Google, Ahrefs helps companies stay on top of their digital footprint.
Thanks to Amra Beganovich, A&E!
As we move forward, I believe crowdfunding platforms and the technology that powers them will hugely impact the world of small business. So many entrepreneurs never get their ideas off the ground because they lack funding. Lenders are increasing their qualifications to the point where you need pristine credit and a proven track record as a business leader to get a substantial loan. Investors are out there, with VC still used for many tech businesses, but entrepreneurs are wising up more and more to the fact that inviting the direction of an investor may not be what's best for your company. I believe crowdfunding is set to get more sophisticated over the next 5 years. Instead of seeing these grassroots platforms, we'll get more that have an official process separating promising businesses and giving them the exposure they need for funding.
Thanks to Dan Bailey, WikiLawn!
#18- Cloud services and digital infrastructure
The use of major cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are continually on the rise. I highlight this because these services provide the infrastructure to host and manage all sorts of applications that are available today and anyone can start their project from inside their home. As remote working is getting more popular with recent global events, these services will become even more popular as more and more applications will be developed and existing brick and mortar businesses will look to have an online presence.
Thanks to Alexander Lazutin, ICarta!