When Your Small Business Is Being Killed By Tech…Do This

What does not kill you can only make you stronger.

This is true for individuals and businesses as well.

Technologies like AI have the potential to revolutionize a small enterprise. They can automate tasks, enhance operations, improve products and elevate customer service.

But there’s a catch—the very same technologies that seemed like gifts from heaven can also displace workers, make industries obsolete, and throw a wrench in an otherwise profitable and stable business.

So, how should business owners deal so that they can profit from disruptive tech instead of falling prey to it?

We’ll look into some of those strategies here.

First, let’s list some of the ways technologies can pose a threat to existing businesses.

5 Ways Technology Can Harm Your Business

Small business owners need to be keenly aware of the potential damage new technologies can bring. And if possible, they need to know way ahead of time, so that when the waves hit the shore, they are already safely sheltered from it. Better yet, they would have already mastered how to ride those waves.

Knowing is half the battle. Otherwise, owners would see their life’s work undermined without ever really knowing how or why.

Here are five ways technology can negatively impact your business.

#1 Labor Displacement: Human beings come in late, make mistakes, complain, get tired, and on top of all that, ask for a vacation. Gadgets, equipment, and robots don’t. They are faster, stronger, more efficient and more precise.

Automation is good in that you get to produce more products in less time. But it can replace human workers, leading to job loss, and negatively impacting employees and their families.

#2 Increased Competition: When a newfangled tool is publicly available to any takers, one can expect larger companies with deep pockets to leverage it as soon as possible.

Small businesses may be inherently nimble to keep up with the pace of innovation, where they come in short is in capital outlays.

The technology itself may come cheap and it may even democratize the space. But that doesn’t mean that big companies won’t have the advantage in hiring the best guys, cornering supply or negotiating better deals.

#3 High Costs: Equipment with the latest bells and whistles doesn’t come cheap.

For example, an advanced 3D printing machine suddenly becomes the standard in your industry—its price tag becoming another barrier to entry.

Your company might be gradually eased out of the industry if you don’t find the capital to buy the newest equipment that uses the most cutting-edge processes.

Tech can make it difficult for small businesses to compete with bigger players.

#4 Risks & Dependencies: Any tool can make its heavy users dependent. They may be tied into using it despite the possible risks.

For example, as businesses become more digital, they become more vulnerable to cyberattacks and security issues. This is another vector to watch out for.

Your business could wholesale lose proprietary data, which can be particularly devastating for small companies.

#5 Customer Disconnect: Technology is more efficient. But you would have traded warmth for this precision and efficiency.

A business that has prided itself on personalized service can potentially lose this edge by simply adopting some technology. Relying too heavily on automated systems can lead to a loss of personal touch, alienating customers and tarnishing the brand.

Clients who value human interactions can lose interest. In that case, the business has over-optimized itself out of clients.

There are many more negative impacts from tech, but these are five common ones.

Now, how do we sidestep these landmines and harness technology for the better?

6 Things Businesses Can Do

# 1 Embrace Tech Mindfully

If you can’t beat them, join them. Instead of shying away from technology, embrace it thoughtfully. Identify which aspects of your business can be enhanced by technology and invest in those areas.

Mindfully embracing doesn’t mean that you buy the software or the equipment because it’s all the rage. You actually need to have a specific pain point in mind that you want to address through available tech.

There will be areas in your business that don’t require the newest gadgets or equipment and you will fare just fine. But there will be areas that can be taken to the next level by harnessing technologies.

Here are other things you need to remember:

  • Don’t rush. Understand the industry landscape as well as incoming trends and developments.
  • Choose only tools that align with your business goals and objectives. (The rest are noise.)
  • Check that your new system will not clash with your old one, or if you can integrate them seamlessly.
  • Start small and begin with limited implementation to test the impact on your business.
  • Don’t leave your employees hanging dry. Make training and upskilling a priority.

# 2 Optimize Your Business

Okay, let’s say you’re not interested in adopting the new technology invading your industry.

To stay competitive, you’re going to have to work harder and smarter.

There are times when a business can offset a new technology by simply doing a better job. There are a thousand ways that a business can be better.

Here are some:

  • Simplify operations to reduce errors and increase throughput.
  • Re-train employees to sharpen their skills.
  • Strengthen existing customer relationships.
  • Lock in favourable terms with your suppliers.
  • Explore innovative pricing models to spruce up your offerings.
  • Innovate products that cannot be produced by the new tech.

A little improvement here, and little there, can add up and become a formidable competitive strategy. With lots of improvements in your little business, you can negate the efficiencies afforded by technology.

# 3 Find Alternative Technologies

Sometimes it’s not that you don’t wish to adopt newfangled tools and techniques. Sometimes it’s the cost that stops you on your tracks.

When this happens, try to find cheaper alternatives to the original. As tech goes, there will almost always be some vendors that sell at a lower price.

Instead of automating the whole process, pick some areas or steps you want to automate or mechanise. This makes for lower capital outlays. Look for vendors that offer the technology piecemeal and invest only in those areas that you think are super critical to the process as a whole.

Or instead of buying the tech for yourself, you can lease, rent or piggyback on existing firms that already use it. You can partner with them and reduce the investments for your firm.

# 4 Focus On Customer Experience

As mentioned earlier, embedding tech into your business is not all rainbows and butterflies. In reality, the business is making tradeoffs.

For example, an online retailer that uses the latest LLMs like ChatGPT, is trading warm and personalized service for efficiency. They are trading human-to-human voice interactions with text.

You can focus on the gaps that these implementations eventually create. Many people would rather know that they are talking to another human being, and don’t really want to feel like they are just another statistic in some database.

So one way to counter tech is by focusing on customer experience. Taking part in an automated process may be fast, but it is oftentimes too cold a transaction for many.

Instead of being down on your small business because you’re still employing human call centre agents, make it a feature and say, “…Real human beings are on standby to assist you…

# 5 Focus On Being Unique

As many in your industry descend on the trend, you can actually become unique by bucking it.

Your competitors will be using the same equipment, having the same processes and being exposed to the same vulnerabilities. The space will be swimming in the sea of sameness…but you can be the breath of fresh air that offers something different.

Tech usually happens behind the scenes, and customers and clients don’t really know what technologies come into producing the items that they buy.

So even though you do not own the latest equipment fawned over by your industry, you can create buzz and preference for your products.

You can be different by:

  • having different features or combinations of features for your products.
  • producing eye-catching packaging that speaks for itself
  • providing customized designs and personalized service
  • producing exclusive content, limited editions, and special releases
  • crafting unique storytelling and advertising concepts
  • targeting a different/unexpected customer segment

# 6 Pivot When Necessary

Sometimes the whole landscape is going against you, and you can already see the writing on the wall.

If you keep yourself informed of developments in your industry, it will be easy to realize how your little business can be made obsolete.

If you’re a parts and fixtures supplier for a horse carriage, for example, and you’re witnessing the encroachment of cars in the transportation space, you will be quickly moved to reimagine your whole livelihood.

You see yourself as a supplier for horse carriages, providing all the knickknacks and fixtures that can make a carriage ride not only comfortable but opulent. You might think, “Hmmmm, I’ve got products that will really look good inside the house.

You might then begin to think of your business this time as related to home interiors. You don’t even have even change products or produce new ones. You simply did a soft pivot and found a space that your products can find a home in.

These are just six of the things a small business can do when it is beset by disruptive tech. Technological advancements are not a death sentence for a small firm. They’re waves. You can embrace them and ride them, but you can also protect yourself against them.

What you do depends on your set of goals and circumstances.

One result of these disruptive technologies is the rise of remote work. Companies who hire remote workers search for talent across the globe and plug them into their existing home teams. Doing so saves these companies a ton in labour costs without any drop in work quality.

Kinetic Innovative Staffing helps these companies hire Filipino remote workers to fill a broad range of roles from graphic designers, and software developers to engineers, lawyers and accountants.

For example, you need a Rockstar Software Developer. You can simply click here and get the opportunity to browse our full catalogue of developer candidates.

With a database of over 4 million vetted professionals, Kinetic can help you land your desired roles.

If you would like to know more about this opportunity to hire your own remote professionals, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.

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