In the USA, fewer businesses failed due to COVID-19 than expected.
Plus, there is more good news – 4.4 million new businesses were set up during the first year of the pandemic, i.e., 2020. Confidence has continued into 2021, too, with half a million new businesses added in January 2021 – far more than expected. That’s 500,000 startups with a healthy appetite for risk during challenging circumstances, so what can we learn from it?
This business blog looks at how some top technology trends are instrumental to business survival and success post-pandemic.
Technology trends supporting businesses as they focus on starting up or pushing forward with recovery post-Covid include:
- Decentralized Finance
- Collaboration Tools
- Cloud Services
- Data Security
Automation made a difference in business productivity and production in the mid-1900s in manufacturing. Today emerging technologies are taking over everything in business, i.e., processes in most departments.
Workplace automation is ubiquitous, from customer service, where chatbots reign supreme, to marketing, where AI and ML (machine learning) manage significant data capture and analysis.
Remember this acronym – RPA (robotic process automation). It’s automation at another level where digital workers replace human workers for the most repetitive administrative tasks that can be driven by rules.
Businesses are speeding up their use of automation to improve operational efficiencies. It’s not so much the desire to remove people from processes but more the need to use fewer resources, spend less and get more done, i.e., higher productivity and yield.
Most businesses use SaaS, and they’ve been doing so for years. Before, cloud software as a service was on-premise. Moving to the cloud is a game-changer for business insofar as it’s more cost-effective to use technology systems and operate online without the costs of infrastructure and network engineers. With cloud computing, users pay service providers for just the services they need, and the benefits fall into three cloud computing models.
- IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service e.g AWS EC2 or S3, GCE
- PaaS – Platform as a Service – e.g. Magento Commerce Cloud, OpenShift
- SaaS – Software as a Service – e.g. Google Docs, BigCommerce, ZenDesk, SalesForce
IaaS is now the go-to for storage – think AWS-EC3 and server hosting. What business doesn’t use a hosting provider for their website hosting? Hosting providers like Amazon, Hostgator, Hostinger, and Cloudways are some of the best cloud hosting services. That’s using the cloud for their virtual servers? Platform-as-a-service is for developers building applications.
In business, there are many different business models, including:
- B2B – Business to business
- B2C – Business to consumer
- D2C – Direct to consumer
- P2P – Peer to peer
Direct to Consumer
Since the pandemic, D2C (direct-to-consumer) business models have flourished online. This business model has no middle layer between supplier and consumer, i.e., no retail store. D2C businesses manufacture and then sell their products direct to customers.
Needing to market online to sell directly to consumers, D2C businesses have engaged marketers to develop strategies for campaigns, including:
- Grow a community
- SMM (social media marketing)
- email and content marketing
- SEO and SEM
D2C businesses have set up their eCommerce websites with online stores and use third-party payment processing providers like PayPal or Payoneer to ensure a fast and secure sales process. There are many examples of D2C operators – none more significant than Amazon.
Business To Consumer
Plus, B2C businesses have reinvented to survive by going virtual, using Zoom, and creating their mobile app to take their offering from local to global. B2C operators solely dependent on in-person engagement include personal trainers and yoga teachers. The pandemic and lockdowns closed gyms and prevented personal trainers from training clients in person.
Post-pandemic Gyms are recovering, but they have evolved and now offer their services online. One example of a personal trainer mixing it up is Krissy Cella, who used to train clients in person. During the lockdowns, she invested in a mobile app, took her business online, and has never looked back – her company now has a global client base.
Collaborative tools have made it easier to communicate and market. Side hustles have become new businesses, and all companies reinvent technology as a critical driver for change.
Funding change used to depend on banks. Now, there is decentralized finance (DeFi).
What is decentralized finance, and how can businesses use it?
Lack of funds is the most common reason for business failure. It’s not easy getting a business loan, especially for a startup. Decentralized finance is changing that, and entrepreneurs are quick off the mark using disrupters to push on with their business.
To explain decentralized finance and how it’s revolutionized business financing, we turn to Investopedia. DeFi has cut out the middleman, i.e., the banks, brokers, and their strict compliance and burdensome lending requirements. For example, you don’t need your social security number, or proof of address or worry about your credit score.
Financial products are available on DeFi platforms like Aave, and it is P2P (peer-to-peer) where lenders and borrowers and sellers and buyers can connect. Smart contracts are used for agreements, and while it’s uncomplicated to use, it’s using complex technology that’s multilayered called the DeFi stack.
Decentralized finance is the future. At the time of the writing of this business blog, DeFi smart contracts are worth $111.93 billion.
There are many reasons to be optimistic in business – irrespective of downward economic pressure out of our direct control.
Technology is enabling change and new beginnings. Plus, clever thinking and innovation can dig business out of a rabbit hole.
Success ultimately comes to the people who fight their fear. The saying goes: the only thing to fear is fear itself. Accept the risks and carry on. :).