The key to finding competitive advantage is by embracing innovation. So no matter how trivial or whimsical a technological development may seem, you’ll want to keep an open mind about what it can do for you. But for a small company, what does “embracing innovation” actually entail? Read on to learn more.
Be an early adopter
One of the biggest factors in determining how successful your SMB will be in leveraging a new trend is how early you get in. Be careful investing in resources with high buy-ins and/or long-term commitments. Focus instead on low-cost IT solutions that allow you to test and see how well they work for you, and also let you pull out without suffering heavy sunk costs.
Invest in the right tools
New tech can be expensive, so how can one take advantage of an emerging tech trend without spending too much? The trick is to repurpose existing tech to do the same thing as the new tech.
For example, John Deere has been selling farming equipment for over 150 years, with no signs of slowing down. When the Internet of Things (IoT) craze began, John Deere figured that IoT would change the way their vehicles serve their customers. But instead of shelling out money for new IoT devices, they simply used already-available mobile devices and GPS tech. This tactic allowed the brand to jump ahead of their competition, especially those who chose to wait out the decrease in price of new tech.
Synergize tech with your business model
With a little creative brainstorming, most business models can actually integrate new tech into their processes. For instance, at first glance, it appears that clothing retailers have no use for AI that has deep learning capabilities. But one particular AI application — chatbots — has proven to be effective in helping customers find the clothes they want. Here, deep learning directly drives sales.
Prepare for possible difficulties
New tech inherently comes with implementation and integration difficulties. But what if you can’t find a way for your products or services to directly interact with the blazing new trend? The next best thing is to provide solutions to problems presented by it. Does interacting with the popular app or activity eat up a lot of mobile device battery? Remind passersby that your outlets are available for customers, or that you sell mobile battery packs. Does it require driving all over town? Inform customers of your latest car rental promotion. Sometimes just associating yourself with the trend is enough.
Not sure how to integrate your business with the latest tech fads? Turn to us — we’re the experts on all things technology related, be it machine learning or Oculus Rift. No question is too trivial — consult with us today!