For entrepreneurs today, technology has become an essential part of doing business. Nearly 9 in 10 entrepreneurs now use their smartphone to help run their business, while nearly 6 in 10 use tablets. This dependence on technology makes it vital for small business owners to possess the basic tech skills needed to run their operations. But if your business depends on technology and you don’t have do-it-yourself skills, you may risk a costly lag in operations or even going out of business. Here are four technology skill sets that today’s entrepreneur should have.
Business Intelligence Tools
Today’s competitive companies are data driven, relying on artificial intelligence to generate business insights. For instance, 9 in 10 sales and marketing teams now regard cloud-based business intelligence (BI) tools as important for getting their work done, a Dresnor Advisory Services study reports. BI tools are also widely used for functions such as management, IT, finance and operations. Using business intelligence gives you a distinct edge over competitors who are relying on guesswork to make business decisions, while failing to use BI can put you at a disadvantage against rivals who are making objective decisions based on data.
To use business intelligence, it’s not necessary to be a big data specialist yourself. Increasingly, business intelligence tools are designed to provide user-friendly, actionable data displays that can be used by anyone. You’ll get the most out of today’s business intelligence tools if you use a smartphone that supports artificial intelligence applications. Qualcomm’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform lets you run AI applications right on your smartphone even if you’re not connected to the cloud, speeding up your ability to generate real-time insights. In addition to not relying on the cloud, the AI platform accommodates much more immersive VR and AR user experiences.
Marketing Automation Software
One vital but tedious task for entrepreneurs is managing online marketing campaigns. Promoting content through multiple online channels is essential for generating web traffic. But logging into each of your online profiles to post and distribute content can be extremely time-consuming, taking away from time needed for attending to other areas of your business.
Marketing automation software helps simplify this task by providing a central interface you can use to manage all your online content distribution channels. Using marketing software also allows you to track your campaigns’ performances and see which of your content is generating the best results. Today’s leading marketing automation software platforms include HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot.
Customer Relationship Management Apps
Sales is another vital part of your business where automation can vastly improve your efficiency. Keeping track of customer account information is essential for effective prospecting, building customer relationships and generating repeat business. But managing customer information with a spreadsheet quickly becomes unwieldy as your business grows.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps automate your sales by providing an accessible database of customer contact information, sales history and even buyer profiles. This allows you to instantly identify your hottest prospects and your best customers so that you can focus your sales activity on your most profitable opportunities. Today’s best CRM tools include Salesforce, Insightly, Zoho and Pipedrive.
Protecting yourself online has become a priority for entrepreneurs. Failing to guard your business against cyberthieves can cripple or kill your operations.
This makes it essential to follow fundamental online security procedures, including choosing strong passwords, using encryption and keeping software updated. Using a mobile device with the latest artificial intelligence security tools can strengthen your security procedures by providing you with automated, on-device intrusion detection. In addition, to protect yourself against ransomware attacks, it’s important to use an automated cloud backup service so that you have copies of your data available should you need to restore your business database after an attack.
Business intelligence, marketing automation, customer relationship management and online security are four key technology skill sets that today’s entrepreneur should learn. Being knowledgeable in these areas will help you leverage big data for efficiency, increase your marketing and sales performance and keep your business safe from cyber attacks, giving you an edge over less tech-savvy competitors.