by Mikel Lindsaar, CEO and founder of StoreConnect
Every start-up and every small business owner knows a thing or two about a lack of resources.
Whether it is time, money, people, or a combination of all three, there is a smart way for start-ups and small business owners to magnify their market impact.
And the answer is in automation and artificial intelligence.
The problem is that much of the so-called technology pushed down the throats of unsuspecting small business owners becomes more trouble than it is worth.
Small business owners end up having to find more time and money to pay people to get their various software solutions to talk to each other, or keep data up to date.
When you have systems that don’t talk to each other, you run into problems and barriers as a small business. You can’t find the data, and when you do, it is out of date. This leads to you not being able to stay close to your customer and treat them well and add value. These are the only ways small businesses can compete with big businesses.
If we want to outcompete the industry giants with their deep pockets and seemingly never-ending sources of funding, then we have to be smart, act smart, and use smart.
This problem of supporting small to medium business has been on my mind for many years.
The problem with AI, or more accurately these days, Machine Learning, is that people believe it is going to fix all their problems, but miss the point that a machine is only as good as the data you feed into it.
And it can’t think for itself.
The old maxim is still true that garbage in gives you garbage out, so for a small business owner, the real trick is getting the right data.
The only way to get the right data is to have a single platform where all customer, product, purchase and company content can be centralized. In this way, small business owners can finally use the power of automation and machine learning normally only available to large enterprises with deep pockets.
A small business owner or start-up can unlock the power of an integrated E-Commerce 3.0 system where all the data is their own, and there is up-to-the-minute intelligence on their customers, markets, supply, finances and other important information.
Imagine a past customer visiting your online store. When they log in, the products and prices they see are customized to their needs. If they call you, your team can instantly access the status of their orders or invoices. It all just works for you and your customer. Everyone is delighted because we all know the frustrations and upset that can occur when things don’t go right and when information isn’t at hand.
By providing a seamless, friendly and accurate experience, the small business owner and start-up can build a community of raving fans that are loyal and have a high lifetime value. The nirvana of any small business is the sticky customer.
This is at the core of any great valuation and helps not only with profits but also with attracting smart investors. Your company will be valued higher than your competition because you have it well organized and your customers stay with you.
In this way, you can choose your market position and compete strongly, whilst maintaining great margins because you are not wasting time and money on accessing the power of AI and automation.
And that is how to artificially magnify your market impact.
Mikel Lindsaar, CEO and founder of StoreConnect, is an experienced technology entrepreneur whose mission is to infuse small and medium-sized businesses with the power to be successful in eCommerce 3.0 with a complete, powerful, configurable eCommerce and CRM solution.