Author Archive

Digital, Robotic, and Data-Driven: Insights Into the Rapidly Changing Economy

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

BDC has released a report with the six trends that small and medium sized business owners need to know about for 2017.

Three of these trends relate to the rapid rise of the digital economy.

It’s clear that digital technologies are changing the economy with automation, online markets, and by leveraging the power of data—but what can small businesses do in the face of these shifts?

The first trend to be aware of is the growth of virtual marketplaces. E-commerce is already growing rapidly in Canada, and it shows no signs of slowing down. BDC recommends that business owners build a cohesive online presence that reacts to and engages with its customers. This means social media, targeted ads that increase traffic, and mobile-friendly websites that appeal to customers who are reading reviews and shopping via their smartphones.

The second trend is the automation of business activities. Automation refers to robots and artificial intelligence, but it also includes other digital technologies that increase productivity like customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Small businesses need to strategize for the future of automation now. This means involving your employees in choosing new technology systems, understanding your own knowledge limitations, and reaching out to third-party consultation if needed.

The third trend that will impact entrepreneurs and small business owners is the rise of the data economy. Vast quantities of data are amassed by companies in their everyday operations. Loyalty cards, for instance, track consumer behavior and preference. However, many businesses still do this data collection by hand, which is not only prone to error, but burdensome.

With a projected estimate of 75 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2025, businesses need to use data wisely to optimize their day-to-day operations. This means gathering data more efficiently, but also analyzing it to generate insights that will drive your business.

For a more in depth look at these trends, read the full report here (registration required).

What the Growth of Virtual Marketplaces Means for Small Business

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

To mark Small Business Week, BDC released a report that explores six trends impacting small and medium sized businesses in 2017.

One of these trends is a direct reflection of a hyper-connected business landscape: the growth of virtual marketplaces.

More and more Canadians are doing their commerce online, using their smartphones for retail transactions, and feeling empowered by the digital technology in their pockets. BDC forecasts that by 2020, over 25 million users in Canada will be using e-commerce (compared to 18 million in 2016), which means e-commerce capability will become even more crucial for small businesses.

With more information, online reviews, and borderless buying available to consumers than ever before, businesses need to adapt to the rise of virtual marketplaces.

One way small businesses can remain competitive is by building a digital ecosystem. This means personalizing your company’s online presence, making your website mobile friendly, and integrating e-commerce capabilities with your social media platforms.

Successful social media engagement is not about aggressive marketing, but about the power of suggestion and the “soft sell.” Become aware of what’s being said about your company in the digital space, and then engage with your customers regularly.

You can also raise awareness of your services or products through Facebook ads or Google AdWords.

Remember that a crucial part of building a virtual marketplace is listening to your customers and responding to their feedback—whether face-to-face or via 140 characters, you need to hear what the consumer is saying.

For more information on what the rapid growth of virtual marketplaces means for your business, read the full report here (registration required).