Making Tech Work Harder for Small Businesses

By Bob Gruters Bob Gruters has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on November 8, 2022

Almost every American, at some point in their lifetime, has probably worked for a small business. It’s estimated that there are 32.5 million small businesses in the US according to a February 2020 article in Oberlo. Almost half of all jobs in this country originate from small businesses and contribute a staggering 43.5% to our GDP. They can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

But the challenges facing small businesses seldom receive nearly the same attention as many issues affecting Fortune 100 companies that have infinitely more resources and access to government assistance. This disparity can cripple a business and shut it down without prejudice. Supply chain slowdowns, labor shortages, lingering pandemic concerns are some of the bigger blockers to success today. And so is their ability to develop and afford better IT/tech solutions.

Just think about your favorite restaurant, for example. They use technology every day to power their reservation systems, manage seating & waitlists, drive customer loyalty programs, super-serve customer dining preferences and more recently, collect data for contact tracing, as well as for marketing and menu insights.

Payscale estimates that the national average earnings of a typical restaurant are just $65K/year.

Let’s look at the cost of a reservation system… there are the subscription, transaction and integration fees which can cost upwards of $1,500/year. An audio-visual experience designed to create the right mood & vibe can run another $2,400/year. Both are invaluable to a restaurant’s success, but together they eat up ~6% of total earnings!

Technology plays a vital role for small businesses of all types. Restaurants, bars, play centers, arenas, barber shops, salons, schools, auto centers, bowling alleys, doctor’s offices all require technology to operate more efficiently and effectively. It’s both necessary and smart to invest in tools that help small business owners super-serve their customers and strengthen their brand value proposition.

The A-V Boost for Your Small Business

If we go back to the need for the right in-venue A-V solution, why not look at a solution that’s ad supported? Allow strategically inserted ad-supported A-V content to play a bigger role in your business success. Reputable service providers typically provide fully licensed content for free, and some of the better, more established players will even pay businesses just to keep the systems on and running during business hours. Smart? Sure. Needed? Absolutely. Profitable? 100%.

Eliminating costs and opening a new line of revenue for something that makes an in-venue experience more enjoyable for your customers and reflective of your brand is just good business. Imagine being in your local bar on a Friday night and your favorite music videos start playing, licensed and legally. Or now you’re seeing viral pet videos while you’re shopping in Petco- relevant & appreciated by customers and employees. Right mood at the right time.

Not every tool that can dramatically impact your business performance will be as exciting, flashy, or customer-facing as an ad-supported video solution; yet the value your business and your team will derive from the free versions of Slack and Google Analytics, to name just a couple essentials, could be tremendous, if every penny matters. These are two enterprise-class pieces of software products I’d highly recommend at the free-version level. If your startup business is global—and especially if you play in the emerging world of Web3, you should check out the free desktop interfaces versions of Telegram and WhatsApp. These great encrypted messaging interfaces are quite robust in terms of file sharing, and will do wonders for the workflow manageability and organization of your conversations- especially by shifting all of that high volume communication onto a bigger screen and keyboard.

Now, more than ever, small businesses need a break and maybe even a competitive advantage afforded by technology. The right solutions truly can help equip and aid them as they look to survive and thrive in these very trying times. Small businesses are vital to our country’s future as well as every American’s bottom line. Let’s ensure that all of us are creating and enabling smart tech for these important economic contributors.

By Bob Gruters Bob Gruters has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Bob Gruters is a contributor to Grit Daily News. He is a seasoned sales and marketing executive who has held key leadership positions in television, digital, print and OOH media during his 25+ year career. Bob now serves as Chief Revenue Officer for Loop Media.

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