Can you survive in the business world with limited funds?

 According to the Business Insider, in 2014 two hundred of the top advertisers collectively spent a sum of over 137 billion dollars in the U.S. alone. There are also companies, however, with limited funds available for advertising that still need to compete for their share of the market. The new technologies have enabled businesses to reach clients worldwide and stay current with the latest business trends, but having a broadband connection may not be enough for companies to maintain a competitive edge.

The latest informatics solutions offer significant improvements in the data processing and data management. Keeping up with the technological advancements can be costly, however, so many companies decide to use their hardware and software as long as it works. Even though saving on technological upgrades may sound feasible, a 2016 Forbes Magazine article suggests this decision can negatively impact a company’s competitive edge. This article states that failing to recognize the importance of following the latest technological trends could result in companies falling behind the competition, losing their relevance, or missing opportunities to expand. Technology can help companies recognize new trends that could be used to position their services and products on the global market ahead of the competition. For companies that cannot afford to keep up with the latest technologies and industry trends, there are other innovative business planning strategies that will help them stay competitive in the market.       

What steps can I take to make my company stay competitive?

Firstly, companies need to determine the specific needs that will help them achieve their specific objectives. While some companies work in the field of computer animation and 3-D graphics solutions, others base their businesses on selling various goods such as clothing or tools. Each of these businesses would require different hardware components and software products that can vary significantly in cost. Some businesses that may not benefit from expensive graphics cards and top-of-the-edge monitors may wish to consider allocating their limited funds towards making a visually appealing online shop. It is essential, therefore, to determine the development strategy first and then chose the technology that would ensure the successful implementation of the short-and long-term business plan. Business professionals should be ready to implement new technological solutions swiftly. Sometimes the latest and expensive business solutions do not perform as expected, so investors who acquire these solutions may end up losing money. If a company waits too long to implement new trends and technologies, however, it risks losing the valuable time to catch up with its competition. One of the ways to overcome the challenge of unprofitable investments in new technologies and trends is to monitor their implementation by the competitors for several months. If a company recognizes the benefits of the new solution, it should implement that solution as soon as possible so that it can benefit from it as quickly as possible.

Secondly, businesses need to take advantage of the cloud-based computing and online business development platforms. Companies with limited resources cannot always invest in big storage space servers or custom designed communication platforms. Still, those companies need to ensure that their workers have fast, easy and secure access to the business data and files. Cloud-based computing offers a range of different business solutions that ensure fast and secure file transfers and data sharing. Cloud-based computing decreases operating costs while increasing flexibility to run certain business programs. The development of a website, a logo, and other visuals that a company plans to use for branding and positioning may require a whole team of IT professionals and graphical designers. There are some free or subscription-based business development platforms that may help companies create professional looking websites. Companies can also benefit from websites that offer stock images or logos which may be readily adapted to their individual needs. There are also some freelance websites where companies can hire the services of talented young designers or web-developers at a fraction of the cost of established branding companies.  

Next, businesses need to use social media to communicate with their customers, follow their competition, and stay current with the latest business trends. According to the 2016 Pew Research Center report, from all adults in the United States, 68% use Facebook, 28% use Instagram, 21% use Twitter, 25% use LinkedIn,  and 26% use Pinterest (Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan, 2016). It appears that using social media space to reach out to this large number of potential customers can turn out to be an excellent value for the money. Companies have an option to pay for advertising services, or they can choose to increase their visibility to customers by regularly posting new and exciting content themselves which may save money. Social media is also an excellent resource for following the updates from competitors because these communication platforms are often first used to share the latest news and plans. Actively following social media may also help business professionals to recognize and implement the new trends among customers without having to allocate significant funds for expensive business consulting agencies. Businesses can keep their competitive edge by following the latest trends from popular online blogs, newspapers, websites, podcasts or videos. The online community is a valuable source of information that can be used for identifying current and future consumer trends. The web can also be an excellent place to organize virtual venues, meeting, and conferences which can help businesses maintain visibility without having to spend resources on travel and accommodation. Virtual meetings also reduce individual carbon footprint which is a new trend many companies choose to follow.

Lastly, companies should always provide space for personal growth and professional development to each of its employees based on their teamwork abilities and performance.  

According to the Forbes magazine, teamwork should be an integral part of the performance management system. People’s performance and contribution to teamwork need to become an integral part of the annual personal accomplishment process which may also be used to track personal progress. It is essential for the business professionals to develop and use good communication skills to efficiently get their message across. Effective communication can help any team and its members complete tasks faster and achieve objectives. Business professionals should always respect and give incentives to their co-workers. Sharing training and information could be an excellent way to present a specific case or explain the need for better collaboration. Better collaboration between co-workers can increase work productivity and help any individual achieve their personal business goals.

References

Alton, L. (2016). Staying technologically relevant has suddenly become a full-time responsibility. Retrieved Jan 27, 2018, from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/larryalton/2016/10/21/staying-technologically-relevant-has-suddenly-become-a-full-time-responsibility/#2d67538665b4

Greenwood, S., Perrin, A., & Duggan, M. (2016). Social media update 2016. Retrieved Jan 27, 2018, from Pew Research Center: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/

Maresova, P., Sobeslav, V., & Krejcar, O. (2016). [ABSTRACT] Cost–benefit analysis – evaluation model of cloud computing deployment for use in companies. Applied Economics, 49(6), 521-533. doi:10.1080/00036846.2016.1200188

O'Reilly, L. (2015). These are the 10 companies that spend the most on advertising. Retrieved Jan 27, 2018, from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-biggest-advertising-spenders-in-the-us-2015-7

Smith, J. (2012). 10 ways to get your colleagues to work with you better. Retrieved Jan 27, 2018, from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/10/03/10-ways-to-get-your-colleagues-to-work-with-you-better/#4bec2e914daf

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