Gary Vaynerchuck (aka “Gary V”*) and CEOs Ben Richmond and Joe Walsh are experts in small business venture who formed a panel to answer how to use and access technology and tools to help small business grow in the future. Ben is U. S.manager of Xero and Joe CEO of Thryv. Their thoughts:
“What is the top challenge facing small business owners today?” Gary V: It’s a tricky question because you have the people that were affected by COVID, much more than others in the small business world, so to breakout into a subset, one group is just looking to survive, because the rules of COVID are unfortunately not in their favor. And then the other group is in the macro, more general; it’s how to make marketing money drive their business.
“Why is I so important to support America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs?” Ben R: The United States is one of the largest small business markets in the world. Almost half of the American workforce is employed in small business. We all know of someone who runs a small business -whether they are a sole trader, a gig economy worker, or a business with a staff of, say, 50 people. We buy goods and services from our local businesses, some of us have family members who work in a small business, and some of us are business owners too. We’ve all watched over the past 20 months or so how small businesses have struggled in the face of a global pandemic that forced many to have to adapt their business model an adopt digital tools in order to keep operating.
Joe W: The pandemic was a bucket of cold water in the face for a lot of independent businesses. This came at a time when national and regional companies were coming into their local markets and bringing sophisticated, professional, mobile tools. Small businesses are the backbone of America, and they have realized they better modernize their businesses, or they’re not going to be here. In the last decade -2010 to 2020- we saw enterprise businesses moving computing into the cloud. 2020 to 2030 is the decade of adoption for small businesses as they begin harnessing the cloud. Through the pandemic, they’ve woken up and realized they really need to do this, and it’s finally taking off.
“What are some of the technologies you feel can help elevate small businesses?” Gary V: It it’s a B2B small businesses, it’s LinkedIn -pictures and videos, but then spend media behind it. It it’s a consumer product, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook are where to go. You can’t think that social networks are changing the world through democracy and politics, and not also then recognize that they are the massive driver of business today. And we continue to have a large percentage of the world underestimate social media as a nice little thing, versus the fundamental force of communication, which leads to business.
“What would your advice be to small business looking to work on their brand proposal?” Ben R: My advice is to think about why you started your small business and what you stand for. At Xero our purpose is to make life better for small businesses, their advisers, and communities around the world. One of our core company values is “#human”, which allows us to put our people and customers front and center. Our values help create our unique culture.
“Why is it important for small businesses to create an effective digital experience for their customers?” Joe W: People’s attention spans are razor thin at this point. If you’ve got them for even a minute, you need to somehow connect with them and make it easy to complete business with you so they can draw a lines through their to-do list, everyone loves that. Fingerprint those connections and stay with them throughout their journey. That’s what the most successful, fastest-growing businesses do.
*Gary V is Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur, investor, author, public speaker, and internet personality known in entrepreneurship circles.
Courtesy of Media Planet 12/2021 Future of BusinessandTech.com