Modern technology can be an amazing tool, making our lives easier in numerous areas, and businesses of all sizes are becoming increasingly aware of its abilities to help with traditional, laborious or potentially confusing tasks.
For example, recent data shows that within US SMBs, SaaS penetration increased from 27% in 2011 to 58% in 2014 and reached 73% in 2016. While these tools were once the secret weapons of companies with deep pockets, a larger number of small businesses are opening up to new forms of software and other technology services.
Here in the Midwest startups are flourishing, and small businesses across the region are seeing the benefits. Zelda’s Sweet Shoppe is well known in Chicago as the place to go for gourmet bakery goods and sweet gifts, and openly acknowledges the impact that Toronto based startup inFlow has had on their business.
inFlow, which proudly states that it is “the world’s most loved and downloaded inventory software”, was utilized by the family-run bakery after it was let down by their previous bookkeeper.
The company used their unique software to tackle unique issues within their company. This was highlighted in detail in a blog post on inFlow’s website by Elliott Neiman, the Information Systems Manager of Zelda. In the post, Neiman explains how the introduction of inFlow’s service has helped streamline their business.
“One challenge as Zelda’s grew was in printing out case labels for large orders. The labels needed to identify case contents for orders as large as 2,000 cases […] I was able to automate this process by accessing the inFlow database externally. In this case, inFlow makes life easier (and more fun) for techies by allowing experts to access the program’s database from outside the program,” he states.
Other startups across the country are striving to help deliver insights and services in other ways, such as social media. Having an online presence is incredibly essential in the Midwest, and this has become increasingly important as traditional Mom and Pop stores are slowly being fazed out by more modern independent shops.
In light of this, startups such as Curaytor, a full-service digital marketing company, have arisen to help smaller businesses handle their online activity, ultimately allowing clients to acquire and retain more customers.
In a previous article in Entrepreneur, Chris Smith, the Co-Founder of Curaytor, shares his insight into marketing using Facebook Ads. In the article, he talks about the evolution of advertising from more traditional methods to the modern digital landscape of Facebook.
“With traditional media in a downturn, companies are increasingly jumping ship from advertising on TV, in newspapers and magazines, and are instead throwing a big chunk of their advertising dollars at Facebook.” He states.
Due to the constant advancements in modern technology, we are witnessing paradigm shifts across many industries. Consequently, services from talent professionals and startups are increasingly in demand from smaller businesses to ensure they can keep up in this ever-changing digital environment.