The Dell Small Business PodFerence is a partnership between Dell Technologies and your favorite podcasters to give you actionable advice about the ever-changing digital workforce by the field’s leading experts.
What We Discuss:
- The post-pandemic world has opened up a ton of exciting opportunities and possibilities for small businesses — and served up new challenges and expectations that small businesses now need to meet.
- Fortunately, there is a whole range of incredible new technologies empowering small businesses to adapt, level up, and perform at an unparalleled level of sophistication.
- Tools that used to be available only to the big guys are now available to organizations of all sizes.
- Capabilities that used to be too complex or too expensive for smaller enterprises to implement are now cheaper, more flexible, and more available than ever before.
- Discover how these tools now scale to the user instead of the other way around, and how your small business can leverage this tech for almost-unlimited upside.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to business owners and operators around the world. But it’s also galvanized the creation of tools and procedures to help us adapt to these challenges.
Small businesses are ready to thrive again and looking for resources to rise to the challenge. That’s why Dell Technologies has assembled an all-star lineup of podcasters for the third year in a row to create a virtual conference to share advice and inspiration for small businesses. Whether you’re still working remotely or back together again, let Dell Technologies help safeguard your business with modern devices and Windows 11 Pro. Search Dell Technologies Small Business PodFerence on Audacy, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts to discover more.
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
If you missed our interview with Greylock’s Reid Hoffman, don’t panic! You can catch up by starting at episode 207: Reid Hoffman | Mastering Your Scale for the Unexpected Part One!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Dell Small Business PodFerence | Dell Technologies
- Digital Customer Experience Trends | User Report
- Do You Know the Four Pillars of Omnichannel Marketing? | Invoca Blog
- Benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS) for Small Businesses | Bellwether
- Small Business Management Software: Case Studies of Successful Implementations | Business-Software.com
- 4 Creative Ways Small Businesses Are Using AR and VR | Chamber of Commerce
- 10 Small Business Tech Trends | Business News Daily
- The Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics | Small Biz Genius
Bonus: Dell Small Business PodFerence | Game-Changing Tech
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Small businesses are ready to thrive again and looking for resources to rise to the challenge. That's why Dell Technologies has assembled an all-star lineup of podcasters for the third year in a row to create a virtual conference, to share advice and inspiration for small businesses. Whether you're still working remotely or back together again, let Dell Technologies help safeguard your business with modern devices and Windows 11 Pro. Search Dell Technologies Small Business PodFerence on odyssey.com, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts starting May 10th.
[00:00:32] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with show producer Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional Fortune 500 CEO, mafia enforcer, or tech mogul. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:01:01] If you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about it, the starter packs are where you do it. These are collections of our favorite episodes, organized by topic to help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show — topics like persuasion and influence, disinformation and cyber warfare, technology and futurism, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:25] So Dell has tasked us to do this bonus episode to talk about how new technology is shaping the future of small businesses. This new post-pandemic world has opened up a ton of exciting opportunities and possibilities for businesses, especially for small businesses. It's also served up new challenges and expectations that small businesses now need to meet.
[00:01:45] The great news is there's a whole range of incredible new technologies, empowering small businesses to adapt, level up, and perform at an unparalleled level of sophistication. Tools that used to be available only to humongous companies are now available to organizations of all sizes and capabilities that used to be too complex, too expensive, impossible to install for smaller enterprises. They're now cheaper, more flexible, and more available than ever before. And all of these tools are now scaled to the user instead of the other way around.
[00:02:17] I'm not sure this has ever happened before in history, which means that businesses that can leverage this tech have almost unlimited upside. In fact, I've actually seen that firsthand here on this podcast. We've got, I don't know, I would say a dozen or so employees spread across the world. We've taken advantage of every tool at our disposal to create an infrastructure that allows us to put out a high-quality show, fairly seamlessly, three to four times a week. We don't have an office. There's not a dedicated technical team. There's no crazy onsite infrastructure or a massive IT budget. It's really amazing to be able to do this. And it's not just because of our creativity and implementing that. It's because of the tech really. So in many ways, there has never been a more exciting time for small businesses.
[00:03:02] So on this special episode for Dell Small Business PodFerence, we're going to explore a few of the game-changing advantages that new tech is offering small business — how small business can capitalize on these to deliver better results and what all of these developments mean for small business owners, their employees, and of course, their customers, starting with an elevated customer experience. New technology is allowing small businesses to significantly improve their customer experience. As I mentioned before, tools that were once only available to major corporations with huge budgets in a server room in the basement are now more easily available to small businesses, which can now create a stronger presence and deeper relationship with customers at various points in the value chain.
[00:03:46] So tech-driven shopping comes to mind. The pandemic accelerated the shift to more efficient and seamless customer experiences, especially online. Small businesses now have access to a suite of tools that enable a more streamlined customer relationship, including online shopping, self-scheduling, mobile payments on a handheld tablet, QR codes, self-checkout tools.
[00:04:09] We're not just talking about the QR code menu at a restaurant, Gabriel. I mean, we are now talking about — I don't even bring my wallet around anywhere. Every place takes mobile payments. I don't need to do much to interact with a business anymore. They don't need to have a printer for extra menus and a pencil stack for people, right? All of that stuff is now done on your own device most of the time. VR and AR are also driving new shopping experiences by allowing customers to engage with products and experiences in new ways.
[00:04:40] For example, AR, VR, and mixed reality applications tailored to smaller enterprises. They can allow customers to try on clothes. You can tour a space without setting foot anywhere in a physical environment. A lot of stores are almost like blank spaces now where you can actually demo stuff that is probably in a box in the back or that you even odor online. It's really incredible. Also, high-touch customer service has really taken a step up. Stronger customer service is by far one of the biggest benefits of new technology. With the advent of new applications and infrastructure, small businesses can now be there for their customers in increasingly powerful ways.
[00:05:21] Examples of this are going to be white-glove installation support. For example, I ordered this cold plunge pool because I'm a Silicon Valley weirdo, like a lot of other people around here. And this is essentially a giant bathtub, right? It's heavy. And you buy this probably super expensive for those people thing. And you know, what are you going to do? Put in the backyard? Well, they said no, when you get this and the guys come by and put it where you want it. Most of the time, that's where the customer experience would end. But not with this, with this, the founder of the company jumps on Zoom on your phone shows you how to use it, gives you best practices. And for me, anyway, and he said for a lot of customers, he wants to actually do the first plunge with the customer.
[00:06:10] So he will be in the office or whatever, setting up an appointment for a new customer, and he'll be jumping into his cold pool. At the same time, you jump into yours, which sounds a little bit silly, but think about it. You're jumping into this person's product at the same time, they're using it with you. They're telling you everything about it. That's better than, "Hey, it didn't crack on the way to your house. Bye." You know, that's what you're usually getting when you buy something. It's like buying furniture and then the founder of the company or the designer of the furniture Zooms you and says, "I'm lounging on the exact same thing in my living room. Check out how it calibrates this way and how you can adjust this and that and the other thing." It just builds a better relationship with the customer.
[00:06:50] Another great example of how customer service is upping its game with new tech. Something called collaborative environment sharing. So think about a startup software company, helping customers troubleshoot a problem by sharing screens, using remote access, kind of getting in there with the customer in real-time. That's a huge leap forward. Think about the last time you had. Maybe your parents or your auntie or uncle with something on their computer, over the phone and how much longer that took for, right? No longer. Right now they can just go, "Hey, can you see my screen? Great. Here's what you click. Here's what I click. Oh, you can't find it. Can I control your screen? Here's the thing you're looking for right in front of you." I mean, that is saving hours of time and the dent on my desk from banging my head against it has not increased in size since this has become a thing.
[00:07:42] Finally, another huge step forward in the customer experience, I would say it's automation and personalization. So let's think of a small optometry business, or maybe a barbershop, or a mechanic, they can schedule automated follow-ups for surveys, reviews, additional support. My barber can remind me when it's probably time for a haircut. I can schedule with him online. No more is it like showing up and waiting, finding out it's super busy, trying to figure out if they can answer their phone so you can ask how busy it is. All this stuff can be automated. You can actually get a read on how busy a business is at any particular point in time. You don't have to remember to schedule your next appointment at your previous appointment, et cetera.
[00:08:25] Also, small apparel companies can use stored customer data to offer the right types of support to the right customer at the right time as well. I mean, even my toothbrush is doing this now, Gabriel. I saw the toothbrush that I have has a little chip in it and it's very tiny, but it will tell the toothbrush which tells the app on my phone when the head is probably used up and it can actually order a new toothbrush head on Amazon automatically when this one is used up and I seem to be out of them, which is freaking bonkers. Like toothbrush is smarter than me now. That's sad.
[00:09:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's brilliant, actually. Yeah. And it's not only brilliant because they're increasing sales, but they're also probably gathering really great data on how often people order, which calls to action they respond to, connecting that data with other pieces of information they have about you. There's a bigger picture at play. It's wild.
[00:09:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, there is. Listen, I'll tell you now. I'm taking better care of my teeth. This is so dumb, but I'm taking better care of my teeth because I'm like, they know, they know I skipped brushing this morning and it's in a computer database somewhere. And one day when I'm like 70 and I'm like, "I don't know why I have fake teeth." They're going to be like, "You know why?" They're going to pull up a tablet at some point, and they're going to go, "You didn't brush in the morning on all of these particular days. And this is why you have no teeth, Jordan. You know, you made your bed now, sleep in it." So yeah, I'm taking better care of my teeth because of this kind of tech.
[00:09:50] So, I don't know if that's a customer service benefit, but I think it is because—
[00:09:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: The customer experience, for sure.
[00:09:54] Jordan Harbinger: —it's changing my behavior for the better, even if I kind of hate it right now, right? It's a little—
[00:09:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Definitely.
[00:09:58] Jordan Harbinger: It's like a personal trainer.
[00:10:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: For sure.
[00:10:00] Jordan Harbinger: Long-term benefit. The upsides to this tech-driven customer experience are, of course, a deeper connection to customers, more direct access to customer feedback and higher customer satisfaction and retention, and a stronger reputation overall. And apparently, for me, longer retention of my teeth. So there's that.
[00:10:19] Also channel integration. So brick-and-mortar stores and digital businesses used to be completely different models, right? It was like either you were one or the other. They were often siloed within larger companies. The post-pandemic future actually points to what experts call the omnichannel experience. And the omnichannel experience is a fully integrated brick and mortar/digital experience that offers customers — and they love this — a seamless experience.
[00:10:50] So think about a small cosmetics company that sells its products on its website, but they also have a dedicated app and they use Instagram's shopping tab and they use Amazon as well as their own brick-and-mortar stores. I don't want to mention the brands because I might get it wrong, but you see this stuff happening all the time, especially for brands that serve as people that are, let's say under 40, 50. Behind the scenes, channel integration depends on a ton of powerful new tools that are really only now becoming affordable and scalable for small businesses before you could do it, sure, but you need to roll it out at your 400 locations internationally or nationwide.
[00:11:28] Now, you can do it with one location with one boutique, and these tools might include CRM systems to manage your customer, website and social media analytics, marketing automation software. You know, when they send you an email and they know that you always click on the deal of the day, but never anything else, they can sort of send you more of that and less of the other. That tech stack that seamlessly integrates all of these capabilities is now something that small businesses can actually afford to do. It's not something that's aspirational. It's really within reach.
[00:11:58] So the bottom line is that new infrastructure and applications are transforming the quality of the customer experience and powerful, scalable technology is allowing small businesses to be there for their customers in pretty much brand new ways, provide the flexibility that customers increasingly expect, and foster a close relationship with customers throughout the customer lifestyle.
[00:12:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: So true, Jordan. That is all having a profound impact on small businesses. But you know, the other big trend we have to talk about is the rise and the power of software as a service or SAS. So look, SAS is not a new trend in the tech world. It's been here for what 10, 15 years probably rose with the internet, but its massive impact on smaller enterprises is only now really becoming clear. Because it used to be that you would have this self-hosted software, you know, you'd install it on individual computers or in servers that are on site. And that used to keep smaller enterprises lagging behind their larger peers.
[00:12:57] SAS is now enabling them to basically enjoy ongoing and immediate application updates. It allows companies to store their data in the cloud, and then they can use that data in new ways and exciting ways as we just talked about, for example, in the case of channel integration. So in short, SAS is transforming small businesses and it's allowing them to perform with the speed and also the power of large companies for usually a fraction of the price.
[00:13:22] So let's talk about just a few of these impacts really quickly. The most obvious one of course is lower costs and lower capital investment. SAS offers a much, much lower initial cost and maintenance burden than self-hosted traditional software. In most cases, small businesses, they don't need to invest a ton of capital at the start to set up on-site infrastructure or create these complicated applications on their own servers. SAS applications also offer more flexible models for their customers. So small businesses usually pay a subscription fee per user. And sometimes additional charges for like storage or bandwidth usage and stuff like that. But that means that the small business that couldn't afford such powerful software in the past, it only ends up paying for the actual use by its employees.
[00:14:05] Another huge benefit, greater efficiencies, stronger capabilities. With SAS, small businesses don't need to worry about things like upgrades and patches. The application provider will make those improvements usually on an almost daily basis and then push the upgrades to the users at all times. And that means no downtime when upgrades are installed. It means no interruption to the business between versions. It also means that small business owners can focus on more important stuff, higher impact activities. They're not running around trying to manage, you know, tedious IT-related issues and troubleshoot really annoying software problems because, you know, they have to, because it's self-hosted.
[00:14:44] Also most SAS software integrates really easily with other software and also existing infrastructure. And it can also expand to other capabilities or modules or whatever it is much more easily than self-hosted software. Small business managers then get to access that SAS application from anywhere with an Internet connection. And that gives them constant access to the company's latest data. It gives them access from anywhere in the world. And perhaps most importantly, these days, it also allows remote employees, part-time employees, you know, hybrid employees, which increasingly makeups small businesses to work even more seamlessly together.
[00:15:17] And the other huge impact of this is stronger customer relationships because SAS has also empowered small businesses to develop stronger connections with their customers. It allows them to improve customer satisfaction, engagement, retention. So for example, let's think about the small restaurant in your neighborhood that implements some kind of marketing platform. Like let's imagine that they implement constant contact, something like that. And then they can send their customers targeted event promotions, special offers, you know, other relevant news about the restaurants.
[00:15:45] And then it can use those communications to increase bookings, increased purchases, inquiries about the restaurant. And it can also create automated campaigns to do things that every restaurant needs like solicit reviews and gather feedback and maintain relationships with their customers over time. And then the restaurant can integrate that software with other existing infrastructure, whether it's a CRM or a payment platform, whatever it is. They can create a very powerful tech stack that allows that small business to scale and to grow.
[00:16:15] So bottom line SAS is transforming small business infrastructure. It's allowing these smaller enterprises to perform like sophisticated companies, but to do that at a fraction of the cost, which is really exciting, SAS also enables better and faster work among employees, more effective communications with customers. And it's doing all of that while reducing the technical burden and the financial burden on the small business. And as we all know, every small business needs, every efficiency it can get.
[00:16:42] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to a special episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show sponsored by Dell Technologies. We'll be right back.
[00:16:48] Small businesses are ready to thrive again and looking for resources to rise to the challenge. That's why Dell Technologies has assembled an all-star lineup of podcasters for the third year in a row to create a virtual conference, to share advice and inspiration for small businesses. Whether you're still working remotely or back together again, let Dell Technologies help safeguard your business with modern devices and Windows 11 Pro. Search Dell Technologies, Small Business PodFerence on odyssey.com, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts starting May 10th.
[00:17:17] And now back to this special Dell Technologies Small Business PodFerence episode on small business technology trends.
[00:17:24] One thing, Gabriel, that's also been a huge game changer and that I'm particularly excited about — I'm sure I'm not alone here — is faster, wireless speeds. 5G, man.
[00:17:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, yeah.
[00:17:33] Jordan Harbinger: Every major telecom network in the US is in the process of rolling this out. It's going to usher in an era of gigabit speeds. Faster speed means new capabilities, new experiences, new efficiencies. Shorter communication delays between customers and small businesses is the obvious one here. Faster wireless speed means less latency. Less latency means better communication between devices. And of course, the faster devices can communicate. The more seamlessly a business actually runs and the greater the results it can produce.
[00:18:04] The big winner here is small businesses that rely on the Internet of Things. Systems comprising multiple devices, interfaces, tablets, centers, servers, all the pieces that collect crucial data, perform analytics, interact with customers, fulfill product placement, process payments, all that jazz. According to Erickson, which is a major mobile technology manufacturer, there will be 30 billion IoT devices by 2027, 30 billion. With 5.5 billion of them operating on cellular connections, which makes 5G a game changer for this emerging small business technology.
[00:18:43] The other huge impact, greater efficiency for augmented and virtual reality. I touched on this a little bit earlier, but with faster wireless speeds, AR and VR applications will perform at a much higher level, especially for customers and employees that are on the go. Up until now, AR and VR applications have mostly had to rely on Wi-Fi. Think of hands-on customer service support, remote employee recruitment, immersive education training, mixed reality in-store experiences — these all require huge amounts of bandwidth. There was just no way to pull that off on your 2015 smartphone. But now with 5G gigabit speeds, this could make this powerful technology work for many more use cases on many more devices. It could also expand what small businesses do on a wireless network alone, giving them much more flexibility, creativity, and connection with their workforce and customers.
[00:19:39] And finally, the other massive benefit for small businesses. It's going to be increased productivity for hybrid and remote employees. So the rollout of 5G also means faster Internet speeds for workers in the new economy. That means employees working out of the office, whether from their living room couch, at an airport terminal, or on a beach somewhere, they're going to be able to take advantage of comparable Internet speeds to those of traditional offices. That means less latency between remote workers in their offices, fewer technical obstacles to seamless remote work, and greater productivity all around.
[00:20:15] Obviously, this is a huge boon for millions of small business remote workers, all around the, especially with the rise of cloud computing and virtualization, but high-speed wireless service, it's also crucial to small companies, which by the way, the latest research shows that they are twice as likely to hire full-time remote workers in the new economy.
[00:20:36] So the bottom line here, 5G will further accelerate existing trends in customer service, employee relations, and remote work model. High-speed wireless will also facilitate new technologies, devices, and experiences for small businesses, making it a pretty exciting piece of small business infrastructure.
[00:20:54] So there you have it. A few of the top tech trends shaping/reshaping small businesses here in 2022. There are so many exciting opportunities for smaller enterprises to adapt to customer and employee expectations right now. And to do so without having to spend a ton of money, hire a bunch of new folks, or spend a ton of precious time maintaining your technology infrastructure. Like I said, this entire show, which is made by a pretty lean team, uses a tech stack that just five or 10 years ago wasn't available to companies our size/available at all.
[00:21:29] And with every year we take advantage of new software, new systems and infrastructure to produce our show. We create courses and products and put them out into the world and maintain a close connection with our listeners. And that suite of tools is available to any kind of small business, whether you are a mom-and-pop bakery or a family-owned car repair shop, or a startup clothing brand, just really exciting times, all around.
[00:21:54] Special thanks to Dell Technologies for making this happen. Definitely check out their amazing PodFerence lineup. That'll be available at odyssey.com starting on May 10th. Links to all the resources you need will be at jordanharbinger.com. Feel free to go there and grab any links you might want. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support this show. Thanks to Dell for helping make this one happen. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn.
[00:22:23] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's interested in tech trends, reshaping the world of work, definitely share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:22:56] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's a trailer of our interview with Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, and an investor in one of Silicon Valley's top VC firms. He drives by the show to discuss how we can tell when we're informing our intuition with the best available data, or if we're just procrastinating to avoid making important decisions, and why never give up is terrible advice, and how to separate our winning instincts from our losing ideas. That's coming right up after the show.
[00:23:25] Reid Hoffman: A piece of advice I most often give entrepreneurs is don't just work on the product, work on your go-to-market. It's a huge world. It's eight billion people, right? How do you stand out against eight billion people? Actually, in fact, that's kind of challenging.
[00:23:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's a good — are we at eight already?
[00:23:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:23:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:23:40] Reid Hoffman: Yeah, the "Ooh, I build this thing in a corner. No one sees it and maybe the best thing ever, but no one sees it. So it's never used," that's the problem on the entrepreneurship side. So network, one key component. Another one is which is your plan A, you have plans B, which is how to think about like, "Well, if A is not working on, maybe B will work or maybe B would be a different path," or you're not coming. And then you have a Z plan, which is, "It's not working out at all. What's my lifeboat plan. I'm going to row to a different set of plan A and plan B's."
[00:24:08] There's always luck. There's always timing. The game is not so much, "Can I be one of the heroes that's written about in the next hundred years?" But the game is, "Can I do something that, where I started from, I can make something interesting.
[00:24:23] You're playing your own game. Yes, your passion's important, but you should be paying attention to market realities. You should say, "Well, what are the opportunities look like? What does competition look like? What's the best match for me to what the opportunity landscape looks like." You can always say, "Well, more data is useful," the test is what's the minimum set of data that you would actually, in fact, make this decision.
[00:24:45] Jordan Harbinger: We need to separate our winning intuition or instincts from our losing ideas.
[00:24:51] Reid Hoffman: More often than not greater than 50 percent of the time, you're going to have to give up on that. Everyone loves to tell these narratives of, "When I was two, I knew what I was going to do when I was 40. And it was a straight line. It was kind of smooth sailing. The wind was at our backs. It was kind of unproblematic." It's always fiction.
[00:25:12] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Reid Hoffman in a two-part mashup that includes cameos by the founder of Spotify, the CEO of Yahoo, and more, check out episode 207 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:25:24] Small businesses are ready to thrive again and looking for resources to rise to the challenge. That's why Dell Technologies has assembled an all-star lineup of podcasters for the third year in a row to create a virtual conference to share advice and inspiration for small businesses. Whether you're still working remotely or back together again, let Dell Technologies help safeguard your business with modern devices and Windows 11 Pro. Search Dell Technologies Small Business PodFerence on odyssey.com, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts starting May 10th.
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