The future of small business is digital. In the same way that the rise of the internet gave way to new and exciting businesses like Amazon and Netflix, so too will a widespread adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other emerging technologies give rise to new business models. The number of small businesses operating online continues to increase.
According to statistics from eMarketer, in 2016 approximately 51% of US consumers made purchases from an online retailer they have never visited before as part of their everyday routine. And we expect this trend to continue growing by another 22% by 2020. This article explores why you should consider starting a digital business and covers some great ideas for where you could start such a venture.
Even if not all these ideas are right for you personally, there’s plenty here that we think can inspire anyone who’s considering going into business for themselves in the coming years.
Why digital? The benefits of a startup business
There are a number of benefits to starting a digital business as opposed to a traditional brick-and-mortar business. The first and arguably most important is that you don’t need a large amount of capital to get started.
This is especially true if you operate in a field where you don’t need a lot of physical infrastructure, like online retail, online services, or software. This is what has given rise to terms like “micro-enterprise”, which refers to small-scale entrepreneurship that doesn’t require a lot of capital. This is particularly relevant to younger generations who are considering starting a business.
You may have a great idea for a business and plenty of passion for what you want to do, but if you don’t have a lot of money to get started, you may have felt that it wasn’t worth the risk. Digital businesses, on the other hand, are often very low-cost to launch. This makes them accessible for new entrepreneurs, regardless of their financial situation.
Digital skills are key to future employment
The digital skills gap is a well-known problem across the world. Many employers struggle to find candidates with the right skills, especially in some highly specialized fields like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
This is great news for people interested in these fields, but not such great news for employers. What it means is that if you have the right skills, you can command higher wages than you would have been able to otherwise. What it also means, however, is that if you don’t have these skills, you’re going to have a hard time getting a job in a growing field.
As the demand for skills in these fields continues to grow, it’s important for people who want a career with a future to get the training they need to succeed. If you’re considering a career path in AI or ML, whether through self-study or a university program, you may find that starting a business that builds on your new skills is the best way to get started.
A better customer experience is key to success
The days of brick-and-mortar businesses being able to ignore the needs of their customers are over. You’ve probably heard of the rise of the “New Customer”, which refers to the fact that people are now more demanding than ever before.
They have high expectations of businesses, and if they don’t get what they want, they’re quick to leave and never come back. What this means is that, more than ever before, businesses need to make sure they are providing a great customer experience.
Otherwise, they’re going to lose more and more customers every year. This is particularly true for businesses that are online where you don’t have the luxury of face-to-face customer service. In fact, a great customer experience is going to be the best way to win over customers who might be wary at first of doing business without seeing a physical storefront.
AI and ML will be the backbone of digital business
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are some of the most talked about technologies of our generation. And for good reason, too. AI and ML are set to change the world as we know it. And they’re going to have a profound impact on the way businesses operate.
For example, AI and ML are great tools for customer service. They can monitor customer service interactions to see where humans are making mistakes and learn from them. This can help businesses reduce customer service costs while also improving the quality of service. Now, there’s a lot of hype surrounding AI and ML, and much of it is not justified.
However, it’s clear that these technologies are going to be a big part of business in the coming years. If you want to be prepared for the future of business, you should consider starting a digital business.
Digital products are everywhere, regardless of your business.
Let’s face it: it doesn’t matter what service or product you plan to sell, it’s almost certain that it’s available as a digital version. You’ll find mobile apps and websites that let you do anything from buy groceries to book a vacation.
What this means is that you can sell digital products across a wide variety of industries. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a physical product, like a bakery selling online pastries, or a service, like an app developer.
You can also sell digital products through a variety of channels, including e-commerce platforms, social media, and your own website. No matter what kind of business you want to start, you can be confident that there will be a digital way to sell it.
Now, the rise of the internet has given rise to a lot of new businesses that weren’t possible 20 or 30 years ago. A digital business is a business that operates primarily online.
While the internet has certainly changed how we interact with businesses, it’s important to remember that it hasn’t changed business itself. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get started with a digital business, whether you’re interested in building software, or you want to leverage the power of user-generated content.
Whether you’re hoping to start a blog, or you want to create an app, you can get started with an online business and help change the future of business, too.