Spraying disinfectants can be ‘harmful’, says WHO

This photo shows members of a police sanitation team spraying disinfectant as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Bozhou, in China.

 

This photo taken on February 18, 2020 shows members of a police sanitation team spraying disinfectant as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Bozhou, in China’s eastern Anhui province. – (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Spraying disinfectant on the streets and walls, as we have seen practiced in some countries recently, does not eliminate the new CoronaVirus and even poses a health risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned.

In a document on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as part of the response to the virus, the WHO says spraying can be ineffective. “Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is… not recommended to kill the Covid-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris,” explains the WHO.

“Even in the absence of organic matter, chemical spraying is unlikely to adequately cover all surfaces for the duration of the required contact time needed to inactivate pathogens.”

Physically and psychologically harmful

The WHO said that streets and pavements are not considered as “reservoirs of infection” of Covid-19, adding that spraying disinfectants, even outside, can be “dangerous for human health”.

The document also stresses that spraying individuals with disinfectants is “not recommended under any circumstances”.

“This could be physically and psychologically harmful and would not reduce an infected person’s ability to spread the virus through droplets or contact,” said the document. Spraying chlorine or other toxic chemicals on people can cause eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm and gastrointestinal effects, it adds.

The organisation is also warning against the systematic spraying and fumigating of disinfectants on to surfaces in indoor spaces, citing a study that has shown it to be ineffective outside direct spraying areas.

Recorded under laboratory conditions

“If disinfectants are to be applied, this should be done with a cloth or wipe that has been soaked in disinfectant,” it says.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of the pandemic that has killed more than 300 000 people worldwide since its appearance in late December in China, can attach itself to surfaces and objects.

However, no precise information is currently available for the period during which the viruses remain infectious on the various surfaces.

Studies have shown that the virus can stay on several types of surfaces for several days. However, these maximum durations are only theoretical because they are recorded under laboratory conditions and should be “interpreted with caution” in the real-world environment.

Top Fast Internet New Year Resolutions You Can Live By in 2020

year 2020

year 2020

 

As you get ready to face the new year with new resolutions, Galactic Hosting has come up with a list of simple and attainable internet resolutions that you can live by.

If you have fibre in your area and have the power of super-fast internet at your fingertips, then consider these top resolutions to get the most out of your fibre internet service in the new year. You will save money, time, expand your knowledge and learn new things, and find that essential downtime to just relax and shoot the breeze…

Top Galactic Hosting resolutions for 2020:

  • Save money on your data and connectivity costs – with the power of superfast, uncapped and reliable fibre connectivity rolling out in homes across the country, accessing these services now comes at a fraction of the eye-watering costs of mobile data, LTE-A  and other wireless broadband connections.  Having a reliable, fast and uncapped fibre internet connection means you can now get serious about containing expensive data packages and get a lot more mileage for your money with your ‘connected’ home.
  • Wifi-calling, Facetime and Video-calling:  You can make video or audio calls over your fibre wi-fi connection via Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime (Apple devices) so you’ll save on telephony and mobile network costs and never have to worry about your data running out while you’re face-timing your bestie in New York or Holland.  Set your mobile phone up to automatically switch to your wi-fi network at home and save by keeping your (more expensive) mobile data for when you’re not within the wi-fi range.
  • Video and audio on Demand – With fibre internet, you will be spoilt for choice with entertainment, news and sports channels.  You can subscribe to multiple streaming services for music, video and entertainment at an absolute fraction of the subscription cost of a typical satellite pay-TV subscription – think NetflixShowtimeShowmax and Classic Cinema Online to YouTubeAmazon Prime Video and so much more.  Watch what you want, listen to what you want, when you want.  You can also download content to watch later, so if you’re travelling or you have a power failure but you have a UPS, you can still watch on a laptop, tablet or TV.  And as a last tantaliser, your fibre line is impervious to weather, so no annoying satellite TV interruptions in a downpour or waiting weeks for technicians to come and repair your ADSL line.
  • Online Shopping – Beat the queues and wasted time spent doing price comparisons – shop online, save time and avoid that ever tempting impulse buys that store retailer place in your path.  Many grocery retailers allow you to draw up a handy online shopping list which you can revisit with every shop, and simply add to or deduct from for those regular monthly groceries – so you save time, money, petrol and only purchase what you really need.  And who wouldn’t love the convenience of having it all delivered at your doorstep?
  • Safety and Security – Keeping our loved ones and homes safe is a top priority.  With an uncapped fibre line, you can connect safety and security devices such as your alarm system and CCTV cameras to the web, allowing you to remotely log in and access these devices – you can check in on your cameras and see what’s is going on at home or the office.  You can even arm and disarm your alarm remotely.  If your vehicle tracking provider offers a portal login, you can use your internet connection to log in and check where your loved ones are travelling and that they are safe.
  • Learn something new – one of the most exciting developments that has come about with reliable fibre internet connectivity is online learning.  And before you clock out thinking this is only for the academically-inclined, check out the likes of Udemy for a mind-blowing array of mind-stretching and very affordable educational experiences – from learning to play a new musical instrument, photography and design courses, to cooking and baking up a storm of the latest foodie trends, to fitness and health, meditation, travel, DIY, gaming, through to specific industry trades, academics and teaching content.  The internet is the most extensive library of learning materials, and it’s all available to you courtesy of a high-speed, reliable internet connection. As they say in the classics – a mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions.
  • Music Streaming – Music streaming is the ultimate spoil when it comes to some well-deserved chill and relax time to your favourite tunes, or if you’re so inclined, some hectic cardio-pumping hits to get you and your gym workout lit.   Think SpotifyJooxiTunesYoutube Music and Google Play Music – no one still forks out for archaic CDs and DVDs that take up space, scratch and deteriorate over time.
  • Get e-mail – Sign up for an e-mail account and stay in touch.  There’s very little you can do today without an email address and internet connection – free e-mail services like Google’s Gmail are perfect if you don’t have access to subscription-based services such as Microsoft Office and Outlook.  With symmetrical upload and download speeds – which basically means your line uploads files as quickly as it downloads them, those e-mail attachments will fly through for speedy communication.
  • Cloud-based storage and back-up – Make it your new year resolution to get serious about backing up your important data – providers like Google, who will offer up to a certain limit, free storage.  The best part of being in the cloud is having access to your data and documents from any device, anywhere in the world, with a simple log in.  Say goodbye to that filing cabinet and the days of your external hard drive crashing and you losing all your precious family photos and important documents.

Make it your 2020 new year resolution to get the most out of your fibre internet connection.  Most people are surprised at just how much they rely on the internet for their everyday lives, and just how much they can save not only on hard costs but on time, effort and sanity with a reliable, fibre internet connection.

For more information go to https://www.galactichosting.biz

Digital Nomads- A career option to look into in 2020

digital nomad working from home

digital nomad working from the beach

Digital Nomads- Who are they?

 

Have you ever dreamed of working anywhere anytime, while you enjoy traveling? Are you tired of being stuck in the office from 9-5? Join the trend of mobile workers, Digital Nomads! This offers opportunities to work flexible hours, freedom from filling leave forms if you want to travel or take care of family matters. Anyone can do it, from a student who wants to take a sabbatical to a mom who wants to spend time with his kids at home while earning an income.

All you need is a skill and reliable internet connection to offer your services to individuals or organizations. Guess what? South Africa has been named as one of the countries ripe to take advantage of this on-demand service. Many companies are ready and are presently outsourcing their non-core services and you are there to pick and choose whatever suits you.

In as much as this may sound exciting for an adventure seeker, things like living expenses, weather, network coverage, and culture need to be taken into account. if it’s working from home, is there a way of controlling distractions, etc?

What Can You Do?

Many digital nomads work as freelancers and remote workers. it can be web digital nomad working from homedevelopers, app developers, graphic designers, accountants, engineering consultants.  There is a growing demand for online language tutors, translators. Many working parents may not have the skills to assist their children with homework. Why not offer to remotely work with their kids doing their school project and the like?

Don’t have a skill that can enable you to do work online? There are amazing courses in Udemy which can teach you valuable tech skills that don’t require you to step foot into an office. You can sign up for one of their developer courses to broaden your skillset and I fully believe tech is one of the best and most profitable industries for online work. See how many are doing it successfully in this video about Digital Nomads.

Don’t expect overnight success as a digital nomad. Take time to research on the demand for the kind of service you want to offer. Your references and work can make or break you. Build your client base from nearby contacts, some while you’re still working fulltime and in social circles. Build a strong relevant network and expand it.  Make use of social media to get leads and referrals.

It can never be overemphasized how important to have a reliable high-speed internet connection. We have seen upward trends in affordable LTE-A and 5G service in South Africa,  where you can get 20Gb LTE from as little as R250, with service providers like Galactic Hosting. Depending on the work you do, you may need a bigger package. It is important though to check network coverage before you decide to be locked in a reserve in Pilanesberg for example, or in Malelane, only to find that there’s no coverage! Also very important to have is buffer money. There will be months when you don’t earn much. Will you be able to pay rent, your day to day expenses and traveling? At least put aside 3 months’ earnings for such rainy days.

 

Yes, becoming a nomad can be richly rewarding. You can explore and see places you have always dreamed of while earning an income. make 2020, you pioneering year to being a Digital Nomad!

 

TymeBank- Keeps on soaring as it reaches a 1 million mark!

 

Tymeb

Digital-only  TymeBank has signed up one million customers in nine months following its official launch at the end of February this year.

The bank made the announcement at its Rosebank offices on Thursday while updating the public about the latest milestone as well as providing updates on future products and services.

Dr. Patrice Motsepe’s investment holding company African Rainbow Capital (ARC) is the controlling shareholder of TymeBank. While it’s now standalone business, TymeBank made its start as Fintech company seven years ago, managing mobile money for MTN.

TymeBank has entered into a long-term strategic partnership with  giant Pick n Pay and Boxer stores, where 780 kiosks have been deployed to allow its customers to bank at these retailers throughout the country.

 

Speaking at the event, Motsepe said TymeBank is all about technology. “To be able to reach a milestone of having one million clients is something to be proud of. The poor know when they get a good service and a quality service. Quality means it’s got to be world-class; it’s got to be cheaper than the competition; it must be , compatible; it has to be consistent and add value.

“The excellent work and innovation at TymeBank and our competitiveness to provide banking services at the most competitive prices and most reliable services is something that all of us are proud of.

“We’ve reached a million today and we are confident that are many more millions to come,” Motsepe stated.

Dr Johan van Zyl, co-CEO of ARC, added: “Banking in SA is expensive but in TymeBank, we have a winner. Things are on track and we doing very well. We have high hopes and very high aspirations for this venture and we stand behind it as shareholders.”

TymeBank CEO Tauriq Keraan, who recently took over the chief executive post, also applauded the bank’s milestone, saying the partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores has been massively valuable.

“The fact that our technology is hosted in the cloud brings a number of benefits, including elasticity, pay for what you use and leveraging a number of capabilities.

“Our operating model is one that is open that allows us to partner with other organizations to get access to assets that we don’t have to build.

“Nine months ago, we launched with 100 000 customers, but as of today, we have onboard one million customers. In terms of active customers, we have about 420 000 and we are quite pleased we have kept that run rate going.”

Responding to a question from the audience, Keraan indicated the bank aims to break-even by 2022, reaching three million customers during the same time

 

Customer Care- How To Handle An Angry Customer

 

By Lefa Letsoalo

What are the challenges?

In my few years in the the call centre industry (13 years), specializing in Customer care, I have learnt a few tricks in terms how to handle angry or irate customers. With a bulk of my experience in the collections space, you can imagine the number of rude, irate and angry customers one has interacted with.

What I have realised is that majority in the corporate world really misunderstands the importance of having the right people working in the call centre.  There is a lot of verbal abuse call centre consultants go through on a daily basis, communicating with clients or debtors (which are clients nonetheless). Not just anyone and everyone can have the thick skin call centre agents have.

The number one thing that helps us is emotional intelligence (a rare commodity), which helps one know how to read situations and how to react in a matter of second or minutes. That knowledge can determine if an organisation will lose or retain a customer. I don’t really think organisations go out of their way to train their call centre staff on emotional intelligence.  As a Supervisor and Manager. I have attended a number of EQ workshops but not even once have I seen consultants/agents attend such workshops.

With that being said, not every organisation can afford to take hundreds of people on such workshops.  I figured that should share some of the inputs and skills I have acquired and shared with my staff on to trying and better equip them to deal with the anger of verbally abusive customers.

There are four types of Customers in the call centre environment;

  • The Off-loader
  • The Legitimate Grievance
  • The Abusive Customer
  • The Threat-Maker

The Different types of Customers

The Off-loader

More often than not these customers have no grounds for a legitimate complaint. In most cases they are just having a bad day. The closest thing to off-load their frustration is the call centre consultant who will make or take a call from them. The most important thing is for your agent/consultant to ascertain the legitimacy of the the complaint. By just  attentively listening and asking questions for clarity, this can be achieved. Listening is one of the most important skill one needs in a call centre environment.

Best phrases to use:

  • “I’m so sorry that you feel this way, Mr Lyon…”
  • “I can understand your frustration with…”
  •  “May I suggest that…?”
  • “What I’ll do right now is…”
  • “We really do appreciate this feedback, Mrs Brown…”

The Legitimate Grievance

This is the most important one as this is usually when your organisation is at fault.  What you say will determine the direction of the call. You must think of the ripple effect if this customer doesn’t get their query resolved or attended to and they decide to go to the media about your lack of service and bad customer service.

Listening to what the customer is saying by using the “echo effect” is very important as this helps with your own personal understanding of another person’s point-of-view.  The “echo effect” tells people that you’re on the same page as them. It shows that you’re listening to what they are saying, and not just thinking about how you are going to respond. The agent should try to resolve the complaint promptly, obviously keeping in mind the limitation of the mandates allocated to them or they must know the escalation process like the back of their hand if it needs be escalated to the line manager/supervisor. It is imperative that turn around times are communicated and adhered to at all times.

“So Mr Letsoalo, if I understand you correctly, you are unhappy with…”

Phrases to use

  • “So Mr Letsoalo, if I understand you correctly, you are unhappy with…”
  • “Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I will escalate this issue immediately…”
  • “I will call you back on ….. with regards to how far we are  with resolving your query..”
  • “Thank you so much for your patience/understanding, Mrs Zondi…”

The Abusive Customer

I think that this is the worst of customer interaction. I’ve had my fair share of these interactions. Some are still as vivid as the day they happened in my head. In as much it is said that the customer is always right, it makes no sense at all for any person (agent/consultant/supervisor or even Manager) to subject themselves to verbal abuse. The rule of thumb here is to inform the customer at least three times that if he/she carries on with the profanity, you will have to hang up and end the conversation.

EQ plays a huge role here as there is no excuse whatsoever for one to insult a customer.  As a manager or supervisor, you need to train your staff on how to keep calm under such circumstances. What has always seemed to work for me is to have a group call recording listening session with your consultants, listen to a call where the customer/client was irate and abusive to the agent/consultant and analyse the possible ways it could have been handled, preferred outcomes or how brilliantly the call was handled etc.  With EQ training, your staff can start learning other ways of trying to calm the situation down, while still trying to stop the customer from using obscene language.

“I’m going to do my very best to help you, Mr Bamm…but unfortunately we cannot tolerate the kind of language you are using right now…”

Phrases to use

  • “You seem very upset, Mrs Bokaba. Would you prefer I maybe call you after 30 mins….”
  • “I’m going to do my very best to help you, Mr Bamm…but unfortunately we cannot tolerate the kind of language you are using right now…”
  • “I can imagine how this made you feel Mrs Reynecke. Can I perhaps try to offer a solution?”

The Threat-Maker

Now these type of customers are more like empty barrels, they are easily confused with the above mentioned customers but they are not. These customers as the name says, they like to make threats to get the agent/consultant to agree with them on an usually  invalid complaint or query. Their aim is to try to get the agent to react and then use that as leverage to get what they want by maybe lodging a formal complaint or further manipulating the situation. What’s important is for your consultants not to react to the intimidation or threats thrown at them.

I’ve always told people reporting to me (consultants and supervisors alike) to only use facts(knowing your processes and policies in and out is the 1st step) and don’t thumb-suck info as this will probably open up loopholes or give customer further ammunition for additional objections/complaints or queries. It is vital to always understand that, regardless of what the customer says or do, one should always strive to keep a level head and use appropriate empathy and still maintain formality.

Phrases to use:

  • “I can imagine how this made you feel Mrs Bokaba. Can I perhaps try to offer a solution?”
  • “I am more than happy to help you with your concerns Mr Letsoalo…”
  • “Unfortunately our processes don’t allow me to do that Ms Nkosi.  However, I will be more than happy to….”
  • “I understand your frustrations with…….. Can i suggest an alternative to this issue”

What the Conclusion?

Ultimately regardless of which industry you are in,always remember that  Customer is always king. The better equipped your staff is, the better service your business will give customers and most importantly, the better your bottom line. As mentioned before, I firmly believe that if organisations invest in their people by upskilling them with (EQ training), more especially in the call centres, it would go a very long way in customer retention and increasing revenue.

 

Please share your thoughts regarding this piece and I would highly appreciate your feedback.

 

Adapted from  Lefa Letsoalo’s post in LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lefa-letsoalo-05155349/

Listeriosis- A Typical Real Cost of Corruption!

Why Be Concerned About Corruption?

Many think corruption ends with the person accepting a bribe and that it ends there. They reason that they are not criminals because no one is killed, when in fact, the opposite is true.

There are many examples we can look in order to prove otherwise,  but for now, let’s take this recent outbreak of Listeria in South Africa, where more than 190 people lost their lives. It is alleged that the real source of this bacteria is from chicken Imported from Brazil. These are used by the cold meat manufacturers to make polonies and other stuff as we know it. The question then is, were these imports not checked for such infections at arrival in South Africa? How could they have gone through the system undetected? This cannot be by mistake, since foodstuff security is something health officials should take serious since it has a vital impact on the lives of the citizens. 190 lives were lost as a result of this bacteria, something that could have been prevented, Many more are receiving treatment for it.

With Is The Real Cost of Corruption?

Somebody or a group of people, somewhere up in the value chain, decided to turn a blind eye or not even bother to check these chicken imports and test them as required by law. Somebody up there must have received some ‘incentive’ to let them through the system. At what cost? Lives are lost. The company Enterprise may be shut down, leaving thousands of workers without jobs. Many analysts say that the company may not survive the crisis. Newspapers are reporting on the shut down

Logistics companies contracted to Enterprise will lose out on revenue. Surrounding businesses that depended on the existence of Enterprise will be affected. A bakery owner was crying tears the other day. Trays and trays of his bread that he uses to supply those Mammas selling Kotas are not sold. Schools are barring kids from buying from these mammas. These women, many of whom are sole breadwinners at home, most being single mothers, depend on selling the Kotas to make a living. Supermarkets have had to refund consumers for recalled items. VAT charges has to be reversed. Small business owners who were selling cold meat hampers are sitting with no business, the list goes on.

It all starts with corruption. Somebody gets few thousands in his pockets to let things go through, affecting millions down the value chain. This unfortunately, is the real cost of corruption.

 

CRM And Small Businesses

Customer relationship management or CRM software is no longer just for large companies. In today’s highly competitive world, small and mid-sized businesses everywhere should be looking at gaining an edge ahead of their competition. Leveraging the best solution for small business can help you achieve exactly that.

CRM software was originally designed to help businesses build and maintain relationships with new and existing customers. However, these days this solution can do a lot more. It can drive higher productivity and efficiency by streamlining your sales cycle. It can also organize your data, and allow you to view company performance at the click of a button.

If you’re still not sure whether this is the best option for your business,  consider a few benefits.

 What are the benefits of a CRM Solution?

For starters, a CRM can help you centralize your contacts and interactions, decreasing the time you spend searching for information. With it, you have access to information like email, phone number, notes from your last conversation with a prospect. You can also see their website, LinkedIn profile, and so much more in one centralized location, thus saving you time.

Tired of tracking your sales cycle in a spreadsheet? With a CRM for small business you can create views and dashboards to better manage your prospects. For example, with solutions like Bitrix24,  and Insightly CRM you can create a view that allows you to view your prospects in a specific stage of a sales cycle. A CRM solution will also allow you to have better visibility into where your prospects are in a sales cycle. This will ensure you’re focusing your time on the prospects that matter most.

Another great reason to leverage a CRM solution is its ability to sync with your systems. Today, CRMs are robust tools that can communicate with just about any system you’re already using. Integrating tools like Microsoft Office365 with your CRM can streamline your inbound marketing process. For example, when a lead fills out a form on your company’s landing page made through Office365, it will communicate with your CRM, automatically create a lead in your CRM, and prompt a team member to follow up. This type of configuration drastically increases efficiency and reduces the risk of recording incorrect data.

Leveraging a CRM to serve as a single source of truth will help keep your team on the same page, which fosters better internal communication. Storing information in one place saves everyone time (internally and externally), and improves overall experiences.

Most solutions have features that allow you to build customized templates and send mass emails, allowing you to track both open and response rates so that your marketing efforts become super quick and easy evaluate.

What’s Next?

If you choose to use a CRM solution, make sure it’s a cloud based. Also, make sure to research its mobile platform. Cloud based solutions allow you to access information from anywhere so you can update your records while on the go, waiting at the gate for your next flight, or working remotely.  A solution with good mobile platforms make managing your contacts even more accessible and easier.

Reports generated from CRMs are only as good as the data you put into them. However, a CRM can help small businesses tap into insights on a more granular level such as customer information and correspondence, individual sales performance, trends and more to enable you to make effective decisions to grow your business.

CONCLUSION

Running a successful business is not easy, but leveraging a CRM will help drive your business forward by empowering you and your team to be more productive, efficient, keep your data organized, and give you a more precise view of your business’s overall performance. Our Team at Thoromo Investment are at hand to advise you on the best approach.

Buybrown Mall, our Brainchild!

Why BuyBrown Mall?

Many small businesses find it expensive to afford mainstream media advertising. They rely on Word of mouth, and thankfully, Facebook has made it simple and free to advertise your business. This is well and good, but it has it’s limitations. What has that got to do with BuyBrown Mall?

How can you trust what your friends will say about your business? How about that Customer you had to threaten with legal action to get them to pay you? What they say to others about your business can either make it or break it.

How Social network helps 

It is true that many have made a lot of money through social network marketing. By posting on their Facebook pages or in other business related groups, some had made money. But that also has its limitations. Your post is only visible as when people see it. Once others post after you, it disappears into oblivion. Now how are you going to make sure your potential customers always see you?

We came up with a solution

Thoromo Invesment, a Black owned investment company, came up with an idea of pooling together, as much as possible, all black owned businesses. The aim is to promote them in a formal platform, a Business directory. Their Web Development team had to spend a lot of time and other resources in developing this platform, not knowing how the market will receive it, but they had faith that it will be positively accepted. As they are a small developing business themselves, they understand the challenges facing the small business owners and their needs, so hence this platform, BUYBROWN MALL.

It’s not long that this platform has been launched, but the response from the target market has been so tremendous. Thoromo Investment, as the custodian of the campaign, is looking forward to be of service to you, as a partner.

In it’s offerings, there is a 14 days Free listing, to allow you to list your business, with no obligations, to ‘test drive’ the platform. It is expected that by the end of the trial period, you will then upgrade to a 6 or 12 months subscription. There is a Special introductory price on the paid subscriptions until end of August, thereafter normal subscription fee will be applicable. So we invite you to take advantage of the special price, which is about R3 a day, calculated from the annual subscription fee. So, take action today, subscribe with us!  Subscribe Now

 

It’s like being at a mall.

We want to give you a mall feel, from the comfort of your lounge or office. The difference here is, it’s a black-owned mall, for the black-owned businesses, to promote black-owned businesses. Somewhere along the floors, your shop is waiting for you. Come get your key.

 

Happy to help.

You may have some questions or you want to speak to one of our consultants.  Feel free to call us at 010 534 6002 or email us at listings@buybrownmall.co.za

Reason Why Small Businesses Must Consider Adopting Digital Transformation

Many small business owners think that digital transformation belongs to major corporations.  They seem to ignore that they also need to be rapidly engaging with the transformation process in order to remain competitive. This article would like to asses the trends in the field and enable small businesses to see how they can fit in the process.

 

What Is Digital Transformation?

It is a broad term but in the context of small businesses, it generally refers to the process of adapting  current business processes to incorporate digital strategies and technology. This may include adopting new devices so that employees can work away from the office, using mobile apps to improve internal communication, going paperless through digital data capture, putting more services on-line and allowing  consumers to use on-line payments services and the means to make payments either on-line or directly through no contact payment systems.

We are hereby going to look at a few of the emerging trends and strategies small business can consider adopting.

Automation

 Many small businesses are looking at automation. An example of this is using databases to capture information to make the searching for information faster when the need arise.  The advantages of automation is that it allows employees to focus their attentions on more skilled tasks, and on activities that will bring income or lower operating costs. An example of software that can help lower the administrative burden is Microsoft Bookings an online and mobile app for small businesses who provide services to customers on an appointment basis. Examples of such businesses include hair salons, dental offices, spas, law firms, financial services providers, consultants, and auto shops. Bookings has three primary components:

Virtual office

 Solutions like cloud productivity platforms, including Microsoft Office 365, allow employees to work and collaborate at peak proficiency without wasting time. In addition, documents can be accessed at any time from any working environment. Such cloud solutions also affect the changing world of work. The concept of the workday being 9 to 5 and the office with four walls is no longer the norm.  Many employees want to work at different times and locations. Many businesses, especially those that trade worldwide, want a 24-hours-a-day operation.

 

Meeting customer service expectations

Customers  expect faster services from business, according to Microsoft Business, and are often expecting to engage with businesses digitally, from communication to making payments. Customers also expect faster, round-the-clock services and faster deliveries of goods. It is only through digital platforms that businesses can meet these expectations. Customers are also a rich source of data for the business which many smaller businesses fail to collect and use. Such information can help the business to meet changing customer needs, such as which channels customers want to engage with.  Can they engage on-line, via mobile devices or even accessing services or paying for goods by use of smartwatches)

Small businesses should take care not to rush in and adopt technology for it’s sake; this could lead to inefficiencies. Before adoption, businesses should evaluate technology on the basis of:

 Clarity: The technology should be for a precise reason, answering a direct need.
 Simplicity: The solution should allow for less time to spent on IT management, not more
 Security: The technology should maintain a top level of security.
 Reliability: External service providers must guarantee a specific level of service.

 Sustainability: If the platform becomes obsolete, the data must be able to be removed and used with another system.So a scalable technology needs to be considered at the planning stage

These are important considerations for any small business and may open up new possibilities. Digital technology, to a degree, levels the playing field for small businesses versus larger corporations.  It opens up new possibilities for growth and being competitive.

One immediate driver for small businesses is the adoption of mobile payments, which is fast growing in small enterprises. Companies like Yoco have developed solutions no small business must be without.