Independent Business: A Force to Be Listened To

start-upsBy Adrian Pike

Over the past several years, we have witnessed an incredible rise in the creation and growth of small businesses and start-ups. And the reason is quite simple. 

Today’s SMBs have a chance to be more independent, now more than ever. Why? Because tools are created to help them manage all aspects of their business without having to deal with external parties: whether it is their finance, order management or social media, SMBs need tools that are designed to be intuitive, self-serve and, most importantly, cost-effective.

Not only is it needed, it is now expected. Small businesses, especially retailers, are looking for the same kind of opportunities that bigger players have to sell their products. But they also need solutions that are adapted to the reality of their business and especially their budget. Over the last couple years, digital advertising has become one of those opportunities.

Breaking the barriers

The perception has always been that digital advertising is too expensive and complex for smaller companies to execute which is why the digital advertising adoption, to date, has been low. Meanwhile, those businesses are not reaching an increasing number of digital consumers. The digital advertising revenue is expected to reach $83 billion in 2017 – and that’s only in the U.S. It seems unthinkable that SMBs don’t have the opportunity to participate in this industry when they total 97% of businesses in the U.S.

The key here is breaking this notion that online advertising is expensive. Yes, big brands with global reach, like Coca-Cola®, McDonalds® or Nike®, will spend millions of dollars on digital campaigns, but they are reaching customers around the globe. Small businesses and stores, for their part, often simply need a local reach, which considerably reduces the required budget and makes the whole endeavor more accessible.

But cost-effectiveness isn’t the only barrier to small businesses using digital advertising. As mentioned previously, owners also look for solutions that are intuitive, self-serve, and that don’t need a high level of expertise. So far, this industry seemed to be the domain of players with high level of expertise. However, small business owners often don’t have the time or inclination to learn the intricacies of this highly technical domain.

But now, solutions are created to simplify the digital advertising process for all types of businesses, from mom and pop shops to larger retailers who want to do it on their own. Platforms offer ways to build ads and target increasingly precise audiences, giving more opportunities to reach a new set of customers.

Plus, in the spirit of not needing technological knowledge to leverage those solutions, platforms are also integrated with machine learning, which means the campaign will tune itself automatically to generate the best results possible – no need to even lift a finger.

Leveling the playing field to include all companies of all sizes

Even with the equalizing effect of the Internet and mobile technology, digital advertising is still very much the domain of the bigger players. But as the tools become simpler to use, the playing field will be flattened with more companies, of all sizes, participating in digital advertising’s fast growing industry. This is welcome news enabling small businesses to have access to more sophisticated tools to reach their audience, as precise and local as it may be.