How can technology help my business to trade?
Businesses that adopt new technology can be better positioned to seize opportunities in global marketplaces to fill unmet needs and interests of customers. For example, technologies like mobile devices, social media, and cloud computing reduce up-front investments and improve marketing and management practices to reach customers worldwide. New technologies can also help your business to trade by outsourcing services and building partnerships in supply chains that are essential for entering into new markets. Learn more at The Balance Small Business, All Business, and Technivorz.
What new technologies and digital tools can I consider?
Some examples of new technologies that can help your business to be more competitive in global markets are:
- Cloud computing: This refers to a centralized location on the internet that stores data and information. Cloud computing helps businesses save costs from installing hardware and software. It also enhances business productivity and performance in meeting operational goals. Cloud computing allows companies to set up webships more easily. You can also benefit from adopting more flexibility in interacting with your workers and customers on a regular basis. Learn more from Microsoft and the Balance.
- Social media: Several websites and applications make it easy to share content with the public. Some of the well-known social media apps are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok. Your business can use social media tools to create customized webpages for reaching out customers in online e-commerce sites and marketplaces. Lean more at Lifewire and Tech Target.
- Electronic payments: E-payments are payments for goods and services that users make electronically through digital platforms. E-payments can help your business trade overseas because they save costs, provide security, and are convenient in collecting money transfers from customers. Learn more from Tipalti and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
- Digital platforms: These online infrastructures and networks facilitate commercial interactions between suppliers and consumers. Some examples include e-commerce and social media websites that you can use to advertise your products and services, promote additional features and offer payment options (See guide on selling abroad online). Find out more from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and bmc.
- 3D printing: Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing consists of making three dimensional solid objects from layering materials like plastics, composites, or bio-materials. 3D printing also opens up new opportunities for companies in the services sector, such those that work on design and engineering. Learn more from these sites about 3D printing and the 3D printing industry.
- Other technologies: Blockchain/distributed ledger technologies (DLT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are other technologies that can offer opportunities for your business to grow and expand into global markets. The following sources provide details about key aspects of these technologies and how you can consider applying them in your business. Read more at Teceze, the International Trade Centre and World Trade Organization Blockchain Training, Deloitte, and Forbes.
How can I learn more about useful technologies for my business?
The SME Trade Academy, managed by the International Trade Centre offers courses that can help you learn more about new ways of doing business and trading through new technologies. Examples of these courses include:
- Lean digital transformation: This course introduces methods that assists businesses to design a digital transformation roadmap. Read more.
- Introduction to e-commerce: This course showcases business opportunities in e-commerce and strategies for developing online sales channels. Read more.
- Innovation for entrepreneurs: This course offers entrepreneurs and business owners with relevant information on innovation and digital technologies. Read more.
- Introduction to blockchain for trade: This course explains the role of blockchain in doing business through international trade. Read more.
What other resources should I visit?
- The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is committed to becoming a platform that contributes towards scaling up innovation and building an enabling environment for SMEs. Therefore, the organization is actively working on developing initiatives that help create synergies in information and communications technology (ICT) entrepreneurship. For more information, visit the dedicated ITU webpage on entrepreneurship. The various ways MSMEs can participate include:
- Google also has a number of tools and training for business digitalization including