Everyday ways you can use blockchain to grow and support your small business
So you’ve read about blockchain, but now the question remains: How can you actually use it to grow and support your small business?
We’ve got some good news: You don’t need to be the next app developer or tech whiz to leverage the benefits that blockchain has to offer. Many features of the technology can help you expand your digital footprint while keeping your business secure. Many blockchain solutions are simple to adopt.
Share and store
Using blockchain to share documents securely across multiple business partners, people or websites makes sense when every node (person) can receive and keep a copy of every file permanently.
Although cloud storage is becoming more of a household term, the current, traditional platforms have limited security and transparency. Also, these can be costly.
Adopting a decentralized blockchain cloud storage can mean greater security for you and your clients in terms of privacy and data. Many times, it can also cost less than what is currently offered. Blockchain can:
- Break up data into chunks.
- Encrypt the data so that you are the only one with access to it.
- Distribute files across a network in a way that means all your files are available, even if part of the network is down.
Therefore, instead of handing your files to a third party like Amazon or Microsoft, you distribute it across a network of people all over the world. You stay in control.
The cloud is shared by the community, but nobody can read or tamper with anyone else’s sensitive data.
Storj, launching in early 2019, is planning to offer decentralized cloud storage that is secure, low cost, private, and easy to use. In addition, its solution offers a potential revenue stream for small businesses to “lease” excess hard drive storage they aren’t using.
Streamline business processes
Many small businesses start out as a DIY-venture, run by a handful of people in someone’s living room or basement, swapping files via email or using free platforms like Google Docs or a small Dropbox folder.
As businesses grow, the sheer volume of contacts, orders and inventories may be too much to handle manually, so many purchase a customer relationship management (CRM) or content management system (CMS) platform, or hire a third party to manage it all.
With blockchain, your small business can now set up smart contracts, which can ensure payments are made on time, fulfill inventory, and are impossible to corrupt. This means small business owners can stay lean in their processes but remain competitive in the market.
Companies like Confideal walk you through this process and get your contracts set up quickly and efficiently. Another one called dApp Builder focuses on the user experience side, with a claim to becoming the “WordPress of blockchain.”
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Know your customers
Larger private sector businesses often have the workforce and coffers to do all kinds of big data analysis to inform their marketing and product decisions.
On the other hand, small businesses and nonprofits typically aren’t that fortunate. But that doesn’t mean big data is any less useful to your small business. Data insights can help even the playing field for small businesses.
Use blockchain technology to mine customer data to provide insights into browsing and spending behavior.
Predictive analytics can help you to understand why customers behave the way they do. You can also gain insights into competitor trends which will enable you to make strategic decisions based on real time. For example, Endor sees themselves as the “Google of predictive analytics,” democratizing this asset and making accurate predictions available to you regardless of your data science background.
Such analytics can help you to better understand your customers’ demands and to keep an eye on competitor insights. In this way, you can make decisions based on real-time information, not what happened last quarter.
Though the new terminology and infrastructure elements of “blockchain technology” can turn away even a tech-loving Millennial, the possibilities as the number of partners increases will make the technology more attractive and beneficial to businesses that use it.
So, even if you can’t explain how blockchain works at your next dinner party, you can still study how to use it to make smarter marketing decisions and nurture more meaningful customer relationships.