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Published January 05, 2023
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Laura Baker, executive director of CyberWyoming and president of CyberWyoming Alliance
A client from Casper recently called me and asked a tricky question: “How do I prepare my business for the digital future?”
As I thought about how to answer that question, I couldn’t help but remember (and I know I’m dating myself) how cool the DROID sound was on BlackBerry phones in 2011. While we were amazed by the technology available to us just over a decade ago, we could not have predicted how much things have changed since then.
Now, we build our websites for mobile apps more than we do for desktops. We have apps for booking air travel; our credit cards work through a simple tap on the reader; and we can look up any question we may have at any moment no matter where we are.
Ten years ago, I could not have guessed how integrated with technology our lives would be today. With any advancement or change, this integration brings some challenges and some opportunities.
For instance, an HVAC company in Wyoming needs to start thinking about what energy-saving, internet-connected devices it wants to support. Once the company has figured out its product suite, the company needs to train its HVAC techs on secure installation. No HVAC company wants to be sued because it installed a device that opened a family or business up to hackers.
But, thinking about this unique opportunity strategically could really give an HVAC company a competitive edge. I would be more inclined to install a wireless, connected hot water heater that I could monitor on my phone if I knew that my favorite HVAC company could securely install it and help me if I had trouble with it.
If that is too specific of an example, let’s zoom out for a moment and consider how all companies need to start thinking about how they want to handle payment apps like Venmo and Zelle. How will companies deal with cryptocurrency? How about app development opportunities?
As we navigate these new integration opportunities as small-business owners, we need to consider the present as well as the technological future in our decision-making processes. If you aren’t sure where to begin, join me for my upcoming Business Fitness webinar Thursday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m., and plan for your digital future. After you’ve attended the webinar, be sure to make an appointment with your Wyoming SBDC Network adviser to discuss your future plans.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2021, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 80 new businesses; support 4,077 jobs; and bring a capital impact of $9.2 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write Dept. 3922, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071-3922.