Twenty years ago, many small businesses would have said that technology was not a tool, but an impossible hurdle separating them from success. Why? Because it was expensive, exclusive, and often difficult to use. Today it’s the exact opposite.
In today’s market, technology is a small business’s match made in heaven. Tools and software that were once held exclusively with large corporations are now available to anyone with a computer and decent internet connection. The ‘cloud’ allows a near infinite amount of data to be transferred in the blink of an eye with no special equipment or server space. What used to cost millions of dollars can now be acquired for under $50 bucks a month. And with access to your data via portable devices like smart phones and tablets, the small business owner of today is always connected. Social media has allowed businesses to reach their customers in ways like never before, improving both their marketing and product development. One of our favorites (for obvious reasons) is the transformation of small businesses getting paid. Whether it’s through a mobile device, online, or automated billing, the technology for payments is growing faster than ever before.
These reasons (among others), are why small business will continue to provide more jobs, more growth and more success stories than their larger corporate counterparts.
Technology is no longer a hassle, but has become a relationship that has literally reinvented the way people do business. Tasks that were once dreaded can now be (dare we say) enjoyable due to the combinations of easy access, simplicity and effective functionality. And because today’s technology is so frictionless to use and manage, small businesses can stop worrying on the ‘How’ and focus on what they do best; Attracting and better serving their customers.
As exciting as this future may hold for small businesses, it also brings a new set of dilemmas. In the past only a select few had access to top tools and gadgets, but now everyone can use them. No longer is learning and adapting to new technology an option, but a requirement. The businesses that can’t keep up to rapidly changing trends are the ones that will perish. But it’s not just the competition that has heated up, even customers are expecting better goods/services and will go to the web to defend and attack them. As technology has risen (and rapidly continues to do so), so has the standard in which businesses must perform.
So what does this mean for small business? Is technology a new found glory, or curse that will lead to more headaches? As mentioned above, the success of businesses will lie strongly on the adaption of new technology and using it effectively. It just so happens that small businesses (unlike larger corporations) are much more likely and effective at adapting to change. The smaller the company, the more lean and agile they are. If the future lies heavily on moving fast, small businesses will certainly have the upper hand. The next era of business, belongs to you.