In previous times, it was very difficult for small businesses to scale and become profitable. Because companies needed a significant budget to move from a small business to even a medium sized enterprise, many companies focused on being niche instead of broad. This allowed them to cultivate a small but loyal audience, and stabilize their income even though they didn’t have a larger reach.
In the modern era, the advent of various business technologies means that small companies can more easily reach a broader audience, and more conveniently scale to a larger size. These technologies are some of the most important in terms of building a strong, small business.
Access On The Go
Previously, companies had little access to information while they were on the road. This meant delayed customer interactions if something got left at the office, and limited ability to check in on rules or regulations when something came up.
With easy internet access, mobile devices, and cloud storage, companies can offer better service on the road than ever. Business trips that were previously cumbersome and frustrating are now possible and simplified.
Reduced Marketing Costs
The advent of the internet has increased the possibilities for free and low-cost marketing. From Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat, internet savvy companies can spread their message with very little upfront cost.
Even ad campaigns can be significantly more targeted and less expensive than in the pre-digital area. With print marketing, there was only so much targeting that was possible, which increased the cost of overall marketing.
Internet Speeds and Accessibility
So much business is now conducted online. Emails, customer service requests, inter-departmental communication and more are all managed through the Internet. This has been made possible through the easy availability (in metro areas and surrounding suburbs) of high speed, high quality, cheap internet access.
While many companies start their businesses wherever is feasible, relocating to a new office with better internet possibilities is one of the best and most common reasons to find a new location.
Better Customer Service
With so many more points of access for customer service, companies can prevent many customer frustrations. From website chats to email requests to social media conversations, companies can be more available than ever before. This can keep customers from getting frustrated or upset, and make sure that they remain part of the company’s regular accounts.
Telecommuting and Teleconferencing
To organize meetings between businesses, or disparate locations, companies previously needed to physically send employees from one location to another, or rely on the imprecise nature of phone calls and personal reports. Now, companies can organize teleconferencing, video conferencing, and even same-time digital collaboration on documents, all through a moderately fast internet connection.
Employees can also work remotely in more efficient ways than ever before, allowing for more flexibility in leave policies. Companies can hire the very best person for the job, even if they live on the other side of the planet, and can let people work from home while they’re caring for sick relatives or monitoring their own health and well-being.
When companies had to maintain a paper copy of every invoice going back for years, the storage space itself became difficult and expensive. Companies would often keep a few years on site, and then rent increasingly large storage spaces for old records. If the storage spaces were not climate controlled, they might become worthless within a few years anyway.
Digital records take up a fraction of the space, especially when a company pays for cloud storage. Records are easily accessible by all departments with simple point and click access. This can prevent problems with clients and other concerns over time.
Cloud storage, in general, is a fantastic way for companies to save money over onsite storage, either digital or paper. Employees can access anything they need anywhere they have an internet connection. They can use laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Cloud storage is also much more secure than either a server room or paper room. If a laptop or device is lost, its access can simply be revoked. With physical storage, losing items is significantly more concerning.
New technology has offered new opportunities for small businesses to both connect with audiences and to scale over time into bigger chances. By using technology, small businesses can compete with much larger companies; in some ways, they can become more nimble and offer better products and services than much larger corporations. With many different technology options out there, businesses can customize their choices to match their needs.