The concept of entrepreneurship isn't exactly new. People have been trading for centuries. However, the way the whole process is handled has changed a lot. Today, there is way more competition than a few decades ago, much of which can be easily attributed to the rise of the Internet. There are all kinds of online stores today that allow people in different parts of the globe to buy whatever they want from the comfort of their homes. That said, the rise of the online realm and new technologies have also helped many small businesses to grow.
Cost-Saving Goes a Long Way
One of the most significant changes that technology has brought for small businesses is lower operational costs. Gone are the days when budding entrepreneurs had to submit one loan application after another to banks, or turn to their friends and family for financial aid. Today, the cost of launching a small business has lowered substantially. All you need is to set up a website, which you can also build yourself for free. You can reach the target demographic on social media, emails, etc. which is also something that requires little money, and just accept payments online while your business grows. Thanks to advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can also get a logo design created with machines, not people with incredible results.
The Game-Changing SaaS Model
For a long time, small businesses struggled to compete with the big players- the likes of Walmart, Amazon, and eBay. This was because they couldn't afford the enterprise-grade technology that the mega corporations had. Today, the situation has changed with the wide range for SaaS products that are available.
The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model allows small businesses to use powerful and expensive software under a subscription-based system in which they have to pay a small recurring fee. These programs require little maintenance as they are updated and configured by the developers rather than the users, allow the users to scale up and down seamlessly, and also make collaboration easy. In fact, there are all kinds of amazing SaaS tools that small businesses can use today. These include Slack for team collaboration and business communication, Infusionsoft for online sales and marketing, and Patriot for advanced accounting and payroll management.
Reaching the Right People Through Social Media
Social media might not be one of the greatest products of technology but it's certainly changed our lives in more ways than one can imagine. For instance, it's changing how we access news as more than 50% of online users get their users on social media at least once a week. Even our purchase decisions are often based on what our friends and other well-wishers say about different products and services on social media platforms. If you will think for a bit, you may remember that you bought a certain smartphone or apparel from a particular brand because someone you know recommended it on a social media website.
Social media is allowing small businesses to work with influencers to get the word out and promote their products online. They are also able to make viral videos and posts to get free publicity in a short period. Of course, the formula doesn't work every single time and it's also difficult to get right. However, the fact is that you don't have to have tons of money to promote your business anymore which was the case with traditional media. Social media is practically free and you are only limited by your own efforts and creativity as far as growing a business is concerned. This holds massive value.
We live in a time where there are many ways to use technology for a small business. From boosting productivity to managing financials, and from providing better customer service to enjoying seamless collaboration, there are so many paths a forward-thinking entrepreneur can pursue to take their business to the next level. Needless to say, as long as business-focused individuals are willing to learn, they have no dearth of opportunities to accomplish their goals.