Owners of small businesses use technology to help them in their daily operations. From computers to printers, cash registers to online file storage, the advances the world has made technologically has made a huge positive impact across all industries. The amount of impact on an individual business depends on the goals of that business, the products they use, and how well owners and employees adapt to new systems.
Impact on Operating Costs
Small businesses can use technology to reduce overhead costs. Basic software can enable a business to automate office functions, such as accounting, record keeping, and payroll. Owners can also use technology to create a secure environment for housing sensitive business and client information. Most of these technologies are very user-friendly and easy to implement.
Generally, small businesses work very closely with their clients, providing them with products and services that add value to their life. However, going from an idea to an actual product or service requires means owners and employees must collaborate with each other and other vendors. Email and messenger tools made huge strides for small business communication, paving the way for online sharing and collaboration. Thanks to the option of connecting instantly, sharing information, and obtaining feedback, email and messenger tools have become great benefits to small businesses. Project management systems that are internet-based such as Basecamp, 5pm, and Zoho Projects offer an internet-based approach to keeping track of projects, updating team members and clients, and delegating tasks in real time. This means up to the minute information is available at a central hub, no matter where he finds himself in the world.
Flexible Work Environments
Technology provides small businesses with the option to work in an office, from home, or on the road. This results in the owners’ ability to hire talent from all over the world, thereby giving the business a competitive edge in the global environment.
Businesses can increase their employee’s productivity through technology. Business software can allow employees to process more information than they could manually. Technology can also reduce the amount of human labor in a function. This means that the business avoids paying high labor costs along with employee benefits.
Instant Connection with Clients
Owners no longer need to mail surveys to clients, waiting weeks for replies. They also do not need to call customers for feedback. Current technology provides small businesses with the ability to connect with their clients via email, blogs, forums, and social networks. Owners can take advantage of an instant connection through obtaining feedback from clients and then applying it as they see fit.
Technology has made a large impact on the retail industry. Crafters, designers, and other artisans now have an option to create an online store, rather than a costly brick and mortar storefront. With consumers moving to the internet to purchase everything from gifts to groceries, the popularity of online shopping continues to increase as the variety of products offered continues to grow. Those businesses with storefronts can expand their current business through creating an online store that can reach target markets beyond their immediate surroundings.
With small businesses implementing new technologies into daily operations, they now need to train new and veteran employees. New employees are likely to adapt to the new technologies quite easily. However, veteran employees might resist them or need a steep learning curve to get up to speed, which may result in a reduction in productivity for a time. Thus, owners must be diligent to implement new technologies at a pace that employees can manage so as not to harm the bottom line.
By Christine Trimbur
Jay Clark & Associates