Today’s small business operate within the fastest moving commercial environment in history. While startups are in their early stages, the demand for technology are typically relatively basic. However these needs can expand quickly as the business starts to get traction and founders battle to stay in control of an increasingly complex business and associated admin tasks.
As small businesses strive to compete with large ones they need to be proactive and employ the use of technology which allows for a better or automated solution. While the most obvious benefit to technology in small business is increased productivity which translates into a lower cost structure, there are some other benefits that can help the bottom line as well. Improved speed, the ease of sharing and storing information and a decrease in human error through automation add up to a reduction in costs and an increase in revenue.
Speed and Time
Small businesses compete with large businesses by being more swift and agile. Additionally, a small business can respond to change faster than a large business. A hundred years ago, electronic mail did not exist, and the only way to communicate with someone else in another geographical location was by postal service; the farther away your client or supplier, the longer the communication took. Today, with the advent of information technology, information is shared at an astounding rate. This saves time, offering the ability to make decisions faster.
Technology eliminates the need for double or triple entry systems and reduces the need to file large amounts of paperwork. Now, contracts and customer information can be stored in virtual data warehouses and accessed in minutes, which cuts down on the need to purchase or rent storage space.
Improved Sharing of Information
Technology allows information, whether written or broadcast, to be shared more quickly and with fewer resources. Marketing can be accomplished by placing ads that reach millions of ready buyers on the Internet or through social networking sites. E-learning and other forms of online training have reshaped the readiness of the average small business workforce as employees can listen to classroom lectures and share ideas with classmates from the comfort of their home or office. This eliminates the need for small business to hire training staff.
As technology improves on existing processes and showcases new ways to accomplish tasks, machines are able to produce the same if not more output than humans in certain industries. This results in cost savings for business owners, allowing them to invest in growth in other areas of the business, which contributes on a positive level to the economy as a whole.
Technology allows small businesses to automate certain functions that historically have required the need to hire an employee. For instance, bookkeeping functions now can be handled by software applications such as Sage One. The sales function is automated through contact management sites such as SalesForce and One page CRM. This gives the small business owner the ability to focus on strategy and cut down on labor expenses.