Twenty years ago, there was no Google, YouTube or Facebook. In fact, many of the businesses you’re familiar with today have relatively recent origins. They started small, but eventually grew to become major brands.
All this was made possible with the Internet — a democratizing platform that allows small businesses to compete with the big boys.
Below are just some of the ways this singular technology has lowered the barrier to entry and helped tiny startups thrive around the globe.
There was a time when you had to send internal memos to your employees and external mailers to your customers. This type of communication was cumbersome, slow and expensive. Thanks to email, it’s possible to connect with all of your stakeholders instantly — and for free. You can even scale up this outreach and communicate with millions of customers without spending a dime.
2. Location Independence
With the Internet, you’re no longer tied to any single location. You can share and collaborate with teams around the globe. You can also open headquarters and satellite offices in cheaper markets. In fact, you don’t even have to rent office space at all. Internet technology allows you to telecommute from home, if you desire.
3. More Customers
Before the Internet, you needed expensive ad buys to connect with customers — and only the biggest players could afford such marketing budgets. Today, it’s possible to reach prospects using organic search (i.e., SEO) and social media, affordable strategies available to anyone willing to invest a little time and effort. This type of outreach also lends itself to real-time analytics. With detailed reporting, you can segment your customers and gauge the effectiveness of each marketing campaign.
4. More Sales
Prior to the Internet, small businesses had to process all payments in person, by mail or over the phone. The store had to be open, and someone had to be on the clock to manage all transactions. With e-commerce, it’s possible to generate sales around the clock, even after normal business hours. You can even securely sell to anonymous customers on the other side the globe — provided you have PCI-compliant payment processing under the hood.
How Will Technology Continue Changing the Game in 2017?
It’s very difficult to predict the future, but it’s possible to make reasonable assumptions about how technological advancements will continue to level the playing field for small businesses. If the current trend continues, then resources that are prohibitively expensive today will become more accessible across the board.
- As web design becomes more automated, business owners with zero experience will be able to build engaging websites on their own.
- As payment modules become more mainstream, anyone will be able to design high-converting shopping carts without having to hire a programmer.
- As artificial intelligence continues to improve, startups will be able to easily sell to international customers without needing human translators.
However, these technological breakthroughs will also invite a lot more competition. And fortune will favor those small businesses that continue to follow the latest best practices with regard to customer outreach, web design and payment processing.
To learn how BluePay can help with this last point,