Starting and running your own small business today isn’t like it was a few decades ago. In fact, it’s not even the same as it was 10 years ago. Sure, there are certain things that will never change. You have to have a good business plan. You have to have a product or service people want, and you have to know who your target customer is. You also need a solid marketing plan to get our goods to the right people.
However, the similarities stop there. The fact is that modern technology has completely changed the way in which most small businesses run—and most of these changes are for the better. See, within the last 10 years or so, technological advances have made the life of the entrepreneur much easier. After all, technology is about convenience, right? And thanks to ever-changing, ever-improving technology, operating your own business is more simple than ever.
With that in mind, let’s analyze exactly how new technology has changed the game. Here are 5 things that were either difficult or straight up impossible for the small businessman not so long ago. Now technological advances have made them very doable for someone like you and me.
1. Get Started With Your Company
There’s a lot that goes into opening the doors of your business on that first day. You have to compose a business plan. You may have to obtain financing. You need to legally set up your business. It used to be that you would have to make several trips to government offices and banks to make these things happen. But now, in some cases you can take care of all of it online. Here’s how:
- Need a business plan? You can find business plan writers all over the place online. Try Craigslist or do a Google search for a more reputable business plan writer.
- Financing doesn’t have to come through banks anymore. You might want to try out a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter.com where others who believe in your plan will back you.
- Not sure where to go to get your business set up legally. Whether you need to create an LLC or file a DBA, there are plenty of businesses that operate predominantly online who can do the entire thing for you.
2. Find Clients Who Are Worlds Away
Interestingly enough, as the human population continues to explode exponentially, the internet has succeeded in making our world smaller and smaller. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, you can now contact clients who live on the other side of the world. You can even run ads on Google targeting specific keywords so that someone who is searching in Australia for a business such as yours can find you, click, and send you an email.
Suddenly businesses that once advertised in newspapers and sold goods locally in their own city are able to do business on a worldwide scale. The customer base has increased, and people are reaping the benefits.
3. Accept Credit Card Payments
Not too long ago, accepting credit card payments was simply too difficult for a small business. Then Paypal came along and changed it so that online businesses could accept credit card payments easily. However, since then, things got even easier with Smartphone attachments like the Square. Simply attach it to your phone, swipe your customer’s credit card, and boom, you received payment. You can even email them their receipt on the spot—all for a small percent fee.
4. Pay Your Employees
Keeping track of your employees’ hours and cutting paychecks can be quite time consuming. Whereas you used to have to punch time cards and tabulate things by hand, now there are many software companies out there who handle pretty much the whole thing for you. In fact, you can even find a free paycheck calculator online or download an app if you search a bit. There are also programs that will print checks for you with the click of your mouse.
5. Keep Track of Expenses
Are you still cramming files full of receipts and scrambling come tax time to figure out what expenses you can write off? Having trouble keeping notes on who you met with for that business lunch and what you discussed? Now you can simply snap a photo of the receipt with your Smartphone. Get the right accounting program and you can upload the photo and include notes with it. You can even automatically enter it as an expense and it will all get calculated for you.
There’s no arguing it—starting and running a small business is easier than ever thanks to the technology that is readily available. What other ways has technology made running your business easier?