Since the economic recession in 2008, many large multi-national companies have shut down, but in their place, a huge number of small start-ups, some making millions of dollars with less than a dozen employees, have sprung up. The U.S Small Business Administration estimates that there are 28 million in the U.S alone, with similar trends being seen in practically every other country. It is largely thanks to new advances in technology such as video conferencing. These are just a few more ways that these small businesses have been beating the large companies at their own game, and how technology has played a role in this movement:
- Mobile Technology
In an article posted on Linkedin, Mark Dodds lists mobile technology as one of the largest advancements for small businesses, and that companies that have embraced it tend to fare much better than those that haven’t. A video communications system such as BlueJeans, for example, requires only a monthly subscription and allows people to access video feeds of each other from anywhere in the world (so long as there is an internet connection) from their computers or mobile devices.
- Working From Home
What was once a pipe dream or viewed as a lazy way to avoid work is now becoming more and more commonplace as people use their mobile communications technology to stay in touch from great distances. It is not only more convenient but has been proven to reduce work place stress, save on expenses such as travel and renting an office space, and produces better results. When employees are allowed to work at a place and time that works best for them, they complete their work in a much shorter time frame and to a much higher standard.
- Reduced Costs
These cost saving measures are especially important for small businesses which don’t have the same budget or resources as their larger competitors. Some start-up owners have formed their companies with only a few hundred dollars of their own money and especially in the early stages, can’t afford to lose any money on unnecessary expenses. While there are some disadvantages such as having to solve all of their technical problems themselves without an IT department, the ability to meet with anyone from your own bedroom helps to reduce overheads greatly, especially if no additional equipment needs to be purchased to use online conferencing.
- Online Marketing
This is another area that makes up a large expense for multi-nationals, as it is a specialist skill requiring an individual department. For decades, they have been pouring money into expensive television, radio, and print ads or putting their name onto pricey sponsorship deals with little to no indication that it has helped their sales. It has reached the point that most people now use ad-blocking software to get rid of these advertisements.
Now that internet marketing has taken over and modern consumers are ignoring traditional ads, these large companies have found themselves stuck. Small businesses don’t experience this problem as much. Many solopreneurs are young people who have grown up with computes and the internet and know exactly how to reach the younger audience through digital channels, and all at a low cost. They understand the power of word of mouth and how best to spread it. Social media marketing in particular is difficult for many companies to grasp, despite it being a largely free marketing method, with many making large social media blunders visible for the whole world to see. Even their conferencing software can be used as a marketing tool, broadcasting and sharing a seminar or launch event through video sharing sites and their social media feeds.
- A Global Workforce
Remote teams are becoming more commonplace, with the additional benefit of opening up hiring possibilities and the number of clients, customers, and freelancers a company can work with. This means they aren’t restricted to the resources in their immediate area and can always find the best person to collaborate or do business with regardless of their physical location.
- Solving Problems
A bad company develops a product then tries to find a way to sell it. A good company discovers a problem then finds a way to solve it. This is why successful start-up such as Pandora, Voxy, and Apartment List among many others have revolutionized their industries by solving problems people didn’t even realize they had by listening and responding to market demand.
There will always be some lessons that small businesses will need to learn from their larger competitors, but there are many more that the multi-nationals can learn from them to stay afloat in a rocky economic climate. One of the best ways to do this is by staying up to date with modern technology such as video conferencing which will make all the difference in an ever expanding and changing marketplace.