A June 23, 2005 news release from the Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, states that home computer owners are slightly more likely to be business owners than non-computer owners. This report reveals that technology and computing has become an inseparable ingredient in the business world today.
The Computer Trend – A Brief History
The last two decades have marked an enormous increase in the number of home computers. With it, computer owners have invariably taken to entrepreneurship in many varied fields. Thanks to the growth of technology, computers and the Internet, new methods have been developed for processing everyday business activities easily. Without the advent of technology, routine tasks would otherwise have taken and enormous amount of time and specialization. Undoubtedly, the computer represents the top technology development in the last century as it relates to businesses today, both large and small. Advances in the field of technology have created a vast number of business opportunities.
In 2003, the U.S. Small Business Administration produced a report/survey that established conclusively that more than 75% of small businesses owned computers and had heavily invested in new technology. Let us try to understand what the computers mean to businesses and how they contribute to increase their productivity.
USE OF COMPUTERS IN BUSINESSES
The fundamental reasons for the popularity of computers with small businesses are their efficiency, speed, low procurement cost and more than anything else, capability to handle multiple tasks with little chance for error.
Office Routines: Almost invariably, businesses loaded with the burden of increasing workloads and the pressures of being lean and mean, fall back upon technology for most of their administrative tasks. This work includes, among others, bookkeeping, inventory managing and email. The advent of the Internet has also substantially contributed in bringing down the costs of communication and marketing. In a nutshell, technology has reduced the overall cost of business operations.
New Business Opportunities: The explosion of Internet and e-commerce has opened up a plethora of opportunities for all types of businesses. New management methodologies, such as Six Sigma are easier to implement due to statistical software. Also, companies are able to train their own employees using in-house Six Sigma software programs, and as a result, save money on labor costs.
It is now possible to have many business functions operate on autopilot. This has opened up new opportunities for software development companies and business consultants. Another business trend that has opened up as a result of advancing technology is outsourcing. It is now possible for a company in America to have its data entry and customer service centers in overseas countries such as the UK. In this way, companies can service their customers 24/7.
Indispensable Components of Small Businesses
It is difficult to think of a situation where businesses can do without technology and computers today. It is extremely difficult to say whether businesses depend on computers or computers created business opportunities.
Software Specific To Small Businesses
Certain powerful, yet simple software has come to the rescue of small businesses in reducing their tasks and opening up new channels. Simple applications like spreadsheets and word processing helps them maintain accounts, finances and keep track of correspondence. These applications allow the users to customize reports and other functions to suit their particular business.
Both men and women in business have adapted successfully to new technology. But the SBA report cites the general decline in skill levels of people, which may eventually result in an overall reduction of income levels. It seems that people get used to technology doing all the work and tend to neglect their skill development. It is up to individual companies to make sure that their employees are still able to do crucial tasks without the assistance of computers, if necessary.