Published December 8, 2008

Your Small Business and Information Technology: What’s The Impact?

Whatever side of the fence you are on in that respect, it's clear that changes in the business world will continue as a result of new technology. So how does technology effect business?

The answer will be different for each business depending on the type of business as well as the size of the operation. Here are just a few ways that technology has had an impact on small businesses.

Speed and Ease of Communication

Depending on your age, you might not even remember a time when you'd have to wait a few days in order to see documents or contracts.

The fax machine made instant perusal of documents possible, but why waste the paper?

Now a few clicks of a mouse and you can instantly share documents with a hundred people all over the world.

A Global Marketplace

If someone needed an ad designed three years ago, they probably grabbed the yellow pages. The designer would visit the office to discuss the client's needs and then have a courier drop off concepts a few days later.

Today if you need an ad you can simply log onto the internet to browse portfolios of designers all over the world. Pick one you like and perhaps you'll have a conference call to discuss your needs.

Then the concepts will be emailed to you in a PDF file and you'll send your payment using online banking. It doesn't matter if the designer you choose is down the street or on the other side of the globe, the transaction is the same. This is just another example of how technology affects business.

More "Stolen" Time

The desk of the average employee likely contains a playground of things to do other than work.

The Internet is right there and his desk drawers contain an MP3 player, a cell phone and perhaps even a portable video game system. Studies about how much time employees spend not working while on the clock are surprising to many.

Some studies say that employees are doing other things, such as surfing the net, for up to 4 hours a day. This is one of the downsides of small business and information technology.

The internet is the most accessible temptation for many employees. Instituting rules about only using the internet for business related purposes don't usually have a lot of impact.

Open work spaces, where everyone can see what everyone else is doing is more effective, but such office arrangements are not the best option for every business.

More Opportunities to Work from Home

Thanks to information technology, many more people have the opportunity to telecommute than ever before.

Telecommuting is a perk that many employees love, and if you can offer this option you may be able to lure some talented employees to your business without necessarily having to match their current salary.

Super high speed internet connections and other business technologies are what allow many employees the opportunity to work from home.

It's hard to say what changes will come to small business and information technology with the next wave of technology changes, but one thing is for sure. Change is coming.