The Internet has given the world unparalleled levels of accessibility to a wide and almost infinite amount of resources. From language learning materials to technical tutorials on very niche industries, the internet has it all. At the same time, its connectivity provides what once was thought to be limited within the realms of science fiction: constant connection to any part of the world at any given time.
We can now talk, see, and discuss with other people on a virtual platform. Sharing videos, pictures, articles, and more. While initially, this was only used to send information, people eventually found creative and innovative ways to use it.
One of the more interesting developments in recent years is how the internet empowers businesses of all sizes. But it empowers small businesses like no other. Here’s how the internet became a weapon for small businesses and how it can affect your business venture.
Access to Suppliers and Other Businesses
Years ago, to gain access to suppliers within a specific industry, you need to belong in that industry one way or another. To get into the car tint business, your original line of work must be within the automotive industry to gain the specific set of contacts to allow that. Even in the food industry, purchasing business-grade equipment for the kitchen is often exclusive to the restaurant owners’ circles.
That’s not the case anymore, as many businesses, even those specializing in business-to-business transactions, are now accessible through their websites and online contacts. This makes gathering your equipment and tools of the trade easier, empowering even those who are very new in the industry. Many manufacturers have even taken the boom of smaller businesses into considerations, allowing smaller orders that were impossible to make before.
Online Shopping Platforms
Nowadays, you can get just about anything you need on the internet. And it’s not a matter of looking at their online catalog and calling a landline either. You can quite literally shop online, adding purchases to an online cart. Online shopping is very commonplace, with many social media websites hosting a marketplace platform on their system. While this may sound very normal today, this wasn’t the case ten years ago.
Before, online shopping was seen as sketchy and risky. But with the improvements in the field of financial technology, online transactions have become very secure to the point of requiring very little interference from both parties and just pressing a ‘pay’ button. This enabled many small business owners to set up micro-businesses, as there’s a safe platform to show their wares and transact for it. The benefits aren’t exclusive to the vendors, as the convenience makes buyers prefer online shopping more than a physical one, even overtaking traditional shopping in profits.
Marketing campaigns involve a large number of resources and manpower to pull off. It takes quite a lot of work to create advertising material, arrange the media it will be shown in, and securing deals and placements to guarantee its success. But with the presence of digital marketing, many of difficulty has been almost removed.
Digital marketing allows business owners to create their own marketing materials for a relatively lower cost (compared to traditional marketing). The expense necessary for putting the ad materials on public spaces is a lot cheaper too. After all, the internet is the new public space. With thousands, if not millions of people online at the same time, digital marketing has a consistent audience. And when done cleverly, even small business owners can do tactics such as target marketing to reach their intended audience better.
Ease of Use Innovations
Perhaps one of the most significant innovations that empower small businesses is the general accessibility of a business. Today, all you need to start your own micro-business is a product and a smartphone. Many apps allow you to advertise your services and products. All it takes is uploading a picture of your service, the information necessary, and then wait till a client contacts you.
And this benefit runs deep: it also means services not normally accessible to small businesses are now readily available. Third-party delivery apps allow small business to deliver their goods almost anywhere needed, with the added convenience of tracking their progress. Financial apps allow faster and nigh-instantaneous fund transfers, with the phrase “between five to ten business days” that’s common in the banking process almost unheard of.
Customers, especially those within a specific niche, now have a platform dedicated to their interests. This allows them to shop easier, energizing the economy of their community.
The internet has given small businesses a better chance at success. Once you understand how the Internet empowers businesses, then you know how valuable it is. The next step is to take advantage of these benefits for the success of your business.