Arguable, running a business has changed more dramatically over the last decade than during any other 10-year-period in history. And while things have certainly changed, it’s a matter of opinion whether it has gotten easier or harder as a result. Here’s a look at the biggest changes of the decade as well as the changes likely to come.
It used to be that a person starting a new business needed to network extensively and build a war chest of investor capital to get up and running. Today, the virtual office has eliminated much of the starting overhead of any startup business. In the future, many businesses will move to virtual offices because of the enormous savings that come with the transition. The future of small business offices may become entirely virtual as more small businesses realize the savings.
New Communication Skills
The communication skills required of a small business owner have changed dramatically over the last decade. Ten years ago, solid phone skills and the ability to draft a professional email were all that were really needed. Social media was in its infancy; as Business Insider points out, just 10 years ago Facebook was called Thefacebook and didn’t even have a news feed. Today, business owners must be capable of communicating in less than 140 characters on Twitter, posting engaging content regularly on Facebook, conferencing with associates on Skype and recruiting new employees on LinkedIn.
The days of freezing cold server banks taking up a whole floor of the office building are quickly fading as cloud data storage and computing services liberate businesses from the weight of on-site computing. Cloud-based data management is now for enterprises of all sizes, and digital asset management services provide these services at prices small businesses can afford. Cloud computing is becoming the standard instead of the trend as more companies adopt the freedom and convenience that cloud data storage and computing provide.
For most small business owners today, there is not such thing as “out of the office.” Mobile communication was much less powerful 10 years ago – it was in 2005 when High-Speed Downlink Packet Access was implemented into 3G networks to expand their ability to carry data. The demands of the new mobile-connected world means that we are always connected via email, SMS messaging and app-based forms of communication. In this way, the line between work and home life has blurred and the future of business may very well mean entire offices of remote workers and business owners who rarely are in the same room at the same time. The future of the mobile and remote workplace means that even a small business may be global and employ people from around the world, all communicating via mobile devices.