“Did you know that 92% of small businesses are using one or more cloud-based solutions to run their business” (Arnold)? This means that many small businesses across the world are relying on technology to store their information and data for their business. But what determines a business as being a “small business”? The most common determinant of a “small business” is that it is an independently owned and operated company that is limited in size and revenue. Small businesses are becoming much more popular, and the busier the business gets the more the owners look for something to help ease their workload. By doing this, they are finding out that technology impacts their business by helping them organize their inventory, sell their items, keep track of their financials and they are even able to watch a live feed of the activities happening in the business. Using technology would allow them to have security cameras they can remotely access so they are able to keep their business secure, even on the go. Owning a small business adds a lot of stress to a person’s day, but technology helps ease the stress. For a small business owner, time is everything, whether they are using it to advertise their business, sell their products, expand their inventory, or talking with customers. Each minute that the owner spends on one task, takes time away from another aspect of their business. Over the years, technology has advanced immensely in favor of an ever-expanding society. There are many ways in which technology scores a buck for small businesses.
Bella Vintique, a local upscale resale business in the area, uses a cloud-based program called “SimpleConsign by Traxia” to track their inventory. SimpleConsign is there to “Manage consignment, thrift, buy outright shop and antique mall from anywhere with our detailed web-based resale software. SimpleConsign provides unlimited POS, plus complete customer, consignor and inventory management (Traxia). SimpleConsign has been an easy transition from switching from paper to a computer. Everything necessary for resale, consignment business is in that software. By doing this the company is able to look at their inventory on a daily basis and they are also able to enter any information about the item. With “SimpleConsign” the owner can enter the item and description into the software and then will be able to print a price tag and unique barcode for each item. With the help of the barcode labels, it is easier for customers to notice the price of the items without having to ask the employees how much every item is. It is also easier for the employees to scan the items when checking out customers, rather than just adding up totals on a calculator or on paper. Each item having its own unique barcode makes checking customers out much more reliable and efficient. When owning a small business, time is money. By using “SimpleConsign” to print unique barcodes saves time, which means that the owner has more time to interact with the customers, fulfil orders, or be on the lookout for the next big trend.
According toPaul Trujillo from Wasp Buzz “A barcode scanner ‘scans’ the black and white elements of a barcode by illuminating the code with a red light, which is then converted into matching text. The sensor of the barcode scanner detects the reflected light from the illumination system and generates an analog signal that is sent to the decoder” (Trujillo). This will transfer all the items being sold into the computer and will update the system, letting the system know which items have been sold from the inventory. After the transaction clears, the system prints out a receipt for the customer summarizing the sale. This process not only saves time and paper, but it is also more reliable for both parties involved in the transaction.
Another technological process known for completing quick transactions is Square. “Square offers an inexpensive and simple way for your business to start accepting credit card payments…comes with fewer overhead costs and doesn’t charge business monthly fees or monthly minimums” (Wamala). This is another way for businesses to be able to save money and be more flexible in the payment type they can accept. Technology like Square alleviates another hassle for both the business and the customer. Since many people in today’s society do not normally carry around cash, being able to walk into a store like Bella Vintique and having the convenience of being able to swipe a credit card is much easier than the customer having to make sure that they have enough cash on them for the total bill. Square is also more secure for the business owner too. If the business were to be a cash only business, then in the event of a robbery, their loss would be much more significant. But if the business is able to accept credit cards, then they do not have to have as much cash in the building since today’s society is primarily based on using a credit card rather than cash. Although technology can be used to make a small business more efficient, there are many other ways in which technology can be used to improve a small business.
Keeping track of financials is never easy, especially when it comes to running a small business. Technology plays a big factor in small businesses when store owners need to keep track of their finances. Although keeping track of financial record on paper is helpful at times, it can be time consuming and unorganized. Many financial companies now offer online services where business owners can access their financial records at any time, allowing for more reliable bookkeeping. Having all your financial documents in one place allows you to be able to quickly look through your records, and keep track of your transactions and bills all in one place. One company that is popular when keeping track of financials is QuickBooks. QuickBooks is an “accounting software that helps you run your business and provides a sense of your company’s overall financial health” (Nicastro). With this app you are able to “connect to thousands of accounts-including your business bank account, credit cards, PayPal and Square- and uploads extra data from these sources seamlessly” (Nicastro). With the help of QuickBooks, companies won’t have to bother bringing a stack of papers to their accountants, they can easily use this software throughout their meeting. Not having to bring a giant stack of paper to your accountant, saves time and money. The business owner will no longer have to spend extra money on the paper for all these financial documents and all the information is in one reliable source.
Technology is helping small business keep pace with larger stores and online conglomerates. Studies shows that “67 percent of millennials prefer shopping online whereas only 28 percent of seniors prefer shopping online. The number of digital buyers worldwide is increasing all the time” (Atterbury). Since owners of small businesses realize this, many will have an online website in addition to their physical business. Small businesses also have many social media platforms they can use for advertisement, sales, and contacts. With the help of these apps, small businesses have the advantage of being able to advertise their business to a much broader range of society. Although word of mouth is still a helpful source, technology allows customers to share reviews or write comments all while seeing the items online, making it is an easier way and cost-efficient way of advertising.
“A conscious consumer is someone who considers the social, ecological, environmental and political impact of products and makes positive decisions regarding a purchase. A rise in quality packaging and more eco-friendly and sustainable shopping options…” (Atterbury.) Millennials are very attuned with making the world a better place and since shipping is in such high demand, small businesses want to make sure they can satisfy a wide variety of customers. Shopping online, simple items are a push of a button away and in no time the package will be delivered to your house. But, this could be a challenge for some small businesses, as the owner of a small business might be the only one running the store and packaging up items to fill orders.
Additionally, small business owners must continually put time and effort into updating their website. Some companies hire website experts to build and maintain their website much better than an average person can do. This may seem like an easier alternative compared to having to take care of it yourself, but many of these services come at a cost that some owners might not be able to meet. Some small businesses may shy away from this option and chose to do it themselves, which might lack many essential parts that the owners are not able to create. With the help of different website companies it can reduce the stress and work for the owner, along with providing a more professional website for their customers to access. There are many software platforms that allow people to go on and create a professional website, providing tips and tricks on how to improve their website. Having a functioning website allows a small business to take online order, and still made money from their store.
Small businesses tend to focus on making a big profit, meaning that they have to bring in higher quality items, meaning they have a more expensive inventory. Since small businesses have more expensive, high-quality, they have an increased risk of theft. Small businesses want to keep their store safe and protect their property, and other people in the store. Depending on the size of the business, this could be a difficult task for anyone person, but technology can lend a helping hand. Without the use of security cameras, small businesses are unable to have control over their businesses and see what is happening on the floor. Rebecca Edwards says that small businesses across the United States, “lose $25,000 to $33,000 every minute to shoplifters. According to the Hayes International Annual Retail Theft Survey, the average shoplifting case for all types of retailers totals approximately $50. That may not seem like much, but when you add it up you’re looking at as much as $18 billion in retail losses annually” (Edwards). That being said, without the use of security cameras, business owners miss the opportunity for a huge profit without even noticing. For instance, burglary is one way that can be stopped, or significantly reduced with the help of security cameras. Even if the criminal makes it away with some merchandise, the cameras have already caught an image of what the person took and what they look like. This helps in the search for the person to get the merchandise back, or for insurance purposes to make sure the value of the items is compensated. “Security cameras can protect against burglary; the majority of burglaries are actually forcible entries” (Jones). Although a security camera cannot prevent the person from coming into the store, there is another solution to that. Since most burglaries are a forced entry, a security system that goes off when someone enters the building when they should not be getting in, can help prevent a crime. A good security system, including surveillance security cameras, can be a great deterrent for these types of crimes since the property is being watched over at all time. By having a security camera in the small business, the owner will be able to see what is happening throughout the business even when they are not able to be there. A business owner is not able to be at the business all hours of the day. They constantly have to be out meeting new people, bringing in new inventory, making deliveries, etc. Thankfully, advancements in security technology allows the owner to be able to watch the camera angles through an app on their phone or through an internet-based site. Since many business owners are not able to be present at all times, being able to watch the security feed through their phone gives them that extra sense of safety. Knowing that they can check on their business at any time, gives the owner one less thing to worry about. Alongside the security feed through the owner’s phone, they can also implement a security system. This security system will provide an extra layer of safety to the business that the cameras cannot assist with. Although having the security cameras will show a lot, a security alarm will be able to inform the owner when someone is trespassing or if a door wasn’t locked, which can all be accessed through the same app or web-based software as the security cameras. Many companies that provide security cameras also provide the security systems for the doors and windows, making everything much easier to access. With the owners wanting to make sure their business is secure; some small business owners will have their cameras professionally installed to provide themselves with the best possible camera angles and security for their business.
In conclusion, there are many ways in which technology scores a buck for small businesses due to all the technological advancements over the years and all the advantages that it has. Without technology we realize how hard it would be to run a small business efficiently since the owners would be very limited on what they are able to do. Over time, it has been proven that a business can run without technology but there have been studies that have shown that a business is able to run much more smoothly and more efficiently with the help of technology. As technology is constantly advancing, creating an even more tech savvy society, it has been advancing to further provide assistance to businesses, small and large. The technology has been used in all aspects of a small business, from advertising and sales, all the way up to security. Because of the easy access to the security cameras and systems, business owners now have an extra layer of security whether they are at the business or on the go. Access to financial software like QuickBooks, and inventory software like “SimpleConsign” allows the owners to have their financials in line and they are able to be consistently updated with the item in their inventory and what they need more of. The burdens of running a small business can be reduced greatly due to all these great updates to technology over the years. With customers coming into the store, noticing price tags and heading to the register to purchase the item, it is less time the owner has to spend organizing and monitoring everything that is happening throughout the business. Over the years, there have been many technological advancements, many of which have been shown to ease the workload that small business owners are faced with. Since research has shown that more than 9 out of 10 small businesses are relying on a cloud-based system to help run their business, that means that small business owners have seen the benefits of spending the extra money to implement technology in their business to further their success in an ever-expanding society.