How Businesses Have Changed Over the Last Decade

The 2000s have seen a lot of change in the world. The computer boom of the 1990s fueled new innovations in social media, communications, and interconnectivity. World economies have risen and fallen, and businesses need to know how the contemporary age will affect their decisions. Here are some examples of changes in business over the past ten years.

1. Informed Intermediaries
The wealth of data and information flooding the world has limitless potential. Some companies are positioning themselves as sellers of valuable information, making connections between people like independent contractors and firms who want to use their services. By going online, you will be able to find companies that connects network cabling contractors to anyone who needs them, using a database of contractors that covers the entire United States. The key element of this trend is that some companies have recognized the value of big databases to do the work that used to be nothing more than informal networking on a grand scale.

3. Outsourcing
With the rise of productive capacity in nations like China, Mexico, and Bangladesh, outsourcing, especially for manufacturing, is more attractive than ever. Some companies have also begun outsourcing services, like call centers and software engineering. A company doesn’t need to be constrained by time zones and borders anymore- making a product or service come together across international boundaries is now an option for saving costs for businesses of all sizes.

3. Square
Square is a new smartphone and tablet app that allows these devices to read credit and debit cards. This means that the era of costly point-of-sale systems that are difficult to use and install are over. Any company, from a food truck to a large retail store, can use the free app to accept plastic. The owners charge a small fee for each transaction, but the app and equipment themselves are free.

4. Social Connections
Social networks like Facebook are not just places for friends. Businesses use Facebook and Twitter to speak directly to customers, offer deals, respond to complaints, and announce changes. The fact that these services are free means that even the smallest cafe and hole-in-the-wall restaurant can interact with their diehard fans. Of course, this is a two-edged sword. Web sites like Yelp allow aggregation of reviews of all kinds of businesses, so a company that gets on the Internet’s bad side can have a hard time of it. Engaging in social media can lead to better marketing, but companies need to be careful of the backlash from missteps.

The world economic crisis has meant relatively little in terms of what business owners actually need to change in terms of their business plan. Consumers are less willing to spend than usual, but taking advantage of the other major evolutions of the past decade are more important to long-term success than following the weekly housing price index or economic predictions. Businesses need to be ready not only to adopt new methods but also to adapt to change. The one constant of the 2000s so far has been that nothing is immutable. Versatility and readiness to jump on new opportunities are more important than anything else for the contemporary business owner.

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on February 23, 2014 in Guest Posts.

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