The importance of computers in our society can be seen in every aspect of our lives. The rise in popularity of computers and the internet has completely changed our society in the last 20 years. This is true for business as much as any other aspect of our daily lives. Computers have even been responsible for entirely new business concepts, and the internet has spawned countless new ways for small business owners to create their own companies. It's not just high tech virtual companies that are benefiting from computers and the internet; traditional brick-and-mortar stores are finding multiple ways to increase their bottom line by using computer technology.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Some benefits of computers include online collaboration, websites for marketing, streamlined inventory management, accuracy in record keeping and a reduction in employee hours.
The Benefits of Networking
Traditionally, franchise businesses had support systems that connected multiple shops to help each other through tough times. Virtually all other small and medium independent businesses had to handle every problem with very little aid. Today, businesses in every industry have formed groups online to help members benefit from the combined knowledge of everyone involved. Your labor problem may have a solution that was conceived across the country, while you may have just the answer to someone else's production or marketing troubles. While it would make little sense to join forces with the restaurant down the block 50 years ago, helping out a fellow restaurateur who lives on the opposite coast today is the ideal way to pay it forward.
A New World of Marketing
The most effective marketing campaigns today rely on branding instead of individual sales offers. Just as multinational corporations concentrate on getting their name out and relying on this to convert sales, small businesses are taking advantage of the power of the internet to work this same concept. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of people will check out a business online before they visit it in person. With the right search engine optimization on your company website, you can rank on the first page of any Google search engine keyword, giving your business a head start with anyone searching for a plumber in Omaha or a barbecue restaurant south of Detroit.
Traditionally, businesses viewed materials stored onsite and inventory as business assets. Today, because of the internet and the concept of just-in-time inventory, they're seen as wasted space and money. Just-in-time inventory is a system designed to cut waste and increase efficiency by only receiving goods as they're needed. This greatly reduces the cost of inventory. Using this method requires much tighter inventory control, but it frees up money otherwise invested in inventory, allowing business owners to invest in other parts of the business or to increase their bottom line.
Business Savings Across the Line
Business owners are finding benefits of computer and internet use in every part of their business. Computers are more accurate than humans, reducing the number of errors in inventory, payroll and labor computation. In many cases, computers can cut down the number of hours employees are needed onsite, reducing labor costs across the board. Management is finding their jobs changing, with computers cutting down on the number of hours needed on basic bookkeeping tasks and allowing managers to spend more time hands-on with their employees.
Victoria Bailey has owned and operated businesses for 25 years, including an award-winning gourmet restaurant and a rare bookstore. She spent time as a corporate training manager in the third-largest restaurant chain in its niche, but her first love will always be small and independent businesses. Bailey has written for USAToday, Coldwell Banker, and various restaurant magazines, and is the ghostwriter for a nationally-known food safety training guru.