In the last decade the world has seen massive change in how businesses operate – arguably the most dramatic business evolution than during any other 10-year period in history.
The way businesses relate to customers and engage in business transactions are now radically different as a result of changes in technology and how money is exchanged.
It cannot be ignored. Innovation over the last decade has created a myriad of new ways to engage customers and entice them to buy more than ever before with social media, internet, advanced payment methods and super-fast delivery.
It’s a matter of opinion whether these changes have resulted in business being easier or harder.
Here’s the list of the top 10 ways business has evolved over the last decade.
Communication skills and methods have changed significantly over the last decade with emails, texts, social media, Skype and YouTube all experiencing an explosion in their daily use.
A decade ago, widespread public use of the internet was still in its infancy. This decade has seen SEO, social media and other forms of digital traffic generation come of age.
There is no such thing as ‘out of office’ anymore. The business day has become relentless, 24/7, always available.
Mobile communication is much more powerful with WiFi connectivity allowing easy access via smart phones, tablets and laptops. The line between work and home life has become blurred as a result of instant connection via email, SMS messaging and app-based forms of communication.
Business mobility allows for entire ‘offices’ of remote employees who are rarely in the same place at the same time, permitting even a small business to be global.
3. Virtual Office
Small business offices are becoming entirely virtual as businesses recognise the potential savings. Gone is the need for an office to conduct business. Hense these days many businesses only have an email address and employ people to work via the internet.
The virtual office has eliminated much of the need for significant investor capital and extensive networks for new startup business. Many existing businesses have similarly adopted some form of virtual office to take advantage of the enormous savings on offer.
Businesses are collecting more data. Terabytes of customer interactions, saved files, emails, analytics and marketing feedback can be stored in the Cloud, rather than needing banks of servers to store this data.
The latest Cloud computing architecture provides a radical advancement on traditional business servers. To begin with, they offer convenient data storage and computing services at an affordable price to businesses of all sizes.
5. Lead Generation
A decade ago sales leads mainly came through printed advertising, telemarketing or referrals. Today, leads are coming from multiple sources, primarily online.
Most business leads are now obtained online via SEO-based content, pay-per-click ads, membership services and special communities such as GrabOne.
Business has experienced the communications revolution. Everything from everywhere is now available online.
The last decade has seen e-commerce expand with the emergence of virtual stores and hypermarkets, interactive stores and ‘click and collect’ models.
‘Clicks and Bricks’ is now the norm with most businesses expected to have an online identity as well as a brick and mortar presence.
7. Social Media
The social networking phenomenon has created a powerful marketing tool. Social media has become an omnipresent part of our every-minute life, surpassing e-mail as the preferred method to communicate and collaborate.
As a result, maintaining business social media accounts has become a separate business function.
The internet offers access to anything, anywhere. ‘Globality’, the globalisation of virtually everything, is the new reality with businesses from everywhere now competing for everything.
Instant global connectivity allows business to operate far-flung operations, conduct real-time financial transactions and deal with supply chains stretching around the world.
Connectivity will continue spreading to bring work, home and surrounding environment into one seamless experience and pushing sub trends, such as big data, to create market opportunities for new products and services.
The App Revolution, riding on the back of smartphone technology, is providing app-driven commerce from the display of products to a vast array of payment methods, all at the touch of a button.
Electronic transactions have become the business rule in the last decade.
10. Cashless society
Mobile payments and touch-screen product access have become commonplace this decade. Along with other thriving technologies, the rise of modern Point Of Sale (POS) systems has granted businesses a major advantage in optimising sales volumes.
Cryptocurrencies faltered until PayPal was adopted by business as a popular electronic transaction standard. With the rise of Bitcoin in the last decade, there is now an entire online exchange of cryptocurrencies considered as viable forms of currency for business-related transactions.
Is your business keeping up with these developments?