The good news for small businesses is this: The ever-evolving convergence of technology with everyday life — integrating into how people work and live — is resulting in new business operations models and new ways of identifying or servicing customers. Technology is giving cost-effective access to the insights that allow companies to improve on these areas. And that is a welcomed trend for small businesses working with limited budgets.

Here are five upgrades that exemplify the current landscape:

1. Ability to reach globally, on a regional basis

Web presence and branding are inexpensive and have leveled the playing field in the advertising world. What used to entail expensive brand techniques can now be done online for a fraction of the cost. Novices can do what often used to require an experienced developer. Automated website creation and brand storyboards are examples.

2. Distribution options for anyone

The distribution capabilities of today are disrupting industries, allowing smaller players to take their products and services directly to the customers. Online marketplaces have emerged for small businesses but also artists, writers, musicians and the like. They now have a path to customers that was unavailable to them in the past.

3. Access to real-time insights

Cost-effective analytics and online forums are affording players an opportunity to gain insights into what customers across the globe want and need. Given new and advanced payment systems, everyone from larger retailers to small independent taxi drivers can analyze their sales in those terms — of customer wants and needs.  

Often, they can then map their customer journeys, too. With most transactions taking place online, we see this trend creating more opportunities for small business to understand the markets in which they compete or want to compete, and to make better more accurate determinations about consumers’ desires.

4. More alternative funding techniques

The expansion of funding options affords small businesses and entrepreneurs a better opportunity to launch their programs. This is having a major effect on organizations and companies that already have a social impact element wired into their brand or services.

5. More thorough virtual capabilities 

Internally, small businesses are better able to shore up the efficiency of customer service, often offering 24/7 availability. This also means improved quality and productivity because of increased access to virtually- and globally-located expertise. Meanwhile, given the elimination, or at least the reduction, of “brick and mortar” requirements, fledgling companies can get by on significantly reduced overhead costs.