For small businesses attempting to reach a multitude of global customers, compete on cost, attain and sustain brand recognition, the opportunities are now there. In the past they often lacked the advantage of available resources and appropriate budget that their larger competitors used in order to gain a competitive advantage. That is all changing.

The convergence of industries with IT has enabled cost effective solutions that generate accessibility to small businesses enabling them to compete on a level not previously available. Work habits via connected home and work, the cost effective availability of big data that enable complex analytics, ease of reaching the global community through social media channels is leveling the playing field.

"Crowd funding, donation sites, peer-to-peer lending are a few examples of how small businesses can leverage capital to build their businesses..."

Here then is an overview of some of the most prominent advancements and trends:

  1. Cloud technology has enabled the streamlining of many service related processes, resulting in a number of efficiency gains. Open applications programming has made it easier for companies to develop programs without the need of hiring developers.

  2. Big data analytics is enabling small businesses to run sophisticated analysis on internal and external intelligence and financials resulting in current state and the predicted outlook metrics. CRM with win loss, close loop lead generation tied to other internal measurement systems creates market intelligence that small businesses can use to build viable strategies.  

  3. Accessible global brand building, once reserved for those with large marketing budgets, is now a reality for small businesses where dedicated marketing staff to pursue brand awareness and sustainment programs would have been a luxury. Online referral systems, video sites like YouTube and other social media have all created awareness and marketing channels for businesses of any size. Additionally, SEO or search engine optimization places small companies square in front of their globally targeted customers. Big company global image on a small company budget is now a reality.

  4. Entrepreneurship and the ability to better build global teams is one of the biggest areas of change. Virtual teams and a desire for entrepreneurial work conditions is the mantra. Online market places have enabled freelance web designers, developers, videographers and others to build viable businesses through contract and incentive-based design sales. Small businesses now have, at their disposal, advertising capabilities that would never have been cost effectively available in the past.

  5. Alternative flows of funding create relatively cost effective ways to raise startup cash flow. Crowd funding, donation sites and peer-to-peer lending are a few examples of how small businesses can leverage capital to build their businesses without the need to create elaborate business plans for the venture capital community. Of course, many are restricted by government standards and guidelines, but these sites help to ensure that the guidelines are met.