Nowadays, we live in a world where everything is connected. The Internet disrupted our entire lifestyles and changed so many things around us. One of the major impacts of the Internet was on businesses. Many huge companies became even bigger, and a lot of companies that chose to stick with the traditional ways went out of business. On the other hand, some small businesses were able to succeed mostly because of the Internet. So what exactly was the Internet’s impact on businesses? And how did it affect the way they work?
The positive side
As we mentioned in a previous article, the power of the Internet allowed people to build online businesses without needing a huge investment in the first place! Anyone who has a good idea can start a business and market it to reach a wide audience. The key is to have a good product/service, and to market it in a smart way. By doing that, a business can have the opportunity to grow way beyond the local scale. Before the age of the Internet, this would’ve required huge money investments, today it’s one click away.
Another example of the Internet’s positive impact on businesses is providing better means of communication. Because of the tools that use the Internet as an infrastructure, it became possible for businesses to reach their customers more effectively, in addition to improving the coordination inside their teams. Emails, websites, social media platforms and mobile apps all made the lives of both employees and customers much easier.
The power of Internet businesses relies in their ability to lower their expenses, which in turns allows them to compete better with pricing. In case of an online store for example, there are no costs of rent, electricity, heating, etc. You can live in your own house while running your business totally online. This gives businesses a higher level of flexibility in comparison to the traditional models.
There cannot be good without bad
Ironically, global exposure can also have a huge negative impact on some businesses. Having a more connected world meant that people are now exposed to all businesses around the entire globe. Someone living in Germany can easily shop from China or the US without being limited to local options. The downside to this is that local businesses became forced to compete with giant multi-million dollars corporations in both quality and price! It became harder for local businesses that don’t keep up with technology to even have any customers.
Due to the global exposure, people became used to what big companies provide online as their baseline for comparison. Are you offering me a website? Well I want it just like the ones built by Google. Are you selling shirts? I want designs like those offered by Zara and Pull & Bear. This puts a pressure on all the companies with limited resources trying to compete with the giants. Unless they provide a good incentive to customers (lower price, better quality, better customer service, faster and cheaper delivery, etc) they would be forced to close very rapidly.
A double edged sword
In a nutshell, the Internet’s impact on businesses can be seen as a double edged sword. Those who master it can thrive while those who refuse to use it suffocate themselves. The advantages of the Internet can be used to overcome its negative effects. Smart marketing can give smaller businesses a good chance in face of the larger competition, and lower costs allow them to provide better incentives for people to seek them.
The Internet is now part of our lives, which is why it’s time for businesses to learn how to use it properly for their own good.
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