By Aleece Hobson

In this ever-evolving world of technology, the all-encompassing globe looks more like a marble. As technology has progressed, the world’s culture has managed to simultaneously shrink and expand. The introduction of the Internet has led to millions accessing information in nanoseconds. The Internet, mobility, and the cloud allow instant communication with the click of the button and have also raised concerns for privacy and security.

These advances have revolutionized the business world. Most business is conducted over computers or mobile devices; an unimaginable thought a mere 20 years ago. As communication and information travel faster, our world becomes smaller, and methods of conducting business are changing. Video chatting, emailing, and file sharing are all examples of how we communicate in business today. Working from home or half way around the globe is now a very real and achievable possibility. This has led to the expansion of a firm’s hiring pool, as well as allowed global partnerships.

As the barriers of distance disappear, so do the barriers of business entry. Competitors are no longer located within a certain radius. When conducting a competitive analysis, a smart business needs to also be aware of its existing national and international competition. Not to mention competitors that exist solely online.

The Internet has also changed the business world through targeted advertising. Optimizing a company web site and using Google Analytics can dictate exactly when and how to communicate specific information. Online advertising campaigns through Google Adwords can focus on specific demographics or behaviors so that a firm can communicate efficiently and effectively to a highly targeted audience. Additionally, these tools provide suggestions on successful keywords that will drive visitors to a company web site.

Confidentiality is also a luxury of the past with the widespread use of social media, online news, and reviews. A firm’s reputation can shine or be destroyed with a few keystrokes. Favorable or damaging images, experiences, and opinions can be viewed on a global scale with nowhere for a business to hide. Because perception is reality, it is crucial for a firm to understand the power of technology and how use it to their advantage.

Whether the advances in technology are perceived as positive or negative, one fact is true: if a business is not evolving and keeping pace with these changes, they will be like a quill and ink, outdated and forgotten.