There has never been a time in our history where access in doing business is as easy as these days. It seems everything has been made accessible and easier especially for small businesses. Tools that before only medium and large business are able to use, like hosting servers and websites, back-end programs like inventory, payroll and document management systems, surveillance systems are already made available to us at a cost within reach to us small business owners, and sometimes even free of cost due to the advent of open software culture. Unlike a couple of decades before, these technologies are just within realms of enterprise businesses.
In our wonderful times of innovative technology today, it’s should be easy to think that most small businesses would be running all their processes digitally using software technologies that make daily routine tasks as easy as counting 1,2,3. It’s exciting seeing businessmen doing business meetings bringing only their ipads or tablets and accessing business files on the cloud or remote offices, doctors browsing on their tablets checking their patient schedules and information prior to making rounds and appointments, accountants doing client meetings and discussing financial statements through their smartphones while all these data reside in a secure server in their office or cloud, or even fast food chains or multi-branches stores using VOIP technology to interconnect communication infrastructure of their different stores – oh! This is such a wonderful scenario for us entrepreneurs and professionals. However, this seems not the case – at least in my locality here in Naga City, still there are small businesses not elevating their business profile online by using website to kick off their business presence. Medical clinics, law, and accounting firms still are heavily reliant on paper processes to record their business data and appointments, or small business not utilizing Google apps despite of it having a free version to automate some of their business tasks.
Come to think of it, that whilst a preponderance of smart gadgets like cell phones and the availability of open-source software like Linux and other open source apps, most small businesses have yet to make the most of these technologies in the business sense. Whys is it so? Is it the lack of awareness on the part of some business owners? Or for some non-techy entrepreneurs, putting up technology system/infrastructure is tied up to a notion of being complex and costly to maintain, that in the end it just does not justify the benefit gained from adopting technology to automate their tasks? Whatever the reason behind, it is obvious that businesses have not utilized or have underutilized the benefit they could gain with having a technology that can leverage their business popularity, activities, and processes. Heavy reliance on the conventional way of doing business or sticking to a conventional way of marketing proves to be impractical and a little out dated specially in the midst of an era where technology and social media are becoming a standard norm in the society. Surely, if small businesses could not adopt the enormous advantage of using technology to leverage on their business or brand awareness, they’re missing on huge opportunities.
So, if you are a professional or a small business owner wanting to make a mark in a highly competitive industry, it is highly necessary on your end to begin studying and implementing the kind of technology your business needs. Look on the cheaper side of adopting technology and start researching apps that are free and open source, you’ll be amazed just how these technologies are so abundant and widespread that there just seems to be an app available in whatever area or business services you need – from free website applications, customer relations management (CRM), electronic medical record app, telephony, point-of-sales, booking systems, etc. And if you think you need to spend thousands of money to maintain a server because of Microsoft Windows Licensing fee structure, well, fret not, because Linux can just very well do what a Microsoft Windows Server does, and even better. And yes, Linux is FREE!
Here are some of the free and open source applications we use and tried to help our business tasks daily:
Ubuntu/Fedora/POP OS Linux – Running on our Desktop
WordPress – CMS for our website
NextCloud – Private Cloud Storage Solution
OSTicket – Ticketing System
Elastix – IP PBX Telephony
Nethserver – Linux Server
Proxmox – Hypervisor for our Virtualization testing
Google Workspace – Our primary driver to automate document tasks
Audacity – for Audio Editing
OBS – for Video Editing
And many more, take note, we are a small-tech business so most of the open-source software listed are what we use and need as tech service company.
There are hundreds if not thousands of applications you can utilize in your business, you just need a little bit of googling and research to find the exact fit and match that can address some of your business requirements. Some are free to use, and some may cause you money. You have to pay for some if you can’t find an app that is free for your use-case. “You have to spend money to earn money”, as they say – although it is highly probable you will find a free app for your use. In the end, technology does give you a considerable advantage in doing your work and business, because if you do not use it, your relevance whether working as professional or as an entrepreneur will soon fade if you fail to adapt to our techy society.
Let me end this blog by asking, do you agree with the idea that professionals and entrepreneurs need to adopt technology to leverage their work and business?
What are your thoughts? Let me know your comment below.