How Has the Internet Changed Businesses in Positive Ways?

By Beth Bartlett

The Internet age has caused businesses to evolve.
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Imagine a business day without email, Twitter or Skype. It’s hard to fathom, especially since the Internet has become such an essential part of every business. Before smartphones and computers, business moved at a snail’s pace. Today, a business owner can achieve success with online communication, fewer employees and higher goals while making her services more convenient for customers.


For most of the 20th century, business people had three ways of communicating: in person, over a land-line telephone or by sending a letter through the mail. If a business emergency arose during off-hours, getting a snap decision from management was difficult. Today, business owners and employees can stay in touch with email, instant messaging and face-to-face chat over the Internet. Strategies can be formed and actions taken without anyone stepping foot into the office. Social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, provide another quick and easy way to connect co-workers.


With faster communication, more work can be done on a shorter timescale thanks to the Internet. Seminars, meetings and workshops can be taken online via Skype and other interactive streaming video applications. Internet-enabled whiteboards allow business teams in different cities to work on projects as if they were in the same room together, and virtual worlds such as Second Life have been used for meetings and seminars, allowing businesses to drastically cut travel costs and time spent out of the office. Cloud computing applications such as Google Docs and Dropbox let team members share and work on projects wherever there’s Internet access, whether on the go, at the office or at home.


Before the Internet, research often involved reams of documents in storage, libraries filled with books and microfilm and cold-calling customers with surveys. Today, small business owners have the world at their fingertips with online databases and information from universities, think tanks and top business magazines, all on the Internet. Instead of calling or direct mailing surveys, a business can send a survey invitation via email, and customer data can be collected at the customer’s convenience. With these tools, business owners can change a sales approach or incorporate the latest strategy at a moment’s notice.

Customer Service

Twitter and Facebook provide instant interaction between customers and companies. The faster a customer’s complaint is resolved or suggestion noted, the happier that customer will be. Social media avenues have become powerful tools for businesses if handled with politeness, consideration and even a touch of humor. A positive, unsolicited comment sent out over social media is the best advertising and can convince people to become new customers. This free-flowing exchange of information between business and consumer is also valuable marketing data to help the business meet the demands of the public.