Business, like sport, consists of winners and losers, the elite and the mediocre – but technological advances have meant the gaps between little and large are shortening.
The traditional stranglehold big business has held over a marketplace is loosening – and small businesses are beginning to shake off the runner up tag and fight back.
So what does this mean for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs throughout Southeast Asia?
While it's true to say that the aftershock of a global recession has hit many SMEs hard, the good news is it's becoming much easier for them to compete with big business.
The changing face of industry – and the necessity to curtail spending – has resulted in many start-up companies utilising cloud technology. Removing the need for huge financial outlay on a business infrastructure means your company could be ready to go for only a minimal fee.
Taking advantage of cloud services, and its pay-for-use fees, means your business is not lumbered with huge overheads maintaining staff and systems that can be easily hosted through cloud – and it allows you to take one step closer to competing on a level playing field.
Unlike big business, SMEs using the cloud enjoy the flexibility to reach beyond traditional geographical limits and focus on developing markets that larger competitors may have disregarded.
Worldwide access to the internet means consumers are literally only a click away from interacting with a company's product. Singapore, for example, has the highest level of internet usage in Southeast Asia, a statistic that businesses can't afford to ignore. This thirst for internet access is backed up with the fact that around 70 per cent of Singaporean consumers are using a smartphone to ensure they are keeping their finger on the pulse.
Also, with 69 per cent of social media users actively engaging with brands and companies, it means the landscape of business is changing forever. With these statistics in mind, it is crucial that your product is well placed to ensure maximum exposure to your client base.
Furthermore, keeping overheads down by using serviced or virtual offices for your meetings, communications and secretarial requirements and exploiting technological advances means there's no reason your company can't compete with multi-nationals.
Small and large businesses need to acclimatise or die – and the benefits of the cloud means “lightweight” SMEs are ready to pounce on the weaknesses of their larger competitors.
Don't be left behind in the battle for a share of the marketplace – make sure your company is ready to evolve and grow.