Let's face it, when you're putting in the long hours and hard work required to run your own business, you probably don't want to hear that the entrepreneurs of the past had it tougher. So, let's look at this another way. Your life as an entrepreneur is going to get easier. Why? Because enterprise technology is coming on in leaps and bounds.

Six hundred years ago, when the printing press was invented in Europe (the Chinese had it first but kept it to themselves), economic productivity enjoyed an unprecedented boom. Around four centuries later, the telegram had a similar effect. Now we live in an age when computers, the internet, and mobile connectivity have created a world that people would have struggled to imagine half a century ago, and new technologies are emerging faster than ever. Few people benefit more from this than entrepreneurs - especially those smart enough to keep a close eye on what's out there and thinking about how it could work for them.


The biggest challenge for business has always been time; it equates to money, after all, and when you need to spend a lot of it moving people around to make meetings and co-working possible, it's expensive. Telecommuting technologies like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Skype have changed the game. You can even use them on mobile devices so that you can join meetings when traveling, reducing the amount of working time lost to commuting or business trips. The technology also increases the size of the talent pool you can draw from, making it easier to employ people with disabilities or care commitments.

Electronic signature technology

When Keith Krach created DocuSign - described by Forbes as one of the world's best cloud companies - he was looking for an opportunity to bridge the gap between traditional same-location working and its modern online equivalent. His success has seen him awarded an honorary doctorate, as well as simplifying life for tens of thousands of businesspeople worldwide. Being able to sign contracts at a distance has made it much easier to move quickly on long distance deals, something that's especially useful to businesses with foreign partners, virtual offices or a lot of distance workers.

Financial technology

In the past, one of the most challenging aspects of running a new business was financial management, because of the requirement for specialist skills that a lot of entrepreneurs simply didn't have. Today, financial technology makes it much easier to manage basic accounting, payroll and similar matters for yourself, even if you have only minimal training. That can significantly cut down on overheads. You can also use technology to follow the markets, making it much easier to manage your investments and assess the standing of potential business partners and rivals.

Virtual reality

If you're involved in design, engineering or any other business where ideas are turned into solid objects, you'll find virtual reality a game changer. Being able to model objects in this way makes it much easier to work out how to assemble them and to analyze their strengths and weaknesses as well as assessing how they fit into the wider environment. It's a fantastic tool for entrepreneurs who want to demonstrate what they're capable of to attract initial investment before they can afford to build it for real.

Artificial intelligence

It's still early stages at present, but artificial intelligence is playing an increasing role in sales and customer engagement, and it's developing fast. Experts believe that within a few years it's going to be indispensable. Already, sales can be automated to some extent, making it much easier to manage a large throughput of stock and automatically order more, significantly reducing the burden of administration on small businesses with limited resources.

ERP software

Once you have multiple technologies in place, the challenge is keeping them coordinated. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software takes care of much of that work for you, coordinating all your day to day processes so that you can get on with the more complex and creative side of running your business. There are several different variants available, so you can pick the one best suited to your business type. Any time lost to installation is very quickly made up as the software allows you to significantly increase your productivity.

With all these areas to consider, it's essential that the modern entrepreneur remains alert to the developments in technology. It's there to help - but it's there to help everyone - so what matters is being savvy about how to use it and getting to grips with it before your rivals do.