Running Your Small Business: Old School vs the New Way

Doing Business Many of you have been in the business world for many years and have seen the changes in the way small businesses operate. Some of the huge changes that took place of course were the emergence of the internet and technology. It has affected many aspects of the way we approach our clients and prospects and the way we run our businesses. Lets look at a few of these changes.


Old School. We use to write letters, use stamps and walk to the post office to mail our correspondence to our clients.

New way: We sit at our desk, click a few buttons on our computers and hit send.

Old school: We use to pick up the phone and dial a number.

New way: We sit at our desk, click a few buttons on our computers and hit send. We use Skype and video conferencing.

Old school: We use to work 9 to 5 and if anyone wanted to get in touch with us outside business hours, they would have to wait until the following business day for us to get back to them.

New Way: We are reachable anywhere at any time because we all have websites, cells phones, internet and email access. We’re on call 24/7.

Office tools

Old school: We use to have rolodex, write down phone numbers in little black phone books and collect business cards.

New way: We use CRM systems to keep track of every clients, prospects and interaction details which we can also access through our cell phones at anytime.

Old school: We use to lookup for phone numbers in the phone book and yellow pages.

New way: Phone book…what’s that? We lookup people on LinkedIn and Facebook to find out everything about them before sending them an email, an invitation to join our network or a friendship request.

Old school: We use to have filing cabinets with all our important documents.

New way: We use cloud computing to store our documents where we can access from anywhere with an internet connections.


Old School: We use to pay to print ads in newspapers and hope to reach blindly a few of our customers and prospects.

New way: We write blog articles and use article marketing on the internet at a very low cost to reach our target market. Prospects find us and consume our material because they are searching for us.

Old School: We use to do cold calls hoping that we weren’t  interrupting these complete strangers during dinner so that we could take 30 seconds to give our little speech before moving on to the next person in the phone book.

New way: Phone book…what’s that? We develop relationships with our target market and influencers which we found on Twellow or Listorious and share tips and expertise with them on Twitter in 140 characters.

Client Service

Old School: When our clients had an issue with our services or products, they would complain about it to their next door neighbour.

New way: When our clients have an issue, they make a video on Youtube and release it to all their friends on all the social networks.

Old School: When clients had questions about our services or products, they would dial a number and be put on hold for 20 minutes before speaking to someone.

New way: Clients go on Facebook to ask questions and get instant feedback from someone on the company’s business page.

Technology has brought many changes, some good and some bad. For the small business owner, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time and resources to keep up with all these changes. But there’s no turning back and resistance to change will most likely prevent your business from being competitive. Just remember that technology is intended to make complicated things simple and costly things affordable. The answer is to concentrate your efforts into what will bring you the most benefits and simplify your work process.

What’s your favourite old school/new way of doing business?

Photo credit: Simon Howden /

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »