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Small businesses have always been tough. Entrepreneurs have always been resilient. The little guy has always been up for a challenge. But have they ever had the technological edge over the larger players in their industry with their vast war chests and manpower? Believe it or not, in many ways they do now. And the trend is only set to become more pronounced over the next few years.

New and emerging technologies and business tools are helping strengthen the world of small businesses. As the next tech wave hits, the little guys are primed to capitalize. Here’s how:

Nimble movers

Small businesses are often mischaracterized as lacking in some way or as being oppressed by larger players in their space—but with smaller size comes greater speed, flexibility and agility. Small businesses are nimble movers ready to strike at any given opportunity, and these days technology innovation promises no shortage of great opportunities for growth. Unlike big corporations, small businesses aren’t slowed down by bureaucratic decision making when a new technology is introduced that can improve customer interaction, manufacturing, payment processing, and the list goes on. They have fewer employees to train, the ability to experiment with less risk, and can implement new technology without pushback from upper-management.

The flexibility of a small business goes a long way in helping it outperform its larger competitors. According to a McKinsey report, 70 percent of agile companies rank among the top quarter in organizational health.

Time savers

Let’s face it: there’ll never be enough man hours in the day to do it all. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and small business owners, who are constantly up against the clock. They’re short on time, staff and wearing more hats than a hat rack. That’s where virtual hours come into play. New technologies are helping small business worker faster, smarter and more efficiently. A CNBC study showed mobile apps save small business employees an astounding 725 million work hours per year. Larger corporations can often simply hire more staff or pay overtime to make sure the wheels keep turning, but smaller businesses operating on budgets that won’t allow for additional employees are increasingly able to rely on advancements in technology to keep on top of the business while running lean.

From artificial intelligence and automation to voice-activated technology, new tools are making a significant impact on how small businesses run. As small business owners strive to improve speed and efficiency, these tools are becoming lifelines.

Cost Cutters

Some things are better left in the past — and antiquated business technology is one of those things. Small businesses have an incredible opportunity to save money by embracing new and emerging technologies. Cloud storage, social media marketing and going paperless are among the ways small businesses can prosper. Small businesses can also save on travel by communicating through virtual technologies such as Skype, or reduce overhead by allowing employees to telecommute.

Though investing in new technologies was once a fiscal deal-breaker, a recent influx in small business-focused tools have provided much more affordable options than ever before. Gone are the days when a small business would need to buy a software solution built for large enterprises with bells and whistles they’ll never have use for. Streamlined alternatives are increasingly available for everything from your CRM to your inventory management. A small and midsized business-focused CRM solution offers all tools a small business owner needs to go toe-to-toe with enterprise level competitors for customer service, lead generation and customer retention. In fact, a recent AT&T survey showed mobile technologies are saving small businesses more than $65 billion per year.

Open Minders

You can’t always teach a corporation new tricks. Large, established companies are often entrenched in their ways; creatures of habit hesitant to embrace change. This was an effective strategy in the past, going with the tried and true when tech innovation meant making mere tweaks while keeping a company’s overall structure intact. But in today’s world, fast-moving technology is giving a sizable advantage to small businesses willing to think outside the big box store mentality.

Recognizing the benefits of emerging technology, an increasing number of small businesses are embracing these innovations. A report by Xero showed 71 percent of small business owners were using a cloud service, up from just 24 percent less than two years earlier.

The positive impact new technologies are having on the small business community are plain to see and the trend will only accelerate as the next wave of business innovations hit the market. Optimism within the small business community reached a record high this year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. And when small businesses feel confident about their chances of competing against the big boys and can’t be crowded out, we all win.