What tech tools help your small business stay productive? In today’s guest post, Brian Sutter shares his picks.

Technology has rapidly transformed over the past 100 years. And with that rapid transformation, we’ve seen vast improvements in how small business owners can run their business more efficiently. From storing unthinkable amounts of data on tiny memory sticks the size of a pack of gum to instantly communicating with business partners halfway around the globe, the notion of running your own business has become more of a reality with new technological advancements. Here are our picks for the top 5 tech inventions that have done the most to boost small business owners’ productivity.

1. The Internet: Probably seen as the greatest technological achievement in the modern era, the Internet has enabled small business owners to work more efficiently than ever imagined. Small business owners are now able to affordably build custom websites, enabling them to market their products and services to the masses. In addition to marketing on a large scale, the Internet is the driving force behind how we as small business owners better communicate with one another.

2. The Transistor: You love keeping up with the latest small business tips and news on SmallBizDaily, right? Well, you’d better thank the transistor, because this post would not be available without it. The invention of the transistor, the tiny device used to amplify electronic signals in almost every piece of technology, is the brainchild behind many small business technologies used everyday. From the tablet and the smartphone you carry in your pocket to such tech giants like Google (Gmail, anyone?), the digital world we live in would not be possible without this tiny, yet powerful device.

3. Cloud Storage: The notion of storing small business data in the cloud is a bit hard to grasp for some. However, cloud storage is continuing to propel small businesses forward, further increasing productivity on a daily basis. Need to get that report finished before tomorrow morning? Simply upload it to one of the many cloud storage services before leaving the office, and finish it later that evening, anywhere, anytime.

4. IEEE 802.16: What’s IEEE 802.16? Much like Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.16 can wirelessly transmit Internet access up to 30 miles with connection speeds similar to DSL. Introduced in 2002, this advancement has allowed businesses to access email, Internet, and other online communication services while on the go. No longer do you need to be tethered to your office to turn that to-do list into a to-done list.

5. The Barcode: While we’re accustomed to seeing barcodes everyday, most of us don’t give much thought to how barcodes work, or how they can increase productivity in our business.  The barcode is being used in nearly every type of industry to replace manual data entry. From asset tracking and inventory control to POS systems, the barcode can be applied to many applications for boosting office efficiency.

There you have it–our picks for the top 5 inventions that have helped shape small businesses over time. What technological advancement tops your list? Drop us a comment below and let us know what has helped to improve your small business!

Brian Sutter is the director of marketing at Wasp Barcode Technology, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media.