There were many different ways that businesses were run in the past. The present also is quite varied, with businesses differing in size, types of governance, and cultures, inter alia.
Perhaps the greatest change has to do with technology and infrastructure. While before the mid-nineteenth century, the speed of communication was restricted by distance, technologies such as the telegraph, telephone, fax, and electronic communications such as text messaging and email now allow instantaneous global communication.
The improvements in transportation infrastructure also allow for global supply chains. Although international trade has existed for many thousands of years (along such trade routes as the Silk Road), it was generally restricted to light weight and valuable items such as spices and jewellery, while now most commodities and consumer goods are traded internationally. Refrigeration allows for the globalization of agriculture.
Although great income inequalities still exist, along with mistreatment of many migrant workers, slavery and child labor have been outlawed in most modern nations.