Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How can technology help small businesses? - Be more productive

What is important for your small business? The obvious answer from any business school is to reduce cost while increasing profitability. The difficult part is how you get there.

There are multiple challenges. First, competition is fierce, especially for SMB start-ups and established companies, whose main pressure is exercised by large companies and multinationals. In addition to that, due to the large amount of communication channels and low cost of information today, your customers are presented with many more choices and therefore becoming more scarce. Finally, the global economy is a reality, making everything unstable and more sensitive to issues. For example, an economic debacle in China will impact your business in Latin America, your vendors, your customers and your ecosystem partners at the same time anywhere in the world.

There are three alternatives to combat these challenges and strive for lower production and operation costs and increase in profitability by means of leveraging technology. In this post, I will be talking about the first one: “Be More Productive”: Work more efficiently; do more with less.

You can take productivity to the next level. Look for ways to help teams be more productive through better collaboration:

Don't just tell; show. When unveiling a new product to a remote sales team, turn a regular call into a video call for maximum impact. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is price less.

  1. When communicating with your customer, be “virtually” there by having a rich-media web conference with video.
  2. Easily bring people together to solve problems. Need to call an urgent meeting? With just a few clicks, quickly find out who's available and set up conference calls or online meetings. Access customer information wherever you are, so you can easily work with colleagues to resolve issues quickly.
  3. Stay connected to mobile workers. With multiple channels of communication always available being out of the office no longer means being out of the loop. As a matter of fact, you should never leave the office.

Remember, the golden rule says when workers stay connected, they stay productive. Here are some ideas:

Start with a reliable, flexible, secure network infrastructure foundation combining voice, data, video, and wireless on one network so everyone can roam about, stay connected, and be productive.

Add software that links your customer relationship management database to your phone system. That way, computer screen pop-ups let you instantly view data about each customer. Instantly find out if someone is available to answer a question or attend a last-minute meeting.

Add video telephony software and cameras, allowing you to turn regular phone calls and online meetings into video calls along with phones that are designed to keep mobile workers in touch and give them anytime anywhere access.

Add applications that deliver call control and presence features to enable workers to know if colleagues are available and how they prefer to be reached and use toolbars within common applications like Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer to enhance productivity.


gui said...

I am from Brazil and I have been living in Canada for almost one year. I am doing my internship at Bekhor Management as a marketing intern. One of my projects was to research technologies that help small business like the technology you reference in this article e.g. Go To My Pc, skype, google talk, yousendit, dadamail etc…Here is a link to the article at Toronto Marketing Blog:

Leo Boulton said...

THanks for sharing...