Small Business Edge

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Why small businesses will give large corporations a run for their money in the coming years.

The internet changed everything. Well, not exactly – the internet changed a lot of things, but not everything. Most significantly, it changed the way people thought about technology. Technology became a mirror of accessibility allowing people to connect all over the world to products, services, ideas, opinions and other individuals. Time and geography no longer mattered. You can now foster internet friendships with people in India, the Philippines, South Africa or anywhere else in the world. You can discuss finance, see live updates using Twitter, and call your family on Skype. So what does this mean for business? The internet did not change people’s attitudes on how to conduct business. The desire for a phone conversation, or face to face interaction still remains.

Small business has more power.

In the past, setting up a global network for information or contacts was a tasking venture only afforded by large businesses that could throw money at an idea and wait 5 years for it to materialize. This meant that your network was physically restricted to the distance you could travel (or were willing to travel). To sell internationally, or non-locally, you would have to invest heavily in physical infrastructure and personnel to support that venture. Yet these days all you need is a phone. Providers like Officeexec can give you a phone number in any country in any city of the world. All of those phone numbers will ring on one phone – yours. You can sit at home, drink your morning coffee, read the latest news and keep in touch with clients from across the globe. Clients will call “local” numbers and feel that your company has an international presence. What does it really mean to have a local presence? Well you’re simply making the call more convenient. Would you like to dial 011-44-244-5678889 or just 567-8889? If face to face interaction is not required for your product/service, then why busy yourself with unnecessary trips, regardless of whether your clients are a half hour drive or five hour flight away?

What else?

Personalized call answering services proliferated as the “phone switch” became more readily available. You can sign up for call answering services through Officeexec and obtain personalized call answering. Why? So while you’re on site dealing with clients or holding a boardroom meeting, you don’t have to worry about missing a call. By having a friendly voice answer all of your calls, you establish presence and thereby increase your possible contacts list. Not all clients will feel comfortable leaving a message on their first call, but an initial “hello” confirming that they reached the right number will provide them with the confidence to leave a message in your inbox. Moreover, during after-hours, IVRs can channel your phone calls to you as needed. If you don’t want any sales calls coming in after 5pm, you can set it up in such a way that sales calls go to a voicemail, but support calls go to your phone. These features make you selectively accessible. You can even program the system in such a way that a certain set of numbers will go to your phone – like your most important clients, or clients with active projects, and everyone else’s calls go to voicemail. These myriad of options allow small business owners to be on top of things, without the need for deep pockets.

But how does that matter – whatever I can do so can they (the big corporations)

Yes they can, but their change management is slow. They spend a lot of money forecasting change so that they are ready as technology changes. But you don’t need that. You can change tomorrow, next week, etc. A small business is agile and technology rewards those that are agile. Officeexec can get you set up and ready within 48hrs. New number, IVR, phone answering, mail service – the works. You can get a number in Dubai forwarding to your local number tomorrow.

Can you really take advantage of it?

There are some things that technology alone can’t do. Your business needs to be versatile, it needs to have an open and inclusive decision structure, where ideas and suggestions from the bottom can trickle up to the top. If your management style is very top down and controlling, you will make incremental hops using newly available technologies, but you cannot grow seamlessly without restrictions. As a small business owner, you have to adopt a “new age” management style where each small part of the company can take ownership over its own small part, to grow as required. You have to foster creative thinking, while mitigating failures so that they will not be recurring and persistent (even though they do happen). Such a management attitude will allow small businesses to take full advantage of these new technologies, and allow them to be agile, flexible and competitive.

Officeexec wants to be there when you succeed. Share with us your technology and growth challenges and we will share with you our experience and expertise. Just comment below or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.