This post is from Paul Macchia, a one time small business owner and now national PR manager for Verizon Wireless. Paul is at CES and sends this update.
As we hit the ground running in 2012, small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners and entrepreneurs are contemplating how to streamline their workflow operations and increase revenue. One key area on the short list of considerations is implementing and enhancing mobile technology to amp up business capabilities this year.
This week, at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Verizon Wireless unveiled new devices, including tablets, smartphones and mobile hotspots,that are sure to capture the attention of SMB proprietors. Here are a few great options:
- The Verizon Jetpack™ allows the sharing of blazing fast Internet connectivity via the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network with up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices. This is ideal when the need to work remotely becomes apparent. Those who travel internationally can access the Web in more than 205 countries, including more than 125 with 3G speeds, on their Wi-Fi-enabled devices to stay connected no matter where business takes them.
- The first global-readyBlackBerry® Curve™ 9370is ultra sleek and lightweight, but super powerful. Running on Verizon Wireless’ 3G network, it’s equipped with the latest BlackBerry® 7 operating system, which means business doesn’t stop when you’re away from the office.
- Powered by Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network, DROID 4 by Motorola is another deceivingly slim smartphone. It offers small business customers a full five-row QWERTY keyboard along with government-grade encryption to keep sensitive business data secure.
- Spectrum™ by LGoffers one of the brightest and sharpest displays available on a mobile device, which is great news for small business customers who need to view images and videos while away from a computer. The device also features a Qualcomm® 1.5 GHz dual-core processor combined with 4G LTE connectivity, ensuring your company continues to operate while you’re on the go.
- The Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 7.7 is a great option for small business owners, ranging from realtors to restaurateurs, looking to implement tablets this year. Powered by the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, this tablet offers a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and HTML5 Web browser that are sure to fire up any business.
If you are at CES, stop by the Verizon booth (Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, Booth #30259) to check these devices out. For information about products and services for small businesses, visit www.verizonwireless.com/smb. Customers can also go to any Verizon Wireless Communications Store to speak to a small business specialist.
The Verizon Author Series was designed to bring experts to small businesses. This month we gave away featured author, Phil Simon’s book “The New Small.” We will give away more of Phil’s book the rest of this week and next.
This Wednesday, June 22nd, at 2 p.m. ET Phil will host a live (free) webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center and then be available for a whole hour on Twitter on Thursday, June 23rd at 12 p.m. ET to answer questions and offer advice.
I urge all businesses to seize these two opportunities to get insights from Phil Simon directly. Consider these as free consultations with a business expert; so, why not participate?
During this Wednesday’s webinar Phil will discuss what most forget: a small business now has access to many kinds of technology that used to be reserved for major corporations with budgets and infrastructures to make them deliver. And this all starts with website design. Learn why you no longer need to spend a great deal of money to great a professional web presence.
To register for the free live webinar click here (or go to http://bit.ly/lJlndU). Towards the end of the webinar feel free to ask Phil your questions or save your questions and ask him on Twitter. For more information about the Twitter chat click here (or go to http://bit.ly/edjtQT) just be sure to include hashtag – #bizbooks – and follow @VzSmallBiz (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz).
Of course, feel free to post your questions – get tips/advice for your business – in the comments section below and we’ll make sure Phil answers it during the webinar or on Twitter.
The first 25 to ask a question or a comment below will get a copy of Phil’s book.
Guest blog post from Amy Grant, Verizon Wireless small business marketing manager.
As a business owner, I bet you are always on, a problem solver, constantly doing… and very, committed? I’m sure these traits sound familiar. It’s probably because you are the engine that makes your business go. You have a passion to succeed and will overcome any obstacle to make your dreams come true. When it comes to any business, it is important you have the best and the right technology to keep up with your pace and help make your vision a reality.
More and more small business owners like you are realizing the importance of technology. According to the Executive Council on Small Business, smartphone usage has experienced double digit growth over the last three years, and tablet usage is expected to increase rapidly over the next couple of years among small businesses. Whether you’re downloading apps, checking emails, sending invoices, browsing the web, accessing files, or managing employees in the field, small businesses are using the latest technology to drive growth and increase productivity.
Check out this video below to see Jeffrey Beecroft of White Bay Company who built two sets for a Victoria’s Secret shoot. Jeff discussed how Blackberry is his smartphone of choice which allows him to synch up with his partners scattered across the country. He uses his Blackberry to send pictures for real-time input from his partners in an effort to meet set building time schedules. Watch their story.
The partners, Jim and Ian, at Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures also shared their story of how they are using technology to run their business. The two run a 10-person fly fishing travel agency specializing in remote vacations to exotic destinations so they have to be sure their wireless network gives them global coverage. Watch their story.
To see how other small businesses across the country use wireless technology every day to improve their business visit www.verizonwireless.com/smallbusiness. These videos prove the small businesses with the best technology rules.
Which technology is your business using? If you need help selecting the right technology for your business, let me know in the comments section… my team and I will be happy to help.
As mentioned in an earlier post here at the Verizon Small Biz Blog, I am seeing more and more small businesses and entrepreneurs jumping on the “cloud bandwagon.” They are moving to online software, instead of software installed on local servers or desktop computers, because of certain advantages. Those advantages include: speed of implementation; ability to scale the business despite lacking internal tech expertise; lower costs; relief from tech headaches enabling you to concentrate on strategy and core competencies; and, arguably, fewer security issues you have to worry about.
We explored those advantages in my last webinar on March 9th, In the Cloud: 5 Reasons to Move to Online Software (watch the webinar here). In that webinar I polled those participating and learned that roughly 80% are already using cloud apps in the form of online banking.
One person asked me about popular online software services that I recommend – here are some online services that I know other small businesses are getting good value from today:
This list is just a small smattering. Edith Yeung, Founder of BizTech Day, where they profile new software, was kind enough to choose some of the best in class for us, in: 101 Small Business Web Applications You Must Check Out. I also recommend you check out The Small Business Web for a directory of several hundred small business online software apps.
Now, despite being a proponent of online software services, I don’t want to give the impression that there are no risks or issues to consider. The advantages of online software applications only apply if you make wise choices. If you make the wrong choices, those advantages may go out the window. Remember, you will have to place your trust in vendors to make sure the software is operational and does what it claims to do. Your data will be online in a third party’s hands. And, if something goes wrong with the software, you need confidence that the vendor will jump on the problem quickly and get it fixed to your satisfaction.
So it becomes crucial to do a thorough due diligence when choosing online software. This due diligence process for choosing online software is what we will cover in my next upcoming webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center.
In How to Choose the RIGHT online software webinar, I’ll offer a checklist of points to consider when evaluating online software, including how to assess vendors for reliability, and how to determine which software will actually make your organization more efficient and effective. I’ll also answer your questions about the practical aspects of integrating online software with existing internal systems and software.
Online software services aren’t a cure-all for everything that may ail your business. But they are a valuable technology strategy for growing your business while running “lean.”
Choose the wrong technology and you’ll find your business working on your technology. Choose the right technology, and it will work FOR your business.
Join me this Wednesday March 23 at 2pm Eastern for: How to Choose the RIGHT Online Software.
PS, if you can’t make the live webinar, watch the replay it will be taped and archived – just view it later.
- Everyone's Tags:
- cloud technology
Some of the smartest small business owners and managers I know are jumping on the “cloud bandwagon.” What I mean is, they are improving their business operations by using online software services.
Online software services are exactly what they sound like. They are software programs that you use online, by connecting to the Internet and logging in to the software using your Web browser. They’re called services because the company providing the software provides them as a service. This means they not only give you the use of the software, but they store and safeguard any data you use in the software program. The software company handles everything, soup to nuts: keeping the software running; fixing bugs; managing databases; preventing intrusions and data breaches; enhancing and updating the software.
In exchange for this service, your company typically pays a monthly fee. Sometimes you pay an annual fee. Some software services may even be free.
Think about the obvious impact: your firm needs fewer computing resources. All you need to use an online software service is a computer with an Internet connection. Even an inexpensive netbook computer is sufficient (I know – I’ve used online software programs with just my $399, 2-lb netbook!). You don’t have to invest in hefty up-front licenses, powerful servers to run the software and handle the data, support personnel to keep the servers running, and all the other expenses associated with in-house computing. A laptop or desktop computer for any staff who use the software, is enough.
You often hear lingo to describe these services in one form or another. Software as a service or its acronym, SaaS. Cloud computing. Software in the cloud. Application service provider or its acronym ASP. The list goes on.
I say, ignore the lingo. Focus instead on the benefits of these online software services. And there are quite a few. I’d go so far as to say that the advantages of using online software are greater for small businesses than for large corporations. That’s because online software lets your company be “lean.” When you allow someone else to worry about keeping the software running, you can focus on your business’s core competencies and strategic goals – and not be sidetracked by tech headaches.
You can also scale your business better. You can grow faster without adding as much expense burden and internal systems complexity. When new opportunities arise, you can seize them quickly. For instance, you can go online and sign up for a software service in minutes or hours – instead of waiting weeks or months to scope out requirements for and install a new software program you may need for servicing more customers. Using online software, the cost may be spread out monthly, instead of an all-at-once budget hit.
But what about security? You’re probably thinking, “Our customer data and business information now will be on a 3rd party’s computers.” If you are uncomfortable with that idea, I urge you to consider this: many small businesses I know just can’t afford the same level of security that a large software company can provide. As much as we business owners want to keep our data secure, a determined cyber intruder may get in anyway. A carefully-chosen software provider’s services may actually be MORE secure than the networks and systems of a small business. It’s not because small businesses are negligent or don’t care. It’s just that we smaller firms may not be able to afford the same level of security infrastructure, not to mention the same level of in-house expertise, to make strong security a reality.
In my webinar that I am presenting hosted by the Verizon Small Business Center, we’ll explore the advantages of online software. I’ll share tips and resources. You won’t get lingo. You won’t get theory. You’ll get practical advice to make sure you leave the hour equipped to make informed choices for your business. Make 2011 the year you improve your business operations and seize opportunities -- online software can help make it happen.
Join me later today at 2 p.m. Eastern for: In the Cloud: 5 Reasons to Move to Online Software. So, get your questions ready.
PS, if you can’t make the live webinar, it will be archived – just view it later.
- Everyone's Tags:
- cloud technology