Five ways Small Businesses can leverage technology to compete globally
Internet access and technology, in general, gives small and medium-sized businesses many advantages. Perhaps the most significant plus point is that companies can compete in the same markets as the huge, global conglomerates. On the internet, there’s no need for expensive offices or chauffeur-driven limos — every business presents itself the same way, and every day, small companies are stealing market share with disruptive products and services.
With the right choices in hardware and software, even one-man-bands can create stellar impressions; the crucial thing to remember is not to make quick decisions when it comes to the ways an organization presents itself and looks to expand. Sometimes, the first products or services that come to mind when addressing a problem are not the right ones.
Here at Tech Wire Asia, we’d like to present five business approaches today that allow any company to “punch above its weight”; that is, compete and disrupt using the internet and the right technology.
The new face of the business
Why is communicating online so important? If the last six months have shown us nothing else, it’s that face-to-face meetings (in huge, expensively-decorated offices) no longer matter to the extent they once did.
Every organization is now embracing remote working practices to protect its workforce. However, for the smaller business (fewer than 250 employees), there are considerable savings to be made from not wasting money on expensive central business district premises.
Instead of meeting prospective clients and partners in downtown offices, why not meet virtually, using the gold-standard in online meeting software & hardware? Choose tools that are designed for enterprise use. Doing so tells the other parties that your organization respects security, reliability, and integrity — and hasn’t just picked the first conferencing solution that came to hand.
By equipping key personnel with industry-standard conferencing hardware and supporting systems — as used by 95% of the Fortune 500 list — you’re saying to prospective customers that you mean business.
Collaborate and team
The value of collaboration between colleagues is often emphasized as an essential aspect of business (we address this issue below). But in today’s new climate, collaboration with other companies and organizations is starting to play a new and vital role.
Working with other companies towards the same goal allows a greater market reach and a broader product portfolio. Teaming up in synergistic partnerships of two or more companies is a powerful force for change and expansion and increases the skillset on which you can draw.
Underpinning these new relationships should be a collaborative technology framework that emphasizes reliability — an “always on” platform.
For each of the businesses involved, it’s worth investing in the space in which you’ll collaborate. That means always-on hardware that plays nicely with the rest of your communication suite. At the beginning of new relationships, it’s vital to build mutual trust, and being available without technical difficulty should be your number one priority.
One of the most disruptive changes to working in the last ten years has been the emergence of the gig economy and the role of freelance individuals and small outfits in powering business.
With internet connectivity, the world becomes your hiring ground, so sourcing the exact skills you need for a project is so much easier than it’s been before. Crowd-sourced reviews should be your starting point, with initial communications as often as possible with your new staff members.
Don’t forget that the relationships, however brief, are mutually advantageous. Keeping the channels of thought and inspiration open at all times, especially at the outset, builds trust. As the parties learn about each other’s preferences and specialisms, the possibilities will multiply.
Rather than using one technology for payroll employees and another for floating freelancers and outsourced specialists, using the same, adaptive collaboration platform will save overhead costs. It will also ensure that your new virtual hires quickly get assimilated into the company, hitting deadlines more often and adding value to the business.
Looking to the cloud
Few medium or small organizations can afford to run their own data center. Even those with modest in-house servers and infrastructure will know only too well the burdens of maintenance and upgrades.
Choosing cloud-based services has known advantages: operational instead of capital expenditure, reliable access, no maintenance overheads, and a central source-of-truth from which every employee works.
What’s often not considered are the possibilities of a cloud-to-hardware topology too. Hardware conferencing and collaboration devices (such as meeting room VOIP systems) can be overseen and managed from the cloud: that means critical infrastructure gets the latest software running on it, and gets patched automatically with the latest firmware and updates.
And because the devices are cloud-connected, the software that runs them can be extended, to include — for example — voice assistant systems that leverage AI, and videoconferencing platforms that recognize faces. Bringing the tools often associated with large enterprises to the smaller company is now not only a possibility, it’s a reality, right now.
To learn more about deploying video hardware and software that fits today’s workstyles, workflows, and workspaces, with one, modern, unified application, check out the possibilities of Webex. You can also try the all-new Webex for free via the same link.