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Monday, November 21, 2011

Technology Tips For Small Business

Before talking technology I think it is imperative that all small business owners develop basic computer literacy. As a small business coach, I never fail to be amazed at the number of business owners who wear their ignorance of technology as a badge of courage! Statements like "I only use the Net when my kids force me to" are shockingly common. Yikes.

Being able to keyboard, surf the net and manage e-mails are the "3r's" for us the way reading, writing & 'rithmetic were for our parents.

That being said, I think the field is pretty wide open. As some others have suggested, technology needs are largely driven by the industry sector you work in.

Most of my clients are in the professional and consumer service delivery arena so the technology I'm most familiar with has a strong marketing component to it. I find that cloud services like Dropbox and Smilebox are extremely helpful for many.

Dropbox, for example, means that I can keep all my working files 'in the cloud' so that no matter where I travel I always have access to the most up-to-date versions. It also allows me to share large files with files & vendors (i.e. my PDF'd e-book is massive yet I can readily have clients download it via Dropbox).

Smilebox allows me to develop great visuals to support my retreat business and stay in touch with clients/prospects. I've got a client about to start using it to provide highly customized real estate packages for his clients.

On-line newsletter services such as offered by ConstantContact also make a huge difference in their ability to stay connected with clients.

Send-out cards ended up not working for me; I'm not that well organized. But I know several clients who love the service and use it very effectively as part of their marketing mix. I think it is definitely worth consideration by any business owner who has a need to acknowledge customers and stay connected at a fairly personal level.

On-line services like VistaPrint are not only timesavers, but for microbusinesses they can save the budget by providing high quality, low cost marketing and sales materials.

I could go on and on . . .and I haven't even addressed the social media technologies! But like someone else said, I think that we small business owners need to be ALWAYS keeping abreast of new things coming into the marketplace. It can be daunting but is absolutely essential in today's world. That's where I find that services like Twitter are extremely helpful. I follow a number of technology/social media/business specialists and their posts help me stay on top of new technology and market shifts.

Courtesy Of Gwen McCauley

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