Published March 2006
ways to accelerate
growth through technology
BizBest: OK, enough with the slow-and-steady growth concept. I’m just
not the patient type. I want to grow my company FAST, and I want to start
right NOW. But I don’t have big budgets, so give me some ways we can jump
into the fast lane without breaking the bank. — Impatient
Entrepreneurs tend to be an impatient lot. They either want it now
or they want it yesterday, so for many of them the idea of waiting around
for sales to kick in just doesn’t appeal.
There’s nothing wrong
with that. So if you are the impatient type, take a look at what technology
can do to catapult your business forward. I call this “tech smart” growth,
and it includes everything from the hardware, software, wireless and Web
connections you use to your phones, handheld devices and Web-site strategies.
Here are eight tech-smart ways to speed up growth and resources to get
- Plug into
broadband. Broadband lets you get the information you need right
away and deliver it to customers with lightning speed. Broadband loading
and downloading speeds will get you closer to “the speed of thought,”
say brothers Jeff and Rich Sloan, founders of StartupNation.com.
Visit Broadband.com for pricing and local suppliers.
- Tap business
intelligence online. Online services can help you quickly investigate
and verify the validity of potential customers, vendors, contractors,
partners and competitors. Check out Accurint Business (www.accurintbusiness.com),
a new service from LexisNexis.
your Web strategy. Think about what will best attract potential
customers to your type of business. Do distant prospects need more “face
time”? Then Web conferencing might work. Do prospects need a detailed
look at your service? How about adding streaming video to your site.
- Pump up your
mobile communications. The Sloan brothers make the most of every
minute, even when they’re not in the office. They do so by using “smart
phones” that store contacts and task lists, as well as allowing e-mail
and Web access, plus conference calling. They use palmOne’s Treo 650
smartphone, a hot seller among small-business owners. Other choices
include Research in Motion’s line of Blackberry devices and the Samsung
i730, which comes with special versions of Microsoft software that let
you create or modify documents and spreadsheets.
- Connect with
Bluetooth. By integrating Bluetooth wireless technology into your
business operations, you can throw productivity into hyperdrive. Bluetooth
is a wireless technology standard for connecting electronic devices
over very short distances. Learn about Bluetooth and small-business
devices that use it at HelloDirect.com.
- Analyze what
happens on your Web site. Web analysis software can help you better
understand your Web visitors, and what it takes to convert them to paying
customers. Try basic analytic tools like those offered by Google, or
for something more in-depth, check out InterSight Technologies (www.intersighttechnologies.com).
- Build blogosphere
buzz. Blogs are growing at breakneck speed, and the sooner you learn
about how to plug in, the better. This site will get you going: Technorati.com
(a blog search engine).
- Try Web-enabled
phones. Web-based telephoning (voice over Internet Protocol, or
VoIP) is a way to save money and (possibly) improve your phone capabilities
at the same time. While connection quality and reliability remain issues,
some entrepreneurs swear by VoIP, including the Sloans at StartupNation.
“There are no issues associated with long-distance calls, and you can
use whatever area code you want,” they say. Plus, you can do all sorts
of things online to manage messages, set up calls and review bills.
is a leading supplier.
Daniel Kehrer (email@example.com)
is founder of BizBest (www.bizbest.com),
which publishes “The 100 Best Resources for Small Business.”
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