Published March 2006

Top ways to accelerate
growth through technology

Dear 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

Dear 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 you going:

  • 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 Visit 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 (, a new service from LexisNexis.
  • Hyper-niche 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
  • 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 (
  • 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: (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. Vonage ( is a leading supplier.

Daniel Kehrer ( is founder of BizBest (, which publishes “The 100 Best Resources for Small Business.”

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