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What technology should you be getting your hands on to take on bigger competitors?
Monday sees the start of the SBA’s 50th annual National Small Business Week in Seattle, WA. This year it seems small businesses have even more to celebrate as evolving technology equips them to take on even the biggest and best funded corporate giants.
While economic uncertainty may have held some back over the last year, entrepreneurs seem to have decided to create their own futures. They aren’t just dipping their toes in the water, they are dragging that bull by the horns, creating new jobs as they go, and forcing improvement in the economy.
There are many instances in which the digital age has opened the door for small business to compete with larger companies and even meet on some of the same playing fields. The following are a list of low priced methods to promote your startup or small business without breaking the budget while preserving your brand and level of professionalism.
Run a special contest or promotional give-a-way-tie in to monthly communication
This is something that is fairly simple and can be an inexpensive way each month to give you a reason to stay in touch with a customer base that you may have not had a reason otherwise to contact every month. Any solid reason for keeping the lines of communication open between you and your customer base is worth its weight in time and energy spent to bring a possibly large return.
Does your technology create barriers, separating you from audiences and businesses from whom you could greatly benefit? Many of today’s technological trends feature Smartphone apps capable of ordering pizzas, voting for the next American Idol, shopping for clothing or even groceries. We’ll admit, some of them are really cool but aren’t for everyone. If you’re a small business counting every commission and every customer as a means of survival, sometimes excluding those who don’t succumb to all the technological trends can prove detrimental to your operations.
Chances are that customers with language barriers or disabilities are always going to feel singled out. This could be due to age, a physical or mental disability, or living conditions that keep them from bringing their business to you. Unfortunately, many businesses stay on one side of the barrier, opting to turn them away. But if you can bridge those gaps, you can turn those shrugs into sales.
This new technological debate has been going on for the last few months: What exactly is Google “Glass”? Even search engine experts have been scratching their heads at the thought of it: Google Glasses? Luckily Google’s great minds have chosen a few thousand or so to rock out a pair in the real world. We are getting ready to see just what these pair of frames can bring to our already technologically savy. By dialing a special 800 toll free number and entering a specific code, the “chosen” ones can get their hands on this game-changing prototype.
Why consider bundling toll free services with your own?
Toll free numbers and the robust, yet flexible call routing options they provide are clearly in high demand today. The direction business and technology trends are headed in will make them only more essential and desirable in the future too.
Toll free services are needed by all businesses that are serious about making it. This applies to brand new startups needing vanity numbers for branding, while existing businesses constantly require new batches as they expand or diversify, and for split testing marketing campaigns.
Picture yourself in the heart of Smartphone society. It’s here, and if you need reassurance, here’s a picture of a Motorola RAZR in a museum. Remember how cool it felt to have that in your pocket? It won’t be long before iPhones and Galaxys start coming out even small and thinner than its predecessors. Likewise, the connections are becoming sharper, more accessible, and more streamlined.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Treat your clicks like calls. Regardless of whether customers wander through your door or window shop online and surf your website, Smartphones and Skype have evolved toward this trend. Technology has allowed for phone numbers to function and appear as a hyperlink that instantly connects to your line.
For many businesses, the advantages offered by Google Voice can create opportunities to breathe a new life into your existing business. In terms of cost-effectiveness, it’s a great way to expand communication methods to customers, while optimizing and organizing your time.
Google Voice gives you one number to manage all your phones and the opportunity to customize your lines and configure phone lines for callers. Other amenities include customizing your ringtones and voicemail greetings based on specific callers, configuring how and when your calls get ported to other lines, and even the ability to manage your lines through the use of a mobile app. But what does that mean for your toll free number, and all the amenities that stem from it? It only gets better.
Spirit Airlines hit the news this week announcing it will begin charging for customer support phone calls. Could this be the beginning of the end for the discount airline brand? How do they compare to those businesses that are embracing toll free numbers?
The L.A. Times reports Spirit now has over 70 add-on fees for passengers. The latest move follows on from the outrageous $100 carry on fiasco, and now charges customers to call for assistance and information. The stock obviously saw a sharp dip in trading after the news hit this week.
While the pressure may be on to compete, repeated business lessons have proven that taking away from customers, downgrading customer service, and a lack of transparency, racing to the bottom of the market in price-wars is a losing game.
In today’s economic times, you may have heard about businesses—big and small—cutting down on amenities to save costs.
More and more are opting for customers to come and pay the tab.
While we understand the need for businesses to stay “lean” and keep themselves in a better position for profit, we also know that by cutting certain amenities, like a vanity toll free number from your business, you are also cutting:
· An easy to remember, paperless, calling card.
· A more professional and established look for your business.
It’s common knowledge to customers and employees in the food service industry that we “help ourselves”. Is there enough ketchup to go with those fries? No, grab some packets. Is one packet of sugar going to cover that whole cup of coffee? No, grab a handful. In other words, what would I want served with my order if I was sitting at the table? Your business should operate the same way. Are you satisfied with the services that you’re offering? If not, you’ve got a problem. If you can’t treat yourself the way you would want to be treated, then how can you expect your business to treat others?
For Your Business, Your Service, and Your Toll-Free Communication, Be Your Own Customer.