best kitchen and bath buffalo grove master bath remodel winthrop harbor crown remodeling mundelein dream kitchen and bath hainesville adding onto a brick home lincolnshire .. Chicago Drug testing

Technology Community Helps SMBs Focus on Their Core Business

If you're starting your own business or currently work for a start-up, you wear a lot of hats. Any disruption in your business can eat up hours of your time and kill your productivity. Many start-ups are so focused on getting their business off the ground, that they overlook technology considerations that can help increase their productivity and enhance their efficiency. Unlike mid to large corporations that have dedicated IT personnel, start-ups typically do not have in-house IT resources to evaluate and deploy new technologies to pre-empt unforeseen issues, such as virus attacks, and streamline processes to increase efficiency gains. This is due partly to time and partly due to budgetary constraints. Small businesses want to focus on the next sale, not the next purchase. Largely for this reason, many small to medium businesses (SMBs) are categorized as laggers on the technology spectrum -- classified as conservative IT buyers and slow adopters of new technologies. This profile make it seems as if SMBs are risk adverse, when in actuality, SMBs are more risk takers than corporate employees ? after all, they've started their own business or are part of a start-up where the P&L is felt throughout the company.

So why are so many SMBs behind on the technology spectrum? As mentioned, without dedicated IT personnel making system recommendations, SMBs are on their own in terms of finding out the latest and greatest products. They need small business solutions that are affordable and scalable, and most importantly, do not disrupt business operations. Without the luxury of having dedicated IT resources, SMBs do not have time or the desire to seek out the latest gadgets or attend tradeshows featuring next-gen products.

This begs the question: how do SMBs stay on top of new technologies that can help them run their business more effectively? The technologies have to come to them: bring the new products to the SMB community.

The big trend with major hi-tech vendors in the past 2-3 years has been building marketing initiatives to tap into the SMB market. To many companies, the SMB space is still a gray cloud: how do SMBs behave and what are their demographics? Each company has its own definition of an SMB: ranging from less than 100 employees to less than 1000 employees. Many hi-tech manufacturers have beta programs, usability tests and focus groups to collect feedback on how SMBs react and behave. Many of these programs offer very attractive incentives such as free product, cash, corporate branded giveaways "tchotchkes" in exchange for some form of market validation: user feedback, quotes for a press release, or customer references to serve as real world proof points. These exchange opportunities are always available ? one just has to know where to look.

Here's a testament to the kind of exchange opportunities that are available all around us: in the July 2005 edition of Runner's World, there is an ad from Factory Outlets (http://www.factoryoutlets.com/) promoting its pre-launch site. Factory Outlets needs traffic to test its ordering, fulfillment and customer service systems and is giving away $350 worth of free merchandise in exchange for time. If you don't believe it, pick up a copy of Runner's World to get an authorization code into the site ? and shop your heart out (the merchandise is limited, but it's free).

Manufacturers invest millions of dollars into marketing to the SMBs and yet there has not been a centralized place where SMBs can get an aggregated listing of exchange opportunities offered by manufacturers. Until now.

SMBxchange, Inc. is a new technology community geared to providing exchange opportunities to SMBs, including useful tools and resources to help them run their business. By this, we don't mean resources on how to get a loan, where to get legal advice, etc. There are plenty of small business portals that do the job. The tools, resources and exchange opportunities featured on www.smbxchange.com are around useful technologies that can improve the way SMBs work -- perhaps even introduce products that people never knew existed. SMBxchange is a relatively new community and exchange opportunities are in the near horizon. Types of "exchange opportunities" will include: focus groups, beta programs, whitepaper campaigns ? where there would be some type of incentive (free product, cash, etc.) in exchange for user feedback.

Membership into SMBxchange is free and there is no obligation or commitment. By joining, members get access to SMBxchange newsletters and a secure members-only site where there will be a listing of opportunities that match the member's product interests. Members only participate in programs for products they're interested in. SMBxchange is the first community that bridges these two audiences (SMB and manufacturer) into a symbiotic environment. This is a community that brings the technology to the SMB, and aggregates opportunities and offers tailored to the SMB's product interests.

To join SMBxchange, complete the online form at www.smbxchange.com

Betty Liang, spent most of her professional career in various marketing management positions with companies such as Ricoh, Cisco, and Oracle. She is now focused on her own small business helping other small and medium businesses advance their technology capabilities through exchange opportunities.

In The News:

Are You a Small Business Lone Ranger? Take My 10-Question Quiz To Find Out!

So what exactly is a "Small Business Lone Ranger?" A... Read More

Your Practice is Only as Valuable as Your Referral Base

Many physical therapists in private practice have the appearance of... Read More

Pet Grooming Business

Do you like animals? Would you like to work for... Read More

Sexual Harassment - Its just not on!

Sexual Harassment is a disturbing part of employment life in... Read More

Canon City, Colorado - Good for Small Business

Canon City, Colorado is known for it's 6 Prisons; State... Read More

Does Your Small Business Marketing Suffer From The Bulldog Effect?

If you're an entrepreneur responsible for your own small business... Read More

The Hidden Treasure in Your Business

I started working with another new client last week. He... Read More

Three Big Barriers To Small Business Marketing Success

When you feel like you're always busy working on your... Read More

How to Increase the Cash Flow in Your Private Practice in 30 Days

If you have a busy private practice, chances are you... Read More

Getting City Contracts; Local Government Contracting

All cities have a purchasing office and/or a procurement officer.... Read More

Slip And Fall Professionals; Service Businesses

Since you own a business you probably have liability insurance... Read More

Build Credibility with Expertise

As an Investment Representative you've worked hard to build trust... Read More

Making Your Purpose Your Business Step #2- Getting From Point A to Point B

In my previous article, Step 1, your challenge for the... Read More

How to Integrate Yourself in Someone Elses Business

When do you need to get more involved with the... Read More

Truck Wash Business Case Study

Often smart entrepreneurs look for out of the way businesses,... Read More

Is Your Business Making Money?

Is your business making money? Would you know?Figuring out whether... Read More

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Joining a Professional Association

I'll be the first to admit that I went a... Read More

Small Business Marketing Series ? Choosing a Niche Market

Many smaller businesses choose niche markets for various reasons and... Read More

Three Small Business Secrets to Getting More Billable Time

As small business owners we're in business to make money... Read More

Mission Statements: More Important Than You Thought

If an organization lacks a mission statement, it is worthwhile... Read More

Self-Employment: Do you know the Difference between Rates and Wages

The difference between rates and wages is not always clear... Read More

Operational Aspects on P and L Statements of Mobile Services Businesses

What kinds of things effect mobile service businesses P and... Read More

Fleet Washing Operations Manual Sample Outline

In the Truck Washing Business every single type of vehicle... Read More

The Role of the Business Model and Strategy for Business

People will always stress that having a well researched business... Read More

Franchises: How to Find the Best Franchise Opportunity for You

If you are looking for a franchise opportunity, the choice... Read More

garage lighting fixtures industrial fluorescent lighting fixtures Pete's produce ..
garage lighting fixtures industrial fluorescent lighting fixtures Pete's produce ..