There are over 27 million Small businesses in the United States, and these organizations account for between 60% and 80% of all new jobs created in the country. So they old saying that “small businesses are the backbone of the U.S.” actually has some weight behind it. And these days, technological advances in communication make it possible for more and more people to throw their hat in the ring and create a start-up small business of their own. Of course the modern communication tools that allow for people to quickly launch a new business must also be used to grow that business and have it run efficiently.
To this end, every small business must invest in a proper communications infrastructure in order to thrive. The good news is these tools are easily accessible; it’s up to the small business owner to utilize them.
Professional phone system
While there’s nothing wrong with the proprietor of a new business answering his or her single phone line, this practice doesn’t make the organization appear established. The solution is for small business owners to invest in a professional office phones system with an automatic attendant. Now, because some of these PBX systems can cost in the thousands of dollars, they aren’t always a practical option for newer, smaller organizations. The solution is to implement a virtual PBX system, such as Nextiva, in the office.
Just like the boss answering his or her own phones doesn’t scream “big time,” neither does sending emails from regular Aol or Yahoo address. Small businesses should invest in a professional email-hosting provider – ideally through Google Apps – that represents the company name.
It’s no longer enough for a small business to merely have a website – it also needs to compete for search engine rankings. That means business owners should spend the money it takes on professional website design and then focus on search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of adding targeted keywords to website text in the hopes of achieving a high search rank on the major engines. And the best way to do this is through blogging. Business owners should add new blog posts to their site at least once a week (ideally more).
Streamline file sharing
The efficiency of inter-office communications is vitally important for organizations big and small. No business owner should have to waste time figuring out how to send individual files of varying sizes around various office computers. That’s why it’s important to implement a file-sharing program such as Dropbox or Google Drive. The sheer efficiency they provide is worth its weight in gold.
Streamline customer information
Customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as ZoHo or Salesforce, is useful to the small business owner for a number of reasons. It eliminates the need to keep track of multiple client emails by consolidating all customer info and provides ways to interact with clients without worrying about sending redundant messages.
Project management system
There’s only so much info that can be accomplished by scribbling notes on sticky paper. This is where a solid PMS system comes in handy. Business owners can ensure no task gets lost in the shuffle with programs like Teambox — and it even syncs with Dropbox.
These are the basic communications tools any smaller organization needs in place in order to ensure they can grow their business and compete with more established organizations. The nice thing is that these systems are readily available on the market in a variety of price ranges guaranteed to accommodate any budget.