Technology Community Helps SMBs Focus on Their Core Business

Written by Betty Liang

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 offrepparttar 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 onrepparttar 149170 next sale, notrepparttar 149171 next purchase. Largely for this reason, many small to medium businesses (SMBs) are categorized as laggers onrepparttar 149172 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 whererepparttar 149173 P&L is felt throughoutrepparttar 149174 company.

So why are so many SMBs behind onrepparttar 149175 technology spectrum? As mentioned, without dedicated IT personnel making system recommendations, SMBs are on their own in terms of finding outrepparttar 149176 latest and greatest products. They need small business solutions that are affordable and scalable, and most importantly, do not disrupt business operations. Withoutrepparttar 149177 luxury of having dedicated IT resources, SMBs do not have time orrepparttar 149178 desire to seek outrepparttar 149179 latest gadgets or attend tradeshows featuring next-gen products.

This begsrepparttar 149180 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: bringrepparttar 149181 new products torepparttar 149182 SMB community.

The big trend with major hi-tech vendors inrepparttar 149183 past 2-3 years has been building marketing initiatives to tap intorepparttar 149184 SMB market. To many companies,repparttar 149185 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.

Differentiate and Grow Rich: The Importance of a Strong USP

Written by Eric Graham

“With 50 other companies sellingrepparttar same products and services, why should I do business with you rather than one of your competitors?”

The number of competitors you face as an online merchant grows daily. If you can’t answer that one question, it’s only a matter of time before you go out of business.

If you can answer that question and answer it clearly, communicating it to your prospective customers in everything you do, your road to eCommerce success is paved with gold!

Your USP or Unique Selling Proposition answers that most critical question. If you have studied business for very long you’ve probably read or heard aboutrepparttar 149132 importance of having a strong, clear USP. However, it doesn’t take much surfing online to see that few companies listen. Most know that they need a USP, they just don’t know how to develop one.

The process of developing your Unique Selling Proposition is fairly simple (note that I didn’t say easy.) I conduct intensive on-site USP development workshops for my clients aroundrepparttar 149133 world. By doing these workshops I’ve discovered 4 critical steps to developing your USP.

First, study your competition. Search online for potential competitors. Pickrepparttar 149134 top 5 to 10 and try to determine their USP. Most will lack a clear USP, for these look for some ofrepparttar 149135 features or services that they stress.

Now look forrepparttar 149136 gap in their products or services. What area ofrepparttar 149137 market could we better service?

Second, examine you own business. Sit down and brainstorm with your staff possible USP concepts. Don’t judgerepparttar 149138 ideas, just write them down. To stimulate thought and ideas askrepparttar 149139 following questions:

What do we dorepparttar 149140 best?

What do we do better than our competition?

What awards have we won?

What do our customers say about us?

What praise do we often get from our customers?

What celebrities or well know organizations endorse us? What endorsements could we get?

What does our product or service do better than anyone else?

What makes our business model different from our competition? How could we make it different?

What market category or niche could our industry better service?

It also helps at this stage to interview and survey your current and past customers. Ask them why they bought from you rather than your competition? What do they want from a provider of your product or service? What’s important to them when making a buying decision? What feature or benefits do they value most or would like to see added to your product or service?

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