TekEfficient Blog

Topics: Technology Trends, Small Businesses (SMB), Cloud Computing, Master Agents, IT Consulting & More!

5 Ways Small Businesses / SMB’s Use Technology to Beat Big Competition

Thanks to technology, there has never been a better time to be an SMB! Cloud infrastructure. Cloud software. Remote work as an expectation. Incredible collaboration and virtual meeting tools. So much more.

Let’s explore how smart small businesses / SMB’s are using technology as a competitive advantage.

1 | Cloud-Based Phone Systems (UCaaS / VoIP)

OVERVIEW & PERSPECTIVE

Years ago, if SMB’s wanted the same features on their business phone system as the larger competitors, they had to make a major financial and operational commitment – upfront and recurring – making it a non-starter for most.

The cloud didn’t exist in the mainstream yet, meaning there were big, expensive boxes that had to be installed and maintained over time.

As such, you always knew when you were calling an SMB, as the first impression was almost as if you were calling a neighbor’s home phone.

HOW DOES IT HELP SMB’s WIN?

Today, thanks to cloud computing, the tables have completely turned. With a plethora of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Voice over IP (VoIP) systems to choose from, SMB’s go straight to the below benefits, without having to worry about migrating from an old battleship of a phone system.

  • Significantly lower cost than PBX, pay by seat
  • Same features / user experience as big systems
  • Portable & agile (install at home, etc.)
  • Zero maintenance, plug-and-play install
  • Full integration and reporting capability

2 | Prioritizing Network Experience

OVERVIEW & PERSPECTIVE

The world is one giant network bottleneck right now. How many connected devices do you have in your own home?

With the Internet of Things (IoT), that number will be dramatically going up over the next three to five years. Smart home systems – thermostat, cameras, lighting, etc. – as well as even connected refrigerators, dishwashers and more.

It feels like homes and businesses will need to build on-site cell towers to get the network performance we want for ourselves and our customers.

HOW DOES IT HELP SMB’s WIN?

Smart SMB’s prioritize network experience as a key differentiator against big, slow-to-change competition. Nothing ticks a customer or employee off more than network delays. And, in peak utilization periods, big companies can grind to a halt. Smart SMB’s scale network on-demand and prioritize traffic so important transactions work.

  • Deploy SD-WAN to remove bottlenecks
  • Procure primary and backup network capacity
  • Procure burstible network for usage spikes
  • Regularly negotiate carrier contracts for best pricing, explore new capabilities / services

3 | Embracing New Cloud-Based / Online Software (SaaS)

OVERVIEW & PERSPECTIVE

Big companies spend considerable amounts of money to ensure they have “enterprise” software and have procured the “best” brands.

However, just because a brand was the first to bring something to market doesn’t mean it will be the best option for businesses five years later.

By the same token, just because something is more expensive, doesn’t mean that it is the best option for companies of any size. Big companies who “brand buy” open themselves up to agile SMB’s who are willing to meet the new kid in town.

HOW DOES IT HELP SMB’s WIN?

New software challengers enter daily, pushing prices down, changing models and increasing functionality and integration. Also, UX is similar across common-use-case software, reducing learning curves. Smart SMB’s consider new SaaS options for CRM, accounting, website builders, eCommerce, publishing, collaboration and more.

  • New providers offer free trials, lower costs
  • Similar UX to be “like” incumbent tool/s
  • Usually comes with more integration options
  • Bundled capabilities for efficiency
  • SMB’s can afford to win at the “software” level

4 | Use Technology to Reduce Staffing / Dependency on FTE’s

OVERVIEW & PERSPECTIVE

Employees are a critical part of business success. However, staffing bloat can be the death of a small business as people are expensive, and you pay them whether there is money coming in or not.

COVID shined an intense light on finding the optimal balance between lean staffing and customer experience / satisfaction.

Large companies tend to overstaff, then downsize to correct financials, creating high turnover rates, lack of loyalty and negative brand equity in the marketplace.

HOW DOES IT HELP SMB’s WIN?

Ever use instant messaging on a company website to get answers/support/order? Chances are, you are not engaging with a real person. It’s an AI bot. Smart SMB’s have minimal “data entry” as customers input the data and integrated systems relay it across platforms until the transaction is completed / resolved. People add the smile.

  • Cloud contact centers – anyone/where service
  • Ordering stations using tablets, etc.
  • Integrated systems for fully automated ordering and fulfillment
  • Mobile-optimized digital engagement

5 | They Let Technology Consultants Do the Heavy Lifting

OVERVIEW & PERSPECTIVE

Small businesses do not have the luxury of hiring a full-blown IT team and most SMB owners are not tech experts. Even if they are, it is critical to stay focused on the business for maximum success and long-term continuity.

On the other hand, large companies can have armies of I.T. personnel. While this could prove a difficult battle to win, large in-house I.T. teams can be highly inefficient with a tendency to make the “safe” decision that won’t get them fired. Hence the proclivity for enterprise software. Finally, CIO’s turn over every 2 to 3 years, which means change.

HOW DOES IT HELP SMB’s WIN?

Smart SMB’s know their limitations, but still get that technology is critical to their success. Working with consultants like TekEfficient, SMB’s get the best of both worlds: expert IT capabilities with no new FTE’s. There are many additional benefits that make the consulting choice ideal.

  • Always up on the latest tech options, pitfalls
  • Negotiate the best rates, navigate big providers
  • Supplier neutral, choosing what’s best for you
  • Relationships with multiple providers for choice
  • Handle all of the administrative leg work, pricing / bidding / RFP, etc.

Want to download this report as a PDF?

Click here!

 

BE A SMART SMB.  CHOOSE TEKEFFICIENT & MAKE IT EASY.

There Is No Catch.

Most IT Consultants will charge you upfront and on-going consulting fees. We, on the other hand, work with our vetted technology partners to deliver IT solutions that work with your business and they pay us for helping you. You pay us nothing. Plus, we are here after you make your technology decisions and can provide support should you need it.

CONTACT THE TEKEFFICIENT TEAM TODAY!

 

5G Wireless: Almost Time to Move the Daydream to the Whiteboard

As a company that has been at the heart of telecom for a few decades now, TekEfficient is enamored with the concept of 5G Wireless and the unlimited world of IoT that comes with it.  We are always looking for the latest info on 5G and came across a fantastic article / video from TechRepublic featuring Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas.

Check out the article below or click here to watch the video interview.

TechRepublic — By  | September 26, 2017, 4:00 AM PST

How 5G will change the way we live and work

At Mobile World Congress Americas 2017, Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas explained what 5G will look like in the future.

The next step in the mobile wireless evolution is 5G technology, according to Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas. It’s going to change the way we work, play, and interact.

At the Mobile World Congress Americas 2017, TechRepublic’s Alison DeNisco met with Pearson to discuss the future of 5G. “As we move to 5G, there will be innovation and inventions coming out that are going to be looking at wireless without limitations,” Pearson said. “It’s a whole new paradigm shift.”

Currently, 5G is in a global, worldwide standardization process at an organization called 3GPP. The first phase of the standards is expected to be done in 2018, and the second phase will be completed in 2019, Pearson said.

5G Americas aims to progress mobile wireless technologies by advocating for things such as spectrum and streamlined cell siting processes. “We are in the process of changing the way mobile wireless, and wireless are being looked at and will be utilized,” he said.

Lastly, Pearson said technologists should be asking themselves what they can do within their businesses to be a part of enhancing mobile broadband, taking machine communication from hundreds of millions to billions of connections, and having reliable and low latency communication networks.

“If you’re a tech leader, you look at those three families and use-cases, and say ‘Wow, this is going to change the way we work, live and play. What can I do in my business to be apart of this?'”

Watch the Video Interview

 

FIVE ADDITIONAL 5G ARTICLES FROM TECHREPUBLIC

 

Reverse 911: Efficient Emergency Communications

The past few months have been filled with natural and man-made disasters that have dramatically affected large groups of individuals and businesses. As communities recover, evaluate and move on, one of the areas of improvement that has been identified is how to enable more efficient, effective emergency communications.

As a result, reverse 911 services / technologies have come to the forefront for businesses / organizations looking to better prepare for what may come next. Reverse 911 enables emergency response from police, fire fighters and other organizations in the US and Canada to large groups of individuals within a defined area or business.

If you are a business looking for more information on reverse 911, please contact TekEfficient.  We work with a variety of partners who can help including West Corporation, who’s data sheets we have included at the end of this post. TekEfficient can help you get reverse 911 to market faster, find the right provider and negotiate the best rates for your organization – all at no cost to you.

Small Business, SMB Technology Checklist

Introduction

According to a Microsoft National Small Business Week Survey, 86% of SMBs believe that technology is important to the success of their company, enabling quick and informed response to customers. Yet the same survey cited only 30% of SMBs are using cloud technology of any kind.

It is TekEfficient’s goal to make sure small business/SMB owners know what technologies are available to their business, how they fit in, and which are the right choices for their companies at this stage.

In the next installment of TekEfficient’s SMB Tech Blog Series, we have developed a small business (SMB) technology checklist that includes products and questions to consider for each category. We hope it is a useful tool when launching or scaling your business.

Let’s get started!

Network / Connectivity (Internet, Local/Wide Area Network, MPLS)
Choosing network services that are reliable, secure, and high-performance is critical for success. Nothing kills productivity faster than network downtime or congestion and the inability to respond to customer and prospect needs in real-time can cost lead to lost revenues. Some things to consider when choosing your network include the following.

(more…)

Top 5 Tech Challenges for Small Businesses

Introduction
Welcome to the first edition of the TekEfficient SMB Tech Blog! Over the next six months and beyond, we will be exploring a variety of topics surrounding small businesses and technology. The intent will be to provide small businesses with resources, trends, best practices, and more as it relates to technology. It is our hope that this blog will help you not only raise awareness and maximize efficiency as it relates to technology, but also how to use it as a key element in the success of your business.

We are defining small business using Gartner’s employee and revenue counts, then added a “startup” classification.

  • Startup:
  • Small Business:
  • Mid-Sized Business: <1,000 employees, <$1B in revenue
  • (more…)