Technologies That Level the Playing Field for Small Business

Dennis Faas's picture

If you operate a small business, then you know how difficult and expensive it can be to try to compete with bigger businesses. It often seems like an uphill battle. But now, you can find a valuable ally in your effort to grow against the flow: technology. Technology can empower your small business and level the playing field when competing against larger businesses. If you're looking to grow your business or are finding yourself going head-to-head with the big guys, there are a variety of technological tools and sources that can help. (Source:

Among the technologies most useful are the following:

  • Desktop sharing software allows companies to extend their reach. By using inexpensive desktop sharing software or services, businesses can hold sales seminars, prepare remote presentations, provide support or do demonstrations, all without leaving your desk. Inexpensive solutions include GotoMeeting, CrossLoop .
  • VoIP. If you spend a lot of time on the phone...or would like to, Voice over IP Internet phoning might be your answer. Look to services like Vonage or Lingo to give you inexpensive unlimited local and long distance calling. Combine these with FreeConferenceCall to tie everybody in.
  • Website. A small business website can get the same airtime and the same worldwide coverage as AT&T. If you're worried about how professional it looks, try using one "site builders" offered by your Internet Service Provider or by domain service companies like GoDaddy.Com or Network Solutions.
  • Email Marketing is an inexpensive way to reach existing and prospective customers. Internet services like Constant Contact or Emma are a great way to get started. If you don't already have email lists of your own, you can consult third party lists brokers such as Venture Direct. Most suppliers will also help create the email materials with you.
  • Contact management & CRM software help keep track of your prospects and customers can also help the small business provide big-business-like service and follow up. If you have the latest edition of Microsoft's 2007 Outlook, it includes the Business Contact Manager, but you can also use web-based services like FreeCRM.
  • Getting a toll-free number or ensuring that your phone is answered with a professional-sounding call attendant complete with voicemail and voicemail forwarding is easy with the right technology. Suppliers like or offer professional phone answering for better prospect response and better customer support.
  • Try Open Source; software is expensive, so don't discount using open source software or other forms of "freeware". You can have access to the same productivity software tools that your bigger competitors use for a much lower price (or for free)! Start with OpenOffice. For other Open Source utilities or specialized applications, including anti-virus, desktop gadgets, and CRM, go to eConsultant.

There are dozens of other technology solutions worth looking at for small business use. But these are just a few of the more powerful technology tools or services that will help level the playing field for small businesses against their big-business competitors.

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