A few weeks ago, i moderated a panel at an event our company hosted. The panelists consisted of executives from some pretty impressive technology companies: Compaq, IBM, and Sprint, to name a few. I thought you might be interested in some of the things they had to say.
The overall topic was how technology has changed the average small business and leveled the playing field. Everyone agreed that the Internet has had a huge impact on the small business market. Simply being able to reach millions of people and do business anywhere in the world has enabled those with the entrepreneurial spirit to be competitive.
Where their opinions differed was in exactly how small businesses were using the Internet. Some say that business-to-business e-commerce is the up and coming trend, others believe that getting your message out and marketing is still the most common use. Still others believe that business to consumer e-commerce will be the ticket in the months to come.
They also spoke about the unique challenges in marketing to small businesses. In other words, what do small business owners look for when purchasing products? Most felt that price was not a big issue. The consensus was that if the reason for buying something was compelling enough, they would shell out the cash. They were split pretty evenly on brand. Some felt brand was important, and others felt it didn't matter that much. Everyone agreed that great service and support was critical.
When speaking about the future, our panelists had plenty to say. When asked what areas of technology will be hot, for small businesses in the future, there were many thoughts. Some felt that wireless technology was going to have the greatest impact on the small business market. Others felt that broadband was changing the face of business as we know it. These are the people that sell to you and whom you depend on, and although their opinions are based on research, I feel there is nothing like going straight to the horse's mouth so to speak. Let me know how you think technology has changed small business and what the future holds. E-mail me at email@example.com.
On an unrelated, but important, note it's that time of year again when we are searching the country for America's most wired businesses. In each December issue we highlight, salute, and reward the 100 most wired businesses, and we are looking for entries right now. So if you or anyone you know uses technology in innovative ways to add to the bottom line, please let us know. Send a couple of sentences describing the company and how they are using their tech. You may read about them here soon.