Technology is the ultimate SMB leveler and enabler

Technology is the ultimate SMB leveler and enabler

Summary: Newsflash for big tech companies that covet the small-business customer: Until you think like an entrepreneur, you won't reach the entrepreneur.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Google
3

A week ago, I was struggling with what, exactly, to write for the first post in this new ZDNet log. My post-hurricane teleworking experience in Northern New Jersey provided the perfect inspiration. That is because it reminded me of the creativity that drives the way small and midsize businesses (SMBs) consume technology. They use what makes sense to them. And this is why every tech company is falling all over itself to break into the SMB market.

No power at your office? Take your notebook computer and make your way to the local coffee shop or library to juice up. No clear answer on when your Internet or land-line phone service will be back? Turn your smartphone into a Wi-Fi hot spot for an extra $15 per month on your wireless data plan.

Mind you, I know I was very lucky to find these resources in post-Irene New Jersey, and things don't always work work out so smoothly for small businesses. But I also know that thinking out-of-the-box in order to get the job done from virtually anywhere is something that entrepreneurial SMBs do every day. They simply will not be defined by some big company's view of what a work environment should look like.

For SMBs, technology is turning out to be the ultimate leveler and enabler. That's why the most innovative applications and technology developments are showing up first for the SMB market and then later for the enterprise. Google Apps. Skype. The list goes on. Small-business creativity is also why technologies that were previously categorized as being for "consumers" have found a fervent following in the workplace. The most vivid example: media tablet computers.

I have covered business technology for more than two decades, writing for publications including Entrepreneur magazine and The New York Times. For almost that long, the big high-tech companies have been trying to concoct the perfect magic formula for the SMB market. Newsflash: Until you think like an entrepreneur, you can't reach the entrepreneur.

In my mind, there are two clear turning points in the SMB technology movement.

  • The proliferation of internet broadband, in both wired and wireless forms
  • The rise of mobile computing, including notebooks, smartphones and tablet computers

Microsoft's bid to get its hands on Skype is testament to just how much influence SMBs now have on technology design and development. Without really trying, Skype built huge cachet with small businesses, which quickly grasped how much money could be saved by using the internet calling service and flocked to it in droves without anyone telling them to do so. This success story has become the competitive envy of everyone from IBM to Cisco to Google, which have coveted the SMB customer for years.

This rather untraditional ZDNet blog, Small Business Matters, is dedicated to highlighting the applications, services, technologies and trends that could have as much influence on SMB work habits and operations as Skype proved to have on SMB communications. Here are the sorts of thing you'll see covered, although there really are no limits:

  • E-commerce software and platforms, including ongoing coverage of options from Amazon and eBay
  • Technologies that make SMB Web sites better, such as customer service applications and widgets
  • The best social media and social marketing tools for SMBs
  • Accounting software and operational efficiency tools and services, including Intuit and NetSuite
  • Cloud-based SMB productivity options such as Zoho and Google Apps
  • Unified communications applications, SMB networking and IP telephony
  • SMB data center and cloud computing options
  • SMB hardware including desktop computers, notebooks, printers and storage devices
  • SMB support and service offerings, including how to find an IT services company you can trust

I haven't been this excited about a new writing gig in a long time. I feel passionately about seeing smaller businesses succeed, and I firmly believe that the right technology solutions can help make them both grow their sales and becoming more operationally efficient. This blog is dedicated to highlighting as many of those solutions, technologies and trends as possible.

Topic: Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Pity the readers don't seem as excited ...

    ... don't worry Heather: they are too busy joining in the flame wars fuelled so regularly by your colleagues! So some suggestions then:

    1. Picking up on your downtime in the wake of Irene; how about some better options than scrounging from the local coffee shop. Say a multi-WAN router with auto switching to 3G? And one of those caravan petrol generators as a power back-up (kills two birds with one stone if any employees have a caravan!).

    2. Storage. I've been discussing symform and HP Microservers with Robin Harris.

    3. Not only do vendors have to think about novel solutions ... they also have to make it easy for less expert people in small companies to use their products: too many offerings have poor documentation leaving customers to work out what to do (OK for experts in a big firm: difficult for conscripted IT people in a small outfit).
    jacksonjohn
  • RE: Technology is the ultimate SMB leveler and enabler

    <p>Coach handbags and purses at the <a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? with new designs make them have the most outstanding and eye-catching advantage among other brands goods.<a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? handbags You can not just save your cash but also your time inside a convenient way to obtain the exact same bags product and do not be concerned the shippment of one's products.In terms of the quality and superior design that make more and more customers are satisfied to <a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>????.Welcome!Come by for dinner soon and check out the wine list for yourself. We are always here to help with selection. Cheers for the successful of <a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach factory outlet store"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet store</strong></h1></a>????.</p><p><a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach purses"><h1><strong>coach purses</strong></h1></a>???? have to be considered the most wanted designer purses in the world. Known around the globe for their excellent craftsmanship and trendy styles, these purses are worshiped by millions.The <a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? has been in business for many years. You can log in to find more information about its products and services.The Coach bag is from the latest release of Coach Bags. Its crisp, scribble material, leather handle, perfectly complements the relaxed shape of this stylish pouch. All the items of <a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach outlet online"><h1><strong>coach outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? Store fit all of your essentials and more.If you want to buy quality Coach products at lower prices, visiting <a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? online can be your best decision.</p><p>Where there are women, there are bags. Where there are bags, there are <a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach bags"><h1><strong>coach bags</strong></h1></a>????. Coach products are the direction indicator of the latest fashion and trend.Coach is a renowned leather brand throughout the world. <a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach handbags"><h1><strong>coach handbags</strong></h1></a>???? are famous for their special designs and beautiful shapes.Bright colors, exquisite workmanship, durable material and up-to-date style all lead to the great fame of the goods in <a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>????.Do not miss the opportunity to get the Coach Outlet Coupons.<a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach outlet store"><h1><strong>coach outlet store</strong></h1></a>???? spends more efforts on building their own brand.</p><p><a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? has become necessary in everyday life of women seeking fashion and simple designs simple and elegant to look at very affordable and practical.If you desire to go to <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>????, but have no idea in which to go, you can research online. It is no doubt that there is drastically information and details about it for the reference.<a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is one of the most popular and successful leather brands in the U.S. market.Coach stands for the most-admired innovative style and conventions in American fashion.That <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach factory store online"><h1><strong>coach factory store online</strong></h1></a>???? annually consultation on item pattern to 5,000 high-end consumers, investing of as a good deal as much more than three million bucks a year.</p><p><a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? can provide the coach exactly the same is expected in a retail store. It can help you find bags of various colors, shapes and designs, which prove once again that the coach is actually a selection for the housekeeper.Would you like to meet more friends, or go with the times? If yes, <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is opening welcome doors to you.<a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? is famous for the discounts it offers. Latest coach purses and sunglasses can be purchased at discounted rates from this coach outlet store.Coach Bags in the <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach factory store online"><h1><strong>coach factory store online</strong></h1></a>???? feature a front red stripe with a red Coach logo on op art print sateen and other details, such as the double soft red straps, which allow for carrying conveniently and comfortably.</p><p>It's wonderful to find out it does not slip in your signature at the bottom of the case and the appearance of brass accents from <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinex.com" title="coach outlet online"><h1><strong>coach outlet online</strong></h1></a>????, Because women who can look stylish this summer.When I first went to the web site <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinex.com" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>????,I wasn't sure what to expect.Then,once I was scrolling through the handbags I saw this and I was fond of it!Once I received it, it matched my cell phone and no matter what I put in it, it never hurt my shoulder.<a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinex.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? offers you the modern and very comfortable coach bags. Since many women often do not know things and are daily buses to challenge their handbags handbag, also comprehensive.The reputation of the coach outlet with the good old bag, was actually the original inspiration came from a softball glove, Cheap replica Coach Handbags features soft.</p><p>There certainly are a amount of methods to acquire affordable coach products at <a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>????,it could possibly the most effective options.the most vital cause may be the reality that you simply can purchase genuine coach products at there.Attention! <a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? is offering new products at favorable prices for August. Brighter colors, finer looks and newer designs, all bring you a whole new summer.<a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? are loved by many people, when you walk in the street, you could see many people take coach styles.<a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach factory"><h1><strong>coach factory</strong></h1></a>???? outlet has new coach laptop bags in listing. No matter which style do you want, we can provide it for you.</p><p><a href="http://www.coachoutletfactoryss.net" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is one of the most popular and successful leather brands in the U.S. market.Coach stands for the most-admired innovative style and conventions in American fashion.The reputation of the coach outlet with the good old bag, was actually the original inspiration came from a softball glove, Cheap replica Coach Handbags features soft.Today, following half a century, mentor leather-bases <a href="http://www.coachoutletfactoryss.net" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? continues to be the delicate craft of leather-based master is accountable for,Sweet and petite, Coach purse is a gorgeous standout. Featuring the most fashionable styles and the best upscale quality, Coach goods at the <a href="http://www.coachoutletfactoryss.net" title="coach factory store"><h1><strong>coach factory store</strong></h1></a>???? are definitely your choice.</p>
    erica55
  • RE: Technology is the ultimate SMB leveler and enabler

    <p>Of couse, the products are best quality. Just 5-7 days delivery! Our <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton online</strong></h1></a>???? shop provide worldwide free shipping. So what are you waiting for? Take a Louis Vuitton home now!We are glad you come to join in our <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? online store, because the winter is upcoming now, Louis Vuitton released many new handbags to feedback our customers.The <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is so colorful.Its products, both for the female and the male, touch upon all walks of life.The online <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton sale</strong></h1></a>???? has the latest styles of cheap LV handbags for you to find your favorite Louis Vuitton products more conveniently.</p><p>LV bags in the <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.net" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? are a feminine update on an urban classic. With plenty of room for all of your essentials this covetable carryall will take you through the weekend in style.Looking for a <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.net" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? and don't know where they are? The easiest way is to Google it. That simple. You should at least get a hit on the actual online designer store and you can search geographically for the one nearest to you.<a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.net" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? is really so well-liked and also treasured during the human beings to be a number of high-end, they may realize that the bring up to date might impact their very own laurels signature in the fashion world as well as talk about in your predisposition in their enthusiasts.</p><p>Just come to visit once the <a href="http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlinee.com" title="louis vuitton online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton online</strong></h1></a>????, you will fall in love with its fancy bags, purses, sunglasses, shoes and so on.LV sells its products through standalone boutiques,lease departments in high-end department stores, and through the <a href="http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlinee.com" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>????.<a href="http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlinee.com" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>????,welcome to buy urban louis vuitton on our online shop.discount price is our special offer, durability and high quality is our promise.</p><p>Don't feel upset, there will be a great conversion to this kind of situation because there are a large number of <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton sale</strong></h1></a>???? now!In the web times, even if you are a noble person on <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>????, or to real action to prove himself, has been integrated into a new era.If in a foreign country to join the twitter, it is best to join army of micro-Bo;Your energy is regained and your eyes are refreshed, right? You can avoid the boredom if you buy the <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton outlet sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet sale</strong></h1></a>????.Last Sunday my friends Sally brought a new purse to show us. She told us she just bought it from an outlet of <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton sale</strong></h1></a>????, which provides high quality LV goods at low prices.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton bags outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton bags outlet</strong></h1></a>???? are amazing and you will rest assured by proudly owning a bed that you will find yourself envied by simply your colleagues.<a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton bags"><h1><strong>louis vuitton bags</strong></h1></a>???? I bought a few days ago looks almost the same as the one at online presentation. Also,service attitude from the seller is very good and delivery speed and logistics pretty fast.As we show below, <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? have a number of Louis Vuitton Earrings, louis vuitton replica handbags, in different styles for your selection.<a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? will not solely store and build pertaining to your entire necessities,and makes it possible for you to create a typical appearance.Lots of women like these bags.</p>
    erica55