With over 23 million of them in the U.S. alone, small businesses have become big business. And technology is making them competitive with larger, more established companies.
Think about how different people work today as opposed to ten years ago. IT costs to set up a domain and server? Gone. Now you can use your smartphone to access your email, share documents, videoconference, access your calendar and much more. And with mobile and virtual solutions, small businesses can operate from anywhere in the world, professionally and efficiently.
Mobility Is A Game Changer
Next time you’re in public, look around you. Notice how many people are either using their handheld device or a tablet. Sure they could be texting a friend or playing Candy Crush, but many of them are working. Those handheld computers are allowing small business owners to not only work on the go, but do more and spend less—especially if they take advantage of the plethora of available business apps. Read more...
Running your own small firm or solo law practice isn’t easy. You must constantly increase your client base, work to stay current with practices in your area and learn marketing skills — all in addition to running a business. It’s time-consuming and uncertain. But there are plenty of positives, too—like being your own boss. Fortunately, resources are available to help you meet these top seven challenges.
1. Modest Salaries
Especially in the beginning, small firms offer smaller salaries than larger firms. But the almighty dollar isn’t the driving force for many attorneys. Just like in other professions, some people put themselves through school, incur large student loans and work long hours because they love what they do and enjoy helping people. Keep this in mind when you’re working long hours to build your business. Read more...
Ten years ago, owning a small business meant having a physical office. But today that’s just not the case. Mobile devices, broadband connectivity, cloud computing and other technologies are allowing employees to work from home or on the go. Now you have the option to do the same and ditch huge leasing and equipment fees while increasing the flexibility of your business. But should you? While it has many benefits, operating from home isn’t right for every small business owner. Here are some big factors to consider.
Client meetings and employee interaction
A physical office allows you to host client meetings and showcase your business. It also gives you the ability to collaborate with your clients in person—making it easier to know if you’re meeting their needs After all, you can’t read body language behind a computer screen. And employee camaraderie is a large part of most people’s lives. More importantly, in-person collaboration can be central to a project’s success. Read more...
Here’s a daunting fact: While more than 500,000 small businesses will launch this month, just as many will fold because they can’t meet overhead costs. Sure, there are factors beyond an owner’s control, like the economy and unforeseen industry changes, but successful small businesses find ways to pinch pennies, adopt wise practices and discover new innovations that save money.
Here are six suggestions:
It isn’t just for bank statements anymore.Paperless options are enhancing how people run their business. For example: Read more...
If contracts are part of your business, companies like Docusign have e-signing services that make documents easy to complete from thousands of miles away, saving time and shipping costs.
Need to get hardcopy documents into your employees’, partners’ and client’s hands? Professional scanning companies can turn around large volume of documents in one day by converting them into CD-ROMS, DVDs or simple emails and integrating them with any software system you choose.
I had an acquaintance who moved to Austin thinking he would spend less on living and business costs than he was in L.A. He’d crunched all the numbers and everything seemed cool. But after a few years, Austin started to become a boom town and guess what? The prices boomed too!
That was good for possibly turning over his home – except that the market kind of tanked. His lease ended and he couldn’t find anywhere to cost effectively run his business.
But he still had clients there and really needed to make it work. Just about the time he was considering pulling out entirely – he found out about virtual offices. For around $75 a month, he got an even better address than the one he had. His clients still have access to him whenever they need to. For those times, he rents a space for around $35 an hour. Read more...
Life would be a lot easier if people recognized there are really only three kinds of people in the world. So says John Scott, an entrepreneur who started with a truck and a tool box to become a successful contractor and real estate developer.
“It’s been my experience in life and in business that people come in only three basic varieties,” says Scott, who is also author of The Joe Dial, a graphic tool that measures positive and negative energies so people can adjust their lives. “There are givers, takers and those who fall in the middle with qualities of both. These people represent different mixtures of positive and negative energies, and understanding how those energies work—both with others and within ourselves—can make our lives at work and at home a lot easier.”
His definitions of the three kinds of people are reasonably detailed, but a simple overview of them includes: Read more...
You’ve heard of the tooth fairy. But what about the culture fairy? Could your small business use such a thing?
We at Davinci Virtual Office Solutions seem to be doing pretty good with our culture fairy. Let me explain how this works and you can decide for yourself if your very own small business would benefit from a culture fairy.
First, consider that Davinci Virtual, a leading provider of global virtual office solutions, has witnessed incredible growth since its launch in 2006. How incredible, you ask? Well, in just five years, we grown to over $10 million in revenues. We now employ more than 100 people. And our unique corporate culture helped us get there.
Now, we’re making it official. Katie Fronk, a key manager with the company for several years, has been promoted to a curiously unique position titled “The Culture Fairy.” As such, Fronk’s only responsibility is to make sure we have a great company culture and total employee happiness at all times and at all costs. Read more...
As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats. At least that’s the cliché we’ve all accepted in our entrepreneurial lifestyles. So what about work-life balance?
We’ve seen several studies this summer about small business owners who take working vacations and surveys about work-life balance are endless. Everybody wants it. Few small business owners achieve it. It’s almost an oxymoron.
Could a tablet computer help? Yes, it could, according to a new survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples.
The Staples survey reveals that more than 60 percent of tablet owners admit to powering on their tablet during vacation to check in with the office or do work. But about 80 percent of tablet owners claim they are experiencing improved work-life balance because of the new technology. Here are some of the specific benefits to consider if you are thinking about taking the tablet plunge: Read more...
Are you using online meeting software? If not, you are probably traveling more than you need to or missing out on valuable face to face contact with coworkers, clients and prospects.
In a move to help small business owners make the most of their time, Cisco is rolling out a special deal worth blogging about. Small businesses can now tap into Unlimited WebEx meetings for up to eight people for just $19 a month.
In case you aren’t familiar with WebEx, it’s a Web conferencing solution that lets you connect with anyone, anywhere, in real time. It combines desktop sharing through a Web browser with phone conferencing and video.
Citrix’s GoToMeeting is a similar product. But Cisco is undercutting the popular service with its new pricing. GoToMeeting costs $49 a month, or $468 a year. Read more...
In order to spend time with family and to maximize business opportunities, small business owners are flexible about work-life balance. So says a new study from Hiscox.
In fact, 51 percent of small business owners cite flexible working hours as their main way of achieving a healthy work/life balance. Another 21 percent point to scheduling time with family and friends and 11 percent leave their work at the office.
Sounds admirable. Bu the truth is the office is never far away for small business owners. Only 5 percent said they don’t work on weekends and only 3 percent keep their BlackBerry, or other mobile device, away from the bedroom and the dinner table.
“The wide range of communications channels available today means that small business owners can always be connected, and the research shows that this is how they’re operating,” says Kevin Kerridge, small business expert for Hiscox. “Our clients live and breathe their businesses, wherever they are and whoever they’re communicating with.” Read more...