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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.
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.
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.
Then came hosted solutions and the whole business game changed. You mean I can access all my business programs online? I don’t have to update my software and pay a high priced techie to manage all of it? Or worry about someone making a mistake and wiping it all out? Wow! Sign me up!
There’s one expense that many businesses have trouble paying all the time – especially new ones. And that is rent. You know, that glorified storage space where you sit all day and sometimes into the night to crank out your work?
I must admit I love evolution. Well, maybe not the Darwinian kind exactly, but usually evolution pertains more to forward thinking. Take, for instance – the cloud. For those who’ve been living under a rock (sad, but true), the cloud is where it’s at in terms of business. That’s slightly ironic since it’s in cyberspace, hence where is it really located? Oh, that’s right. In the heavens. Good place for it in my book. Beats battling the traffic!
But, seriously, for any small business, success is going to depend heavily upon how well the company is managed. And that includes that magical term, efficient – challenging for any business, let alone ones with limited resources.
Most would agree that it takes a lot of moxy and a great deal of time and money to start and operate a business. What investors care about – and that includes the owners themselves (they are investors too – in fact, the biggest ones) – is that there is a high chance of turning a profit.
There are many reasons people flock to Miami. The weather is to die for, the culture is diverse and it is just — well, cool. Some of the biggest celebs have been drawn to the region, from the rich to the notorious: Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Hulk Hogan, Lenny Kravitz, Matt Damon, Sylvester Stallone, Robin Gibb, Shaquille O’Neal, and fashion icon Gianni Versace.
Before O.J. Simpson became a full-time resident of Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada, he ran off to Miami when he was no longer welcome in the tony Brentwood neighborhood on the west side of L.A.
The only other place that seems to have as many celebs is L.A. But Miami is said to be more accessible than Los Angeles. In fact, Barry Gibb of music group Bee Gees fame also lives in Miami and is said to be quite welcoming. Although… that could be because he comes from the U.K.
SAN FRANCISCO—Would your workplace stack up to the criteria to win the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility? If you offer telecommuting, virtual offices and flexible work schedules, the answer could be yes.
The latest to win the coveted award is Riverbed Technology. Riverbed won the award for its use of workplace flexibility as an effective strategy to increase employee satisfaction and productivity. Riverbed offers several programs, including virtual office policies, flexible work schedules and leave time options. It seems to be paying off for Riverbed in more ways than one.
“This recognition demonstrates our commitment to keeping employees happy and engaged in the workplace, which also helps to improve productivity,” says Mike Guerchon, senior vice president of employee services and human resources at Riverbed. “We continue to retain and attract top talent because of our career advancement opportunities, benefits such as flexible workplace options, and of course our team of employees that continue to develop innovative technology that meets the needs of global organizations.”
BALTIMORE—Davinci Virtual Office Solutions congratulates the Baltimore Ravens on its emotional Super Bowl victory. With all the celebration going on in Baltimore, some employees may be wishing they had the flexibility of working from a virtual office today—and especially tomorrow.
A virtual office would be ideal today for those who stayed up late last night celebrating the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl victory—or for those San Francisco fans who bemoaned the narrow loss. But a virtual office may also come in handy for those who don’t want to get stuck in parade traffic on Tuesday.
The City of Baltimore will host a victory parade and celebration for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday starting at 10:45 a.m., at City Hall. An introduction by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will launch the parade. The Baltimore parade will run from City Hall south on Commerce Street, continue to Pratt and Howard Streets, and end at M&T Bank Stadium.
LOS ANGELES—There’s been a lot of talk lately about the benefits of virtual offices and flexible work for working parents. But how does virtual office work impact employers? The FlexJobs “Parents & Work” survey looked at the employer side of the flexible work coin, too.
According to the FlexJobs survey, parents who want workplace flexibility are overwhelmingly well-educated (82% have a college degree), they’re married (81%) women (93%) between 30 and 49 years of age (79%), and they are “experienced” professionals (say 57%, followed by “manager” at 26% and “executive” at 9%).
The survey also suggests that employers looking to hire this group of motivated professionals should consider workplace flexibility initiatives like full-time telecommuting from a virtual office, flexible schedules, occasional telecommuting from a virtual office, and part-time schedules. The survey responses indicate parents would give up a part-time schedule and work full-time if they could telecommute from a virtual office or have a flexible schedule.