Archive for April, 2013

Technology Is Leveling The Playing Field For Small Businesses

April 30, 2013

Technology is making the process of starting and growing a small business easier and less costly.
From cloud-based operations dashboards through personnel recruiting, management offerings and beyond to marketing applications, there are powerful tools now available to enable even the tiniest enterprise to compete on the web and on the ground.
Much of these changes have been spurred by smart cloud-based solutions that have best-in-class SaaS applications and business process-as-a-service (BPaaS) capabilities.
When utilized, they help you accelerate innovation and focus on business goals rather than IT deployment.
Clearly, cloud-based offerings can and have done much to help small businesses better manage their operations, cash flow, marketing efforts, and recruitment.
What many experts have failed to note is the trend to evolving pricing models and easy adaptability that mirrors existing ways of doing business.
Four years ago, in my book, The Janus Principle, Focusing Your Company on Selling to Small Business, I pointed out that conserving cash was a principle factor in smaller enterprises’ buying decision.
At that time, most technology applications required upfront implementation charges and hefty monthly subscription charges.
That happened because many tool providers did not recognize that conserving cash is a key factor in keeping a small business profitable. It is equally or more important when new enterprises are launched.
During this period, a change in the pricing algorithm appeared.
Today, many of these offerings have a pricing model which requires little of no upfront costs and subscriptions under $10 per month.
Clearly, application providers have learned to adapt the costs of these tools to the needs and buying preferences of their target market.
A deep review of recent new offerings clearly indicates prices have been driven down by competition, innovative technologists and the economic downturn.
Part of this change is the migration to the clouds and acceptance by tool providers of the concept that the subscription model works best in the small business space.
Providers no longer seek to recoup their development expenses within the first year(s) but rather look for long-term relationships with a steady cash flow.
Another factor is the flexibility of the cloud which has enabled tool providers to develop applications that are easily adapted by smaller enterprises.
Equally as important, many of these applications better mimic the existing operational practices of small businesses.
Providers are recognizing that downsizing a big corporation application is not the best answer.
Small businesses do things differently.
Newer offerings are closer in functionality to how small businesses operate; they deliver enterprise-grade security, availability and elasticity while limiting the need for a small business client to change their current practices.
An added bonus, these tools allow managers to focus on running the business, not IT deployment; they free limited IT resources to focus on supporting operations rather than developing, installing and maintaining applications as enterprises grow.
By becoming the application provider and maintainer for a number of small businesses, providers are able to continuously adapt their products to the ever changing environment.
In this win-win scenario, everyone benefits.
Evolving technology is leveling the playing field and benefiting small businesses.
Let’s hope it continues.