The Up and Coming Small Business Trend for 2006 – Teleconferencing Networking

According to the U.S. Business Administration in 2003 of the 5.7 million American businesses, 99% are considered to be small businesses with less than 500 employees. Small business owners continue to grow at a phenomenal rate.

Many business strategies are employed to grow sales including: Search Engine Marketing, Internet Marketing such as online newsletters and traditional marketing such as radio, television and print. Another popular marketing strategy is business to business (B2B) networking through numerous vehicles such as Chambers of Commerce, formal networking organizations and professional associates.

However, in 2006 a new trend emerged. Business networking experienced a complete transformation through the concept of teleconferencing networking. This type of online networking was very new.

One of the earliest companies who offered this type of networking was Fast Pitch Networking. This innovative company developed networking teleconference sessions where you had just 5 minutes to “pitch” what you do to 25 other prospects.

Just think about the advantages that this type of networking provides the small business owner:

  • Geographic flexibility — If you have numerous locations or wish to expand to a new market, you can telephone into a conference and share what you do with others no matter where you are at that moment.
  • Reduced costs — No costs for driving, parking to that weekly or monthly meeting. Also, there is no annual commitment as each meeting has a flat cost. Yes, there is a telephone charge, but many small business owners have flat long distance fees.
  • More time — Since you can network from your office or home, you now have more time for additional appointments. You don’t have to allow additional time for traffic, road conditions, etc.
  • Convenience — If you live in the northern states, you can avoid winter’s bad weather since you are calling from your office. Again, you attend when you can and pay for only those meetings that you attend.
  • Additional Opportunities – You will have fresh individuals to connect with instead of the same faces that you see weekly or monthly who still haven’t become customers.
  • Focus — In traditional networking environments, there are always distractions from people interruptions to food being served. With online networking or teleconferencing networking, the focus is on you. Now is YOUR time to shine.
  • If you are a small business owner who is an excellent communicator, has developed a strong “Elevator” speech and can quickly establish a rapport using online technology, then on-line networking can only catapult your business to that next level. Watch for this up and coming small business trend in 2006.

5 Major Small Business Trends in 2011 and How Virtual Services Will Help

Small Business Labs recently released its list of Top 10 Small Business Trends for 2011 and it points out some of the trends that might benefit from virtual services. Here is our take on the five trends where virtual solutions would enable cost minimization and optimization of business processes.

Variable cost models – pay-as-you-go approach

This payment model brings along a marked change in the way services can be availed. With this model expertise will look much cheaper and affordable, and businesses will start looking at options to choose services from. Pay-as-you-go model is highly practical, smart and more importantly, accountable in relation to the service offered. With businesses coming out of recession and running on tight financial schedules, more small businesses, service providers, virtual assistants are now offering this variable cost payment model to create an overall financial and growth nurturing environment.

Business on the internet

The internet and online systems are helping small businesses to easily find, sell and support customers. New companies are letting go of the idea of setting up “brick and mortar” offices and stores and are rather excited to launch themselves on the “click and order” internet. And with more customers finding it easier to get things done online, even more existing small businesses are putting up their online face. Recent surveys suggest that small businesses’ budget for 2011 is up by 20% to 25% for e-commerce based website development. And if you are not online yet, there are virtual assistants who can help you launch online and join the league of vendors with online ordering points.

Social media moves to main stream

What started as a platform for online social interactions has emerged as a major marketing platform for most businesses. Facebook is ranking no.1 in website visits and add to it other giants like Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Small businesses are reaping rich dividends by investing in social media marketing and the trend is only set to outgrow regular marketing budgets in 2011. According to a survey by StrongMail across the globe, two-thirds of the surveyed companies will increase their spending on email marketing, and 57% will put more dollars toward social media marketing. The trick here is to get the best techniques and technology for social media marketing; and if you are not up to it, you may be left behind. But do not bother, with social media marketing services made available by virtual marketing assistants your social media marketing is in for a real kick start.

Freelancers realize that they are small business owners

Freelancers are turning more professional and are setting up virtual businesses on a larger scale. Even big business houses are relying more on freelance based services apart from engaging other business groups. Though this is a good sign for freelancers, it comes with the burden to act professionally and work efficiently for sustaining the business. By Q3 of 2011 whichlance.com expects quarterly billings of freelancers to be in the region of $150m across all the major marketplaces. This makes freelancers more inclined and focused on delivering their expertise and also take ample care of other important business activities like marketing, phone answering, customer service, accounting, back office administration, and so on. This is where these freelancers can make excellent use of virtual assistants by diverting much of their non-core tasks to them.

Working in the cloud

Computing is ever changing and 2011 will be no different. Cloud, mobile computing is gaining steam and the benefits it brings is really worth taking. It cuts down the software cost and at the same time gives you access to the best software services. With online services like Google Apps, Basecamp, Amazon Web Services among others, more and more content is being created and maintained online in the cloud. It also removes the hassles of conventional software procurements and maintenance which is proving costly for small businesses. And with virtual assistants offering these kinds of services at competitive prices, it has become a profitable proposition for most small businesses.

Calculating Business Trends

Being at the cutting edge of business trends may help companies of all sizes stay afloat, but this needs to be done in a calculated manner. The right blend of marketing, administrative, sales, support, and social media provides the key to success. Trends come and go, so look for the ones that have staying power. This is especially true for a small business that may operate on a shoestring budget and need to make every dollar count.

Marketing and Sales Trends

Most experts now agree that the first thing a company needs to do is to establish a brand. This may involve changing your business direction, but it is essential for prospects, clients, and customers to know the purpose of your company. Create a company mission statement, and use it in your marketing campaigns. Your brand must be dynamic and inviting in order for your company to thrive.

Gone are the days when all you need to do to be successful is to run an ad in the local newspaper or nationally distributed magazine. Even television ads lack the pizazz and sizzle they once had. Current business trends dictate developing and maintaining a powerful Internet presence with strong SEO (search engine optimization) and a reason for clients to return. This is just as true for a small business as for any large corporation.

Administrative and Support Trends

Current business administrative and support trends dictate integrity being at the foundation of your company. With the onslaught of fraud, the public is skeptical of anything with which they are not familiar. A proven track record once gave people confidence, but that is no longer true.

Running a lean company is currently on-trend for businesses. Avoid redundancy in staffing and administrative duties. If your company maintains an electronic database, there is no need for the same information in hard copy.

Enable employees to work from home if they are able to do the same duties without taking up valuable real estate in the office. With an Internet connection, many administrative jobs can be done remotely. This accomplishes several things. The office space can be saved for essential on-site tasks and storage. The employees’ transportation costs and commuting time will be a savings. Giving people an option to telecommute makes people more satisfied with their jobs, so you will be able to maintain a higher level of trained staff.

Internet and Social Media

Today’s business must be Internet savvy and keyed in to social media to reach the highest level of success. A company website that is easy to navigate is essential. Design an app that people can download to their computers, tablets, and smart phones. Tuning in to social media provides a vehicle to stay in the minds of prospects and clients while allowing them to see the latest news from your company. It also enables people to connect in a more personal way, and this helps build brand loyalty.

A company blog with a variety of topics will help keep your Internet presence interesting. You may use a combination of interviews with company executives, customer reviews, frequently asked questions, and other topics you feel will bring prospects to your blog often. Use your blog to feature new products and services.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media can be effective if used properly. Publicize your social media pages and encourage others to forward the information to help get the word out. Post frequently to prevent people from getting bored. Keep your social contact interesting, and do not forget to interact. This is a good way to show that you care about your customers and meeting their needs.

Start a Business: Tutoring Business Trends

Anything Research shows that growth will continue in the exam preparation and tutoring field through the next several years. There are several factors contributing to this, some of which are a result of current economic conditions.

Not only are the number of students being tutored increasing, the age range is growing and so is the number of subjects being taught. Students can now get learning assistance virtually any day of the year, and they can learn at home, at their local library or at a tutoring center. With so many convenient options, more parents are deciding which type of instruction to get rather than whether to invest in extra education at all.

If you want to have a teaching career, tutoring can be a great business to start. The work can be very rewarding, but you want to be aware of business trends in order to increase your chance of success.

Here are some trends going on in the tutoring field right now:

The Competitive Job Market is Building an Awareness for Increased Education

When jobs grow scarce, people become more aware of the importance of education in the job marketplace. The key to getting a high-paying job – or even a job at all – is often related to one’s education.

Parents who understand how difficult it can be to get a job are focusing more on the education of their children. Tutoring and exam preparation can make a big difference in a student’s education, which can then lead to his or her success in the working world.

Tutoring businesses are providing help to students as young as kindergarten and all the way through college. Virtually any school subject is available, including music lessons and foreign languages.

Struggling Schools are Creating a Market for Extra Education

In the current economy, schools are laying off teachers while class size increases. This situation does make for an ideal learning environment, and can make learning for struggling students virtually impossible.

In addition, when schools lack funding, programs get canceled. Fewer programs translate to less education for the average student. Many parents who want their children to excel in the classroom and have a chance at attending college are looking into other learning opportunities, like tutoring.

Convenience is Attracting New Clients

In addition to tutoring centers, a home-based learning option is now becoming more widely available. With one-on-one tutoring sessions at home, programs can be customized to each student’s needs. There are generally less distractions for students with at-home learning, resulting in a more effective study environment.

Today’s busy families have lots of activities going on. Although education may be important, it may not easily fit into a family’s hectic schedule. Supplementary learning programs are taking this into account, offering sessions seven days a week as well as summertime programs.

For students needing help with a specific project, companies like Creative Tutors offer short-term assistance for things like science fair projects, term paper writing and research. Parents do not have to commit to a long-term contract to provide needed help for their children.