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Looking Bigger While Staying Small

Here are four ways to make your small business look big while staying small, advice to take on the major players in your industry.

When you’re running a small businesses competition can be tough. You’re often up against bigger companies, approved but have a tighter budget and limited resources. You need to be able to channel your resources into the things that count. One way you can level the playing field and take advantage of your size while also cutting costs is with your IT. By making a few smart choices you’ll have a super reliable and scalable system that makes you look big while staying small.

Leave data storage to the experts
Few SMB owners are IT experts, so why not leave it to people who are? One way to reduce costs as well as the time spent managing and maintaining your IT system is to move from a server out back to “the cloud”. With your data in the cloud you’ll never have to worry about losing a list of potential clients, or your annual report, as your data is always backed-up. Because all your data is on the web, you can access it from your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. 

How does this make you look big?
Because your data is everywhere, you can be everywhere too. If a customer hears back from your business quickly whenever they you send a message (and wherever you are), you create the impression of a much bigger organisation with lots of service staff and resources.

Come together in virtual meeting rooms
When you’re running an SMB, time is money. Video conferencing services from Google, anymeeting, Skype or Oovoo are an easy way to bring everyone face-to-face. You don’t need expensive equipment to do it — just an internet connection. With Google Apps, for example, you can use Google+ Hangouts for brainstorming sessions, team meetings or consultation sessions. 

How does this make you look big?
By staying in touch virtually, your team can be everywhere your clients or your business need them to be. This could make your fleet of sales staff, personal trainers or IT consultants seem much bigger than it actually is. 

 Be more productive with collaboration tools
Whether you’re a nursery working on a seasonal potting plan, or a restaurant developing a new menu, you can reduce time spent sending emails and attachments back and forth — as well as the inevitable confusion over what’s the latest version of the document — by bringing the conversations and people to one place. Cloud-based collaboration tools, like Google Docs, allow everyone to make edits in real time on the same document. You can chat within documents too.

How does this make you look big?
By cutting the time spent on administrative things like sending and updating your documents, you can spend less time form-filling, and more time selling.

Get insights on the fly  
If you want to find out which new ice-cream flavor your customers want on the menu this summer, try conducting an online survey with Google Sites or Survey Monkey. Or if you want to do some product evaluation, you could create a form or survey in Google Drive, email it to colleagues or clients, and keep track of their answers in one spreadsheet.

How does this make you look big?
Quality customer insights and evaluation often come with a big price tag from an external consultant. Now you have the tools to get the kind of feedback and analysis your business needs for a fraction of the price. 

Kevin Ackhurst is the Managing Director, Google Enterprise Australia

 

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With the number of Australian small businesses growing, NETT provides a one-stop shop of information to get your business working for you. Crammed full of helpful articles, tips and small business advice, NETT gathers expert advice from Australian small business owners, industry experts and online professionals and houses it all in an easy-to-follow format. Reaching across a wealth of topics from technology to search optimisation and resources. NETT focuses on assisting Australian small business and providing better business advice to allow you to build a strong online presence.