Profile of Michele Warren
News & Commentary Posts: 122
Articles by Michele Warren
posted in October 2010
Love it or hate it, social networking is here to stay…at least for a while. Undoubtedly, websites like Facebook are appealing for a lot of reasons: You can connect with friends and family members who live far away; you can satisfy your curiosity about a former classmate; you can find out which Italian restaurant in your area has the best pasta primavera; and, if you're a business owner, you can tap the power of word-of-mouth to ratchet up sales.
First there was Google Places, which let businesses list themselves for all the web to see. Then there was Tags, which allowed users to expand those listings with coupons, photos, videos, etc. Now Google has announced the beta of Boost, an online advertising solution targeting small businesses.
If you're an SMB that's decided to take on social media, I commend you. The world of Twitter and Facebook can be an intimidating one to navigate, but it can also yield dividends in the way of enhanced customer loyalty and new business.
LifeSize, a division of Logitech, has taken the wraps off a product that could make videoconferencing easy, affordable, and scalable for small and midsize businesses.
If you're a small business owner, chances are good that you're using technology in some way, whether with a website, e-mail, or something as rudimentary as a cell phone. But chances are just as good that you could be using technology more -- and more productively -- without spending a lot of money or adding a tech whiz to your payroll.
After too many Sunday evenings watching his wife juggle phone calls with the kids' music teachers and athletic coaches, Richard Ruben realized that there had to be an easier way. So he found one. This week, his company, SkedgeMe, released its eponymously named "smart" scheduling application.
Some would say that personnel management -- aka hiring and firing -- is part science, part art. While you don't need to have the intellectual wherewithal of a Mensa member or the social savoir faire of a Dale Carnegie type, knowing a thing or two about your company, your market, and what makes people tick can come in handy.
Now that there's computing in the cloud, businesses can deploy and manage online applications faster and easier than ever before. Two companies recently teamed up with hopes of raising the bar even higher. Their focus: full-featured software that can be downloaded on the fly.
IBM has beefed up its cloud-based collaboration offering, LotusLive, with new social networking and e-mail capabilities, and introduced new "value pricing" options that may make the suite more appealing to small businesses with budget constraints. Also, the vendor unveiled two new integrations with third-party providers.
The latest CEO Confidence Index from Vistage International yielded mixed results. While many SMB leaders are confident their firms will enjoy some growth in the year ahead, they also foresee obstacles that need to be cleared.