I was browsing through the hundreds of newsletters, RSS feeds, wall posts, tweets and a host of many other means to receive information when I chanced upon a short, obvious but glaring piece of news:
According to a new Cisco WebEx survey, small business owners plan to work remotely for an average of 18 days this summer.
Wow! I know cloud computing has done wonders for the workplace but for small business owners, I always assumed they’d still be in the daily grind and would never even imagine take more than a week’s vacation. But the survey speaks for itself. The power of the cloud is more obvious to the small business owner than it is to the large enterprise.
In fact, go out and do a quick-and-dirty survey, and you’ll find out how (so) cautious the large companies are when it comes to cloud computing. “What? Employees working at home? They might just be doing Facebook or playing around. No way!” The other side of it is the misinformed assumption that their data is not secure.
Not secure? What on earth are data centers going through the not-so-easy efforts of certifying themselves with ISO, PCI DSS and SAS 70, to name a few? Trophy case displays?
In the same article, Glenn Bray, senior director, Cloud Collaboration Applications Technology Group in Cisco, says “The results demonstrate the extent to which telephone and video conferencing have become ingrained in the work habits of small business owners, since nearly half of the survey respondents say traditional, in-person meetings are becoming less relevant.”
Let me paraphrase one bit of that quote: “telephone and video conferencing.”
Don’t you ever think that small business owners just rely on messaging blasting and social media. Works great for marketing and some WOM (word of mouth) but to close a sale, you need to talk to your customer. Not everyone is equipped to conduct a good video conferencing activity but the telephone is here to stay for small, medium and large businesses alike. Talking to your customer can never be too expensive; spending five cents to the dollar to text-blast 10,000 prospects with no more than a 1% or less becoming warm leads can never equal to spending the same amount of money talking to 500 prospects and getting 20% of them to buy from you. Do the math. You know what I mean.
Small business owners sleep and breathe personal sales. The good ones incorporate a little bit of big business marketing flare but their bottom line always accounts to the person-to-person selling process. For them, “Talk is Cheap!” Cheaper than message blasting. I always tell people that “the internet is all about conversations.” It’s not about writing endless messages to each other; what I meant was after your prospect has learned about you and your business through the internet, you have to initiate the live conversation. The relationship begins with the internet but it blooms through conversations. Why on earth is direct sales still so popular today as a medium to close a sale?
So, how does a small business owner begin to comprehend cloud computing, “Talk is Cheap!”, and “the internet is all about conversations?” The solution is about technology, and the recommended technology need not be intrusively expensive. If the intent is to talk to your customer, then it’s a technological marriage between the telephone and the internet. Hence, what the common acronym flying around is called “VoIP,” or voice over the internet protocol. VoIP is free if two people are using their computers to talk to each other. VoIP isn’t so much free when one is on a mobile phone or a fixed line connection.
One way of using VoIP to call a mobile or fixed line phone is by subscribing to a cloud based calling platform dedicated to the business of customer calls, especially those made with the small and medium size business (SMB) in mind. However, there are many vendors who tout the SMB market but price their products like they were talking to a multinational conglomerate. You must find a service provider that offers almost no fees yet still gives you the functionality a large company would want. I used to run a small business and many of my friends run their small businesses. Putting my feet wet in their shore means I have to find the cheapest yet effective media to talk to my customers. Now that I’m working in , my colleagues and I can offer the full power of this customer contact application software to the small business owner at the cheapest possible means – give it for free. It may be marketing-speak but I still have to write it down here: NO contracts, NO upfront deposits, NO monthly recurring fees and NO set up costs. With GoAutoDial, you simply sign up at for free, read our tutorials, watch our training videos, start configuring the system like it were your mobile phone, assign logins to everyone, and begin delivering great conversations with your customers. Most apps in the internet are free. So, why be greedy and charge so much when you can still make money by offering your app for free?
What’s the catch to this ? Nothing. You only pay for every minute you spend talking to your customer. The use of the hundreds of features the cloud based app gives you and your business is free to use.
Does it work in any country? Of course, and in more than 100 countries. The only difference is the rate to which GoAutoDial has to charge you when you make or take a call. Some governments partially own the telecommunications infrastructure; so, chances are their rates are high. Other countries, on the other hand, have liberalized telecommunications laws, making toll fees very cheap. In the United States and Canada, for example, GoAutoDial only charges you two-cents to the dollar per minute of phone call, cheaper than a mobile text message. If it takes your or your sales and marketing person less than a minute on the phone to convince your prospect, then that’s only a two-cent expense to a few hundred dollars worth of product or service. Three minutes? Six cents. Ten minutes? Twenty cents. Need I go on?
“The driving force behind the rising adoption of remote work technologies appears to be convenience,” writes the staff of Gaebler.com. Stop living in the past and elevate the way you run your business using today’s free but proven means of cloud computing with the intent of increasing revenue and decreasing cost. If the Apple iPhone is being used by millions of people around the world yet it doesn’t really come with a user’s manual, how difficult will it be to use a cloud based customer contact web app with all the “How To” digital media and training videos? DIY (do it yourself) should also mean VES-VEU-VEE! Very Easy to Start! Very Easy to Use! Very Easy to Earn!
Photo by hetgrotegeld at Flickr.com