Top 10 Small Business Tech Trends in 2013

 In 2013, there is a much larger opportunity than in the last few years for non-technology oriented Small Businesses to implement the latest technology. All of them will help you increase your sales and/or reduce your costs.   In addition, technology prices have dropped like a rock and they are so much easier to use (and learn) than ever before.  This article was written for the non-technical owner or manager of a Home or Small Business.



Here are the 10 Key Small Business Trends: 


  1.  Marketing Videos are being Added to Websites to Increase Sales Leads These days, most prospects want to watch a short 30- to 90-second video about your products or services on your website.  Many don't have time to read a long white paper or product description during their first visit to your site. You can thank the use of YouTube and Smartphones for this change.  The good news is that the cost of creating videos has dramatically gone down in the last few years.  You can create them yourself or hire professionals to publish them. This will reduce your cost of Sales and Marketing and increase the number of your Sales / Marketing Presentations to prospects over the next 12 months.


  2. Lead Nurturing Programs are Increasing Sales Prospects while Reducing  the Cost of the Lead Process Send (or Scan) all Leads including: Trade Show Leads, Business Cards and Paper Lead Forms into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System or a dedicated "Marketing Automation" system.   You can then use "Lead Nurturing" Campaigns to better qualify sales leads before sending them to expensive outside Sales / Account Managers. Sales and Marketing Productivity both go up.


  3. Smartphones are Replacing  Basic (Feature) Phones I know many Small Business Owners don't believe this.  However, a Smartphone is NOT a "Nice to Have" product anymore.  It is a "Need to Have" It's simple... If your competition have Smartphones and you don't, you will be less responsive to your customers and you will lose sales over time.   Thanks to eMail, Texting, Instant Messaging, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, you need to respond to your sales prospects and customers much faster than even two years ago.  You can also use a Smartphone to process credit card orders in the field.  There are several companies that provide Free Apps and Credit Card Readers.  Smartphones let you and your employees respond to Customers, Partners, Managers and Prospects as quickly as your Competition... or faster.


  4. Social Marketing is Reducing Telemarketing & List Buying Costs If you are still only using Telemarketing, Buying Cold Call Lists and Sending Paper Mailers, you are missing a lot of sales prospects, spending more money than the competition and falling behind in productivity. If you outsource your telemarketing overseas to save money, you very likely have other issues.   Your "under 40" prospects,  don't talk as much on the phone as before.  It's time to start learning and testing Social Networking... yes Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs and more....


  5. Small Business Applications are Moving from old Client / Servers to Web or "Cloud Computing" If you need to replace or upgrade an old application or computer system this year, you should seriously consider replacing the application with a cloud computing application.  The new Cloud Apps are designed to work with the new Smartphones and Tablets.  Sales Leads are delivered real-time to your Sales Teams and Channel Partners which will increase the number of sales contacts per day. As a small business, you can also save significant money over the next three years by moving to this newer technology. You can usually reduce your start-up, training and conversion costs for employees. If you are new to Cloud Computing,  this article and video should help explain this basics: ABC News Brief Article: "What is the Cloud?" YouTube Short Video:  Computer Basics: What is the Cloud?


  6. Web Training Programs will Increase the Professional Skills of your Employees Technology is rapidly changing almost all industries. Some companies are being turned upside down due to these changes.  You need to help your people keep up (and get ahead) of all the changes.... or you may NOT be in business in the future.  Web-based Training is ideal for remote sales teams working out of their homes or small offices.  Affordable Web-based training can now keep your costs down, your peoples' skills up and improve sales productivity.


  7. Web-based Meetings/Events Increase the number of Sales Calls, Demos & Seminars per month Web-based Meetings and Event technology is now used by most larger companies on a daily basis.  The cost of Web-based Meetings and Events has dramatically decreased and Small Businesses can now take advantage of this technology. It also reduces their cost of sales significantly. ROI is in months, not years.


  8. iPads are Increasing Sales Productivity A dirty little secret is that many Sales Reps still leave their laptops at home, in the hotel room or in the trunk of a car when they make sales calls.  The Tablet is  replacing the need to carry around a laptop for everyone. Tablets also lower the cost of training remote staff and laptop maintenance.  I recently traveled to Europe for two weeks with an Apple iPhone, iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard.  It's the first time I ever traveled without my laptop and I never missed it for a minute. One strategy is to keep your old desktops and laptops for another year. Invest in new tablets for your key people this year and run pilot tests on how to improve productivity.


  9. Web Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is Replacing  Old PC and Client Server CRM The modern Web-based CRM Systems were developed for the Web / Cloud and Mobile Apps.  Older systems just do not work as well with the new Smartphones and Tablets. This increases your maintenance costs and many of the real-time updates are just not available to your employees.


  10. Evaluate Replacing  or Supplementing MS Office with Google Office to Reduce Costs & Improve Collaboration Most employees only use 10-25% of the features in Microsoft Office.  As more Applications are moving to the Web / Cloud,  there is less and less need to buy and upgrade expensive Microsoft Office Applications for everyone in the company.   Note: Google Office is less polished and has fewer features when compared to Microsoft Office.  Many Small Businesses are moving to Google Office (@ $50 per person per year) or Zoho Office or other solutions to save money, and improve staff, client and partner collaboration.



If you have any questions or comments, please give us a call @ 650-866-5517 or comment in the field below.

Image above courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Please share your comments below on any other key trends that you think are important in 2013.


Small Business Poll - Top Technology to Implement in 2012?

Are you starting to think about planning for next year? Do you have any feel for the top cost-effective new technology that will boost your company sales and productivity? During the fourth quarter, we asked Small Business Executives, Managers or Owners to share  the Top 3-4 NEW Technologies that they were thinking about implementing in 2012.  Based on the survey, the following are the top 4 technologies for 2012:

  1. Upgrading the Company Website with the Latest Technology
  2. Implementing Smartphones and Tablets
  3. Testing and Implementing Social Marketing
  4. Adding Video Content for the Website including: Customer Demos, New Product Announcements, Success Stories and Best Practice Tips

[polldaddy poll=5485445]

Note: The votes were  anonymous and we do NOT collecting any personal info.  All poll results are available now.

Please share the poll results with other managers or owners... and add any comments or questions in the comment field below.

Top 10 Must-Do Tips For Creating & Updating Your Website or Blog

Your website is the most important technology needed today to grow your small business.   Yes. It is more important than Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Smartphones, Tablets and everything else you read about. We recently underwent a big project to move and update several of our company Websites and Blogs.  We learned a lot from these projects and would like to share some of experiences.

The following are the top 10 tips that helped us minimize the time, cost and hassle of this project.


1. Move to a Popular Content Management System (CMS)

If you are spending the time and money to update an existing or create a new website or blog, you want to move to using a modern "Content Management System" or CMS.  Some of the more popular Content Management Systems  include: Wordpress, Google Blogs (Blogger), Drupal or Squarespace.

We suggest Wordpress for most Small Businesses.  It may not the best solution for everyone.  However, it is very popular,  with  50+ million worldwide websites (that is not a typo).  Wordpress is also very cheap and there are lots of resources for help everywhere.  There is even a Free version available for companies that have virtual no budget or staff.  More on this later.


2.  Design Your Site for Mobile Visitors

According to Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley, by 2015, the majority of users will be accessing your website from a Smartphone, Tablet or even a TV.... NOT a laptop or desktop computer of today.  If you are creating a new website or updating an existing site, you want to do this project once now and have it work for the short-term future.

You should only use a Content Management System (CMS) that will support mobile devices now... or will in the future.

Mary Meeker: Mobile Internet Will Soon Overtake Fixed Internet















3. Remember HTML 5.... NOT Flash

As I just mentioned in the  last tip, mobile is important now and will be extremely important in the near future.  Unfortunately, there is a website technology battle going on today in the industry. The older technology is Adobe Flash.  The new technology is called HTML 5.  HTML 5 is the worldwide standard. We recommend that you make sure your website is designed with HTML 5 support... not Flash.

Many website and marketing vendors  like to push Adobe Flash technology because that's what they have been using for the last 5 to 10 years.    Please DO NOT let someone talk you into creating an Adobe FLASH Website or Blog.   The whole worldwide industry is quickly moving to the HTML 5  standard. Even Adobe, the developer of Flash recently announced that it will be selling a product to create HTML 5 websites in direct competition to their Flash technology.

By 2011, there were 200 million Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch & Apple TVs) that use HTML 5... but DO NOT read FLASH technology.   If you use Flash Technology on your new website or blog, you will exclude millions of potential customers.  Many fancy restaurant and resort websites were designed using Flash... and for the last two years,  million of potential customers haven't been able to see their websites.  Now, many restaurants are rebuilding their sites using HTML 5 technology for mobile and desktop users.

Wordpress supports HTML 5.

4. Six Must-Have Websites  Pages

If you are creating your 1st website, there are a six key pages that you need to publish on a website. Below are some thoughts about the type of  information you would write for each page.

  • Home Page - You 1st page summarizes a few key points:
    • Company Name
    • Contact Info
    • Poduct and Services List
    • One Paragraph describing your business
  • About Us - Tells everyone about who you are
    • Company Name
    • Background
    • Company Founder and Management Summary
    • Partnerships
  • Services/Products/Solutions
    • List of each Product or Service with a description of key info
  • Blog - Blog Articles that are published on a regular basis and provides your readers and customers tips, key info and advice
  • Contact Us - The Page that gives your readers info on how to contact you
    • Address, Phone and eMail
    • Social Networking Info
    • Map and Directions to Your Office
  • Landing Page - A special page designed to capture Sales Leads
    • Key Sales Lead or Order Form
    • Info on a product or service

Tip: The best thing to do is to read other websites and blogs that you like and see what they have written on their key pages.


5. "Share Widgets"

It is very important to add a way to share your website and Blog content to help grow website visitors, marketing leads and provide customer service.  There are two top FREE widgets you can use for your website: or

You publish a share widget on each page of content to help increase readership.  These widgets should be placed in the website design templates or plug-ins. Here are a few of the top share links:


6.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How do you attract the most visitors to your updated website?  One of the ways is to to have great Search Engine Optimization or SEO.   The following video explains SEO in 3-minute video.



7. Key Accounts You Need to Open

In addition to publishing a website / blog, you need to also open important internet accounts to help you market your company and website. Most of these services are Free or are very inexpensive.

  • Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • gMail and YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Hotsuite or Tweetdeck
  • CRM
  • eNewsletter
  • Skype

8. Metrics & Reporting

Use Google Analytics for website reporting, management tools and metrics.  Almost all small businesses use Google Analytics service. It's Free.

9. Videos and Photos

Almost all new Small Business websites should use video as well as photos.   Adding videos is one of the top trends.  The top three video publishing services include:  YouTube, Vimeo and Brightcove.

10. Update Weekly - Website-Blog + Social

Once you have your Website / Blog up and running, you need to update them with fresh new content and let the world know about your wonderful information.