You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “metadata” bandied about recently in the press, particularly as it applies to telephone logs. But what exactly is metadata, and how can it benefit your small business?
In short, metadata is information that helps to describe some “thing”, such as a phone number or code from a recently sold product. This collection of information is usually stored in a database where there are numerous categories that relate to each other in some way. This structure facilitates finding, sorting and filtering information of interest. Books, for example, have “titles”, “authors”, and “publication date”. Telephone calls have a “calling number”, “called number”, “time”, and “length”. This makes it easy to ask simple questions like, “show me all the calls from 415-555-1234 in the past 30 days” or “how many copies of The Great Gatsby have I sold?” Continue reading
Look Before You Leap: 3 Steps for Startup Success
In recent years, the “lean startup” methodology has become such gospel in entrepreneurial circles that rigorous planning is almost seen as passé.
Business plans? Unnecessary. Strategy? Old fashioned. Just start doing! Pivot quickly, and use agile development to rapidly test your ideas. Ready…Fire…Aim!
Thanks to advances in web browser technology, the long time dream of incorporating two-way real-time audio and video directly into a web page is finally here. Previously, proprietary plugins and applications such as Adobe Flash and Skype were needed if you wanted to talk to someone on your computer.
ABC Bonding* has created a “virtual franchise” bail bond operation. Without increasing human resources, ABC now serves multiple counties, seamlessly and efficiently. ABC previously used a call answering service which it shared with its competition. However, the call transfer process along with the number of message inaccuracies was progressively choking its growth, and keeping ABC from getting ahead in the marketplace. Continue reading
Your virtual phone system can support your core business priorities, particularly those involving customer satisfaction. One of the primary strengths of small companies is their ability to tailor their service to customers with whom they have personal relationships and knowledge. Leveraging this natural advantage to its fullest becomes increasingly important as global supply chains and the Internet creates more competition in the market. While large companies may have natural advantages in bulk pricing and networks, customers of all shapes and sizes frequently continue to prefer responsive partners and vendors who can provide individualized service. Continue reading
Your virtual phone system can be used to support your core business priorities, including business growth. There are three key areas in which you need your small business communications to be as flexible and as agile as possible: during installation or start-up of the new business (or new technology implementation), as your business grows, and when planning and recovering from disaster. Continue reading
To understand the basic concept of “virtual telephone systems,” consider your company’s email. You probably don’t manage your own email server. You are far more likely to take advantage of a “hosted email provider,” like Yahoo!, AOL, Google, or one of the many other, smaller-named companies. These providers manage all of the back-end support to ensure that your email address “just works,” and you pay them a monthly or yearly fee. Continue reading
The single most important principle to keep in mind when you are ready to invest in any new technology is its strategic importance to your business mission. As business owners, you’ll only want to acquire technology that helps you:
- Impress your customers;
- Control your costs; and,
- Support your longer-term strategic objectives. Continue reading