How Small Businesses Can Leverage Emerging Technologies with @PhilSimon [@InboundNow #9]

David Wells
David Wells



phil simon In this episode of Inbound Now, we are joined by the one and only Mr. Phil Simon. Phil is the a uthor of Why New Systems Fail and The Next Wave of Technologies , and most recently The New Small.

In the show we chat about:

  • Some of the key concepts from his book The New Small.
  • We identify some of the underlying tactics/technologies these companies are using to be more agile and successful.
  • We talk about how these companies are effectively using the social web to grow their businesses.

Win a signed copy of Phil's new book The New Small

For the audio and the full transcript please head here:  How Small Companies are Evolving with New Technologies with Phil Simon

The 5 Enablers

  • Cloud computing - Cloud computing is enabling companies to get rid of in house IT infrastructures and cost costs by accessing their data from a shared server. 
  • SaaS(Software as a service) - The SaaS model is enabling companies to essentially date before they marry when it comes to finding the right software solution. (Example: HubSpot )
  • Free and open source software - There are a number of free and open source platform available for companies to leverage rather than paying for enterprise level software or having to build a platform from scratch.
  • Mobility - The mobile web is becoming increasingly important moving into the future as a large portion of content is being consumed through the "third screen".
  • Social Media - Companies are leveraging the social web to become more proactive with customers and using the medium to spread the word about their offerings.

Where to Start?

Take a look at your current infrastructure and do some research into what others in your industry are using. There could be a new tool out there that could drastically streamline the way you work.

"You don’t become an expert at any one technology, much less every technology overnight." but adopting some of these new tools outlined in Phils book could dramatically increase your workplaces productivity and save a ton of money in the process.

Phil notes that the process doesn't happen overnight. Especially with social media, it takes time to grow a following and foster relationships with people on line. Don't get discouraged after a week of tweeting. Stick with it.

What About ROI?

With social media, people say, “Well, I don’t see the ROI on it,” just as an example. I say, “Okay, it’s hard to really quantify it.” How is that fundamentally different than a company that takes out a Super Bowl ad, or someone that takes out a newspaper ad? Can you really be that precise and say that we have a 43.7 percent ROI on this particular ad or campaign? I’m not so sure that you can do that. So, just because you can’t, in the case of social media, precisely quantify something doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it.

Chef Tony a Case Study

Tony Marciante, Chief Seafood Officer of Chef Tony’s has no marketing budget and but uses social media to promote his restaurant.

He leverages the use of his blog, podcasts, and videos to help spread the word about his restaurant and to grow his brand.

Tony used Google Alerts for "customer rescue" where he was alerted about a negative critique of his food. Turns out the blogger was a pretty well known food critic.  Tony reached out and made things right and the blogger retracted the review and replaced it with a positive one.

Without listening in for these comments using these social media listening tools, this negative review could have cost Tony a substantial amount of new business.

Be proactive in your customer outreach and use social media to do so. It shows that you are listening and that you do care about your customers problems.

Have a number of different ways that people can get support like forums, social media presence, phone lines, online chat, etc. but make sure someone is manning the battle stations.

Roadblock to Change

"Social media is a waste of time" is a common objection from businesses who are scared to change their playbook.

"What are they doing instead for marketing?" is Phil's response. How are those channels performing and how are your measuring those metrics?

Date Before You Get Married with Software as a Service

"The other benefit with SaaS is that you can get out of the IT business. In other words, as long as you can connect to a browser, you can get to WorkDayt. You can get to You can get to any number of CRM or sort of back office applications. You don’t need to have an on-site server, or you don’t need a database. Again, as long as you can get to a website, you’re good to go. There are so many benefits of SaaS. I’m a big proponent of it."

Use Dropbox and Google Docs and Kill Chain Emails!

Phil says we really have evolved quite a bit from the mid-1990s when he first started working with enterprise software.

One of the central points of the book, is that it’s easier for small companies to act big than it is for big companies to act small.

For the full transcript click here.

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