Videoconferencing for Small Business: Worth a Look

September 2, 2010 - 4 Comments

Videoconferencing saves small businesses money and increases competitiveness

Being a small business means that you’re always maintaining a tight budget. So when there’s a financial downturn, it hits small companies harder, because there’s typically little fat to trim from an already lean budget.

According to the annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report, small businesses focused on three areas for surviving the economic downturn: reducing staff, reducing technology spending, and reducing travel. Although the survey showed that small businesses would start spending a more on staffing and technology this year, travel cost reductions will remain steady at 38%. Most of the small business owners I know would agree with this report.  Would you?

Smart spending, wise investment

Sometimes the best way to cut costs is to invest in something new.  As the old adage goes: It takes money to make money.   You just need to make sure you’re spending money wisely. Video conferencing is one technology that’s a smart investment, reducing your costs while making the most of the resources you have. In addition, video conferencing can serve multiple purposes within a small business—from online meetings and presentations to conducting training and providing customer support.

Video conferencing solutions offer three key benefits to small businesses:

  • Reduced travel expenses: With video conferencing, your employees no longer have to get on a plane to meet face-to-face with partners, suppliers, or customers. In addition to saving money on airfare, hotel rooms, and rental cars, you’ll save money by eliminating the downtime incurred while employees are traveling.
  • Collaboration: Video conferencing solutions like Cisco WebEx let employees across your company share their expertise, resulting in more productive online collaboration and faster decision-making. This increased productivity makes your company more efficient, further reducing costs.
  • Increased communication: Staying in touch with partners, suppliers, and customers is vital to the success of any small business. By combining better video quality and clearer audio, video conferencing improves the overall experience customers and partners have with your company, giving you a competitive edge.

Getting the most from your video conferencing investment

When considering a video conferencing solution, you want to look for simplicity. The product you choose should be easy to install and to use. In addition, you want it to be easy to update and manage over time. Otherwise, it’s costing you time and money to maintain.

You also want a video conferencing solution that’s secure. Be sure to choose a product that’s intended for business use, not home use. Consumer-grade solutions run on open networks and present vulnerability risks. Any video conferencing product you consider should provide business-class features that safeguard your information.

To make certain you get the best possible return on your investment, make sure the video conferencing solution you choose works not only with your current networking equipment but also will be compatible with any equipment you upgrade in the future.

Does your company use video conferencing? If so, what benefits have you experienced?

Florida-based Kroma Makeup is using videoconferencing and Cisco WebEx to reduce costs and travel. Here’s their story:

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  1. Great point! Also 90% of communication is non-verbal. You can miss so much when you cannot see the other person.

  2. Definitely, videoconferencing has many great benefits for small businesses. Using videoconferencing instead of using mobile phone is a great money saving strategy for small businessman because the rate cost of talking to customers or suppliers using the power of the internet is cheaper than what the mobile phone provider charges.

  3. Great case study … Made me think on how we can do things differently and smarter.

  4. I’m glad it helped. Video and video conferencing can be great tools!