Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence in Customer Experience Award: 10 Finalists

It’s exciting when small businesses use technology effectively. It’s especially exciting for me as I see so many businesses NOT maximizing their use of technology.
Dell and the NFIB have hooked up to continue their annual contest to find America’s small business who uses technology the best to serve their customers.
During an in-depth application process, Dell and NFIB challenged small business owners to show how they have used information technology to drive a significant change or develop a competitive advantage to deliver superior customer value and experience. The finalists were selected by students of the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management.
The 10 finalists are a cross section of…America’s best and brightest small businesses.
EnerGov Solutions, Duluth, Ga., which provides leading government software solutions.
Greenling Inc., Austin, Texas, the only grocer in Central Texas that brings local and organic food direct to consumers through an innovative online interface and ordering system.
The Mastery Company, Ashland, Ore., a distinctive consulting and coaching service for dentists in private practice.
Medkinetics LLC, Franklin, Tenn., which supplies physicians, hospitals and managed care organizations with healthcare tools for credentialing doctors, hospital privileging and peer review management.
ParkingCarma Inc., Flint, Mich., enables members to locate and obtain virtual parking permits real-time via cell phones, the Internet or on-board navigation systems.
Pro Image Installers Inc., Navarre, Fla., a female-owned business that installs retail store fixtures, graphics, furniture and displays for nationwide chains, managing large-scale rollouts, remodels and retrofits.
Quality Medical Imaging, Las Vegas, Nev., a mobile digital imaging company that services homebound patients, nursing homes, hospitals and correctional facilities.
RealSource LLC, Alabaster, Ala., facilitates transaction management and support services for agents, lenders and developers in the real estate industry.
The Seed Day Care Center Inc., Yorktown Heights, N.Y., a nationally accredited, state-certified childcare center offering quality education for young children through a creative and nurturing environment.
Symmetry Software, Scottsdale, Ariz., specializes in payroll-related withholding tax software applications for the Internet and corporate intranets.
Here’s some of the tech nuggets of wisdom from the 2006 finalists:
“Because we were a small, lean company when we started, we also had
to learn how to use technology to run our business and act as a ëforce multiplier’ for our meager resources.”

“That personal touchóa factor that distinguishes us from our competitorsóis made possible by our use of information technology. So on the surface we’re a warm, fuzzy high-touch business. But in the background, we’re a cool, information technology-enabled, high-tech operation.”
“We live in a fast-paced, technology-driven society. Technology allows our business to keep up with our demanding environment, and it has the ability to provide instant results in less time. We know that technology is a valuable part of our business and that it greatly benefits our customers. But with every new avenue comes new crossroads. The greatest challenge in keeping up with today’s technologyññwhether it is a computer, software or another productññis finding the time to learn how to utilize it. We overcome this by relying on products with first-class customer service and technical support.”
“Having time to evaluate and implement technology is the greatest challenge we face as a small business. We don’t have time to run our business and also fully understand what new technology could do for us, or what its cost savings or productivity gains are. When we do implement new technology, it inevitably takes a
significant amount of time. We overcome this by trying to stay current on what proven
technology is available, talking to people who are already using new tools, applications or technologies and relying upon experts to advise us.”

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