Three Trends Transforming the Modern Small Business Office

Wide Angle View Of Busy Design Office With Workers At DesksToday’s business landscape is more challenging than ever before – technology is changing the way that customers want to engage with small businesses, the internet is bringing new customers into reach, and businesses need to be leaner and more innovative than ever to stay relevant amidst emerging competition.

For many small business owners, a modern small business office equipped with the right technology is key to turning these challenges into opportunities. Three business and IT trends driving business growth and opportunity are collaboration, data management and mobility. Take a look at how adapting your small business office to enable these concepts can bring value to your business:

Collaborating to Overcome Business Challenges

I recently attended a business conference where one of the speakers shared how collaboration takes shape within his business. The owner noted that one of his brightest designers lives in Iran and, for political reasons, cannot travel freely. As you can imagine, that presented quite the challenge for the owner, who needed easy access to his team of designers, often at a moment’s notice.

Rather than view this as a challenge, he turned to his existing technology for the answer. Through the use of an online conferencing tool, the Iranian designer is now able to meet and brainstorm with team members across the world. His communication is no longer limited and he can focus on the real challenge: designing complex engineering vehicles.

Small business owners: take note. The “traditional office” has evolved and smart business owners are taking advantage of the perks of having a remote workforce. Technology allows you the opportunity to recruit and hire top talent across the globe. All it takes is the right technology and an open mind to break through the existing barriers of distance.

Let’s say that your small business isn’t going global. In fact, your entire staff is located in the same city. You may be wondering, How can my office benefit from collaboration? First, you should start thinking of your office as more than just a place to work. Think of it as a productivity tool that can help you meet the demands of modern business. You might design your office in a way that sparks creativity by developing open work spaces that allow for greater employee interaction. Whether it is a central meeting room designed for cross-team brainstorms or open cubicles, pairing employees of all levels of

seniority and experience can lead to discovering new ways to solve problems, spark new ideas and build sustainable solutions for the company.

Mastering Data Management

One of the biggest challenges for businesses of all sizes is best navigating the flow of incoming and outgoing data. Data security often makes news headlines as corporation after corporation reveals detailed accounts of their costly data breach. For small businesses, however, data theft may not be a primary concern. Many small business owners may spend most of their time trying to find a cost-effective solution for managing the influx of paper and digital data that cycles in and out of the office. One of the most visible forms of data is the printed documents that you often see on desks and around the office.

As you choose technology tools to enhance your new, modern office, you should consider upgrading one of the most commonly used pieces of office technology – your printer. While many businesses are dreaming of a minimalist, paperless office that dream isn’t today’s reality. Most business owners aren’t looking for a paperless office, they’re looking for better ways to manage the paper they print and receive. Regardless of your preference for ink or toner, HP has two affordable printing solutions for your small business:

  • HP PageWide Technology powers the HP Officejet Pro X series printers, a class of desktop printers that fire out prints at up to twice the speed of laser printers, at up to half the cost. Coupled with cloud-based software solutions, these printers offer greater productivity and easy, secure access to your most critical information.
  • HP’s JetIntelligence technology enables new models of HP LaserJet printers to print faster and more efficiently, giving you more prints out of each toner cartridge. In addition to being fast, these new printers are smaller than their predecessors and can fit comfortably on your desktop. That’s saving you time on printing, money on printer supplies and office space!

Leveraging Mobility for Smarter Business Travel  

Can you remember what life was like before we had mobile devices? I remember it being a bit quieter than it is today, but I certainly can’t say that I miss doing business without having my smartphone or tablet within arm’s reach.

According to SMB Group analyst Laurie McCabe, I’m not the only one doing more on my mobile devices. “Our data shows that about 60% of small businesses view mobile solutions as critical to the business, and mobile solutions account for a growing share of small business technology budgets.”

The more I travel – which is often – the more it seems like everyone is a frequent flyer. For those who aren’t airborne as often, may find themselves traveling more locally than they would have ten years ago. Whether it’s traveling to a sales conference or working from, today’s professionals are working outside of their offices nearly as much as they are inside their offices, if not more.

When you’re on the road, it’s important that you have the tools and services you need to be most productive. You can check inside of any business traveler’s carry-on and you’re sure to find a smartphone, tablet and a lightweight notebook, preferably one with a long battery life. These technologies are key as traveling means that you must be able to connect more quickly than you would if you were working from your office.

One aspect of working remotely that is often overlooked, but increasingly important is mobile printing. You’re probably wondering how easy it is to print from smartphone to your office printer, or even the printer in your hotel’s business center. It’s actually easier than you think, thanks to the Mopria Alliance, a consortium of technology companies that have joined together to goal of providing simple wireless printing from smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. With new Mopria-certified printers, printing from your mobile device is as easy as touching your smartphone directly to the printer.

So there you have it, three of the biggest industry trends that are shaping the small business community: collaboration, data management and mobility. As you work to grow your business, consider utilizing technology as an ally to help you better connect and with your employees and customers. The business landscape will continue to evolve, don’t get left behind.


I am blogging on behalf of HP and received compensation for my time from HP for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not HP’s. You can learn more about HP and their small business products by visiting them online at http://www.hp.com/country/us/en/uc/welcome.html

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About Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray, Marketing & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com & Infusionsoft. Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

  • https://myenterpride.com Jason Lorje

    Hi Ramon

    Really cool article! I particularly like the section about collaboration. I believe small businesses would gain a lot by collaborating more. There is no reason why business whose products/services are complementary can’t work together and get a synergism.

    I hope you don’t mind me linking to your article in a blog post I am working on.

    Regards
    Jason
    https://myenterpride.com

  • Smallbiztrends

    Hi Ramon,

    An important point you make is that mobility tools may be easier to leverage than some of us assume, these days.

    Don’t let yourself get psyched out thinking it’s going to be hard.

    I cringe to think of the many days I used to let new technology sit in the box unopened, because I thought it would take so long to get it set up. Or I would unbox it but would wait a week or two or three to start figuring out how to use the features. Now, I dig right in, and don’t let the task become bigger in my mind, than it truly is.

    A feature of good technology is that it’s intuitive to use and easy to get started using it.

    It will pay you back many times over in productivity (time saved on future tasks).

    Anita

  • Virtual Landlines

    Great article Ramon – especially on business mobility.

    Another important and critical aspect to us would be the fact that all collaboration efforts and investments need to be aligned to mobility strategies. There is an ever increasing need for staff to be connected to the office via their mobile devices and in doing so should at the same time keep service levels and brand authenticity in-tact.

    Our Virtual Landline service is a good example of this. Staff on the road can now stay connected to their business landlines without the need for sharing their personal contact details/mobile numbers, transfer calls to-and-from the office and more.

    Hope this information helps someone. :)

    Thanks again, Cheers
    http://www.virtuallandlines.co.za