Facebook Live is the new way to attend all types of events from the comfort of your home, computer, or tablet. Ramon Ray from smallbiztechnology.com held a Facebook Live event from the Zoho offices in Pleasanton, California during their annual event for press and analysts. He had an expert panel join him as well:

The Path to Small Business Growth

Ramon kicked off the conversation with a key takeaway from a speech from Zoho’s CEO, Sridhar Vembu: Lot of start-ups want to go big, be the next Facebook, Google, etc. But, it’s essential to make sure you:

“Don’t forget the people who made you what you are, and make sure that you always take care of them as well as serving your new customers.”

And what do you say to people who are saying to the start-ups who are like, ‘I need outside VC. I want go big, I want to go large. How do I fund my operations if I don’t have public money? Jeff Bezos did it, why can’t I do it?’  

Anita Campbell believes in,the power of a long-term vision. Having it and sticking with it, and not second guessing yourself. “

Higher Education & How It’s Changing

What’s more important: going to a 4 year university or learning a specific skill to get into the workforce sooner? As mentioned in a previous article, Zoho employees are no strangers to these topics – Zoho houses its’ own University, dubbed, “The Meaningful Alternative to Conventional College Education.” “Earn while you Learn”, is the middle ground that many post high school age kids have been yearning for. Zoho University prepares its’ students for the real world by teaching skills that hiring managers find attractive and companies need more of. Plus, students don’t pay any tuition – instead, they receive a stipend and after successful completion of their program, are inducted as an employee into the Zoho Corporation.

In American Society the assumption is usually that it’s necessary to go to a 4-year college to get a worthwhile job. But, is it necessary?

Reiva agreed that people have more options now and can enter the workforce with less debt, due to some of the new options available, especially since it’s not a one size fits all system.

She gave a nod to education in general, saying, “That’s the tea: You need to learn the skills.”

The panel all agreed from their personal experience as past students, and current business owners, that education should help students learn skills to bring into the workforce, making them more attractive to future employers.

Small Business Technology and Finding the Best Solutions

Brent gave us some insight into smaller businesses and their relationship with technology. He explained that there are a lot of smaller applications built specifically for small businesses. But, most of the applications do ONE thing well. Then, you end up needing a number of different applications from different vendors to get everything done. Having so many applications “…adds a layer of complexity. It makes it harder to get things done, it takes longer to get things done.”

Brent explains:

When you have the opportunity to have a platform that has a lot of functions, you don’t have to keep going in and out multiple applications building integration. It makes it easier for you to get the stuff done so that’s where […] the power is. And that is a big thing for a small business.

Words of Advice to Small Business Owners

With 1 month of 2019 already gone,what should small business owners know: Rieva’s advice to small businesses is that “you just need to pay attention.  Are you a local business? Then pay attention in your local market. What do people want? What doesn’t exist? And can you fill that niche if you’re a start-up?

Rieva Lesonsky also went to the idea of a business plan, and how to look at it so it can work better for your business.  

What can I do today to make my business better tomorrow? Think of it like that. And just come up with some action steps that you can do now that don’t freak you out, and then do them. Don’t think about it, don’t stress about it, just actually do them.”

What are 2-3 things that can help a small business, TODAY?

Brent’s advice was focused around your business website and how to easily improve it. He explains,

“Get a tool and do an audit of your website. So there are lots of tools out there, SEMrush is one of them, but there are other ones you can use. And they’re very easy, they’ll do it automated for you. They’ll tell you what you need to fix. And every website needs to fix things.”

Another common business issue? Working on the business instead of it in. Brent Leary explains,

“If you have to think about your business, don’t bury yourself in the details. You’ll get further ahead if you spend that equivalent time thinking about your business and some goal you’ve made. “

Like Rieva said, take action today.

Didn’t catch this Facebook Live? Make sure to follow them on Facebook and set your calendar for the next one.