A Brave New World

by Cathy Brower

On a recent trip to california, i truly felt the impact technology has had on the average small business. First I was sitting next to the vice president of marketing for a small public relations firm. He spent hours waxing poetic about his firm’s new Web site. After spewing out a couple of dozen acronyms he got to the heart of the site, and boy was he jazzed about it. It was going to revolutionize public relations as we know it. Without giving away any company secrets, I will simply say that they devised an interactive system for working with clients that would not have been possible only a short while ago.

When the plane touched down at LAX, approximately 100 cell phones began ringing. Employees, friends, and a desperate assortment of others were trying frantically to reach those they’d been cut off from for five whole hours. I heard business conducted at every corner.

I was in California to attend the wedding of a friend who happens to run a small telecommunications firm. Even though his nuptials were only days away, the business never stopped. Faxes, pages, videoconferences ­ even at his wedding, business was being conducted. Shareholders checked the most recent stock quotes on their portables, and his assistant got off some last minute letters on her laptop. We all know that the days of the corner mom-and-pop store are long gone, but it was enlightening to witness first hand how technology has sent small business right to the front lines. Small business owners now resemble Fortune 500 CEOs, only more hip and less bogged down in bureaucracy.

So being a small business owner today enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can afford the same tech as your bigger brethren, but make decisions more quickly and with more flexibility. What a great position to be in.

As our cover story illustrates, even the most unlikely small businesses are jumping on the high-tech bandwagon. Our profile of the Toledo Mud Hens, a minor-league baseball team, shows how they integrate technology into a winning business plan. Their Web site has let them capitalize on their nationally-recognizable name, and their new internal ticketing system has simplified life on a daily basis.

On a slightly different, but related note, we are looking for companies to profile in our annual most-wired business story. If you are, or know anyone, that uses technology in innovative ways to grow their business, please let us know.

You can e-mail me at cathybrower@ftmg.net, fax us at 212-333-4315, or you can write us the old-fashioned way at 156 W. 56th Street, New York, New York 10019.

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.

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