Monday, August 19, 2013

What's Trending In Telecom

In this day in age, it is technology that stimulates our senses and gives us a feeling of innovation and creativity. In the world of telecom, innovation increases year-by-year.

Over the past 25 years, technology, especially in the world of telecom, has changed the way we work and play almost beyond recognition. We want, and expect, more powerful devices and applications to help us do things faster, better and with more ease. 

But keeping up with technology trends can be overwhelming, and you may find yourself asking, "which technology trends are for me."

The obvious answers are to determine your needs, read and research (we've helped you with that one, read below!), try it out (many companies offer free trials), and if you don't understand it, don't be afraid to ask questions. 

Here's a list of some of today's trending topics in telecom and technology.

Telecom Trends
  1. IP services- More and more companies are moving away from TDM and switching to IP services, such as SIP. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) provides many benefits for businesses including lower calling costs and a large capacity to serve an entire organization regardless of its size.    
  2. Mobile Device Management (MDM)- As the use of personal devices in the workforce increases, the need for businesses to incorporate mobile device management becomes a necessity in order to protect corporate information and reduce security risks. If you’re looking for a MDM vendor, here is a list of the 10 leading vendors in the market today, drawn from the leaders and visionaries in Gartner's 2013. Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software.
  3. Apps, apps and more apps- Chances are that you have a smartphone, a tablet or maybe even both. These devices have transformed the way we communicate, especially in businesses. Mobile apps prove to be especially useful in businesses because they can help manage day-to-day activities (schedule meetings, manage contacts, set reminders, money/account-managing, etc.). If you haven’t done so already check out these great apps: Brewster (personal address book), Contactually (contact management), Asana (plan, organize and stay in sync with your team), and Basecamp (project management). There is an app for almost anything nowadays!
  4. The Cloud- With today’s dynamic office environments, cloud services are proving to be a surefire way to reduce costs and streamline operations. So what does it mean exactly ‘to move to the cloud’? 
For some, the cloud means a storage locker in the sky; a place to save documents, pictures and videos online so that they can be stored, accessed and even shared whenever and from where ever there is Internet connection.

Not only has this made our personal lives easier (we no longer need to e-mail documents to ourselves or burn a CD of vacation pictures for family and friends), but businesses are looking into cloud-based data storage in support of protection efforts such as replication, backup, archiving, and disaster recovery. 

For others, the cloud serves as a way to provide cost effective and scalable voice and data services. Commonly known as hosted communications or business VoIP, voice is provided over an IP backbone (the cloud) – the PBX and service is fully managed offsite by the provider. Cloud-based phone service provides more robust functionality beginning with crisp, clear voice quality and an abundance of features not available with traditional phone service. Since the service is completely outsourced and the PBX does not reside at the customer’s premises, upgrades are automatically provided by the provider in the background so there aren't any costs to upgrade. Learn more about cloud-based phone service.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

8 Tips For An Effective Business Plan

Becoming a successful entrepreneur is a dream that many of us go-getters aspire to reach. This journey in building a successful business can be exciting, yet at times can also be troublesome. Building your own business is most definitely a risk; but if done correctly, your business can be a successful one. 

Let me introduce you to MaryEllen Tribby, a business consultant who has coached some of the most successful entrepreneurs, such as New York Times best-selling author, Michael Masterson

Her many years of experience in the corporate world and passion for a successful life have motivated her to write an informative book, Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business. Aimed at helping entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow their business, Tribby suggests that in order for a business to be successful, one should create a solid business plan. 

"I know so many entrepreneurs and business owners who make excuses for all the failures within their business. Sadly, so many of those failures could have been avoided with the construction of an effective business plan," states Tribby on her website.

Most people agree that creating a solid business plan is important, however, sitting down and actually doing it seems to be a weak spot for many business owners.  

Business Plan Development Tips
  1. Execute A Summary- The summary is usually followed by the title page. This summary should consist of a general synopsis of your business plan. The summary should be able to tell the reader what it is that you want. Don't worry, you don't have to make the summary lengthy like a book; that's why it's called a summary! It should be no more than one page and should be put together in a professional and businesslike manner. 
  2. Market Analysis- There are two important things that a market analysis can do. It can familiarize you with all aspects of the industry your business is in. It can also enable you to establish pricing, distribution and marketing strategies which will allow your business to grow in today's competitive markets. Start your marketing analysis by defining the market in terms of size, structure, growth aspects, trends and sale potentials. Before a business can begin and become a successful one, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the market that you will be competing in. 
  3. Company Description- This description should include the nature of your business and the important elements that you believe will make your business prosper. 
  4. Organization and Management- In this section, you should include your company's organizational structure, the details about the ownership of your company/business, descriptions of your management team and the qualifications of your panel of experts of board of directions. For any business to be successful, organization skills are extremely important. Sometimes a business can fall apart entirely if it is not performed in an organized manner. 
  5. Marketing and Sales Strategies- MaryEllen Tribby emphasizes the importance of creating effective marketing strategies for your business. "This is the lifeblood of your business. Marketing creates customers and customers generate sales." In this section, you should define your marketing strategies. These strategies consist of a wide array of methods that you can apply to grow popularity and sales for your new business. Tribby suggests using both direct marketing (when a customer hears about your product or service directly through a salesperson that is representing your business) and indirect marketing (when a customer learns about your product or service via third part entities, such as internet, newspaper, advertisements, television, radio and/or billboards.) A combination of both direct and indirect marketing would lead your business start up to great success!
  6. Service and/or Product Line- This is the section where you describe the product and/or service that you want to sell. State the benefits of your product or service, not the features. You want to tell your customers why they should invest in your product or service. What will they get out of it? 
  7. Funding Requirements- Funding is one of the main reasons why businesses fall apart. So be smart, and plan your funding requirements ahead of time. In this section, you should state the amount of funding you will need to start your business. But don't just stop there; also lay out the amount you will need to expand your business. Always think of the next step, especially if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.    
  8. Financials- This consists of your company's balance sheet, income statement, annual report and all other indicators. Tribby suggests creating financials AFTER you have analyzed the market and set clear objectives for your business.  
Keep in mind that an effective business plan should always be written more than once, in fact many times. An aspiring entrepreneur, like yourself, should understand that this business plan will evolve and change as you further invest yourself in your business. Marketing strategies can change, environments can change and so can your funding capabilities. So don't put a final stamp on the first business plan you develop, be prepared to create revisions on that plan.

Mary Ellen Tribby is confident that after following these steps in creating your business plan, that sky will be the limit for you! Don't be discouraged if your previous efforts in starting a business did not go smooth. You have this chance to get it right and reach your dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur! All your needed was the right advice from the right person. Forbes magazine, here you come!