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Three Tips for New SMB Owners When Selecting a Vendor

Thursday, July 14, 2016

You’re one week away from opening a new business, with a million things on your to-do list.

There are boxes to unpack, products to stock, documents to file. There’s also the website, point-of-sale terminal and the all-important Internet connection – your biggest traffic drivers and moneymakers. And it all has to be set up quickly, efficiently and on budget.

The most complex challenge for a new SMB owner is always also the most basic: With so many options in a world of ever-changing technology, how do you know where to start? You can’t afford to be out of the loop when it comes to the latest and greatest tools, and yet many small business owners perennially struggle to identify their technology needs and how to best connect them to their business operations. These are stresses we witness first hand in our work with small businesses, and a recent CEB study supports our observations.

Based on our observations, here are a few lessons to help ensure you set your small business up with the right technology from day one.

1. Don’t Struggle in Silence.

Despite often feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what they need, nearly 50 percent of business owners don’t consult a professional about selecting a service provider. There are a myriad of distractions for small business owners that have nothing to do with day-to-day operations. For that reason, it’s important to find and engage active service providers that will allow you, the business owner, to focus on your business. A partner with a finger on the pulse of the latest tools and technologies can help you make sense of the endless options, working closely with the business to find the best solutions to your specific challenges rather than having you blindly pull the trigger.

2. Find the Right Service Providers that Understand Your Business.

When selecting a service provider, it’s essential to choose a provider who understands your business and its needs. In a recent CEB study, 76 percent of business owners said they wished their sales rep would ask more questions about their businesses. Potential questions might include: Are you a coffee shop in need of Wi-Fi? Will your geographically scattered employees need access to web conferencing? A good service provider should actively engage to understand every aspect of your business so that you can build the perfect solution.

3. Make Those Providers Your Partners in Success.

Throughout the CEB research, we found a correlation between providers that show an interest and the longevity of a small business. Of the tenured business owners surveyed, 20 percent of SMB owners said that their chosen service provider believed in the success of their companies. In a world where confusing technology options abound, it’s key that small business owners select providers that truly understand their businesses and actively strive to help them improve through innovative services that drive growth.

Going forward, you’re going to be most concerned with operations, efficiency and growing your business – aspects surveyed owners cited as being their biggest priorities once on their feet. Setup in partnership with the right service provider streamlines all things tech infrastructure, laying a foundation tailored to your exact product, speed and bandwidth needs – easing operational pressure across all parts of your business. To that end, Windstream continually strives to be a true partner in SMB growth and offers a variety of services to build the custom package best suited to your small business.

For more information on how Windstream can help you reach all your small business goals, check out our SMB bundle options.