Even in a challenging economic atmosphere like Metro Detroit, businesses of all sizes are achieving productivity and profitability gains without pumping up payrolls or marketing budgets. Nimble entrepreneurs work smarter by using affordable advances in technology to transform how they operate, communicate and grow. In the past, the best communication technologies came with heavy financial burdens wrought with high implementation costs and frequent headaches, but this is no longer the case. High tech no longer is a high hurdle.
This fundamental change strengthens the vitality of America's 26.8 million small businesses--a flourishing segment of the 21st century economy, with more than 600,000 new companies created each year since 2003. In Michigan particularly, small business is a leading driver of growth as manufacturing employment shrinks.
High-speed Internet connections, digital phone service and the ease of e-commerce let small businesses reach beyond traditional marketing, supply chains and sales territories. Size is no longer a barrier to expanding regionally, nationally or globally.
An online presence is essential, as consumers and business customers increasingly find information they need for purchasing decisions on the Internet, rather than more traditional media. Savvy business owners develop Internet strategies to expand sales, sources and partnerships.
But not just any online presence will do. Today's entrepreneurs need fast and reliable connections to keep them on the leading edge. Fortunately, this time the hype turns out to be true. Internet connections with virtually instant response are available and necessary for companies of all sizes.
Reliable and affordable always-on broadband service brings high-performance electronic communication power to small businesses, increasing efficiency, visibility and growth. Fast access to the Web helps any workplace share large files, monitor industry news, find new suppliers, compare prices, place orders, participate in video conferences, load Web site and blog updates, and strengthen customer relationships with e-mailed newsletters, brochures and promotions. Speedy connections that bypass phone lines also let owners, managers and sales teams work online anytime, from anywhere.
These abilities and countless others are as vital for one-site shops as for multinational giants. The Internet flattens the commercial landscape and...