Build A Better Business

New developments in technology – and better use of the tried and true – will help you take your business to the next level

respective corporate Website, where they can access other events and special promotions.

Sounds easy, right? Not quite. According to Akabueze, any interactive program build (promotional campaign) takes about three months, beginning with “teaser” marketing going all the way up to the integration of products into video games, for example. Having a Web component in their campaigns enables Burrell’s clients to quickly and easily measure the campaign’s effectiveness. “This is particularly relevant for target marketing,” says Williams. “Advertisers are now saying, ‘Gee, I can’t just have one campaign.’ They know that they have to do something different. They find out from us how they can experientially touch the people they’re trying to reach. For [Burrell], that’s where technology comes in–[providing] innovative ways to reach consumers,” she says.

CUTTING THE CORD
More companies are finding that the Web can be used in numerous ways to make communicating with clients easier. But what about employees? According to Craig Settles, wireless expert and author of Wireless, Inc. (Amacom $29.95;), small businesses–particularly those in manufacturing, auto sales, and transportation–should really begin to think seriously about their wireless options. He says the smaller the company, the greater the need for wireless technology: “As a little guy, you’re going up against companies with bigger resources. Wi-Fi improves your ability to compete with bigger companies at a fraction of the cost.” Smaller operations may not need the complex systems that larger corporations do, but the more you use wireless technology and services, the more efficient your business becomes. Four or five years ago, [incorporating wireless technology] would have been prohibitively expensive for small companies.”

Although the technology has existed for quite a while, wireless data is relatively new to the broad business community. “Wi-Fi is really starting to come into its own, and the value that it offers is two fold,” Settles says. First, it eliminates a lot of wiring issues and the time and costs associated with it; and second, you’re no longer tied to wired networks. You’re free to move about, to take your laptop to a meeting, for example. “Many of the devices that are coming out over the next couple of years will have [wireless capabilities] built in and will allow people to get at pieces of information and send messages from a lot of locations.” But Settles admits that cost is one factor that can’t readily be measured. “It’s not always a value that you can readily track on a spreadsheet to say we’re saving X amount of dollars, but it provides a value in terms of accessibility and ease of use,” he says.

For traveling professionals, there are other options, such as adding data services to a cell phone account, particularly if the professional owns devices like a Blackberry or a Treo. Besides Wi-Fi, which allows you to link to the Internet as long as you’re within 300 feet of a Wi-Fi access point (or “hotspot”), your cell phone carrier optionally can deliver wireless data–assuming your phone or PDA is capable of receiving the data service–allowing

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