Innovative Video Conferencing Platforms Can Help Your Small Business Save Money And Grow
While some businesses struggled with the recent economic downturn, savvy business owners flourished and used tough business conditions to expand their businesses. One way that business owners can get a competitive advantage and grow their businesses is to look for smart ways to save on business costs. One area of opportunity for significant savings is to be smarter is using business communication technologies like video conferencing.
The landscape for business communication has changed dramatically over the past decade. Executives generally travel from time to time to meet with their potential customers or partners located in other parts of the country. However, costs for traveling and accommodation can be prohibitive and quickly become a huge drain on tight business budgets. While the travel costs can add up for large corporations, they can become absolutely mountainous for a traveling small business owner. A recent survey of small and mid-size businesses reported that containing business travel costs is a key priority and challenge for them.
Although many businesses prefer to cut down on travel costs, meetings are still necessary to maintain contact with the different organizations and absolutely critical for small businesses trying to develop key relationships with licensors, vendors, distributors and other potential business partners. Fortunately, video conferencing has become very easy to use. In addition, video conferencing is becoming more commonplace in all aspects of life as it so effectively addresses the need to communicate with colleagues or clients at another location. There are several great video conferencing platforms available now. Video conferencing companies like BlueJeans.com who I have worked with and others like it allow individuals to ensure that meetings happen seamlessly as scheduled without the added burden of high travel costs and travel time.
Video conferencing platform now offer a large variety of options. Here is a general overview of types of systems:
Open Source Suites
These platforms are generally most useful in an educational rather than the traditional small business environment. While these platforms have the basic features needed in video conferencing, they usually don’t allow recording or playback of the conference after the moderator completes the session. They also don’t provide for mobile integration currently. This platform can work for companies with a very limited budget, but having good technical knowledge would be very helpful in implementing these suites in your business.
You’ll see several brands vying for the lowest price while offering competitive functionality and simplicity at the mid-level. These systems are a better fit for the small to medium sized business. More inexpensive compared to the high-end systems, but with more features and functions than the low-end, these video conferencing systems are excellent for communication among multiple departments or across a few different branch locations. If you run a decent sized business, you should look for a mid-range system that meets your needs. Even if you run a smaller business, one of these systems can be very useful for you depending on situation. You’ll have to spend some time thinking about what your business needs in a communication system before deciding on one of these systems.
Higher end systems allow meetings for larger number of attendees. With professional large scale platforms, you can use downloaded software from a desktop. More often then not, this platform also provides a call-in functionality for the participants. With the number of expected participants, you must be aware of the bandwidth your service provider is capable of delivering so your meeting doesn’t get choppy. While these large-scale conference systems can be incredibly useful, they are rather impractical for a smaller business with only a few locations. The price can be a disadvantage as well. Your business might not have enough of a need or the financial means to implement one of these high-end systems.
With all these platforms readily available, it is up you to decide which one suits your business best. There are different ways for participants to join video conferences, whether they are inside the building or on the go. There is very little excuse to miss a meeting or not have one due to travel costs with the variety of possibilities offered by video conferencing platforms. Video conferencing companies offer a wide range of platform solutions. So you can browse around sites like BlueJeans.com and find the one that fits your business needs best.
Picking a video conferencing platform for your business doesn’t have to be an agonizing decision. Compile your business’s communication requirements and see if you actually have a need for video conferencing. It’s undeniable that video communication is the next best thing to talking face-to-face, so you need to think about whom you will be communicating with most often, and how that communication can be improved with video conferencing. Chances are that a high-end system is unnecessary and out of your reach financially, but a mid-range or open source platform could be beneficial even for a small business just starting to grow, especially if you’re on traveling a lot.