Collaboration technology can be an integral part in streamlining workflows, expanding your footprint, growing more quickly and recruiting and retaining top talent. While the benefits of web conferencing for small business are clear, the wide variety of options combined with the unique needs of SMBs can be a frustrating challenge.
When evaluating a collaboration solution for your SMB, keep in mind these web conferencing tips:
Tip 1: Beware Consumer-Level Tools
With the budget spreadsheet constantly looming, it can be tempting to rely on free, consumer-level conferencing tools to try and reap the benefits of collaboration without any additional investment. For some organizations, this might be the right fit; however, you should be aware of the sacrifices you often make by using a free or consumer-level web conferencing tool:
- Free tools often lack the polish and professional appearance of business software, which can negatively impact the image of your company and brand.
- The underlying network infrastructure for consumer-level tools can be subpar or overly reliant on peer-to-peer connections, leading to inconsistent audio and video quality.
- Security and encryption in free tools is often lacking, exposing your business to potential data loss.
- Free or “freemium” web conferencing tools provide a dumbed-down version with missing features and functionality.
Tip 2: Emphasize Support
Depending on the size and structure of your SMB, you may not have abundant technical support resources to dedicate to a complicated technology like web conferencing. Cloud-based collaboration can be complex, and when and if something goes wrong, you need to be able to depend on your provider to work with you and your employees to quickly address the issues to avoid productivity loss.
It’s vital for SMB owners and software-purchasers to emphasize customer support when evaluating a tool. Whether it’s in-meeting support to salvage an important sales call or online support communities where your employees can find training and troubleshooting on their own time, a robust support structure is critical for your collaboration success.
Tip 3: Consolidate Your Collaboration
Few things take up as much time as wrangling vendors. And as complex as business communication software has become, it can be easy to find yourself working with several different providers for audio, web and video conferencing integration.
Multiple invoices, confusing billing and complicated deployments are all a result of attempting to work with several vendors rather than one unified collaboration provider. While large enterprises may have entire departments dedicated to managing these relationships, for SMBs, the piece-of-mind and simplicity of a single, trusted provider is worth its weight in gold.