Technology…Empowering Today’s Entrepreneurs

Tony Rodini

“This is an exciting time to start and run a business,” said Tony Rodoni, Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales at Salesforce. “Businesses need less capital, and using technology, [they] can make their business look bigger.”
Salesforce is a cloud computing company that specializes in customer relationship management and web marketing products. The company teamed up with Best for NYC and other NYC business organizations for a Small Business Basecamp.
The Basecamp was a one day pop-up event. Business owners and entrepreneurs were able to receive one on one advice on growing their business and attend workshops and panel discussions geared towards business success. They heard from business leaders, mix, mingled, networked and receive a first hand look on how today’s technology can help business.
Tony Rodini believes technology is key for today’s business because it “helps company get bigger and be more efficient. Companies can get up and running quickly and expend less time, energy and resources,” he said. Once an entrepreneur builds the infrastructure, they can hit the ground running.
Salesforce’s software helps businesses manage customers through maintaining their sales, inventory and customer relationships. It assists businesses with online marketing by integrating various social media platforms.
Other companies onsite for the boot camp showcasing their online productivity products included a human resource management software. Zenefits manages the intake of employees: payroll, benefits and compliance. They offer small businesses ways to manage employee pools of 3 or less with basic, low or no cost, subscriptions. RingCentral brings the multiple platforms of communication: text, phone, email, together in one place. It can combine the cell phone with the land line and can be integrated with employees.
Online business solutions are gaining ground and the amount of options are blossoming. Even social media sites have expanded for businesses to allow for advanced scheduling, dashboard management and analytic tracking to monitor campaign progress.  Sounds complicated, expensive and daunting. Especially to a community standing on the down side of a digital divide.
The digital divide is the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet and those who don’t. While the physical divide might have gotten smaller with nearly three fourths of Americans In possession of a smartphone, those behind the divide still have catching up to do. Couple that with the strains of running a business and the outlook for the application of this technology into businesses that can truly benefit, can look less than promising.
There is a silver lining!
Software which integrate customer management and web marketing do so utilizing various platforms and social media. As such, business owners would not have to wade through learning several products: i.e. email marketing, Facebook, spreadsheet management. One software program manages it all.
Also, today’s technology is largely turnkey. Set up typically requires answering a series of questions. If you can set up your smartphone and have been successful at creating your own emoji, chances are you can navigate today’s software business tools.
Today’s business technology is very youth friendly, having grown up on these devices and in an atmosphere of social media. This makes today’s youth more powerful than ever. Not only can they navigate this rich terrain, but can lead the way for older business owners and entrepreneurs. That niece, nephew, grandson or younger family member can do more for your business than just help with your website.
There has never been a better time to start your business! Let 2017 be the year that you make your business dreams a reality.§


by Karen Clements

As published in the January 2017 issue of Communities of Color News