Today kicks off National Small Business Week, which recognizes the importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country. Despite being called “small,” we know that small business is big business in the US and abroad. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small company, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.(1)
Microsoft believes small businesses can realize their full potential through the use of technology. Once again we’re a sponsor and will host a national event on Thursday May 15 in Boston at our New England Research and Development (N.E.R.D.) Center. The day’s activities will focus on technology innovation – a topic relevant not only for technology startups but any business that wants to have an advantage in today’s marketplace. We know that technology can be daunting for many small business owners, who wear many hats and often play the role of CIO in addition to CEO, CFO, CMO and COO, and need the best solutions that deliver value to their business without being expensive or requiring a lot of maintenance.
One example of such technology is cloud. Today, cloud services are giving small businesses the ability to compete on a larger scale. Smaller companies have access to the same technology that many large enterprises use, while reducing the requirements – in time and money – on already stretched owners and employees. At Microsoft, we are finding an ever increasing number of small businesses are using Office 365 to remove the burden of IT management, while providing affordable access to the tools they need to get the job done.
Take Breathe Hot Yoga, who uses Office 365 on mobile devices to keep track of over 100 weekly classes as well as customer service issues. Teachers are able to build strong customer relationships and loyalty by responding quickly to inquiries, because they can receive and respond to messages from anywhere, and on any device – cell phones, tablets, laptops. The move to the cloud made running the business easier to all instructors and staff. Another example is Excel Anesthesia in Dallas, a company that does X and is in a heavily regulated industry. Excel Anesthesia uses Office 365 to maintain HIPAA compliance with the added benefit of cutting costs of their email system by 83 percent the first year. They depend on built-in security and compliance features in Office 365 that make sure important data – including customer information – is kept safe and secure in the cloud.
You’ll be hearing more from customers, partners and others this week as we celebrate small businesses. As part of the festivities in Boston, we are hosting a roundtable discussion for small businesses and industry experts on the topic of how small businesses can succeed with technology. I invite everyone to keep up with the festivities throughout the week! More details to come.
- According to the U.S. Small Business Administration.