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expanding business with video conferencing
How do I expand my small-scale business without capital?

Many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t survive for more than a few years. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30% of them fail to make it through their second full year in operation. The causes of failure are diverse and include everything from subpar software and IT infrastructure to basic lack of capital. This article will focus primarily on the latter.

The challenges of not having enough capital to run your SMB

Simply starting a company can require over $10,000. In many instances, SMBs turn to banks for loans to help get through the early stages of business formation. Even with seemingly adequate funding, though, SMBs can still face numerous headwinds right away. 

These range from the predictable (needing to procure sufficient inventory) to the more volatile (having to spend more on accounting services/software due to one-off changes in the tax code). 

Added to the other costs that SMBs must bear on basics like insurance and office space, it’s no wonder many don’t make it past year two. But it’s possible to make an SMB budget more sustainable by implementing video conferencing software. 

How video conferencing tools help with budget crunches

Video conferencing solutions can bring meeting participants together without requiring any pricey travel. Plus, web meetings enable more flexible, less capital-intensive remote working arrangements. 

As a whole, video conferencing supports better, more cost-effective collaboration. More than simply helping an SMB optimize its budget, video meetings can also support expansion by connecting employees, recruits, and customers across many locations, in high-definition.

Here are some of the more specific ways in which video conferences fuel SMB success, even on a shoestring budget:

1. Hold productive meetings, no office required

Office space is expensive. The associated costs have spurred organizations across the U.S. to seek smaller workspaces and to take advantage of co-working and hotdesking environments. For example, real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield has charted growing densification of office space throughout the 2010s.

With video conferencing tools, SMB employees can make the most of even a small office or conference room that would be too cramped for a comfortable in-person meeting:

  • Anyone can be invited to the video meeting, whether it’s meant to be a small linkup between a specific team or an all-hands gathering.
  • It’s easy to join. Meeting participants only need to click a button in the solution when it’s time for the event to start.
  • The web meeting can be recorded for later distribution and viewing, so that no one misses out on what was covered.

Video conferencing software empowers teams to lead engaging and useful meetings without being constrained by physical space. That makes SMB expansion more feasible, since huge office spaces aren’t needed when setting up shop in new locales or trying to reach more customers.

2. Hire the right people from multiple locations

Many job searches begin by looking only for nearby candidates who don’t want/need to relocate. This makes sense in some respect, because moving is disruptive and often expensive, plus the position specs might not permit remote work.

But implementing a video conferencing platform allows for more flexibility in hiring. Say your SMB is looking to incorporate in an additional state and bring some employees on board there. Video conferencing would help in multiple ways:

  • A crystal-clear video feed could be set up for the interview. The candidate and interviewer would get more insight into each other’s reactions, including body language.
  • If hired, the candidate could then use video for their own work, perhaps as part of a remote working arrangement. They could join web conferences, view content through screen sharing, and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere.
  • Video conferencing software could also be useful for specific external-facing tasks such as conducting in-depth sales demos. A video conferencing solution is a powerful asset for sales personnel, who can use its built-in screen sharing capabilities to walk prospects through a product or service.

3. Reach audiences on any device or in any location

One of the central challenges for any SMB is building a reliable base of customers. How an organization pursues that goal will vary based on its industry, size, and personnel, but video conferencing will often be a reliable supporting tool along way.

Webinars show how a video conferencing system can expand an SMB’s reach without breaking the bank. A majority of B2B buyers have used webinars to support their purchasing decisions, according to the 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report.

Within a video conferencing solution, video feeds can be configured to show, say, a panel of subject matter experts discussing a relevant issue for buyers. But a video conference platform can go even further and enable deep interactivity between presenters and the audience, thanks to features like polling. A solution can also help manage registrations and any follow-up questions.

Audiences can participate in these events from any device. Webex supports phones, tablets, PCs, Macs, and standards-based video conferencing systems. 

 To learn more about how Webex can help your SMB grow more efficiently and stay within its budget, get started with a free plan today.

 

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remote worker using video conferencing
Sei Mani: One small business creating big workplace experiences

How often do you discover a new feature on your phone, laptop, or software that you didn’t know about or thought was too difficult to learn? When in reality, this feature could be saving you time. And potentially money. It happens often in businesses where companies invest in technology and only utilize a portion of the capabilities they have at their fingertips… and are paying for.

Founded in 2011, Sei Mani was created with a goal of helping businesses fully drive adoption of and value from the collaboration technology they have invested in. Headquartered in London, their team comes from backgrounds in coaching, change management, training, community building, engineering, and more. Alongside a diversity of backgrounds, their team is fully remote. So, the way they collaborate is extremely important.

Because their team is entirely virtual, they use Cisco Webex to talk to customers and help them unlock business benefits with collaboration technology. Putting trust and customer experience at the forefront, Sei Mani uses Webex Meetings and Cisco DX80’s to develop personal relationships and ensure their customers feel comfortable and ready to drive adoption.

Sei Mani joined a webinar to discuss how they thrive as a team despite being remote, and how they help their customers achieve the same. All this made possible with Cisco Webex, making meetings feel as good as being there, rather than distant or disconnected.

As a small company, Sei Mani creates thriving digital workplaces. Learn how you can do the same with Webex video conferencing and devices. Watch the webinar to learn more:

 

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Web conferencing
How web conferencing can be utilized for real-time online collaboration

You have no shortage of options for collaborating with colleagues and customers. From phone calls to instant messaging and screen sharing within a web conferencing solution, it’s never been easier to sync up with someone anytime and anywhere. 

But which collaboration tools should you really use? Not all of them tools equally effective. Read to learn why, and about what to look for in a worthwhile solution.

Traditional vs real-time collaboration, and why the distinction matters

To see the difference between ineffective and effective collaboration, think about traditional conference calls, which are tough to set up and participate in. Participants might need to enter a long PIN just to join, only to then face problems with audio quality and not have access to video either.

In contrast, web conferencing services allow for crisp, clear audio and video connections that support rich real-time collaboration. Here are four big ways web conferencing supports better real-time interactions than alternatives like conference calls:

1. Better support for mobile devices

It’s no secret that for many people, tablets and phones have supplanted PCs as their main devices, even in workplace contexts. An SMB Group survey found that 40% of small- and medium-sized businesses reported a decrease in the use of conventional collaboration apps (like email) on desktops due to the ongoing shift to mobile. 

These respondents also cited web conferencing as one of the main technologies they were likely to implement to accommodate new workstyles. Indeed, web conferencing software makes it easy to participate from any device with an internet connection. 

2. Reliable video conferencing

Video calling opens up new opportunities for productive collaboration. Participants in HD video conferences can evaluate body language, see visual aides, and converse as if they were actually face-to-face in the same room

In turn, that level of interactivity lets workers become more productive. A Forrester survey of SMBs revealed that two-thirds of them reported saving time on internal projects, thanks to the use of services for video and web conferencing within modern unified communications solutions.

Video-enabled web conferencing also helps remote workers feel like they’re on the same page. When Google surveyed 5,600 of its remote employees across four continents, it found that frequent video chats were one of the best ways for creating last connections between far-flung teams.

3. Streamlined webinars and presentations

Webinar attendance rates are often mediocre, in the neighborhood of 40% to 50% of those invited. There are many reasons people don’t show up to these online presentations, including problems reliably joining from any device.

The webinar might not display correctly on all screen sizes. There could also be issues stemming from needing to dial a number and then key in a lengthy access code, at which point a would-be attendee might just give up.

4. Rich screen and content sharing

Working in real time means getting things done in the moment, not in disconnected and less contextual interactions later on. Web conferencing supports real-time workflows through audio, video, and rich screen and content sharing. 

When someone hops on a web conference through Webex, they can easily share their entire screen or just a specific document or application. Android and iOS devices are also supported for maximum flexibility and convenience.

How Webex can help

In Webex, a conference can be joined by simply tapping a button when it’s time. Participants can share their screens, set up video, and enjoy clear audio for real-time collaboration.

Webex Meetings also makes webinars easier. One option is to simply set up the Call Me feature, which rings the entered number when it’s time for the webinar to start. Such streamlined web conferencing allows webinars to reach a wider audience and avoid technical complications.

Ready to learn more about how to get the most out of web conferencing? Sign up for a Webex Meetings free plan to get started.

 

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how to have a web exceptional video conferencing meeting
How to have a webexceptional video conferencing meeting

Imagine living in 1866. To talk to someone, you have to meet up with them in person, or send them the letter because the telephone hasn’t been invented yet. It isn’t until one year later when Alexander Graham Bell makes the first phone call ever to his assistant Thomas Watson.

Even further, it wasn’t until 1968 before video conferencing entered the scene for the first time as the Picturephone.

Since 1968, video conferencing has advanced greatly. Living in 2019 provides many advantages to the way that we connect with our friends, our family, and our colleagues. In the work environment, we are able to collaborate more effectively than we ever have before. But hopefully you already know this because, most likely, you use video conferencing technology in your day-to-day life.

With 200 million monthly active users, you’ve probably already had some experience with Cisco Webex Meetings. But have you had exposure to some of the coolest new features?

In 1995, Webex was founded and then acquired by Cisco in 2007. Today, Cisco Webex hosts more than 500 million meetings annually, totaling ~125 billion meeting minutes every year and are continuing to grow.

The Cisco Webex Meeting software provides features that allow you to talk seamlessly, share your video at high quality, and record your meetings so people who couldn’t attend can listen in as if they were there. In addition, you can share your screen to present content, or whiteboard to collaborate in real-time. You can even meet with up to 40,000 people, if needed. And these are just the few of the many features available to you.

For this reason, we are hosting the first of a series of webinars where we will walk through the latest and greatest features Webex has put to market. We hope to cover topics that will help you and show you how you can enhance your meeting experience even more!

This webinar specifically covers:

  • People Insights for Webex (getting to know the people you’re meeting with before the first introduction)
  • Integrating Webex devices with Webex Meetings
  • High-frame rate content sharing
  • Webex integrations with Google, Apple, and Microsoft
  • Video centric and transcribed recordings

Re-watch the webinar as Maureen Vild gives a demo of these features: here.

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video conferencing at dirve
Tips for great video conferencing on-the-go with Cisco Webex

Most of us live and breathe through our smartphones and tablets these days. They’ve evolved from a source of convenience and entertainment into an essential tool to facilitate today’s work/life balance.

In our day-to-day, we’ve probably all called into a Webex meeting before while coming from another meeting, or dropping our kids off at school, or waiting for a flight. So we need that mobile conferencing experience to allow us to participate seamlessly and reliably, as if we were sitting right next to the person with whom we’re collaborating, with no distractions. That’s precisely the vision of our Cisco Webex mobile app. And to reach this goal, we’re building some incredible features that are unique to the mobile user – such as blurred background support and automatic light adjustment – which strive to achieve the perfect meeting in ways that were never before possible.

There are many more tips and tricks that Webex video conferencing has made possible for a truly delightful mobile experience, and I’d like to share these cool features with you on the “Go Mobile with Webex” webinar on Aug 22, 10-11 AM PT.

Please register here  and join me to learn a few things that will take your next Webex mobile meeting to the next level.

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customer uses Cisco video conferencing
Making the switch to Webex

I recently learned about our customer, Truebeck, and the challenges they faced in implementing a competitive collaboration solution. Their needs centered around simplicity, yet after 6 months, countless problem tickets, and time and money wasted, they were still no further along than they were when they started. I’m frustrated for them just hearing about it. I know what great collaboration should be like, because I experience it every day, so I knew we could help Truebeck solve their problems and save money. And we did.

Truebeck made the switch to Webex earlier this year and will be live on our August 19 webinar to tell you why and how they did it. My team will also be part of this webinar where we will share best practices and tips and tricks for having a Webexceptional meeting. So, if you’re using or considering a collaboration solution other than Webex, you’ll definitely want to tune in because we’ll compare and contrast the key features of Webex with Truebeck’s previous collaboration platform and highlight pitfalls you should consider.

If you need a little more incentive to join us, we will also have a fun game where you’ll have a chance to win a Google Home device. Plus, you’ll get a cool pair of Cisco Webex socks just for participating.

Please join us on August 19!

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Webex-Calling-desktop-call
Video conferencing improved through artificial intelligence and machine learning

The week is here and we are looking forward to seeing some of you at Enterprise Connect in Orlando. We will be sharing what’s new in collaboration and how we are working hard to transform technology experiences for your teams.

Make sure to attend Amy Chang’s (SVP of Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco) keynote, and check out Cisco’s sessions at Enterprise Connect (EC) for deeper dives into important conversations happening around video conferencing in the cloud, team collaboration growing pains, breaking down enterprise barriers to improve customer experience and so many more.

If you’re interested in learning about how the Webex platform is weaving in artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance video conferencing and team meeting experiences, you’re in luck. Not only can you hear about it at EC, on March 28, Keith Griffin, CTO of Intelligence and Analytics, and Derek Stevens, Collaboration Product Marketing Manager, will be hosting a webinar with Q&A, discussing this topic specifically. We are really excited to share all the new features and capabilities that Webex will be offering. See details below to register.

  • Webinar: Cognitive Collaboration: How AI and Machine Learning are Transforming How We Work and Collaborate
  • Date: Thursday, March 28
  • Time: 10am PT
  • Register today
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team collaboration webinar
Webinar recap: changing the way team collaboration is done

On February 14, we hosted a webinar around huddle spaces and their importance to the future of work and team collaboration.

Alan McGinty, Senior Director of the Global Workplace Innovation Group at Cisco presented on how the traditional workplace, one that looks similar to a cube farm array, is evolving to meet the needs of current workers and the new generation entering the workforce.

But what does this evolution look like?

The quick answer is: people need the right type of space for specific types of work.

A 2-minute recap:

In this webinar, Alan discussed how four large, global workplace trends are validating the need for changes to workspaces. Here they are:

1) Rapidly changing workforce demographic model. The current workplace needs to support four generations in the workplace (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Digital Natives). Baby Boomers are beginning to leave the workforce and 61 million Gen Z’s will be entering workforce (a generation that has grown up with a digital device in hand). Companies need to be able to support their employees in a way they can work most effectively.

2) Demand for flexibility. Work is transforming into what we do, not where we go. People come into an office to engage in culture, be seen, collaborate. People aren’t coming into the office for the free food.

3) Changing work activities. Work is more automated than ever before. The team collaboration we need to support is around innovation/new ideas.

4) Acceleration and advancement of technology. As technology continues to progress, all companies are becoming technology companies.

 

Luckily, we have the answer to solve for these global workplace trends: Huddle spaces.

A Deloitte survey shows that agility and collaboration are key to company success. And that is the precise goal of huddle spaces: for teams to come together quickly and effectively to collaborate and make decisions.

When you think of a team meeting, what comes to mind? A room with chairs, a table, and videoconferencing device?

While yes, this is a type of huddle space, it’s just one in a sea of many. Huddle spaces can take many forms, in many locations. The most important factors are that the technology and the space create a cohesive user experience and empower employees to perform most effectively to do the work they need to do (ie: sharing content, making audio and video calls, white-boarding).

For more in-depth conversation, including information on huddle space analytics and the importance of space design and location for team collaboration, watch the webinar on-demand: here. The slides presented in the webinar are also accessible: here.

Let us know if  you have any comments and/or questions and follow this link here to learn more about Huddle Spaces.

 


If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:

https://www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html

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video conferencing
Webinar: Building bridges of hope through Webex video conferencing

Today’s Santa uses online video conferencing

 For over a dozen years, the Cisco teams in Canada, the U.K., and Ireland have been bringing smiles and tears of joy to hundreds of hospital-bedridden children during the holidays through our “Virtual Santa” program.  These children are able to speak to Santa Claus himself as he sits in the North Pole and hosts virtual meetings.

How is it done?  Through the power of video conferencing tools such as Cisco Webex Meetings, team collaboration, and messaging applications like Cisco Webex Teams, and video conferencing endpoints like the Webex DX80 and Rook Kit Series.

If you want a story that will melt your heart, come hear about the innovations and the teams that make this experience a reality.  Sarah Winchester, Cisco Business Analyst, and Rachel de Abreu, Cisco Account Manager, will join to share these heartwarming stories.

Connected North: Video conferencing that bridges remote Canadian communities

Six years ago, Cisco’s Business Development Lead in Canada, Willa Black, and other volunteers installed a high-definition Webex device in a sixth-grade classroom in Iqaluit, Nunavut. These students were then connected to scientists, mentors, song-writers, Olympians, and other kids across Canada through Webex Meetings. The response was immediate and powerful.

Since that one school in the Arctic, an entire program called  Connected North came to be, and this year it will reach 41 schools serving nearly 10,000 students—all designed to deliver immersive and interactive educational experiences across remote Indigenous communities for more holiday online meeting cheer.

From the stage of the renowned Globe Theatre in London, England, to the exhibits of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Connected North is now a bridge to new opportunities for remote classrooms across Canada.

There are so many possibilities of how teams and groups from all over the world can collaborate virtually and eliminate boundaries. These are just a couple of ways that Webex is giving back this holiday season, and we’re thrilled to tell their stories.

We’ll talk with the people who make all these smiles possible, while learning more about the Webex technology that’s bringing more hope and expanding possibilities to these kids throughout the world.

 

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executive presentations
WEBINAR: Connect with Executives through Story

When you have the opportunity to present your next big idea to an influential executive, the thought of the meeting itself can be nerve-wracking enough. But when you factor in the limited time these decision-makers have, sharing your ideas in a quick, informative and engaging manner becomes even more critical.

Are you ready?

Take your presentation skills to the next level by joining Janine Kurnoff for an enlightening webinar, “Connect with Executives through Story”. Founder of The Presentation Company, Janine is the go-to expert when it comes to training professionals to communicate their ideas, visually and virtually.

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Excuse Me Sir, You Dropped Your Data

And now – the pièce de résistance!

In the first two installments of The Presentation Company’s Masterful WebEx Presentation Series, we took a deep-dive into a Sweat-Free Virtual Presentations and then learned 4 Delivery Tips All WebEx Stars Know. Now that you’ve prepared and presented the perfect presentation, it’s time to learn how to leverage the data you gathered from your WebEx tools.

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