Choosing the Right Small Biz Tech Discussion Summary from March 17, 2009

A big thank you to our first ever guest moderator, Scott Blitstein (@scoblitz).  Scott is the founder of (get it – phonetic “SMB”), frequent writer for WebWorkerDaily and all around small business tech genius.  He hosted a great discussion, from the spot-on theme of “How you choose your tech” to the probing questions and follow-ups, this session has some great insights for any small business working to making their technology work for them.
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  • Below is a summary of the most recent discussion. To see the full conversation, go to
scoblitz: We’re talking “How you choose your tech” at #sbbuzz chat tonight. Send me any questions you might have for our group of experts.

scoblitz: So to jump in Q1) Where do you typically hear about new tech services and solutions? #sbbuzz

scoblitz: Q2 – When you have identified something that you are interested in, how do you evaluate or research it further. #sbbuzz

  • mcolacurcio: Q2: Ask peers, colleagues, read online reviews and customer forums #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q2: if I find a tech service I’m interested in I usually dive right in, I look for a free trial or if it’s freeware, I dive in #sbbuzz
  • mariaduron: Q2: Usually feedback from forums + contacts. #sbbuzz
  • eproulx: #sbbuzz I find myself buying/using a lot of what I hear about on Engadget and PSFK.
  • mariaduron: Q2: And, yes, free trial or beta versions are also how I try out different services. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Q3: Free trials are great – how much time do you usually spend with them before deciding they are a no or a go? #sbbuzz

  • scoblitz: @scoblitz I find I can usually tell within a few minutes if something is going to work for me. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q3: Our average customer upgrades from free to paid within a few days (or not at all) … #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q3 – I spend a relatively short amount of time – usually looking at specific features and overall usability, as well as UI #sbbuzz
  • mariaduron: Q3: 4 me it’s more about volume then it is “time sensitive”. So what if 10 day trial, can it do what I need it 2 do @ level I need #sbbuzz
  • mindsondesign: Q3: I try to spend some time entering some authentic data to get a feel how the tool will or will not address my pain points. #sbbuzz
  • mindsondesign: Q3: Also assess the UI and ldesign rather quickly. As a creative who builds interfaces I like engaging ones that make the work fun. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Q4 Do you see a service and then think about how you can use or do you search to fulfill a particular need? #sbbuzz

  • mcolacurcio: Q4 Definitely search to fulfill a need. #sbbuzz
  • mariaduron: Q4: Usually a particular need. If it incorporate other service I use + I can get all in 1 w/o 2 much pain in integration I will. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: Q4: I ask that question because I frequently have clients asking for info on services because of buzz or recommendation #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: I actually prefer to browse new services and see if they will fit my needs, rather than needing something now & getting a ok service #sbbuzz
  • mindsondesign: Q4: A little of both. I make a point to keep up on new and evolving apps, so often will consider how they may benefit us. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q4: I tend to hang out with tech crowds that tell me about the cool ones and I’ll check ’em out. Otherwise, a need arises first #sbbuzz
  • DrFernKazlow: @scoblitz Q4 Both -Usually I look for a service to fill a need, but sometimes I just can’t resist finding a reason to use a service! #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @AndrewNim I think staying ahead of the curve is smart – just knowing what is available can lead to inspiration. #sbbuzz

scoblitz: Q5 from @bradfordshimp : How do you make the switch from one service or tech to another? #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q5: call the new company, tell ’em your switching and that you need help. Otherwise it should not painful if designed correctly. #sbbuzz
  • AndrewNim: Q5, I usually use it as a chance to have a house clean, what do I need to transfer, and I always look for an XML method #sbbuzz
  • mariaduron: Q5: I really weigh out the benefit compared 2 time involvement in making the switch. Do they provide support or is it on own? #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: One basic tech switch I do is an upgrade a new comp – find that I can leave lots of collected things behind. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @mariaduron That is excellent point. A switch is disruptive to data and business, so you start w/ new product already behind #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q5 – My biggest challenge is when I need to get others to switch with me, such as a change in company wide CRM #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Q6: When introducing a new product or service to your business, how do you get your whole team on board with the change? #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q6: You really need to be able to show worth. How is this going to improve things, make jobs easier, etc. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q6: It’s all about EXECUTION. Just like starting a business you have to execute a plan. Plan ahead. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q6: Plus, the process and the new product both have to be simple and easy to learn. #sbbuzz
  • mindsondesign: Q6: Agree with others, you need to be able to offer imediate, demonstratable value to each person and a good plan for rollout. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: I’m lucky, all of my employees fear me. What I say goes, no one questions that… oh wait, I’m a sole proprietor #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: It depends on the size of the team. Too many cooks in the kitchen is bad. The buck has to stop somewhere. Make decision and execute. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Sorry – Web 2.0 software shouldn’t require a huge training/adoption hurdle. Isn’t that the whole point? #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: @bradfordshimp I was thinking the same thing. What good is saving 30min a week if it’s going to take 8hrs/week to get to that point? #sbbuzz
scoblitz: Q7 from @mattharrell: When researching something new, how much do you depend on the website to sell you on the product/service? #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q7: Very important – usually make or break. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q7: 60% to get the specs/features/pricing etc. I move on to reviews/forums when they toot start to toot their own horns. #sbbuzz
  • DrFernKazlow: @scoblitz Q7 @mattharrell Site’s a starting point – forums, tech sites, colleagues, my brother (a techie), twitter… for more info #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @mindsondesign I insist on screenshots and a detailed feature list, with a comparison of different plan levels if offered. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q7: So do you need an emotional reaction to the website or would you rather see features (it’s it’s software). Faces or Screenshots? #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: @mattharrell FEATURES!! I don’t care who you are, I don’t trust testimonials on a manufacturer’s website, ever. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @mattharrell A demo video or slide deck does wonders to tell me about a service. Sometimes you have to see in action. #sbbuzz


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