Net Neutrality Lost: Smart Solutions For Small Business – Part 2

Brandon Lewis

Part 2 of a 2-part series. Read Part 1

With the new Restoring Internet Freedom Order – passed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eliminate net neutrality rules – big companies win out. Their deep pockets give them a competitive advantage because they can afford to cover the inflated cost for bandwidth.

Corporate giants reclaim marketing stronghold with consumers

Small businesses that don’t have discretionary capital will struggle to compete, leaving the game open to corporate giants with maximum spending ability. It’s important for small businesses to use social media to persuade consumers who may become jaded from large franchises.

One area where big corporations often fall flat is connecting with their customer base. It’s not necessarily because they don’t want to, but more because it is impossible to realistically reach everyone.

This is where small businesses can sneak in and capture the flag. There is an innate stigma surrounding social media and how it is required to survive. This is both true and false. The point of social media is to be better than the competition, and you can’t do that if it’s not personal.

Achieving this is a direct result of brand transformation and culture. Extend these concepts to the consumer by making them a part of your vision. Go beyond customer service, and focus on customer experience.

Solution: Train employees to become effective “brand ambassadors” on social media. Don’t bother reinventing the wheel, but do define your immediate goals for your initial outreach. Be realistic; identify and empower several employees who are already advocating for you.

Then, create some incentives for the best advocates and ask them to share a photo with the prize. Keep rewarding those who are the most vocal and active first, but be sure to award everyone. Sustain the ebb and flow by maintaining continuous creation. Always be attuned to how you can keep delivering value.

Changes in productivity and procedures create ethical concerns

Cloud computing has become a trend for its ability to increase productivity and profits. But failure could happen if the cloud-based system is operating at a slower speed because the cloud program and service providers couldn’t buy a higher bandwidth.

Small-business people wonder who might be affected, but the real question is: who won’t be affected? Realistically, the ones with the deepest pockets.

Businesses turn to cloud-based providers for better IT operations, an economical alternative for filing, and better security. If the cloud fails, so does your business. Data that wasn’t backed up with paper trails or alternative methods will essentially be lost.

Solution: There are cost-effective alternatives that are not Internet-based management systems. For example, Amazon’s S3 storage charges a few cents per GB per month for raw hard drive capacity.

Another provider is Zadara, which can be used in the cloud, but can also be used as an in-house software on the hard drive for the same price.

Choosing the right alternative will rely heavily on how much storage is needed, what you are backing up, and the flexibility you desire. Encourage leaders to research your current needs, what works, what doesn’t, and how a new product can offer a sense of maintenance.

Be aware of ethical issues a CEO might face when deciding to move to another service provider. It can be difficult to determine the right timing. The obvious “right timing” is when you are facing issues or have been in the market for a new provider.

If that is not the case, it’s best to examine other things going on in your company and the likelihood of a smooth transition. Avoid switching at the same time you are implementing other programs or methodology changes.

Understanding the overturn of net neutrality can be challenging. So it’s best to focus on how to avoid slower Internet speeds, ways to compete against corporate giants, and how changes in productivity and procedures create ethical concerns.

Social media is no longer just a marketing function; everyone in the business has a role to play. Learn How to Weave Social Media Into the Fabric of the Business.

Brandon Lewis

About Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis is president and CEO of Win More Patients.