Call Centers Are Intrinsic to Business

It’s the year 2010. Thinking ahead, many things in business have changed and will continue to change as technology advances and businesses become more competitive and global. Business outsourcing, both domestically and internationally, is a reality and frequently is a smart and cost efficient decision for many businesses regardless of their size, since they realize certain services are not their core business and would be better outsourced to another agent. One such frequently outsourced service is the business call center.

However, businesses need to always carefully consider what services they should outsource. Call centers are intrinsic parts of many businesses, but they can be difficult to operate and maintain. Most companies choose to outsource telephone customer service to an external provider, considering all the logistics needed to operate a successful customer service and order taking division: the amount of space needed, the expensive phone equipment needed, the support staff needed to back-up and service the equipment, and all those important operators and telemarketers, customer service support professionals and other layers of management needed to ensure all is running smoothly, and hopefully at a profit.

Many companies are utilizing the services of a professional Call Center. When they choose an industry leader, they’re engaging in domestic outsourcing at its best. Choosing a US-based call center is a both a business-savvy and customer-friendly option. The call center that your company ultimately chooses should prove to you that they are constantly thinking ahead, upgrading their equipment, adding support staff, and providing many cost-efficient services to their diverse client base. They should believe in partnering with their valuable clients to get them the results and cost savings they are seeking.

Forward thinking call centers provide services ranging from answering service, outbound telemarketing, voicemail service, fax to e-mail service, to mail receiving, to business systems installation of phones. Their installation staff might handle all the aspects of phone systems installation, from running cables, to creating an entire infrastructure for your business, to the planning and purchase of telecommunication equipment.

Outsourcing can support and also help your sales force by making telemarketing calls, making follow-up calls, handling and recording incoming calls that come in requesting more company or product information, and even creating an enquiry log for you. As a result, the partner’s agents then become an extension of your sales force. A call center also allows your national or international clients the ability to pick-up their phones and call your company at any hour since when you’re a progressive company and not a traditional 9-5pm company, you are better poised to grow your company. Call centers increasingly are 24-hour, always-open businesses that are available whenever you need them; after-hours, 24/7, 365-days a year if need be.

Sure customers and prospects can e-mail your company at any hour. Frankly speaking, isn’t it a pleasure to be able to place a phone a call to the company of your choice, and be able to speak with a live and pleasant professional who’s there to help you at any hour, on any day of the week? Find a call center who makes it a point to only hire well spoken operators and telemarketers who have excellent communication skills. These important staffers should be articulate, well trained and thoroughly screened. The answering service that you hire should realize that the voice callers hear truly matters.

Thinking past 2010, it’s progressive thinking to allow a call center to be an important part of your business plan as you advance your business. When you team-up with the right call center partner, they will give you the added sales and customer service support you need to move your business forward. They also should realize that client satisfaction, both now and forever, is the most important ingredient to keep you in business, as well as growing it. A professional Call Center allows you to beef-up, build and better support your company without incurring the major expense of having an expensive call center or hiring all the staff needed to provide the all services they offer. Professional telephone support vendors will provide the space needed, the skilled staff and the new technology necessary to help your business profitably advance itself.

The New Age Business Conferencing Centers

In the last decade or so, three things have literally changed the face of business. These things are IT, internet and BI or business intelligence. Combinations of these three aspects are used in almost every business now leading to far more efficient business models. There is a conscious effort on the part of businesses to make each business much more effective.

Take business conferencing for example. Gone are the days when business conferences were limited to physical venues. Now Business conferencing has jumped on to the internet and there are several websites which have all kinds of conferences and conference related information listed on it.

Every conference website has myriad categories in which conferences are listed. Conferences, conventions, trade shows, exhibits and many more type of conferences are listed on such sites. So people looking for conference or event information simply have to log into the website and search.

For example if they are looking for business conferences then they can get an entire list of such conferences to be held. They will also get search results with business conference centers that offer attractive rates and hi tech facilities.

Even if you are looking for international business conferences, you can find it with ease on these websites. Apart from the standard services these websites also offer LCD monitors, projectors, catering services for conferences, swimming pool, gym, resto-bars, fax machines, scanners and other related information which can make it extremely easy for you to organize and manage your conference.

So if you want to organize a conference or need information about an existing one, simply log on to these websites and see the information that is available.

Business Grants For Women

I started researching business grants for women when I decided to start a small home based business in late 2008. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to create a steady income so I wanted to know what my options were.

I found that most government grants, as well as those funded by non-profits that are tagged as being for women, are often made available only as part of a need to reach an underserved population (like the disabled, minority serving institutions, etc.). For example, when “women” is used as the search term on grants.gov ( a great place to find a full list of government grants) the grant titles in the search results rarely have to do with women or business. If women are mentioned specifically, it’s usually for a study related to pregnancy.

Further digging revealed that different counties and cities may offer grants to locally owned businesses, without regard to ownership, that have some payback in terms of economic development. These funds become available fairly randomly, and usually carry some expectation about the improvement of “Main Street.”

I learned that the Small Business Administration hasn’t had any start up grant programs for women since the 1980’s.

It soon became apparent that “women business grants”  were usually specially packaged and marketed loans for “for profit” initiatives.

After just a few phone calls, I learned about several local resources for entrepreneurs that could not only help me make my way through all the funding options, but would also help me grow my business, provide me with a mentor, and connect me with other small businesses who might  need my services. Wow, I thought. Maybe all that would get me to a place where I could be self sufficient and wouldn’t need “free money,” much less borrow it. Here are some of the national and local resources I found that offer advice, resources and expertise, all for free:

The Government funded Small Businsess Administration (SBA), is not a funding source for grants, but does a tremendous amount of financial assistance through a variety of loan programs, including loan guarantees with participating lenders and micro loans. We have several locations in the Kansas City area.

The SBA created the Women’s Business Centers specifically for female entrepreneurs. They also are not a funding source, but do provide advice on business planning, financial needs assessment, and information on the different kinds of funding available in the local marketplace. In my town, we have two Centers.

SCORE – The Service Corps of Retired Executives is a national organization with many local offices that matches industry experts with startups. The mentors are matched with an entrepreneur in their area of expertise.

KCsourcelink.com is a local non-profit business resource center. It currently being used as a model for a number of national networking organizations.

The Business Information Center, also affiliated with the SBA, is another resource for people trying to build a business. They provide over 200 sample business plans and information on dispelling myths of funding.