To say that 2017 was an eventful year is probably one of the biggest understatements ever made. The year may end, but the issues that small-to-medium (SMB) executives face have not. Finding (and keeping) the right talent, growing a customer base, expanding while maintaining profits, and figuring out the potential of emerging technologies are just four of the many issues that SMBs will contend with in 2018.
Technology moves fast. In this last year, chatbots (utilizing machine learning), artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, internet of things (IoT), and blockchain have all grabbed headlines. To know the path to take and when to take it requires information—expert information.
And that is where Oracle’s experts can help. It is not just our technology that is disrupting the status quo; our product experts, customers, and thought leaders are providing the insight to help you put all the pieces all together to profitably grow your SMB.
And the one place you can find this is the Oracle SMB Blog. Week after week, we post new, thought-provoking content, designed to help you Get Going, Get Better, Get Ahead.
Therefore, as the start of an annual tradition, we would like to present you with our “Top 5 Blogs of 2017.” Check them out and, if you find value, subscribe to our Oracle SMB email newsletter to get the best of the best delivered straight to your inbox.
So without any further ado…
Chatbots, which utilize machine learning and AI, can comprehend language, significantly improving customer service in a cost-effective manner. But there are certain pitfalls as well. Lack of escalation workflows, incomplete integration (can your chatbot check inventory levels?), and too broad of a focus are just a sample. In this blog, Oracle Vice President of Product Management – Mobile, Bots & AI, Suhas Uliyar, offers SMBs six tips to utilize this engagement medium successfully.
It is no secret that there is a shortage of finance talent and that SMBs have a tough uphill battle to find a capable CFO. To be successful, SMBs need to not only focus on hiring and recruiting but on providing the right environment – regarding workload, opportunity, compensation, and technology. Let’s face it, very few people will want to work long hours and deal with manual processes for little money. However, if you can eradicate these issues, you can leverage the enormous advantage your SMB has—the opportunity for talented finance professionals to break barriers and reach the c-suite. Ken Judd, Dallas Chapter President of FEI, explains how to successfully find and hire a great CFO.
As the leader of a fast-growing SMB, sleep does not come easy some nights. Sure, you may lay down and turn out the lights, but does your brain turn off? Or are you worried about how overworked your employees are, or if you have enough cash to cover next month’s expenses, or if you are billing and getting paid on time? You are not alone. Most SMB leaders lose sleep, even those on the Inc. 5000.
Start off 2018 the right way. Take our quick, two-minute assessment, and see how your company compares with those fast-growing companies. Pinpoint critical issues and find out what you need to do (if anything) to grow cost-effectively.
Company failures have deep roots; shutting down operations never has to do with just one thing. The same holds true for success. The foundation of growth is to form relationships with a variety of stakeholders—investors, customers, employees, and suppliers. SMBs need compliant, and easy-to-understand business reports for those stakeholders, AND they need to make those reports available to stakeholders. Companies that don’t share their data remain small (100 percent in a recent survey had less than 100 employees, and 66 percent had less than one million dollars in revenue). Guest author Steve Cox, Vice President, ERP and EPM Cloud Business Group, Oracle, provides five steps to revolutionize your SMB’s reporting into a massive competitive advantage.
Jason Richmond, Chief Culture Officer and Founder at Ideal Outcomes, KNOWS culture. While researching an upcoming book (about overcoming the obstacles of SMB growth), Mr. Richmond found that even companies that have achieved success (i.e. had revenues between $100 to $500 million) are discovering that getting to that “next level” is more difficult than anticipated. They have hit a plateau. To get past that plateau and continue growing, SMBs need to answer several questions successfully. These questions include 1) why do we exist, 2) who do we serve, and 3) what sets us apart from our competition. In other words, they need to establish, promote, and live their culture.
But wait, Oracle has even more expert help. SMB Experts is an Oracle-sponsored panel comprised of today’s SMB thought leaders. These small business experts are creating blogs and other great content to provide the information needed to Get Going, Get Better, Get Ahead in 2018.So make your first new year’s resolution. Join our next “Tweetchat” - Delivering a Better Customer Experience - on January 9th at 3 p.m. ET. (#SMBExperts). It is easy. Just follow the hashtag.