Technology a Growing Focus for Small Business

By Reuters  |  Print this article Print

Small businesses are targeting investments in technology and their Web and social media presence as they ring in the new year of 2011.

Other small companies are taking up the technology mantle in the coming year, as they once again prepare to do more with less.

Take AUM Framing & Gallery, one of the oldest custom-framing shops in Denver, Colorado. The business, which built its reputation around customer service, transferred ownership last year. As luck would have it, the buyer was a former information technology consultant with a penchant for photography.

"It was very much an operation that had grown considerably, purely through its reputation," said 54-year-old Trevor Byrne, the new owner. "The previous owners didn't do any marketing and they weren't technologically savvy."

He's changing things fast. By early next year, Byrne plans to have two websites operational, one for the AUM's retail framing operation and another for its gallery, as well as a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, he aims to introduce informational video about the business on YouTube.

"The thing is just really getting people to know about us," said Byrne, who is also committed to training longtime staffers, many of them artistic types, to start capturing email addresses and related information from existing customers.

"It's a different environment," said Byrne, who is working to reverse flagging sales. "Our objective is to grow out customer base and therefore our revenue in 2011."

Other companies, having already seen the power a strong online presence can have on sales, are vowing to take technology to the next level.

That's the case with Dannijo, a luxury fashion jewelry retailer founded in 2008 by sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder.

The Snyders already sell much of their jewelry and accessories online at Dannijo.com, a site that was revamped only weeks ago. Next year they want to boost their presence on emerging platforms such as Tumblr, the micro blogging site, as well as Svpply, which lets users create their own collections of favorite products and recommend them to friends.

"We're really focused on building out the tech side of the company," said Danielle Snyder, 25.