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Four Ways to Harness the Internet to Help Your Small Business

It is often said that small businesses are the engines of the economy. Small and nimble, they are able to deploy resources and explore ideas with a speed and free-wheeling character that larger enterprises cannot match. Historically, however, this size has also been a disadvantage as small businesses have struggled to overcome the same barriers of entry into the marketplace that larger firms also face. Recently, small businesses have begun to take advantage of the Internet as a way to level the playing field, increase efficiency and maximize profits. Working to the advantage of small businesses, the availability of high speed internet with unlimited data limits is much greater thanks to companies like Exede, the most consistent ISP in North America in terms of speed.

 

Marketing via Social Media

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The Internet has made costs of marketing and advertising almost completely scalable; businesses no longer face exorbitant upfront costs when they use services like Google AdSense. Now, small businesses can use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to market their products to their most loyal customers without spending a dime. These services, looking to find novel ways to monetize their huge user bases, now also allow advertisers to reach new customers at low, and entirely scalable, cost.

Today, many small businesses encourage their customers to “like” them on Facebook or “follow” them on Twitter. This allows the enterprises to push product and marketing information directly to these customers, whose interest has already been demonstrated, at no cost. While this a great marketing avenue, social media is no longer JUST a marketing channel. Social media has become more of a customer experience channel where you communicate and engage your current and potential customers.

 

Sales Using an e-Commerce Solution

For firms that sell conventional products, one of the largest costs of doing business is maintaining a sales staff. While there is no replacement for a skilled salesman and the accompanying client relationship, small businesses that adopt an e-commerce solution, a way of selling products to customers over the internet, may be able to trim the size of their sales staffs and increase the company’s efficiency. If existing customers who know what they want can place orders directly over the Internet, salespeople can spend less of their time entering data into computers and more time developing relationships and selling products to new clients. While it certainly feels like e-commerce has taken over, Jet.com founder Marc Lore reports that just 8% of all U.S. retail sales occur online; a number that he expects to skyrocket in 2016.

 

Connecting Customers with Each Other

Companies of all sizes doing business online are quickly realizing that many of the services that were once provided to customers by the firm, sometimes at substantial expense, can instead be provided by other customers over the Internet and at little to no cost. Businesses of all sizes now routinely create online communities where customers can answer each other’s questions about products, share experiences and even provide technical support. After incurring the modest costs of setting up and moderating these communities, small businesses can realize savings in terms of reduced and more efficient technical support and sales staffs.

 

Outsourcing Projects Inexpensively

There are a lot things that have to be done to get a small business off the ground, at least some of which will be beyond the expertise of the firm’s small number of employees. Going outside the company, or outsourcing, is a common way to get tasks like graphic or web design completed for much less than the costs of taking on a new employee. However, outsourcing, especially of technical work, can still be expensive.

Recently, online outsourcing communities like upwork.com have greatly reduced the cost of obtaining one-off work. Whereas in the past small business would have to work through an outsourcing consultancy or local connections, these websites connect firms directly with qualified freelancers around the world. The increased pool of available workers both increases the chance of finding someone capable of doing the required task and, through competition, drives down the prices.

By employing these four practices, and by always looking for new ones, small businesses can use the Internet to decrease costs, increase efficiency and raise the bottom line. No matter where you may be, your business can use a high speed internet plan to your advantage and help move your small business forward!

 

How Does Satellite Internet Work?

How Does Satellite Internet Work? Satellite internet is a tricky concept to grasp intellectually. How does it all work? We found a great guide on how satellite internet service works courtesy of Calera. Their guide to understanding satellite internet technology will definitely provide a little more clarity on the subject. We had no idea that the satellites used for internet service were 23,000 miles away! Definitely makes you want to compliment the satellite internet service on their speed. That’s a long way to travel!

Image courtesy of Calera

Satellite Internet Service Provider Award Winners

We’d like to announce our winners for best satellite internet providers of 2013. Overall we evaluated providers based on delivery of advertised speeds, pricing, availability, reliability and customer service. Here is our list of winners:

Satellite Internet Provider Awards#1 Overall Provider: Exede Internet

We rated Exede Internet as the #1 overall provider in the satellite internet space because of 2 major factors:Delivery of advertised speeds where they actually average over 120% in delivering on the 12mbps download speed they advertise, which actually ranks them #1 overall in the category even when compared to cable and fiber internet providers! Outside of this we ranked them because of their pricing model which charges based only upon data allowance, so no matter what plan you pick you’ll get 12mbps downloads and 3mbps uploads!

Fastest Provider: HughesNet

The hughesnet Gen4 Internet Service took speeds to the next level in 2013 with the availability to get 15mbps plans which are 25% faster than the speeds delivered by Exede. For those looking for a deal we suggest you check out http://www.satelliteinformant.com/ as they are offering a deal that allows anyone looking for HughesNet to bundle DIRECTV service and get $100 back, the best deal we could find on the internet.

Rising Star

The newest player on the scene is actually a common name, SkyWay USA who is up and under new management. They are offering service similar to DISHNet where they are selling extra inventory from both Exede and HughesNet but offer a more personal touch.

ViaSat / Exede Launch 12 Mbps “Fly-FI” In-Flight Internet

Airline JetBlue has developed a new in-flight wireless Internet service called “Fly-Fi”, which utilizes ViaSat’s Exede satellite internet service. With the Exede partnership, JetBlue claims that passengers can connect to the internet with up to 12 Mbps download speeds. The “Fly-Fi” system should support between 50-70 devices.

Because the service is still in beta mode, users during the beta time are able to use the service for free, but JetBlue does offer a $9/hour paid version that allows for premium usage (downloading large files, Netflix, file transfers). The company has not announced if the “Fly-Fi” browsing option will continue to be free after the beta period ends.

JetBlue’s ultimate goal is to have the service installed into their entire fleet by the end of 2014. JetBlue’s use of Exede could spark a change in in-flight Wi-Fi, which is currently controlled by GoGo, with airlines looking to increase profits by offering these services.

Check out a review of JetBlue and Exede’s “Fly-Fi” service in the link below:

How Fast is Satellite Internet? What the Official Data Says

If you’re thinking about signing up for satellite internet service for the first time, you probably want to know what you’re getting yourself into first. How fast is satellite internet? Are the speeds going to be good enough to handle the types of activities the modern web user likes to engage in online?

Satellite Internet Download Speed How Many Times Faster than Dial-Up Internet?
1 Mbps 17 times faster
3 Mbps 53 times faster
5 Mbps 89 times faster
10 Mbps 178 times faster
15 Mbps 267 times faster

According to recent studies, the top satellite internet companies are offering download speeds of up to 15Mbps. But what does that mean? To give you an idea, the average satellite internet speed (15Mbps) is up to 200 times faster than a dial-up internet connection, sometimes the only other internet option available besides satellite internet for many rural American citizens. Check out this handy data chart to the right to compare satellite internet speeds to the speeds of a dial-up internet connection.

According to our data calculations, Hughesnet Gen4 Internet is the fastest satellite Internet service out there, similar in speed to DSL or cable internet in some areas.*