Small Business 2.0 – taking the social web to real businesses

A round up of the excellent Small Business 2.0 conference and some resources for any small business that wants to start podcasting.

By
13th October 2008 at 5:09 pm

I spent a very enjoyable day at Small Business 2.0 this weekend. The conference set out to give small businesses plenty of practical information on how to do more with the web.

Will Wynne of ArenaFlowers.com

Will Wynne of ArenaFlowers.com

The day was split into two tracks and there were really two key themes: how to sell effectively online, and; how to use the more social elements of the web to benefit your business.

I’m always saying this, but what’s become known as Web 2.0 is so much more suited to small businesses than it is to large corporations.

The social web is the web with human scale. And SMEs are businesses with human scale. The two ought to work very well together.

Except for one thing. Time.

For any small business owner, the danger of twitter, Facebook, blogging or podcasting becoming a huge time sink with indeterminate results is a very real one.

As one of the event hosts Dan Wilson puts it wittily:

You don’t need to spend a long time on social media – just five hours a day should keep your Facebook presence up-to-date with no problem.

Nevertheless, as Dan pointed out in his own presentation there are quick wins for SMEs online, but you need to plan what you’re going to do, build it into the time you devote to marketing and measure it.

If you take this approach, all of a sudden, blogging, twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, could easily become great ways to engage with existing customers, find new ones, extend your network and even win new business.

Talking of winning new business, one of the highlights of the day for me was hearing Will Wynne (how could he fail with a name like that!) talk about search engine optimisation (SEO).

Savvy use of the web has helped this former VC and member of Ebay’s UK team build a very successful online flower business called ArenaFlowers.com which is competing nimbly and effectively against the likes of InterFlora.

I talked to Will afterwards and hope to have him on SmallBizPod‘s podcast sometime soon for a more in depth discussion.

Other highlights included meeting up with some SmallBizPod listeners including Nick Jennings and Andrew Turner who ventured out of his idyllic Italian lair, as well as enjoying the positive vibes and enthusiasm that conference co-host Emma Jones of homeworking hub Enterprise Nation always brings to the party.

Finally, as promised to those who attended my own session on how small businesses can benefit from podcasting, I’ll post here shortly a screencast and links to various resources which I hope you find useful.

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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  1. Hi Alex

    Great to meet you after reading your blog over the last year. 🙂 Unfortunately I missed your segment but I’ve read some great reviews already. Good stuff. I’ll definitely watch the vid of it if it goes up on the Biz 2.0 site.

    Glad you enjoyed our presentation. I’ve posted the preso on our blog here, in case anyone wants a look.

    Look forward to catching up again soon!

  2. PS quick…whack a nofollow link on the Interflora link in your post, else you’ll be helping them out too! We can’t have that!
    🙂

  3. Good to meet you too Will. I’ll give you a buzz to set up a podcast sometime over the next few weeks.

    I’m even handed with my follows and no-follows! 🙂

  4. nudgeme says:

    Hi Alex
    Just this second ‘StumbleUpon”-ed your site and so pleased to find it! I’m doing lots in the world of web 2.0, and my interest is esp smaller businesses and people in jobs working from home. However, being UK based, I haven’t found so many forums, trainings, gurus, whatever in the field so follow a lot of US and Australia people, IM trainers etc.

    I hadn’t heard about Small Business 2.0 and would love to know more about that as it sounds like the type of event I would have attended.

    I’ve also just been reading the press release for the BT’s State of the Nation report on small businesses (launched as part of Small Business Week this week) and it echoes what you say in that web 2.0 is great for smaller firms, with 42% of home business start ups cited as making the most of the new technology opps. I’ve got a v new blog where I’ve just discussed this (jobsworkingfromhome@findfastr.com).

    You’ve obviously been going for a long time and I look forward to looking round your site. I’m adding your blog to my RSS feed, but would love to know if you’re organising any events in the future or of other ways I can keep in touch.

    Thanks in advance Alex

    Best regards

    Tamsin/nudgeme

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