Verizon has lauched a new Small Business Center Web site. The company has had a website for its small business customers, but this is a new and updated version of the website launched just this week. (Take the tour.)
At the Small Business Center you can set up a profile using the professional networking module; get access to Verizon products you have subscribed to such as Internet service; find discounts on business products and services; participate in the Verizon Business Link Rewards program (similar to a credit card rewards program); and get access to news and information such as the New York Times Small Business section.
The centerpiece of the site is the Verizon Collaboration Center, powered by Cisco WebEx technology. It functions as an online workspace. A small business team can use it as an intranet to collaborate among employees and co-workers. You can invite outside parties, such as clients and/or vendors, to your workspace. Users can share documents and calendars, access email, and manage / track projects.
With the Verizon Web Meeting add-on, you can hold online meetings. From inside the Collaboration Center you also can subscribe to a list of third party collaboration tools. For instance, I noticed one of the tools you can sign up for is eXpresso, an application that allows you to share Excel spreadsheets and other documents securely online (George Langan, the CEO, is one of our guest experts here at Small Business Trends).
“Small businesses need a lot more than e-mail and Internet access to be competitive, especially in today’s challenging economy,” said Monte Beck, Verizon’s vice president for small-business products and services. “We built the Verizon Small Business Center to offer small businesses leading-edge technology tools and business resources to assist them in becoming more agile, productive and efficient – all appropriately scaled for the needs and budget requirements of a small business, and all conveniently integrated on a single Web portal.
“What we’ve created with the new Verizon Small Business Center is similar to what an information technology department would build for a large corporation, but at a fraction of the price,” said Beck.
The Verizon Collaboration Center is a hosted service that you can sign up for online. For one to five employees it costs $24.99 per month. And you can access other Verizon services you subscribe to from the new small business site.
Other features are free and do not require payment. For instance, you can be listed in the online networking section (pictured above) free of charge. There are two kinds of profiles: a personal profile for you as an individual, called a professional profile. There’s also a profile for the business, too. Profiles are searchable by keyword, allowing users to actively network.
Verizon is also kicking off a free webinar series a couple of times a month. UPDATE: Verizon has asked me to do a webinar for them – I will be speaking on a business topic (not about Verizon products.) I’ll provide details about the webinar once I have them.