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Bringing you face-to-face with small businesses around the world: Welcome to 'Skype in the workspace'

In the world of business, one of the riskiest things you can do – but perhaps the most thrilling – is to become your own boss. Fuelled by an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to see ideas, products and services brought to life, many people overcome the initial challenges and successfully start their own business.

At Skype, we believe there’s an opportunity for small business owners to share experiences with and learn from each other. This is why today we are opening the Skype in the workspace (SITW) platform to the public. It’s a free-to-use online platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs, enabling instant connections with potential customers, partners and suppliers across the globe.

When we launched the beta version of Skype in the workspace back in May, I introduced Mark Ralphs, a digital strategist from Brighton, UK, to the platform. He offered some great feedback on his experience with it, as well as some advice for those getting started with the platform; like the need for offers on the platform to be very targeted to audiences to be successful. Since then, we have attracted 500 small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs to sign up, representing industries from fields as diverse as smartphone design and business coaching.

What’s driven this uptake is the fact that Skype in the workspace brings you closer than ever before to the customers, partners, suppliers and prospects that you need in order to be successful. No matter what your business or where you’re based, joining the Skype community allows you to make valuable personal connections in real-time, face-to-face.
The feedback we have been getting from users has been great – we’ve heard tales of better engagement with customers and of businesses making use of tools that were not previously available to them.

Just starting out?

For new startups, Skype in the workspace offers up a whole range of experts and consultants who are on hand to provide best practice and guidance for getting your idea off the ground. As a first step, click ‘add a service’ and create an offer to publicly demonstrate your services. We’ll look to help the right members discover your business, but at the same time you’ll be able to get busy promoting your page via other social media platforms!

Looking to expand?

Meanwhile, for businesses that are a little more established, there are already hundreds of new business relationships to be made and promotional tools to help you succeed. Once you’re signed up, you can instantly connect with other users and arrange Skype sessions to showcase your product or service. Then, when an opportunity is over, the person you’ve done business with can instantly give you a testimonial of the product/service you offered, helping your build a portfolio of endorsements backing your business.

Perhaps the part of the package that we are most excited about, however, is its all-in-one convenience.

Skype in the workspace provides you with a single, web-based platform to effectively run your business online. SITW is designed to be simple and straightforward for small businesses to use. Users can sign up in just 30 seconds using their Skype or LinkedIn profile and sharing tools on the site allow users to share their latest business activities with their online network via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Whether it is video calling with Skype or booking appointments to meet with new connections, it can all be done within the Skype in the workspace environment.

Don’t forget, SITW is also open to the public. Consumers are able to use SITW as a directory of companies across the globe, offering them the ability to search and instantly connect with businesses.

Ready to get started? Registration could not be easier. Anyone with a Skype or LinkedIn account can join Skype in the workspace today in less than 30 seconds, to start making connections to drive your business forward.

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