Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Have a Chance to Compete for Up to $2,000 in a Reward Card and a Free Consultation With Marketing Expert Guy Kawasaki in 'The Better Way Challenge'

Small- and medium-sized-business owners can compete for a chance to win up to $2,000 in a reward card and a free consultation with business-marketing expert Guy Kawasaki -- and share the triumphs and trials of running a business - by entering The Better Way Challenge.

The challenge, a video contest presented by Verizon and Cisco, is designed to encourage businesses to use new collaborative tools to maintain their competitive edge in a fast-changing environment.

"Innovation and technology will power us out of this recession," said Kawasaki. "The Better Way Challenge enables entrepreneurs to share their victories and defeats, tips and tricks, joys and pains of running a business. Online collaboration and social media can generate business, and these videos will accelerate the learning process for entrepreneurs and business owners."

Entering the contest is easy: Just submit a video of less than three minutes that describes "the most challenging part of getting your whole team on the same page." Details for submitting a video are available at business.verizon.net/betterway.

Contest participants must either be subscribers to the Verizon Collaboration Center, located at the Verizon Small Business Center (http://business.verizon.net), or they may sign up for a free 30-day Verizon Collaboration Center trial.  No purchase is necessary.  Entrants whose videos are accepted for judging in the contest will also receive additional free six-month subscriptions to the Verizon Collaboration Center.

In addition, any business that signs up for the free 30-day-trial Verizon Collaboration Center subscription will automatically be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a Flip Mino HD Camcorder. As many as 90 camcorders will be given away during the six-month promotion. 

A panel of judges will select three contest finalists, based on the originality and relevance of their videos. The grand-prize winner will receive a $2,000 reward card and a free consultation with Kawasaki, the renowned blogger, speaker and best-selling author of "The Art of the Start" and "Reality Check."  The consultation will take place via Cisco TelePresence, which transmits life-size images and replicates face-to-face interaction so realistically that participants feel as though they are all sitting in the same room. 

The second-prize and third-prize winners will each receive a reward card for $1,000 and one-on-one consultations with industry experts from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, which designs innovative processes and strategic plans for businesses.

All three consultations will be tailored to the specific business needs of the winners and focus on ways in which collaboration and online resources can make their businesses more efficient and competitive.

Monte Beck, Verizon's vice president for small-business product strategy, said, "Small businesses need a lot more than e-mail and Internet access to stay competitive. They need to move fast and utilize tools like the Verizon Collaboration Center that can help them grow their businesses, run them more efficiently and, reduce the cost of doing business."  

The Verizon Collaboration Center, powered by Cisco WebEx Technology, offers voice and Web conferencing.  It enables users to instantly and effectively collaborate with colleagues, clients and vendors in a virtual environment that is accessible from any Web browser. Licensed users can share documents and calendars, discuss ideas, set goals, and manage projects and business operations. With Web Meeting, users can meet online - in real time - with coworkers, partners, suppliers and customers.

In addition to Internet, TV and phone service, Verizon also offers small businesses encryption and security solutions, as well as additional discounts on supplies, shipping and much more.  For news, resources and more tools for Verizon's businesses, visit the Verizon Small Business Center at business.verizon.net, a one-stop online portal with easy access to free Webinars, collaboration tools and a platform for small businesses to network.  Cisco offers small businesses the technology they need to accelerate and rethink their business.

For more information on The Better Way Challenge presented by Verizon in cooperation with Cisco, visit business.verizon.net/betterway.

* NOTE: The Better Way Promotion ("Promotion") is a trade promotion sponsored by Verizon Services Corp. and Cisco Systems, Inc. ("Sponsors") and is only open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older at the time of participation.  In addition, persons making the entry must be an employee or sole proprietor of a valid and active business ("Entrant").  No purchase is necessary, and the Promotion is void where prohibited.  Complete official rules for the promotion by which all entrants are bound can be found at business.verizon.net/betterway.

About Cisco Systems
Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.
About Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group

Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) is a unique organization that drives thought leadership and creates momentum with customers to provide them with innovative approaches to complex business opportunities.

About Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki is the author of Reality Check and The Art of the Start, the managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, and Co-Founder of Alltop.com.  A former Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. Guy was one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer.

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 89 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 230,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.