avatar Web Wednesdays – December 14, 2011

Posted on Dec 21, 2011 by in News, Web Wednesdays

Web Wednesdays – each Wednesday we will feature a website that we’ve come across while in our process of searching for inspiration, the latest trends, or learning about anything and everything we can get our hands on that interests us.

Hey Web Wednesday readers, its that day of the week again! This week we are showing off the capabilities of Doodle. It is a great asset to have for those of us that can not keep up with our scheduling and need a little assistance with our time management. Available as an app for smartphones, the program helps set up times for group meetings and will connect to your calendar to help keep track of what times you are available. Doodle currently has 10 million users since going active in 2007, so it certainly has a lot of fans out there. Recent changes to the Doodle App gives the user more personal capabilities, including customizing the look of your Calendar Page.

If you’ve been following our blog posts lately, it seems very similar to the Tungle App that was posted back in November. However, Doodle appears to have a more simple interface for some users and Doodle also functions with the use of polls. Similar to the Facebook Polls, you can create suggestions for meeting times and send it out to your colleagues, which makes it a lot easier to get everyone together at one time. So if you’ve been struggling with your Calendar updates lately and need a system that can keep up with all of your appointments, I would certainly suggest this app to help you out.

avatar Web Wednesday – November 23, 2011

Posted on Nov 23, 2011 by in News, Web Wednesdays

Web Wednesdays – each Wednesday we will feature a website that we’ve come across while in our process of searching for inspiration, the latest trends, or learning about anything and everything we can get our hands on that interests us.

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving everyone! With Black Friday upon us, I thought it was a great idea to post about Mint.com, an easy way to manage your monthly spending and save more money in the long run. The app brings all of your financial accounts together online or on your mobile device. From there it can calculate monthly spending budgets in any category of your choosing and achieve your savings goals. Mint.com is a free app available at the app store, and it will notify you when bills are due through text message or email, so you never have to suffer through those late fees again.

Another great money saving feature on Mint.com is if you are looking into obtaining a loan or credit card, Mint.com will compare recommended loans/credit card companies based on your specific qualifications and find the best option for you. And who doesn’t love saving money? So I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday knowing now that you can save even more money for those early bird specials on BlackFriday.

avatar Verizon Small Business

Posted on Apr 27, 2011 by in Advertising, IT, News

This TV commercial from Verizon Wireless is a “must see”.

The Small Business with the Best Technology Rules. See Susie’s technology in action. Susie’s lemonade stand receives a technology upgrade from Verizon.

avatar 5 Tips for using Skype for your business

Posted on Oct 05, 2010 by in IT, News

Skype is a great solution for overcoming the barriers of cost, distance and technology. Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet (VOIP). Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a nominal fee using a debit-based user account system.

I have family that lives overseas, so I’ve been using Skype for many years. Skype has rapidly been making its way into the business community. Here are 5 tips that will help you with your business by using Skype:

  1. Screen Sharing may be Skype’s best feature: It amazes me how many people still don’t know that you can share your computer screen with the person on the other end of the video call. It’s an ideal way to remotely give presentations, show code to another programmer and show others what’s currently in your browser. Just right-click during a video call and click “Share Your Screen” (or “Share Screen” on a Mac).
  2. Download Skype Extras: Skype is an extensible platform through its many plug-ins, known as “Extras.” You can download apps that do everything from enable you to play games to record Skype calls. For example, Unyte provides advanced small business collaboration tools, while Pamela includes call recording, Outlook integration and Voicemail.
  3. Set up call forwarding: This is one of the most important things to set up if you’re a regular Skype user. You can forward incoming Skype calls to your cell phone, even if your computer is turned off. You need to set up the feature under the “Tools” menu, and you will use up Skype credit during forwarded calls, but it’s worth it, especially if you don’t have the Android or iPhone application (both of which run in the background). In fact, we suggest setting up call forwarding anyway, because the Skype mobile apps are well-known battery hogs.
  4. Check in on the house while you’re away: There’s an old trick for checking out your house if you’re away and have a home computer. Create two Skype accounts and log in to your new account at home, set it to auto-answer any incoming calls, have it set to start video automatically when you are in a call, and enable Skype Video. The end result is that, when you call this account from your business trip in Beijing or your office downtown, you will automatically be able to see what’s going on at home and put your mind at ease.
  5. Turn Skype into your customer service tool: You don’t have to put your Skype username on your website to provide customer support; you can use a handy Skype button to make it easy for customers to contact you with issues concerning your product. That way, you can make it known that you’re available via Skype without distributing your username to the world.

If you have your personal tips on how you’ve been using Skype for your business, feel free to leave a comment below.

The video below is one of the case studies for using Skype for your small business.

This post originally appeared on the Mashable.

avatar Social Media and Small Business

Posted on Mar 02, 2010 by in Advertising, Social Media

I was browsing the web today doing some research. I was looking to find some case studies about social media and small business. Application of social networking in every day small business operation. Pretty much trying to find some solid data/stats on this subject.

Every web design, pr and advertising agency today will tell you that you must have the Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (now also Google Buzz) accounts to expand your brand online.

Each type of business’ utilization of social media networking is different, especially the integration of social networking and search engine optimization is existing marketing and advertising plans.

Long story short, this is what I stumbled on (no pun intended=):

From Mashable

The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business looked at the relationship between social media and small businesses and found that the technology adoption rates in the U.S. have doubled in the past year from 12% to 24%.

The data comes straight from the university’s third installment to its Small Business Success Index report and is based on a December 2009 telephone survey of 500 small business owners. Adoption rate calculations are compared against a baseline report conducted in December 2008.

The study concludes that one nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes — Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular sites. In fact, 45% of surveyed respondents even believe their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less.

As the graphic below details, the small business owners who are using social media are primarily engaging in social media through company pages (75%) and status updates (69%) on Facebook or LinkedIn. What’s especially intriguing is that a much smaller percentage of respondents — just 16% — are using Twitter as a customer service channel.

Another interesting notion is that small business owners now believe social media can help them on the lead generation front, and that is the primary motivating factor for engaging in these new customer service channels. So while half of surveyed respondents found the time it takes to use social media sites more daunting than expected, 61% are still putting in the hours and making active efforts to identify new customers.

Clearly social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses, but we’re especially curious to see how Twitter adoption rates fluctuate over the time. While we expect more small businesses to use Twitter as a customer service channel in the year ahead, as it stands, Facebook and LinkedIn have become the predominant platforms for small business owners.

Social Media Statistics in Small Business