tech insight and news for small business
Updated: 4 min 27 sec ago
LIVE: At Dell World, Michael Dell and John Swainson (VP of Software) stressed that the opportunity for small business owners has always been there for Dell.
In the “new Dell”, which is now a private company, the opportunity for Dell channel partners will only increase.
Small businesses who choose will of course buy direct, however, for those who want to buy through a channel partner, for a local solution – that opportunity is there too.
If you’re a local channel partner (tech solution provider) it behooves you to leverage your relationship with Dell (and other vendors) to serve your small business customers even better.
The post Live Just Now: Dell’s Arms Open Even Wider for Small Businesses Through Channel Partners #Dellworld appeared first on Small Business Technology.
If you’re a startup, mature business, entrepreneur or small business owner you will WANT to watch Dell World Pitch Slam at 2pm CST today.
Judges include Michael Dell, Shark Tank’s Daymond John (@TheSharkDaymond), the fashion mogul who created FUBU, and Elizabeth Gore (@emgoreun), the very first Resident Entrepreneur at United Nations Foundation.
Check our video interviews with two of the startups here (Simple Relevance, intelligent email marketing) and here (ihiji, network management and monitoring).
The pitching startups include:
- Guavus (@Guavus) , a big data analytics company that is turning business problems into big data solutions
- Neverware (@neverware) is a New York startup improving schools’ access to working computers through software it developed that helps old computers run like new.
- Nebula (@NebulaInc), based in Silicon Valley, is dedicated to enabling all enterprises to easily, securely and inexpensively deploy scale-out private cloud computing infrastructures from racks of industry‐standard servers. Their flagship product, Nebula One, is the world’s first turnkey cloud computing solution.
- SimpleRelevance (@SimpleRelevance) is a Chicago startup that makes it easy for customers to personalize, target, and automate digital messaging.
- Ihiji (@ihiji) is an Austin-based company that offers the only zero maintenance cloud-based remote network management solution for IT professionals and technology integrators.
- Bottlenose (@bottlenoseapp), based in Los Angeles, provides an enterprise-grade dashboard for discovering, monitoring and acting on influential trends, beginning with social media communications affecting brands.
- Fantoo (@fantootweets) is a London startup that has developed unique software that turns mundane, cluttered inboxes into an interactive, pleasant environment.
See the full blog post by Dell’s Entrepreneur In Residence Ingrid Vanderveldt here.
The post Dell World Pitch Slam Starts at 2pm CST – Michael Dell, Daymond John, Elizabeth Gore appeared first on Small Business Technology.
On the occasion of Dell World’s Pitch Slam with Michael Dell
Erik Severinghaus, founder of email marketing intelligence company Simple Relevance gives his advice about pitching and growing your business.
When pitching your business, don’t focus on just the technology of your business. By “technology” I mean don’t focus on whatever you’re selling.
Erik says, instead, focus on why you’re doing it for your customers. Why are they buying from you?
He also says that you should have a narrative because people don’t remember what you say but how you’re doing it.
Why are your customers paying you? Use this “why” as a template to give them more of what they want.
Finally, when times are tough and their are challenges focus on WHY you went into business in the first place. Let this reason keep you going through the tough times.
Watch our video below or here.
The post Your Customers Don’t Care of Your Product. They Care About Solving Their Problems – Simple Relevance – #DellWorld appeared first on Small Business Technology.
What I love about content marketing is that there are so many tools and apps out there to help small businesses do more with less effort. We’re all strapped for time and cash, so any tool that can maximize marketing results is worth giving a second look.
When it comes to trying to spread your content to a wider audience and tweak your message so it’s most effective, these tools make it simple.
If you haven’t looked at Insights for your business’ Facebook Page in a while, you might be surprised at how much better the details are. Now you can not only see how many people are “talking about” a post you published, but also what actions they’re taking, such as liking, sharing, clicking, or commenting on it.
You also get a scorecard that measures positive actions (like the ones I just mentioned) and negative ones, such as someone hiding your posts or unliking your page. You can see which posts generated the most interest and plan your update schedule accordingly.
Google Alerts is great and all, but sometimes it falls short when it comes to mentions on social media or even blog comments. That’s where mention comes in handy. Set up keyword alerts and find out whenever anyone mentions your name or brand, be it in a blog post, the comments section, on a website, or on a social platform. You can even respond to a tweet or update from within the mention platform.
You can’t deny that video is taking a bigger presence in the content marketing world these days. As a small business owner, maybe you’re not sure how you can effectively use video to engage with your audience.
Vine allows you to make 6-second looping videos. It’s a fantastic place to start. Making short videos requires virtually no investment (you probably already have a smartphone, so that’s your video camera). You don’t have to involve a professional videographer, and sometimes the simplest, roughest videos are the most successful.
Even if you don’t consider yourself design-savvy, you have no excuse for not creating professional-looking and appealing email campaigns. You don’t need HTML or design experience to use the iContact MessageBuilder™ built into the email marketing platform. You can choose from a variety of email templates and images, and then customize to match your company colors (and if you do have design or HTML experience, you can use the MessageCoder™ to get the job done).
You’ve probably heard of Digg and StumbleUpon. But did you know there’s a social bookmarking site dedicated to promoting small business content? If you want to get your blog posts and articles in front of business owners, BizSugar does the job. Submit content you want others to read, and they can give a “sugar” to those posts they deem worthy. If your post makes the “hot” list (that happens after you reach a threshold of sugars) it gets even more exposure. It’s also a great tool for discovering useful content for yourself.
I could update this list every week with new and innovative tools that help me market my business more smartly. But for now, find the ones that work the best for your company and use them to maximize your reach.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
The post 5 Cool Content Marketing Tools to Help Your Business Spread Ideas and Get Attention appeared first on Small Business Technology.
About 2 years ago I took swimming lessons. When the swimming teach would praise me for doing a stroke right, I’d feel so great inside. When she was silent – I was crushed – just like a dog or child would feel! Employees often need motivation as well. It keeps things lively, stimulates them and foster healthy competition.
Tracking progress and success of meeting goals is not easy. You could use a set of sticky notes on a piece of paper, or an Excel spreadsheet – but these arcane and manual methods might not be a great idea.
Monitae has a solution to help you track employee progress and incentives.
Here’s some background on Monitae.
Monitae a startup launching this month, lets users easily build up friendly productivity competitions, which deals with the issue of lack of motivation sometimes associated with employees.
The app is distributed through the web although mobile versions are planned to be launch mid 2014.
Here’s how Monitae works:
- A manager starts a contest in minutes using a very simple wizard.
- He can choose the metric he wants his team to focus on from our library (2500 KPIs) or create their own customized KPI (key performance indicator)
- The manager will then be able to set a goal for the team or create an individual goal for each participant.
- The scoring system allows the manager to set the points that the participants will be receiving (per units sold, per goal achieved, etc).
- If he needs to, Monitae can be integrated with the tool their employees are currently using.
That´s it, the contest is created and all the participants will receive a notification with the details. First results demonstrate that over 25% productivity improvements have been achieved by first beta testers.
Ready to bring some sanity to tracking incentives in your company?
The post Motivating Employees Is Important. Here’s How Technology Can Help. Startup Spotlight: Monitae appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Your accountant is your advisor, is your go to person for questions, is the guy who handles your MONEY, is the lady who helps you pay as less as you can to the IRS. I could go on.
Since your accountant plays such an important role in your business, big companies, selling financial services to small businesses (that’s you) are seeking them out for partnerships.
The latest in this journey is Sage One, who recently launched the Sage One edition for accountants.
Sage One Accountant Edition, an extension of Sage One, the online accounting, invoicing and task tracking solution for small businesses, links accountants seamlessly to their Sage One clients with one logon to Sage One. With anytime, anywhere access to client financial data, accountants will have the opportunity to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with their clients, providing the proactive business advice that fuels small business growth. Sage One Accountant Edition is offered to accountants at no charge.
Intuit has had an program for accountants for years and Xero a relatively new entrant (in the US) to accounting solutions is also going after accountants.
Are you an accountant? These companies want you. Are you a small business owners? Understand the financial solutions available for your business and ask your accountant for their input.
The post Why Are Big Companies Courting Small Business Accountants? appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Other than a paying customer, the second best thing for any business is a qualified lead.
This is someone who is INTERESTED in the product or service you are selling and is qualified to buy it. If you are selling pool insurance, a qualified leads is not a millionaire who does not own a pool and hates water.
I’ve been looking at a new service from Leadsift which is a do it yourself service which helps you sift through conversations on Twitter (and possibly other social networks).
Instead of just using keywords to trigger an alert to you, Leadsift also analyzes the user’s profile, past posts and other information to give you the most qualified lead.
Leadsift goes beyond just helping you SELL through social media, but also to identify customer problems and find fans who just LOVE your product or service.
Here’s a bit more information on their lead scoring mechanism that’s pretty darn intense:
LeadSift would be nothing without data and insights. We’ve combined state-of-the art Natural Language Processing with human insights to gather information surrounding purchase intent and consumer behavior. We use this powerful approach to assign a score to every lead. LeadScore is a number between 1-100 that represents the relevance of a potential customer to your business. The more likely a person is to buy your product or service, the higher the LeadScore.
We currently use over 50 signals to identify and score leads from social data. The majority of the signals used to calculate the LeadScore is based on a combination of semantic analysis of a user’s post and domain knowledge. For example, someone saying “I need a car” is scored lower than another person making a specific mention of a car model, such as “Looking for a Honda Civic,” since the individual looking for the specific model is further along in the buying process.
For every lead identified, we analyze historical conversations from users’ public social profiles to further qualify them. Based on their past posts, we extract demographic data and predict the buying stage of a consumer, which is reflected in the LeadScore. For example, a person in the market for a new car, who already has a job and owns a house, would have a very high LeadScore.
Looking to go beyond “business as usual” on social media, check out Leadsift. Check out Infusionsoft’s Lifecycle Marketing for insight on how to go beyond social media but to NURTURE your leads and CONVERT them to customers.
The post Looking to Generate Qualified Leads from Social Media? Leadsift Has A New Solution appeared first on Small Business Technology.
There are still 2 weeks of strong shopping taking place before the Christmas Holiday, so that means there is still time to amp up your sales and “Crush It”. If you aren’t sure exactly how to do that, then you’ll want to download the free Ebook: “97 Ways to Amp Up Your Online Holdiay Sales (and Crush It!)” by John Lawson (@ColderICE).
In this book you’ll learn:
- How to make simple improvements to drive traffic
- How to use marketing tactics to spur holiday sales
- What techniques merchants can do to maximize sales throughout the season
- How to use social media to attract new customers
Written by the guy that wrote the book on “social commerce”, John Lawson shares all the tips and strategies you’ll need to boost your holiday sales.
You can download your copy of the ebook here.
The post Amp Up Holiday Sales and “Crush It” with Tips From Free Ebook appeared first on Small Business Technology.
On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, the 1st annual 2014 Profitability Conference: Internal Ops – Finding the “Itch” in Operations will be taking place in Woodbury, NY. A conference designed for business owners, senior executives, VP’s, Directors and Managers, topics being covered will include:
- Hot Insider Communication Trends, Tips and Strategies
- Increasing Sales in a Challenging Economy
- Fiscal Management: Financial & Tax Accounting
- HR Must’s for a Profitable Business
- Strategic Acquisitions: A Smart Way to Grow
The 2014 Profitability Conference, which is produced by Graham International Consulting and Research, includes four business tracks including Growth in the New Millennium, Sales and Marketing, Quality Assurance, and Business Tools and Resources. Each track consists of four sessions led by noted industry leaders, including Ruben Quintero, Jeff Goldberg, Ramon Ray and Seidia Bernard.
Featured keynote speaker of the conference is three time New York Times Bestseller-Author, Pulitzer Prize Winner and political analyst on the Fox News Channel, Ellis Henican.
“In this time of highly specialized electronic communication, getting a compelling, targeted message to your audiences is very challenging,” says Dr. Corrinne Graham, President of Graham International Consulting and Research. “This conference will teach attendees how to stay relevant and competitive using the latest proven techniques. It is a must-attend event for decision makers, business owners, managers, directors, VPs, and other senior executives.”
You can take advantage of early bird registration for this conference through Dec. 17th.
The post The 2014 Profitability Conference: Internal Ops – Finding The “Itch” in Operations appeared first on Small Business Technology.
At so many events I hear people advising, “hire an intern to help you with your marketing”. While young people have a lot of talent and skill and think in different ways than adults (or older adults do), they DO NOT have the 10, 20, 30 years of experience that we have in building a business.
Sure, use interns to get your creative juices flowing and introduce you to new technology. YOU can educate them on how business works – how products are made and sold. YOU can temper their desire to “Tweet their way to revenue”.
The New York Times writes, in an article about Snapchat, Incidentally, though 20-something tech founders like Mr. Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates get a lot of ink, they are unusual. A recent study by the VC firm Cowboy Ventures found that among tech startups that have earned a valuation of at least $1 billion since 2003, the average founder’s age was 34. “The twentysomething inexperienced founder is an outlier, not the norm,” wrote Cowboy’s founder Aileen Lee.
Young people are awesome, and so are you. No work together and go make money.
I’m honored to be helping my son, Tim with his illusion business and Joshua Johns with his entertainment company, spun from him tapping on the trains of NYC to pay for college.
The post Interns and Teenagers Aren’t Smarter Than You Are. They’re Different. appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Ramon looking at a L’Oreal makeup choosing app in a NYC Train Station
Some businesses are “fun” by nature and gaming is all about what they do.
Think about an amusement park.
The more you throw the basketball into the hoop the more chances you have to win some trinket.
However, what about a law firm, or design firm or other business that might be a bit more serious.
Using gamification to drive sales or leads is something that every business can consider.
Gamification is all about creating some fun action that drives a business purpose.
Maybe you’re a dog hotel owner. Why not have a weekly contest to see who can give dogs a hair cut the best? The winner’s dog gets a free night in your doggy hotel. See what I mean? Making it fun.
My friend Melinda Emerson writes in the NY Times how franchiser, French Fry Heaven, invested $14,000 in a mobile app.
The owner created the app, a game, to encourage his customers (and prospective customers) to choose which of his over 50 french fry topics they want. Melinda writes, Looking to spread the word, Mr. Nelowet developed a mobile game app that has helped educate customers about the store’s 50 different flavors. Players match ingredients with characters like Big Tater. If you complete the game, you go on to the next character — the goal is to unlock all 50 characters. Players can earn T-shirts and free French fries.
The post Use Fun To Sell Products. The Power of Gamification To Sell. appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Retailers are master at sales. They have products on their store shelves and MUST get them out of the door and get your cash into their cash registers. If you’re small business IS in retail you probably know many of the tricks of the trade. If you’re in the services business you might know know what retailers do to get you to buy more, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Although the tactics that retailers use might appear and/or be a bit “icky” they work and cause you and me to buy more.
I think you should consider using some of these retail “tricks” in your business operations. NOT as a way to trick or deceive customers, but some of these “tricks” are just common sense.
Here’s the five tricks retailers use,. watch the WSJ video for the entire story (only about 5 minutes).
- Really friendly sales clerks.
- Appealling to your children.
- One expensive item next to a more expensive item.
- Bargain Bins.
- Price things one cent short of a whole number.
For those of you who are selling online these tricks (or concepts) are not hard to implement if you are using CRM. Amazon.com is a MASTER at selling online. By leveraging the power of CRM you can be a “mini-Amazon.com” and sell more online. Check out the more about using CRM to grow your business, from Infusionsoft here.
Can you appeal to someone’s child online, the same way you could if they walked into a retail store? Of course not. But you can use surveys and custom landing pages to better serve the customer’s needs, depending on the TYPE of customer they are.
The post 5 Retail Store Strategies You Can Learn To Boost Profits In Your Business. appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Most thriving businesses are relatively up to date with “modern” technology. Maybe they’re not using Window 8, but they’re using Windows 7. Maybe they don’t have the latest tablet, but they have one that’s a few years old. Maybe they’re cell phone is not the latest on the market, but it’s IS a smartphone (thankfully). This is good.
However, what about those businesses who are technological laggards. Who due to fear, lack of education or a resistance to invest in their business are still using “old technology” to just get by?
Not investing in technology upgrades keeps your business under performing. You might be the savviest and most accomplish business person around – but if your computer is slow and your phone won’t connect to the internet your productivity IS severely hampbered. You know this and I know this.
In the case of the federal government, as written by the NY Times, maybe they have a excuse. However, what’s YOUR excuse.
In your marketing, are you stuck in just emailing customers and NOT using CRM. In your finances are you stuck in using a spreadsheet and not an online accounting solution?
The post The Federal Government Is Using Floppy Disks. Is YOUR Business Slowed By Old Technology? appeared first on Small Business Technology.
We know that customer reviews are important – which is why we agonize over Yelp and other review services.
The NY Times writes, Today, products are being evaluated more on their “absolute value, their quality,” Dr. Simonson said. Brand names mean less. The results suggest that companies should spend less money trying to shape consumer opinions in traditional ads, he said, and more on understanding what and who are shaping those opinions.
Here’s your two prong strategy of success:
1. Continue to market and advertise your business using paid advertising and great content marketing strategies
2. Ensure you have a strategy in place to solicit great customer reviews and respond to any negative reviews. Also ensure you can leverage positive reviews to ensure others see them.
Marketing and advertising continue to create awareness about your product and boost your brand. Customer reviews help other people who are considering buying from you, to buy from you.
Want to learn more about how to get referrals to your business and other concepts of marketing? Check out this insight from Infusionsoft.
The post Why Content Marketing and Customer Reviews Are So Important. New Study In NY Times Article appeared first on Small Business Technology.
I bought Skydog a few weeks ago to manage my growing home network.
Skydog is an appliance that connects to your existing network and enables you to manage your entire network. You can filter web traffic, assign bandwidth to users, setup various zones (for maybe guests, or other purposes).
If you have a small home network or a small corporate network, you’ll want an easy to manage solution that you or an admin can manage.
Skydog is $149, with a 3 year subscription to it’s online management service.
I took the appliance out of the box, connected it to my router (Verizon Fios) and was up and running in a few minutes. The support is pretty good, with easy to understand videos liberally sprinkled through the interface.
The post Your Business Needs Network Security and User Management: Skydog Is Here appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Nelson Mandela is dead – he’s reached a “ripe age” and has died full and in peace.
He met his challenges head on and did not let his unjust time in jail damper his spirit.
In fact he leveraged his time in prison as an education to propel him to leadership which was a catalyst for change in South Africa.
As a small business owner, no famous people give a darn about your business.
However you HAVE a community of customers, vendors, employees and your FAMILY. When all is said and done – will you and your business have lived with purpose and left a legacy?
In the almost 2 years I’ve worked at Infusionsoft, I’ve seen thousands of our customers who every day LIVE WITH PURPOSE. I’m honored to contribute to that professionally and in my own person life as well.
Mr. Mandela – thanks for your life and legacy.
The post Nelson Mandela Lived With Purpose and Left a Legacy. Is Your Business Purpose Driven and Ready for Legacy? appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Network security is essential. Without it hackers and other evil people can access your network, malware can infect your computers and your mobile devices could be carriers of virus laden attachments.
A new security solution, SecuGate+ is on the market and it looks promising.
Its features include a managed security solution (so humans monitor your network 24/7), mobile device security, encryption of your network traffic and more.
Another network security appliance to consider is by SkyDog.
SecuGate is a metered solution, so make sure you know your traffic so you can decide which price point is best for you.
The post New Network Security Appliance for Small Networks: SecuGate+ appeared first on Small Business Technology.
Nobeysco Web Conferencing
Chrome recommended (Flash).