Category Archive: Business Software and Technology

How Technological Development Can Lead to the Success of Your Business

~by Lizzie Weakley~

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Information technology has become an essential part of every business today. Most companies rely primarily on technology to operate, and without it, their business operations would crumble. The improvements in IT industry have seen the incorporation of field service management to improve the productivity of employees. Therefore, maintaining an IT department in every company is essential for promoting its growth and functionality in addition to improving the efficiency of workers. Information technology has enabled businesses to cover a wider client base and build lasting relationships with potential customers. IT has also helped reduce labor costs through automation and aided in streamlining the business operations.

technological developmentAn underperforming IT department would hurt business performance levels as well as hinder innovation. Additionally, a non-functional IT department slows down the company’s ability to release new products and limits the company’s ability to incorporate changing market trends to its system. Customer satisfaction also becomes a big problem with a poorly functioning IT department. Therefore, businesses should employ a pro-active approach with technological development and IT department improvements in their companies through the following:

1. Integration with other Departments

The IT department no longer works as an independent department in a company, but acts as a driving force that contributes to business growth. Therefore, integrating the IT department with other functions in a company allows the dedicated teams to interact in a human way rather than in the realms of the computer networks. The IT teams play a significant role in business, but their involvement in other business operations such as decision-making helps increase their relevance in a company.

2. Providing Corporate Computer Training

An IT department cannot thrive on its own, meaning that it requires help from other divisions. Business managers should arrange training that teaches the importance of the IT department to the growth of a company. This way, other units would appreciate the role of the IT teams in the business. The employee gets to learn and understand various processes and functions by attending java classes to help with extending the infrastructure and application landscape in the company.

3. Development of the Right Team for the Job

Having a sluggish workforce would reduce the productivity and the growth of the IT department in your company. Therefore, business managers should hire self-driven and reliable professionals who can complete their services in the shortest time possible. A small team with dedicated workers contributes to a strong IT department.

4. Provision of Career Development Opportunities

technological developmentThe information technology world is a growing industry, and IT employees need to be up to date with the current trends. Providing career development opportunities enhances your IT teams’ knowledge, thus increasing their productivity and performance. Four out of five IT professionals attest to the importance of career advancements, and they would gladly quit their jobs to enhance their skills. Therefore, it would be easier to provide the opportunities for career advancement while the professionals are still on the job rather than hiring new workers.

5. Games and Competitions

The IT processes are broad, and most technicians enjoy handling various challenges in the industry. Introducing competition on various IT tasks helps to keep an active department while at the same time expanding the knowledge of the workers. This increases the innovativeness of the teams and promotes group involvement.

Improvement of the IT department contributes directly to the growth of a company. IT may be the next big department in the future following the rapid growth in the technology industry. Therefore, business owners should aim at laying a strong IT business department in their companies that will run effectively, both in the short-term and long-term.


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Lizzie WeakleyMeet the Author: Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky, Snowball.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/technological-development-lead-success-business/

Caring for Your Company: How to Ensure Your Business is Secure

~by Kara Masterson~

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Now that you’ve started your business, you know that it takes much more than a dream and a little money to achieve success. Practically every day you face new challenges that you work hard to convert into opportunities. Still, with everything you do you haven’t done enough if you haven’t considered security. An unlimited number of security issues could compromise the integrity of your firm and jeopardize your future. Adopting a security mindset can do a lot to proactively address many possible problems.

business is secure

Use the following tips while caring for your company and keeping your business safe.

IT Security

Hackers and other cyber criminals can attack your firm regardless of its size. Avoid making the mistake of thinking that your business is insignificant to your industry or market. Even if your competitors eclipse you in terms of sales and human resources, the existence of your business means that it is at risk. Create an IT security policy and train your staff to properly use your computer workstations, servers and networks. At the very least, you should have a firewall to detect and prevent digital intruders. Also, equip every computer and mobile device that has access to your network with antivirus and Internet security software.

Physical Security

business is securePreoccupying yourself with digital security can lead to the neglect of traditional measures. Rather than carelessly leaving valuables sitting on shelves, tables and desks, you should secure them to reduce the risk of after-hours theft. Some valuables, including weapons and cash, should be secured in a safe. Luckily, there are security related businesses that offer a variety of safes and security automation tools that can do the job. Inspecting the locks on your doors and windows can help you resolve security lapses before they occur. Similarly, keeping track of keys can prevent unauthorized access to your facility. You should also consider applying digital locks and biometric identification devices to control access to sensitive areas of your firm.

Personal Security

Do you and your employees feel safe during the day while working at a company office? Unanticipated events can result in the death or injury of your team members. Video surveillance and access controls can reduce the accessibility of your facility to outsiders and provide more time to take evasive action in the event of a security event. If necessary, consult with local law enforcement or a security consulting firm to get sensible ideas for workplace safety.

You can ensure business security by paying attention to the above vital safety concerns. As you develop an awareness of security issues, act on them. The results you get from a minimal investment of time, effort and money can deliver remarkable results.


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Kara MastersonMeet the Author: Kara Masterson

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/your-company-ensure-business-is-secure/

Why Entrepreneurs Need to Focus on Risk Management First

~by Mila Sanchez~

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If you have dreams of starting your own business, or have already opened one, you know there are so many things you have to think about. For instance: what do you want to sell? What service do you want to provide? Where do you want your business to be located? How do you reach your intended customers? But, the thing you need to think about most is risk management.

risk managementAs any entrepreneur knows, there is a lot of risk involved in starting a business. In fact, nine out of 10 startups will fail. This sounds like a scary number, but don’t let it hinder your drive. However, do let it highlight the importance of addressing and managing your risks as you go forward with your ideas. Project managers for established businesses know the sensitive and serious nature of analyzing and managing their risks, and the basic principles can really be applied to startups as well. What else is a startup other than a big project you hope succeeds?!

Here are some risks you should be aware of so you can best prepare for and manage them.

Researching the market and demand

Taking a good look at the market and demand is vital when determining if your business idea is a viable and sustainable one. Is there a demand for the product you want to offer? Is that demand already being filled by other businesses? If so, what is it about your product that makes it stand out among the rest?

For example, sushi is constantly growing in popularity. But if your city of 200,000 people already has 20 sushi restaurants with moderate traffic, there is a good chance that opening another restaurant dedicated to that delectable delight won’t have outstanding success. Unless you can guarantee that your product is different and better than the rest out there, it might be better to work on a business plan that addresses a demand not already being filled by others. By figuring this out in the beginning, you can eliminate some of the risk of your business failing.  

Identifying your customers and outreach

Whether your business is offering an entirely original idea or a new product you’ve invented, you need to identify your customers. Who is your target customer? Why is your product something that they need? How are you going to reach them and provide your product?

Luckily, it’s easy to research these questions with the internet. You can see if people are complaining about the problem you are trying to solve or having conversations surrounding the idea. Once you can see who might want your product or service, it’s time to find the best way to reach these potential customers. If you can’t effectively reach them, your business will never have a fighting chance. The risk here is your new product or service and whether or not it is going to be successful; researching and finding your target customer is going to make planning for reducing this risk a lot easier.

Keeping your business safe

risk managementWith technology creating so much access these days, starting a business has become easier than ever before. Almost all functions and information on the “paper” side of your business is done through computer programs and online, making many processes efficient and accessible. Unfortunately, all of your sensitive business information being digital makes you a target for cybercrime, and small businesses and startups are especially vulnerable.

Cybercrime is a huge risk, and if you are attacked, it can destroy your business and even your livelihood, as you are likely heavily invested in your own business. Using proper firewalls and security encryptions are essential to keeping your business data and your customers’ credit and debit card information safe. Routinely running virus and malware scans will also help prevent and stop attacks to your hardware and software.

Knowing and managing your risks will help set you up for success as you ride the rollercoaster that is starting a business. With the help of technology, you can easily research your market and demand, find and reach your customers, and secure your business data. The more you can plan and control these risks surrounding your startup, the more you are setting your new business up for success.


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Mila Sanchez


Meet the Author: Mila Sanchez

Mila Sanchez is a writer with a BA in English Linguistics living in beautiful Boise, ID. Her ambitions include traveling the world, studying languages and taking pictures of her dog, Baymax. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram!


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/entrepreneurs-focus-risk-management/

How Business Pros Effectively Manage Their Computer Systems

~by Rachelle Wilber~

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computer systemsYour corporate computer systems is the driving force behind the operation of your business. Without it, you may be unable to conduct any business activities. Effective management of your computer system requires diligence, knowledge and plenty of time. Keep these four tips in mind when managing your business’ computer system.

1. Securing Routers

Securing the routers of your computer system ensures that nobody outside of your business can access the data stored on your hard drives. It also helps to prevent anyone from using your internet connection to conduct illegal or unauthorized activities. To secure your router, a multi-pronged approach is best. A combination of setting high security settings, changing the SSID, password, and using a firewall provides you with top-notch protection.

2. Keeping Software Current

Keeping all of your computer systems’ software current is essential to maintaining efficient operations. Updating operating systems automatically helps to keep each computer running at its peak level of performance. Applying the updates also helps to protect each device and your network from hacking. Be sure to keep your security software current so that it can continue defending your computer system from viruses.

3. Learning about Computer Science

Learning more about computer science can help your business excel in the marketplace, especially these days. Earning an online computer science master’s degree in computer science provides you with the advanced knowledge that is needed to efficiently set up and configure your company’s computer systems. You will learn important skills, such as ideal wiring configurations for optimizing speed. Your computer science program will also help you learn how to prevent your computer system from hackers and other unauthorized users.

computer systems4. Protecting Connected Devices

Your business’ computer systems also include the Internet of Things. From the portable USB drives and memory cards from digital cameras to the smartphones used by your employees, nearly any device could harbor malware or viruses. Be sure to implement an automatic security scan any time one of these devices connects to your computer systems. The few seconds it takes to run a security scan is well worth the effort compared to the aftermath of dealing with malware or spyware.

Earning a master’s degree in computer science will help you to manage your company’s computer system as effectively as possible. On a daily basis, you can also take important action steps to keep the systems up and running. Staying on top of software and security updates and protecting your router and internet connection will help to keep your business operating as efficiently as possible.


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Rachelle WilberMeet the Author: Rachelle Wilber

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym.

Follow Rachelle here:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/how-business-pros-manage-computer-systems/

Suggestions for Working with a Digital Design Agency

~by Dixie Somers~

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If you’re the owner of a small business or start-up, you’ve probably read or heard about working with a design and development company at least once. Their praises are sung across the web and within local communities, but what makes them so great? Are they really an essential asset to your company, or can you go without one for a while and only turn to them when you need to strongly market yourself or solidify your brand?

digital agency

What Does a Digital agency Do?

Digital agencies wear many hats; while some may choose to focus their services toward graphic and web design, many offer full-service packages that include everything from designing logos to building websites and coming up with social media management strategies. If you’re trying to build an online reputation and establish a strong presence through a website and on social media, a digital agency can either help you build from the ground up or improve existing profiles and sites.

Know What You Want Beforehand

Before you even reach out to a digital agency, assess your business’s current online situation. Do you have a website? If so, are you happy with its design and layout? If not, what would you like to change? Do you have social media profiles set up and connected to your site? Do you publish content at all, or are you working with a static page?

Ask yourself what you want before reaching out to an agency. Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with industry lingo. Experts are able to translate “I want my website to stand out more” and “My social media isn’t gaining any followers”, and turn it into a successful design or strategy.

Be Open to New Ideas

One major frustration for designers and social media strategists at digital agencies is hesitancy or downright refusal to implement strategies from clients. Even if you aren’t sure how a strategy works, be willing to give it a shot and learn along the way. A good digital agency won’t just throw you into the lion’s den either; they’ll work with you step by step and teach you how to properly maintain the success their strategy brings about.

Bring Examples

digital agencyThe back-and-forth of the revision process can take literally months, and it wastes resources and time for everyone involved. Before you work with a digital agency, bring examples of sites and social media accounts you aspire to have for yourself. These examples should point to specific elements you like such as a layout, color scheme or the type of content that a company creates for their followers. Be as concrete as possible in what you like so the team you’re working with can craft a strategy or design that’s as accurate and “you” as possible.

Do Some Studying

You don’t have to be a professional to grow your social media. Some quick research and basic knowledge will allow you to enhance your online presence and build your reputation on your own. For starters, check out Hubspot and Moz, two digital agencies with phenomenal blogs that offer information and tutorials on all things social media, and familiarize yourself with Google’s SEO Guide.

Not only will implementing some strategies before you work with an agency help you cut to the chase, but an understanding of social media terminology and the basic science behind online branding will allow you to communicate more effectively and analyze any suggestions from the agency on a more critical level.

Cut Costs by Doing Half the Work

If you or someone you know can code or design things, then you could save money by paying the digital agency for their strategies and advice and then doing some of the actual work yourself. They can advise you on how to build a social media profile, but if you want to save money in the long run and do it on your own, learn the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter and WordPress management to save money and grow your business on your own.

Testing the Waters

Many digital agencies offer free consultations, and you can get a strong feel for their energy and the types of services they specialize in just by browsing through sites. Take your time to look up digital agencies in your area, but don’t hesitate to send an inquiry. Most of the time, you’ll be able to get information about what the agency could do for you with no obligation, and this form of comparison shopping will help match you with the right agency early on.


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Dixie SomersMeet the Author: Dixie Somers

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/suggestions-working-digital-agency/

Website Design: 3 Important Aspects for Optimal Online Aesthetics

~by Emma Sturgis~

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When you decide to create a website for your business, you are basically trying to take your company to the next level of success. This is why it is so important to ensure that your website design is as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Unfortunately, many web design companies create ‘cookie-cutter’ websites that are neither aesthetically pleasing nor unique. Creating a visually appealing website is one of the best ways to ensure that your company stands out from among your competitors.

website designWhen creating a website with optimal aesthetic appeal, it is a good idea to follow these basic guidelines:

Use High Quality Images

The Internet is primarily a visual medium, and people navigating the web are far more likely to click on something that is visually appealing rather than something that is ordinary or plain looking. Therefore, it makes good sense to have compelling, high quality images on your web pages presented in an organized and uncluttered way. High quality image presentation does not simply refer to posting photos, but may also involve web graphics, background images and even the color scheme that you use for all of your web pages. A great example of high quality image use and color scheme is this Realty website. A highly organized presentation of unique images will provide your site with the optimal aesthetic quality that will set it apart from your competitors.

Optimize Your Headers

Optimal website design aesthetics should always include page headers that reflect the page content in a way that excites interest and compels your visitor to scroll down and scan your website. Page headers should also be optimized to coincide with search engine optimization tools to attract more traffic to your website. A skilled web development firm will know exactly how to create the optimal page headers to stimulate web traffic and increase page views.

Make Your Website Navigation as Easy as Possible

website designWebsite navigation is one of the most important considerations in any website design project. There is nothing quite as off-putting to a customer as visiting a website that loads slowly and has a confusing layout. Optimal aesthetics should govern every aspect of your website design, including the navigation. When a website appears to be cluttered, it will be difficult to navigate. Organize your website in a visually stimulating but logical way, with contrasting colors that evoke positive emotions. Use graphics and photos as often as possible in your navigation and your website will be easy to navigate and extremely enjoyable.

How can your website stand out if it looks like every other website out there? Obviously, the best way to ensure that your website stands out is to create a web design with the optimal aesthetic appeal. This can be done through the use of high quality images, optimal page headers, attractive high-contrast color scheme and easy-to-use website navigation tools. If you have any questions about enhancing the visual appeal of your website, it is always a good idea to consult a web design professional.


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Emma SturgisMeet the Author: Emma Sturgis

Emma is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and rock climbing. Say “hi” on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/website-design-aspects-optimal-aesthetics/

How to Streamline Your Business’ Slowest Processes

~by Eileen O’Shanassy~

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streamline businessThere are some parts of doing business that simply move too slowly. As an entrepreneur or a bigger enterprise, knowing how to streamline and digitize processes keeps you in the clear. In this day and age, it’s more sensible to use technology than to do things manually, whether you are handling payroll or looking for new employees.

Here are several ways to streamline business and speed up the slowest parts of doing business today.

Digitize Data

Most business people nowadays are trading in their filing cabinets for computer files. Computers make it simple to store and access a lot more data. It’s faster to retrieve someone’s personal file than it was years ago and you can see all your documents at a moment’s notice. You need data archiving technology, like cloud software, to store data for the long term. This could be patients’ medical charts in EHR Migrations or customers’ financial information.

Rotate Tasks Using Software

streamline businessA common reason many businesses lag behind in speed and progress is the tedious work they have to do manually everyday. Office workers see most tasks as repetitive, so within a few months, they are the first ones to slow down and achieve less. There is a software program designed for every business department that exists. First, rotate the tasks within your company regularly to have your workers take on new responsibilities. Encourage the use of software to get the work done more quickly and accurately. Make sure you schedule tasks and employee schedules as well so you can make sure rotation is being used in all levels.

Update the Automated Technology

Sometimes the cause of your slow progress is found in the machinery. If you think your equipment is fast, there may actually be a model that is faster and more up to date. A book printer that has used one machine for decades might produce thousands more books if they upgraded to a new model. Every few years review the new lines of equipment that are being promoted in your industry. Consider the popularity of well-known brands that are more reliable and longer lasting.

Every business has areas that move too slowly, whether it’s the call center or office workforce. Slowness means inefficiency, which translates to lacking profits and falling behind your competitors. Even if you fall behind for several weeks, it could take you months to catch up. To stay on top of your industry, choose from several proven ways to speed up the work and keep employees interested and productive.


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Eileen O'ShanassyMeet the Author: Eileen O’Shanassy

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking and kayaking. Check her out on Twitter @eileenoshanassy.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/streamline-business-slowest-processes/

7 Benefits of Going Green in Your Business

~by Tess Pajaron~

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Many businesses today are struggling with the idea of changing the way they do things to get on board with green initiatives. It looks like it will cost quite a bit of overhead to get things in place, and the idea of having to train employees on new technologies or procedures can seem overwhelming. What many business owners don’t realize is that there are many benefits to their company going green that may make it worth the transition in a very short time.

going green

1. Reputation

Today’s consumer is bombarded with choices about what to eat, wear and buy. Moreover, today’s consumer is very concerned with their own environmental impact and their carbon footprint. When offered a choice between two products, many people are now opting to spend a little bit more to support a company that they feel is socially and environmentally responsible. When you opt not to go green, you can eliminate this entire segment of your market, basically handing potential customers to your competitors that have chosen to go green.

2. Archiving

Switching to digital technologies not only reduces use of paper, it means that you can keep a record of absolutely everything that transpires. Emails, memo’s, chat messages, invoices; you name it, it’s backed up on the “Cloud”. There is the added protection of knowing that your data, customer records and record books are all safe in the event of a disaster.

3. Cost Savings

While there may be an initial expense in going green, there will be long-term savings realized when you do. LED lights are expensive, but they last practically forever and use minimal electricity. Going digital will cut down on the money you spend on paper, pens, tape, staples, and other office supplies. Even updating your building with energy efficient products will save you money on your power, water and heating bills.

4. Tax Breaks

This is a big one. There are numerous tax incentives for businesses to go green. Whether it’s a deduction for building improvements or a credit for upgrading a system, this is often where businesses find the most gains. Look into your local tax codes to find out where you might catch a break, and even if your local government can advise you.

5. Marketing

going greenAs stated above, today’s consumers are interested in finding businesses and products that not only meet their needs, but that share their values of environmental sustainability. Being able to market your business as one that cares about protecting the environment and preserving the earth for future generations can really boost the traffic that you see.

6. Employee Wellness

This one is overlooked by many people. Removing harsh chemicals from any of your products or just from your building maintenance can improve the health of those working around you. Getting rid of harsh overhead lighting, switching to cleaner-burning fuels and many other green processes can actually help your employees to avoid illness and stay positive. Even things like incorporating “walking meetings” can have multiple benefits. It keeps you from using energy resources while sitting in a conference room, while at the same time giving the benefits of exercise to everyone involved.

7. Recruit Fresh Talent

Just like today’s consumer, today’s talent is interested in working for a company that shares their values and makes them feel as though they are contributing to more than just the bottom line. Young graduates will take the job at the green company over a traditional competitor, even for less money. The very fact that they are working for a green company that values the environment over profits is considered a benefit. You can’t go wrong there.


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Tess PajaronMeet the Author: Tess Pajaron

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/7-benefits-going-green-business/

Get the Word Out: 4 Types of Marketing for Your Small Business

~by Anica Oaks~

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Developing an effective marketing strategy is usually challenging. But with research into your target market and some creative thinking, small business owners can drive more customer engagement to boost revenue. Innovative approaches for traditional marketing channels can lead to greater brand recognition.

types of marketing for your small business

Here are four types of marketing that you can use to bring more sales to your company.

Direct Mail

Most people tend to think of this as obsolete. But companies of all sizes have been doing this for years because it works. The average response rate for direct mail is 2.6 percent. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s not bad considering the relatively low costs involved. Email campaigns are even more affordable. Spamming is frowned upon, but by building your email list through opt-ins on your website, you’ve got an audience that’s already interested.

Barcode Technology

Smartphone users are using apps that let them scan barcodes, like Microsoft’s Tag. Using barcodes in your printed materials, including business cards and signage, provides a quick link to featured products. Users can simply scan a barcode with their phone to immediately get more information, photos, and so on from your website or other online sources. This is a great marketing tool in that it’s very convenient for customers.

types of marketing for your small businessSocial Networks

Major social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also cost-efficient ways to build up a following. You simply set up a profile and post new products, offers, photos, or other relevant info. But it isn’t an advertising channel. Above all, you have to engage with your audience by answering questions and responding to comments. Social sites also enable you to gather feedback from your audience. Many sites also now have user analytics and paid ads to take your marketing one step further.

Promotional Merchandise

Corporate gifts emblazoned with your company name and logo are an excellent way to increase brand awareness and enrich the customer experience. Screen printing can be done on a variety of surfaces at a low cost. A screen printing company can assist with artwork services, prepare and inventory a variety of screens, and provide a variety of products and services to help you get the best cost and quality from gift merchandising.

These are just a few ways to engage more customers. It’s important to understand the likes and dislikes of the demographic you’re targeting. But with the right knowledge and some original ideas, you can make your company stand out from the competition.


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Anica OaksMeet the Author: Anica Oaks

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean and anything outdoor related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/4-types-marketing-small-business/

10 Powerful Tools for Managing Your Online Business

~by Haley Lynn Gray~

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There are a ton of great tools out there to manage your online business. Finding the right ones can be a great exercise in fun — and frustration. There are so many new products and tools coming out every week; the hardest thing is not jumping from one tool to the next as shiny object syndrome hits.

There will always be great new tools coming out, but these are some we use in our business that we find very helpful.

1. Ontraport.  We use Ontraport for a lot of functions in our business. We use it to manage our email list, opt-ins, email autoresponders, affiliate programs, online course delivery, auto-billing, and more. It’s not the least expensive tool out there for managing your emails, but it is quite possibly the best kept secret. It is insanely powerful, and it offers a ton of value for the price. If you are looking at creating landing pages, opt-ins, emails, affiliate programs, and any of those types of programs, Ontraport is rock-solid.

Ontraport can even be integrated with your website to manage your pop-ups on your website. That means all of your opt-ins and pop-ups on the website can be managed from Ontraport, and your management of your business becomes much simpler.

2. Social Quant.  I use Social Quant heavily to help manage my Twitter accounts. It is one of the reasons that I’ve been able to add 16,000 new followers to my Twitter account in one year. The tool searches for people who match keywords you specify. It then follows them. If they follow you back, then they are active users and Social Quant keeps them. If they don’t follow you back in a few days, it releases them and moves onto another round. The cool thing is that Social Quant is helping me connect with legitimate businesses and helping me get in front of people without me having to do all of the legwork myself.

managing your online business3. Crowdfire.  Crowdfire allows you to message people who have followed you on Twitter and ask them to read a post on your blog or get your free download. Yes, it’s corny. Some people hate these types of auto-message tools, but the reality is that they do work, and they work really well. Most people only have about 200 followers on Twitter, so those of us in the business get a lot more messages than your average bear.  

4. MeetEdgar.  What I love about MeetEdgar is that it is super, super simple to use, and it allows me to reuse content on social media. That is especially powerful on Twitter, as the half-life of a tweet is just a few minutes. By being able to reuse the content we have created and sourced, we are able to make our work go much farther. It means I’m able to post around 60X/day on Twitter and increase my reach while growing my following. I can also pull in content from other blogs and sources so that I have more depth with the content I’m posting. That means better results too. The only downsides are the cost, at over $60 a month, and the fact that MeetEdgar doesn’t support every platform.

5. Buffer.  I love Buffer because it’s super inexpensive and allows me to manage a ton of accounts for my clients. I can even re-buffer the posts and add those to the queue. It doesn’t allow for automatic reuse of posts, like MeetEdgar, but it does allow me to manually re-add items back into the queue. It supports nearly every platform out there, including Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, Facebook, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Business Pages, and Twitter. They keep adding new features, and it is a tremendous tool for helping manage your business.

6. Google Docs.  I love Google Docs for managing non-confidential documents. That means that my assistant and I can pass information back and forth and keep it in a central repository. Since it allows multiple people to edit a document at the same time, and you don’t end up with versioning issues, it can be a fantastic tool for collaborations. 

7. Microsoft Office 365.  The cool thing about this is that you can buy one license, and install Microsoft Office on up to 6 machines. If you have kids and other family members, you can get your docs on pretty much everyone’s machines. If you have a very small company, this works too. Since Office is one of the de-facto standards for managing a business, this is a great way to get valuable software for everyone.

8. Acuity.  Acuity allows me to manage my calendar — and it integrates with Google calendars. I can take payments for individual sessions or for classes, and they recently added the ability to accept recurring payments. You can block off your available times, with or without buffers. Then you can give people a link to your calendar so they can schedule a time that works for both of you. This avoids the back and forth that frequently occurs.

9. Canva.  If you want to create fun graphics for your social media, website, etc, one of the easiest ways to do it is through Canva. They offer a TON of free options for graphics, fonts, illustrations, and more to help you get your point across for your business. I use them to create hundreds of memes. I also use them to create custom graphics for my clients.

10. Dropbox.  I love using Dropbox for storing pictures that I can then share with clients and access from multiple computers. I like how it shows up as a folder on my computer and is super easy to use. You get one free Gigabyte of storage for each new person you bring in. It’s fairly inexpensive to use and works well for your business.

There are hundreds of great tools and apps out there that can help you with your business. Choosing the tools that make the most sense for you can be the hardest part. That, and not jumping from one platform to the next all the time.


Have you been using Google as your business consultant?

Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?

Schedule a consult with me today.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

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