Category Archive: Business Software and Technology

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.

Connect with Haley:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/powerful-tools-managing-your-online-business/

Access Points: Where is Your Company Weakest?

~by Eileen O’Shanassy~

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Every company has weak spots where criminals and competitors seek to gain access to sensitive information that can damage the company or the lives of one or more employees. Although many business owners and administrators know where to look for security problems, some are unaware of the following three weak access areas.

Reception Desk

weak access pointsReception is not secure simply because a receptionist can “see” who comes in and out of the building. Reception desks actually open a company up to a wide range of theft scenarios, including computer password and proprietary data theft. In many cases, the theft happens while a receptionist is distracted by a client, phone call or package delivery. To improve security, make certain that the reception desk features a high front counter that wraps in a U-shape around the desk to make it harder for people to see items on it and locked reception desk swing gates to prevent people from easily slipping behind it.

Employee Computers

Another weak spot involves multiple computer security issues. Many companies continue to use old computers and software that have outdated security on them. These computers do not have the most modern security tools needed to block hackers and data theft, including updated antivirus software and Wi-Fi security. There has also been a big surge of employee internet security problems in recent years. You should set up all computers to prevent employees from purposely or accidentally downloading software off the internet that has not been approved by the company. Also, check your employees’ social media accounts. Some employees might accidentally post proprietary or unannounced information to their accounts or content that can damage your company’s reputation, such as images of them committing illegal acts and negative statements about the company.

weak access pointsHealth Data 

If your Human Resources department stores hard copies of any health information about employees for insurance purposes on-site, then you have a huge potential identity theft weak spot in your company’s security. It is far easier for an identity thief to create a false identity when they have a lot of personal details to use, especially health details. Scan all this data and then store it electronically via one or more health data storage programs with EHR migration capabilities. As for the hard copies: Store them in a secure off-site location.

You do not need security expertise to detect and fix weak access points. You merely need to implement these and similar changes today, and then continue to watch out for security weaknesses going forward.


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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/access-points-where-company-weakest/

How to Protect Your Company from Third Parties

~by Lizzie Weakley~

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As a business owner, it is your sole responsibility to protect your company from third parties. These are the greatest threat agents to the sensitive data of your company. A few of the security practices that you should put in place to enhance the safety of your company include the following.

Get to Know What Your Vendors can Access Remotely

Set guidelines to prevent your vendors and contractors from having access to any of your company’s sensitive data. Start by ensuring third parties agree and comply with your contract terms and conditions. And ask them to provide their certificate of insurance so as to prove that they meet the required coverage based on the contractual insurance provisions entered into with your company. You don’t have to do this alone. You can use an insurance certificate tracking service to get this information.

You should also be able to retrieve any sensitive data your contractors or vendors do not need for doing their work. Doing these things are critical when you are working with infrastructure management partners since they often have freedom to access data that could pose a serious threat to your company if not secured properly. To be on the safe side, provide them access to data strictly on an as-needed basis.

protect your company from third parties

Implement Two-factor Authentication

Equip your infrastructure management partners with two-factor authentication to guarantee application security irrespective of where they are located, whether on the cloud or on-premises. Cloud-based solutions are becoming more popular by the day because they are more affordable and easier to deploy than those that use hardware tokens.

Also, when you provide two-factor authentication for your contract employees, it means that you have complete control over their access. And if you can configure lockout and fraud settings, it will also help you to prevent brute-force (password guessing) attacks.

Conduct Regular Risk Assessments and User Security Training

Establish security policies that align with the objectives of your company. Rely on these details to conduct a risk assessment of the potential threats that are unique to your specific environment and to be clear on where third parties may fit into your work model.

Also, conduct user security training and ensure your contract employees know well what is required of them. Impart knowledge to your staff on how to spot a phishing email and fully understand why they should never type in your company’s credentials to a website linked in an email.

Use Firewalls

Where possible, restrict your vendors to have access to certain segments of the network. These segments should be ‘firewalled’ from others. This reduces the risk of a third-party information breach. And to ensure this security is not compromised in any way, provide tailored systems for vendors to make it impossible for any third party to connect to your company’s network.

protect your company from third partiesAudit Network Defenses Consistently

Furthermore, you need to evaluate access controls and security guidelines frequently so you can identify security gaps. A real-time audit can show your IT department what others are accessing on your system and the reasons for doing that. This exercise enables you to be proactive and identify any problematic activity.

Evaluate Your Third-party’s Security Posture Periodically

Security assurance is a continuous process, so you need to do periodic audits. Carry out regular audits of your third parties to be sure they are abiding by industry-approved practices and have the right technical controls in place. Your objective should not be to audit each of your third parties you interact with, but to carry out a professional audit with higher frequency for strategically selected high-risk third parties.

The role of third parties is evolving and holding them accountable is a big job. You can seek the help of security companies out there to help you ensure they are doing their work of protecting your data.


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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/how-protect-company-third-parties/

Make Sure Your Business Has Top Notch Equipment

~by Kara Masterson~

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Regardless of the industry you work in, your business makes use of a wide range of equipment regularly in its operations. Equipment can be used to produce the products you sell, to boost productivity and efficiency, to keep workers safe from harm, and for a wide range of other purposes. Because of how important your company’s equipment is, it makes sense to invest in high-quality equipment that meets all needs. However, some business owners are using low-quality or outdated equipment to the detriment of their business. By following a few tips, you can more easily ensure that your team is using top notch equipment for all activities.

business equipment

Keep Up-to-Date With Modern Features

As a first step, take time to learn more about different features and upgrades available in the most innovative equipment on the market today. You can accomplish this in several ways. For example, you may subscribe to industry newsletters that periodically provide information about equipment features. You may also visit specific manufacturers’ websites regularly to keep up to date with their product developments. For example, if your business uses a boiler, you may want to look into places like Nationwide Boiler to explore modern features in different types of boilers and find the best possible one for you.

Explore Equipment Options on the Market

Ideally, your research on different features will be expanded beyond a single company, and this enables you to easily compare different equipment options on the market. Some manufacturers and retailers may offer similar features or other beneficial features at a fraction of the cost. Shopping around for different products allows you to identify the most cost-effective way to implement new technology in your operations.

business equipmentReview Your Equipment Regularly

After you have learned more about the modern features available in today’s equipment choices, you need to compare those features against the features in the equipment your team is using. In some instances, it may not be cost-effective to make an equipment upgrade for features that offer minimal benefits. However, some features can transform the way your team works, may save you money or may offer other key benefits. By analyzing the features available against your current features, you can better determine if now as a good time to upgrade.

Consider Leasing Equipment for Cost Savings

Buying the latest equipment on the market can be costly, and it does not always make financial sense to make an upgrade. Leasing equipment is an option available through some retailers, and this often is more cost-effective than investing in new equipment every couple of years. When you lease equipment, you may benefit from an on-going maintenance plan and lower monthly equipment costs.

Regardless of whether you choose to buy or lease your equipment, you understandably want your team to use the best equipment available for the tasks at hand. When you make a regular effort to follow these steps every few months, you can better determine when to act on an equipment upgrade.


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Kara MastersonMeet the Author: Kara Masterson

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/business-top-notch-equipment/

4 Ways Shoddy IT Services Can Hurt Your Bottom Line

~by Anica Oaks~

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Companies need a high level of IT services and support to remain competitive and stay profitable. IT infrastructure is involved in virtually all aspects of doing business, from maintaining payroll to emailing clients.

IT Services

Here are some consequences of poorly managed IT services:

1. Poor Employee Morale

It is important that employees be engaged with their jobs. Employees who are comfortable and well-supported feel a greater sense of self worth and are more productive. However, that requires having the right tools for their jobs, whether that’s spreadsheets, video conferencing or CRM software. Having inadequate tools or networks only frustrates staff. They come to work with negative expectations and a feeling that their efforts are unappreciated. Bad morale means low productivity and high turnover rates. Both are counter-productive to sustaining profit margins.

2. Decreased Innovation

Two of the most important benefits of modern technology are multiple channels of communication and access to a wealth of information, whether that’s over the internet or within a company’s own data. Limited capabilities in either area mean that information and ideas are not flowing. The exchange of information encourages more input into problem solving, a process which drives innovative solutions. Poor information exchange means missing out on creative opportunities that make businesses more brand-able and innovative.

IT Services3. Lowered Efficiency

The purpose of all software and hardware is to improve efficiency. Obsolete or poorly designed systems may be causing more delays and resolving fewer problems. Managing IT infrastructure can be an overwhelming job for smaller companies, who increasingly turn to managed IT services. Tech support services includes anti-spam and anti-malware services, desktop support, system administration, and much more. They offer companies access to a team of qualified professionals at a fixed rate for scalable services.

4. Poor Customer Service

With the competition only a click away, good customer service is important to retaining customers. The cost of poor customer service can run as high as $41 billion per year. In order to provide an excellent customer experience, support teams need prompt access to accurate information on customers, products, current marketing campaigns, technical information, and more. The only way to provide it is through fast, comprehensive telephony and data systems.

No matter how many sales are made, inadequate computer systems can drain away a large part of potential profit. Operating costs are increased by slow networks and frustrating software, while customer satisfaction drops. Being aware of such technical issues and finding affordable solutions, is the first step towards improving your bottom line.


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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.


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