Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

 

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

You may have heard that Google has rolled out a new search algorithm that ranks mobile-friendly websites higher than sites that are not mobile-friendly. You don’t need to worry too much about this unless you rely on website leads for new clients to build your business.

If you do rely on website leads for new business and your leads have dropped off over the summer, the reason could be that your site is not mobile-friendly and has been ranked lower because of it. Here are three steps you can go through to determine the status of your site.

Take a Free Mobile-Friendly Test

Go to this link and enter your domain name:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

It takes about a minute or two to find out whether your site is mobile-ready. If your site passes, you’re done! You don’t need to do anything. If it doesn’t, then go to step 2.

Contact Your Webmaster

Ask your webmaster for an estimate to get your site mobile-ready.

Take Action

Google started making changes to the search algorithm the week of April 20, 2015 has now implemented it worldwide. To benefit from mobile traffic and a higher search ranking, make plans to get your site mobile-friendly sooner rather than later.

 

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How Pinterest and Instagram Can Make You Money.

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How Pinterest and Instagram Can Make You Money

There’s a visual side to every business, and Pinterest and Instagram, which are social media applications, can show your customers and prospects what your business looks like form day to day. Plus, you can have some real fun with it.

Pinterest allows people to post graphics to online bulletin boards and share them with others. In Pinterest, graphics of all kinds are allowed, including photographs, screen prints, logos, and more. In Instagram, photos are posted and shared among users. Here are some tips you can implement in your business to take advantage of Pinterest and Instagram.

1. Take pictures of your work.

Even if you’re a plumber, work can be interesting and artistic at times. Take a picture of the child’s toy that was clogging the toilet, and you could have an entire pinboard of “Things that we’ve pulled out of toilets.” If you’re in personal service, you can photograph your client’s new manicure or hairdo (with their permission of course). If you’re in landscaping you can snap the cleanup job you just did. If you’re a webmaster, take screen prints of your clients’ new webpages and post them to Pinterest.

2.  Take pictures of the happy client.   

Before leaving your happy client, grab a photo of them showing their new product. With their permission you can post these to both Pinterest and Instagram. As an added plus, use the client’s testimonials or review as your caption, and if they are a small business owner, include their URL to help them out a bit with their marketing and social media.

3.  Grab before and after shots.

Before and after photos are great for your portfolio and work well in both Pinterest and Instagram. They can show a future customer what’s possible with your service.

4. Shoot daily scenes at your office or place of work.

Do all your employees hangout in the morning before going their separate ways? Do you ever have all-hands staff meetings? If so, you can add these photos to your growing collection at Instagram.

5. Create topical pinboards.

Even if your job isn’t very funny, you can make funny pinboards about it (exceptions possibly being hospitals and funeral homes). Accounting humor, attorney jokes, and engineering humor can make for a fun Pinterest board.  Other ideas include:

  • A pinboard of people you look up to or who have mentored you
  • Favorite books you’ve read or like
  •  Inspirational quotes
  •  Favorite places
  •  Your team of employees, and any of the categories mentioned above

Go wild with photos and screen shots in your business, and your business will get noticed on social media.

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Cool Tech Tools: Automate Your To-Do List

Cool Tech Tools: Automate Your To-Do List

Keeping a to-do list is a great way to be productive, avoid having things fall through the crack, and unclutter your brain. How you maintain your to-do list varies: some people use pen and paper becstause they love the feeling of crossing tasks off, others use Excel or Google documents. Still others might try Evernote.

If all of those still have you feeling unorganized, then you’re in luck. There’s a whole new genre of apps to automate your to-do list. Here is a list of things to consider:

  • Would it be great to access your to-do list from any device?
  • Do you need subtasks?
  • Would you like to set priorities and due dates?
  • Do you want notifications or reminders?
  • Do you want to share tasks with others?
  • Do you have repeating tasks that need to be handled differently?
  • Do you need to be able to make comments or notes for each task?
  • Would it be nice to forward an email to your to-do list and just have it logged?
  • Do you want to be able to print your to-do list?
  • Do you want to be able to set hash tags, filters, and labels for each task?

Once you’ve thought about your requirements, now you can look for an app that meets it. Here are two to get you started:

ToDoist.com

Wunderlist.com

If those don’t work out, Google “to-do list apps” and you’ll have a bevy of selections to choose from. These to-do lists will work for not only business projects but also major life projects like weddings, vacations, and more.

Try these new to-do list apps and let us know what you think.

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Get Finance-Savvy with 10 Accounting Terms

It’s good to know some basic accounting terms, and here are ten terms with friendly definitions for your review.

Asset: Essentially, assets are what you own. These include your bank accounts, business equipment, and even the amounts that customers owe you.

Revenue: Revenue is what you make. Another word for it is Sales. You generate revenue in your business when you make a sale to a customer. The amount of the sale is included in revenue.

Expense: An expense is what you spend in your business on items that are not expected to benefit you in the long term. Expenses include credit card fees, office supplies, insurance, rent, payroll expense, and similar items that you need to incur to keep your business running.

COGS: COGS stands for Cost of Goods Sold. It’s a form of expense that directly relates to the product or service being sold. For example, if shoes are being sold, the cost of purchasing those shoes are consider COGS, while something like rent or insurance is simply an expense. COGS is more important in manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies.

Net Income: Another word for net income is profit. It’s calculated by subtracting expenses from revenue. If what’s left over is a positive number, it’s net income and if it’s negative, it’s a net loss. Besides your salary, it’s the amount of money you can either keep or re-invest into your business.

Debit: A debit is a term that tells you whether money is being increased or decreased. The hard part is that it’s opposite depending on the account and the company. Here are some examples:

  • A debit to cash increases it, so that’s good.
  • A debit to a loan you owe decreases it, so that’s good too because you are paying it off.
  • When you talk to a bank teller and they want to debit your account, it means they are taking money away, because your account is a liability to them. So it’s opposite.

Credit: A credit is a term that tells you whether money is being increased or decreased. The hard part is that it’s opposite depending on the account and the company. Here are some examples:

  • A credit to cash decreases it, as in writing a check to someone.
  • A credit to a loan you owe increases it, so you owe more money.
  • When you talk to a bank teller and they want to credit your account, it means they are putting money in, because your account is a liability to them. So it’s opposite.

GAAP: GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. It refers to the set of standards that must be followed by accountants when creating accounting reports for people like bankers and investors who rely on them.

Liabilities: Liabilities are what you owe. If you have loans taken out for your business or owe vendors money for invoices of purchases they sent you, those are liabilities. Common liabilities include sales tax that you’ve collected but not paid, unpaid vendors’ invoices, credit cards that are not paid off each month, mortgages on buildings, and any bank loans you’ve taken out.

Equity: In mathematical terms, equity is the net of your assets less your liabilities. In more philosophical terms, it’s the net amount you and your fellow business owners have invested in your business adjusted by the years of net income you’ve made less what you’ve taken out of the business.

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Cool Tech Tools: Boost Team Collaboration with Slack

Cool Tech Tools: Boost Team Collaboration with Slack

Slack is a relatively new collaboration tool that is designed to cut down on emails among team members and boost productivity. It provides messaging by topic or channel so that threads of communication can be streamlined and accessed easily.

Slack is a searchable messaging portal that allows document sharing from a team member’s computer or integrated apps such as Google Drive, DropBox and more. Slack has 300,000 paid accounts and 1.1 million active users per day. There is a free option.

Once all your team members are in Slack, they can create channels and have conversations within the channels. Channels can be organized in any way you want, such as by:

  • Departments
  • Projects
  • Clients
  • Locations
  • Trips
  • Office talk

Channels can be made public within your team or private.

You can also direct-message anyone else in the group so two or more team members can have a private talk. Conversations can be followed on any device – computer, tablet, and phone.

You can add documents to the message stream so team members can review and make comments. These documents can come from your local computer or one of the 900 integrated apps. And the messages are searchable to boost efficiency.

If you’re looking for a tool that reduces the number of emails across team members, try out Slack at slack.com.Android Group

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Biz Tip: Crowdfunding is when many people provide the money in small amounts for a project

A Quick Primer on Crowdfunding

 

An interesting way to fund your dream project, whether you are a startup or a more established business, is to consider crowdfunding.  Crowdfunding is when many people provide the money in small amounts for a project.

 

Although crowdfunding is not new, it became much more popular when organizations like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, and GoFundMe created web platforms to enable this method of raising funds.  The 2015 crowdfunding market is estimated at $34 billion and is growing exponentially.

 

In crowdfunding, the person who initiates the project receives the money that the people contribute.  The web platform that supports the project usually gets a percentage of what’s raised.  It varies as to what the people who contribute to the project receive in return.  It can be the payback of a loan with interest, shares of stock, rewards, or a possible tax write-off in the case of a donation.

 

You probably hear about companies that get funded overnight, making it look easy to create a successful crowdfunding campaign.  There is a lot that goes into the launch of a successful campaign.  Here are some steps:

 

  1. Design your project and research how much money you need
  2. Choose your platform (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.).  This requires careful research about which platform is best for your type of project as well as a complete understanding of the rules and limitations of that platform.  For example, on Kickstarter, if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get any money, including what you have partially raised.
  3. Create a video that tells your story and makes the pitch.  You must not only grab attention but appeal to both the rational and emotional sides of your followers.  You must also provide an enticing reward for your followers.
  4. Count your followers.  Do you have enough to raise the capital you need?  If not, create the marketing you need to build your followers and make your numbers.
  5. Gain some big name backers if you possibly can.
  6. Develop a carefully orchestrated launch using multiple marketing channels, including social media and press.

 

With the explosive growth in crowdfunding, it’s here to stay.  Consider how it may help your business grow.

Are you looking for new marketing methods for your business

5 Steps to Move Your Marketing into the 21st Century

 

If it’s been a while since you’ve adopted new marketing methods, it might be time, especially if you want to attract younger customers.  Here are five ideas to do just that.

 

Video

 

With YouTube as the second largest search engine, using video in your marketing is a slam-dunk return on investment.  If there is an educational aspect to your sales cycle, a video is perfect to get the message across.

 

Even better news is that many companies still haven’t caught on to how powerful video can be in marketing, so you will have an advantage.  There is no longer a financial barrier to entry as most videos are no longer professionally made.

 

There are so many ways to create video:  using a webcam, capturing your screen with webinar software or TechSmith’s Camtasia®, or even using your cell phone.  If you have a gmail address, you already have a YouTube account, and you can easily crate and customize your own YouTube channel.

 

The hardest part of adding video to your marketing is to simply take the leap.

 

Social Media

 

Social media is now one of the best places for a business to expand brand awareness.  LinkedIn provides customers with a way to discover your background.  It’s also a good source of new employees.  Facebook and Google+ enable you to build community and learn more about the interests of your customers.

 

Twitter is perfect for announcing sales and boosting event excitement.  YouTube enhances education and motivation.  Pinterest for Business and Instagram are perfect for retail to showcase new products.  Tumblr is a must if you market to teens.

 

If you’re new to social media, choose one or two sites and set up your profile.  If you already have some social media profiles, consider expanding or increasing your activity.

 

Content Marketing

 

Content marketing is another way to educate your customers before and during the sales cycle.  With content marketing, you creates a report, white paper, or educational video that describes a topic congruent with your services.  The content is typically “gated,” meaning the prospect needs to provide email address or phone number or both, so that you can follow up on the lead.  The content should be enticing and educational and should also introduce the prospect to your brands and services without being heavy handed about it.

 

Content marketing is a great lead generator, especially if you have a sales staff that can deliver scripted follow-up calls.

 

Mobile and Wearables

 

Over a year ago, Google proclaimed there are now more mobile searches than desktop searches.  For the last few years, it’s been increasingly important to make sure your website delivers a great experience via mobile technology.

 

Wearables are growing as fast as mobile did.  Innovative companies are providing a rich customer experience through wearables.  It’s now common to see wearables in health, sports, household automation, and virtual reality entertainment.  But others are having fun with creative solutions, such as British Airways blankets that turn a color based on a passenger’s mood and Nivea’s children’s sunblock that comes with a GPS bracelet tracker so the kid doesn’t stray too far away.

 

 Marketing Automation and Integration

 

Today, the entire marketing funnel can pretty much be automated, from SEO-enhanced social media posts to landing pages using content marketing to follow up emails, videos, and shopping cart links.  Almost every business needs a website, list management system, shopping cart, social media automation app, and a CRM, Customer Relationship Manager.  With this automation, you may be able to reduce sales labor as well as customer support expenses.

 

Integration of multiple marketing channels and methods is essential as the buying decision has become more complex and trust is built slowly over time.  Successful marketers are integrating SEO (search engine optimization) with social media, video with content marketing, and email marketing with landing pages, to name a few.

 

Try any of these five trends to give your marketing a future-focused boost.

Biz Tip: With Google Forms you can create and analyze surveys for free

Cool Apps:  Google Forms

 

Do you ever need to collect information from your customers?  There are many ways to do it: a form in Microsoft Word®, a fillable PDF, and a Web form are all very common.  Less common but slicker than the rest is the option of using Google Forms.

You’ll need a Google ID, and most people use their gmail account for this.  Go to Google Drive from your menu, or you can access it from this URL: https://drive.google.com.

In Google Forms, you can have customers complete a line or paragraph of text, select from multiple choice, check a box, select from a dropdown, rate an item on a linear scale, or enter a date or time.  To design the form, decide what questions you want to ask your customers.

Start creating your new form by clicking the button labeled New in the top left corner of the screen and select More, then Google Forms.

Google Forms

Title the form by typing over Untitled Form.  Your first question is already formatted for you.  Multiple choice is selected, and you can change the question type by clicking the arrow on the right side of the Multiple Choice option.  Over on the left, you can type your first question or label.  Let’s say you need to know their name, so you would enter “Name” in the field and change the question type to Short Answer.

Untitled form Google Forms

 

To add a field, click the plus sign on the vertical menu to the right of the form.  Repeat this until you have all your form fields entered.  If you need to add instructions, choose the TT option on the vertical menu just below the plus sign.  You can also add images, video, and sections to your form using this menu.

Clicking the Send button allows you to email the form, get a link (click the chain icon), or add it to a web page (click the <>).
Untitled form Google Forms (1)

There are dozens of options and settings for your form.  You can change colors (palette icon at top right), preview your form (eye at top right), or modify your settings (gear icon).  The three vertical dots at the top right provide more functions.  If you need a team member to access the responses or edit the form, you can Add Collaborator from this menu.  You can even turn the form into a quiz.

Untitled form Google Forms (2)

 

Untitled form Google Forms (3)

Once people start submitting their answers, you can review them by clicking the Responses tab at the top of the form.

Google Forms are versatile, professional-looking, and best of all, free.  Give them a try next time you need to collect information from your clients.

Can you use Google Forms for your business? Give us examples how.

Biz Tip: Instagram is an app to share photos of your products, team, customers, or office in order to promote your business.

Cool Social Media Apps: Instagram

With over 400 million active users monthly, Instagram could be a great opportunity to showcase your business.  It’s a mobile app where you can share photos and videos.  Instagram is owned by Facebook and is considered one of the major social media platforms.

Instagram is a natural app to share photos of your products, team, customers, or office in order to promote your business.  Since more than half of all Google searches are now mobile, it just makes good business sense to maintain a presence on a major mobile social platform like Instagram.

The average Instagram user is female, urban, under 30, has some college hours, and makes $60K a year.  So if that’s your customer demographic, you’re sure to find her on Instagram.  Some of the things you can share on Instagram include:

 

  • Photos of your customers with their new merchandise
  • Product photos
  • Your logo image
  • Inspirational quotes and sayings
  • Client testimonials made into a text graphic
  • Photos of events
  • Photos of your customers
  • Photos of you and your staff
  • Photos of your store or office
  • Photos of your merchandise being worn, used, eaten, or whatever
  • Images of any awards your company has garnered
  • Photos of your ads, trade show booth, or other marketing materials
  • Sales announcements made into a text graphic
  • And videos of all of the above

Building a following on Instagram will help you build brand awareness so you can generate new traffic and new customers.  It can also help with hiring if you are looking to hire millennials, which now outnumber any other generation in the workforce.

Here are five ideas to help you work fewer hours while making the same or more income.

Is There Really a 4-Hour Workweek?

 

Tim Ferriss made the 4-hour workweek a popular concept in his 2007 book.  But is there such a thing, and more importantly, can business owners like you and me cash in on it?  As the last of the Baby Boomers approach retirement, the topic of working less while making the same or more income is popular.

 

Here are five ideas to help you work fewer hours while making the same or more income.

 

Active vs. Automatic Revenue

 

Some business models allow you to generate automatic revenue.  Automatic revenue is revenue you can earn and leverage over time by doing something only once and not over and over again.  Active revenue is earned while doing something over and over again.  Showing up for a teaching job with a live audience is active revenue while producing and selling video recordings of the same teaching is automatic revenue.

 

A goal of a 4-hour workweek concept is to increase automatic revenue while reducing active revenue.  You may have to think out of the box to do this in your industry, but the payoff can be huge.

 

Delegation and Outsourcing

 

One traditional way to move to a 4-hour workweek is to have others do the work.  Hiring staff frees up your time and allows your business to become scalable.  When it runs without you, it’s more salable too.

 

Time Batching

 

If you have a lot of distractions in your day, you can easily double your productivity by learning time batching, which is grouping like tasks together in a block or batch of time and getting them done.  For example, if an employee interrupts you with questions multiple times a day, train them to come to you only once a day to get all their questions handled at one time.  Take your calls one after the other in a group, and then stay off the phone the rest of the day.  Do the same with email, social media, running errands, and all of your other tasks.

 

Automation and Procedures

New apps save an amazing amount of time. List all of your time-consuming chores and then find an app that helps you get them done faster.  For example, a scheduling app can reduce countless emails back and forth when setting meetings and appointments.  To-do list or project management software can cut down on emails among you and your staff.  And apps like Zapier can connect two apps that need to share data, reducing data entry.

 

Leverage

 

The key to working less is to embrace the concept of leverage.  How can you leverage the business resources around you to save time, increase staff productivity, and improve profits?  It takes discipline and change, two difficult goals to accomplish.  But when you do, you will be rewarded.