Browsing Posts published by Cyndee

Simplex-IT’s February Lunchinar focuses on the technologies which more and more companies are taking advantage of to allow their employees to work from home (or other remote office).

Join our own Bob Coppedge as he explores the liberating and wide ranging capabilities of Unified Communications, Email Anywhere (and on almost any device), internet-enabled applications, cloud storage and more. Gone are the days when workers are tied to their office and the data that resides there. Finally, we’re free at last!

 Simplex-IT’s monthly Lunchinars are always free, open to all and focused on sharing information. Join us!

Where:                Hattie’s Café, 164 N. Main Street, Hudson
When:                  Wednesday, February 20th, 2012 from 11:30am-1:00pm

As a bonus, we will be awarding a door prize of Microsoft Office 2010 to one lucky attendee. Free food AND free software – how awesome is that!

We remind you, though, seating is limited. To reserve yours, email John@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277. Come join the fun!

Extra! Extra! Extra!

We will once again be webcasting this event LIVE using Microsoft Lync. It’s free and it’s easy. If you can’t make the lunchinar in person but would like to listen in from the comfort and convenience of your office, contact me at the above numbers and I’ll send you the details on how you can connect.

By Joanna L. Krotz

It’s everywhere you want to be. Business gets easier when you have a recognizable brand. Think about BMW or Burger King, for example. All you need do is mention the names and millions of people throughout the world have an immediate perception and expectation of what that company stands for. There’s an emotional connection between the customer and the company name.

With a strong brand, you don’t have to sell nearly as long or as hard. Customers know what you stand for before the pitch or proposal.

Here’s how to give your company the kind of brand identity that will help drive sales. Here, too, are tips for customizing a brand personality toolkit that will keep that brand alive and growing.

Define Your Personality

A brand is the promise you make to customers combined with the customers’ judgment about how well you deliver on that promise. A successful, brand becomes an emotional bond that builds customer loyalty. A brand includes your logo, color scheme, taglines, slogan, design elements and more.

Think of branding as the personality of your enterprise. Define that and the logo and other marketing messages will follow.

To build your brand, begin by thinking through exactly what it is you sell and why customers choose your product or service. Identify the promise you are making to your customers. For instance, you may manufacture vacuum cleaners, but what you’re really selling is a better way to clean house. You must also define what makes your product more desirable to the customers you’re targeting than that of your competition.

For help in creating logos and taglines, you might meet with one of the many nonprofit small business advisory groups, like SCORE, the Service Core of Retired Executives (check your city directory to find a branch) or a local SBDC, a U.S. Small Business Development Center, often located on university campuses. Both usually offer free advice. Gather family advisors, staff, or friends to brainstorm about taglines. And don’t forget to survey customers. You want to leverage the way they see you. continue reading…

By Jeff Wuorio

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, chronic business mistakes are deja vu all over again. Missteps, miscalculations and outright duds are unfortunate, yet ever-present starters in any small-business lineup. If nothing else, if it weren’t for the battalion of snafus that lay in wait, every mom and pop kiosk would sport a bottom line that rivaled the New York Yankees’. But what can really spell the difference between an established powerhouse and a perennial cellar dweller are chronic mistakes — those repeated and overlooked blunders.

Here are five persistent pitfalls that may apply to you and your business, along with steps to purge them.

Mistake 1: Advertising always works.
If, say, you’ve been running a particular ad spot for years but with little to show for the expense, you’ve tripped over the assumption that advertising in and of itself never fails. Not so. Not only is it critical to understand and embrace your business’s particular niche, it’s equally imperative thatyou know your target market and, in turn, pin down the advertising media that best hits that segment. “The biggest mistake I see is putting advertising out there without a clue if it’s really reaching the right people,” says Tom Egelhoff, who publishes SmallTownMarketing.com. “You’ve really got to define your company’s market. That, and you have to hold any ad sales rep you’re working with accountable for the match of their media with your market.”

Mistake 2: Build it and they will come storming to your door.
Akin to the mistaken sanctity of advertising is misdirected faith in the inherent appeal of your business. Just be there, slap a few ads in the local fishwrap and customers are queuing up by the break of dawn. Success mandates legwork. Related to that, another ongoing oversight is failure to get out into the community and network on a personal level, both with potential clients as well as business associates. “You can buy into the fallacy that advertising alone brings in business — but it only brings in lookers,” Egelhoff says. “Networking creates buyers who will come to you because they know you or have heard of you, not from a cold ad.” continue reading…

Facebook  has found yet another way to view friendship, or what my daughter and her friends call “creep on people”.  Friendship Pages were launched at the end of October.  Facebook isn’t making more of your history public, they are just sorting it a different way.

According to Wayne Kao, of  The Facebook Blog, Friendship Pages “contain the public Wall posts and comments between two friends, photos in which both are tagged, Events they RSVP’d for together and more.”

You’ll be able to see a friendship page if you are friends with one of the people and have permission to view both people’s profiles.

Jaren Newman of PC World  writes “Friendship Pages are an evolved version of “Facebook Stalking”  the time honored tradition of soaking up more knowledge about someone through Facebook than you might’ve learned in real life”.

So some people are going to think this is a cool way to see what their friends are up to and some are going to be totally creeped out.  As of now there isn’t an ‘opt out” feature, but if you keep your privacy  settings high  non- friends won’t be able to see your history.

Social media sites have become a popular business tool, and many businesses use sites such as Facebook to increase their business. Facebook in collaboration with Microsoft, launched Docs.com. Users can create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or Powerpoint presentations right on Facebook or even upload their own documents from their computers to Facebook. Users can then share and collaborate online rather than composing, editing, saving, attaching to an email, and the reverse over and over again. The risks of using the wrong version or sending off viruses are gone. While Google has been offering Google Docs for some time now, they have received some criticism for what their applications can and can’t do. Microsoft could be hoping to move in take Google’s place. Docs.com is currently limited to only accepted users because it is still only offered in the beta version. Here are some of the features that Docs.com offers: continue reading…

Social media provides a way for businesses to increase their “word of mouth” advertising. Word of mouth has always been a powerful method of promoting products and services. Think about it – when you need a new mechanic for your car, do you trust the advertisements in the newspaper or your friend who tells you how great their mechanic is?

Social networking makes it possible to establish relationships and build trust online, which allows businesses to indirectly market their products and services to people who are more receptive to the marketing messages you are sending out. Generally, people are more trusting of social media sites than they are of more traditional websites selling products or services directly, because the users of social media websites feel that there are fewer people who would have something to gain by reviewing and recommending another’s product or service.

Social media marketing offers a number of benefits you would be hard pressed to find in other forms of marketing, including: continue reading…

By Jeff Wuorio

In the business world, good customer service often isn’t good enough anymore. Customers and clients are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the merely adequate. For them, extraordinary service is the rule, not the exception. Anything less, and they’re happy to vote with their feet and their wallets. That makes extraordinary service necessary, not just desirable. And that, in turn, mandates a strategy to help ensure that your business matches that standout service standard on a daily basis.

Here are seven ideas and tips to help your business establish and maintain an ongoing climate of service excellence. continue reading…

If there is one thing most small businesses can agree on is that time equals money. Small business owners are in a position where they have to be a jack-of-all-trades, often spending most of their day wearing different hats. This is the nature of the small business and while expected is not always the best way use of time. In order for a small business to be successful and remain competitive in an industry, there must be designated time for the owner to focus on growing and building the business. In many cases small businesses fail as a result of being unable to handle emergencies or other situations that are simply beyond the control and expertise of the owner.

Any business that relies on technology, which covers almost every business operating today, can benefit from managed services. Managed services providers understand that not every business has the ability to pay for an internal IT department which can be very expensive yet necessary to ensure all aspects of technology are supported. Without this backup, many small businesses find themselves in a position where they have to foot a very expensive bill to recover from a disaster or emergency. In other situations, using out-of-date or ineffective technology is simply a waste of both time and money on the part of the small business. continue reading…

By Kim Komando

One thing I like about running a small company is the ability to act quickly. Decisions are not bogged down by layers of management. In fact, most moves are made with the interested parties meeting around a conference table.

But there can come a point when your business outgrows this arrangement. You need constant, reliable and secure communications with others in the company to ensure successful growth. You need an intranet. An intranet is similar to a Web site, and it uses Internet protocols, but it’s an internal network exclusive to one company. (An “extranet” also is an internal or private Web site, but access privileges are extended to designated customers, partners and/or others.)

Most large corporations use intranets. Information distribution is a huge task when you have 10,000 or more employees. Intranets can help cure that headache. I hear you, “I don’t have anywhere near 10,000 employees!” But I can give you three major reasons why your small business should invest in one. Here they are: continue reading…

Simplex-IT Summer Picnic

This year’s annual Simplex-IT Picnic was a sucess! Bob, John, Kevin and I enjoyed meeting and talking with over 60 people, like Dave who came all the way from Youngstown! We had an exciting foosball game as well as live entertainment provided by our own John Harrow!

Simplex-IT Foosball

The hamburgers and brats were great thanks to Bob’s wife Julie providing her grilling expertise as well as great baked beans!

Our guests were able to view the new Disaster Recovery solution from our partner, eFolder, and of  course, everyone got a good look at Office 2010 we had on display.

Plus we were able to show Microsoft’s New SBS, code-named Aurora (which just started its Beta release Monday).
 
The lucky winner of our free copy of Office Professional Plus 2010 was sales and marketing professional, Colleen Cleveland. Everyone else walked away with a stylish purple stainless steel water bottle courtesy of Microsoft. 

You can view pictures of the picnic on our Facebook page by clicking here.
Hope to see you at next years picnic!