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Creating Good Business Goals and Strategies for 2015

by SK Dutta 4. January 2015 16:01
Many small business owners create goals for their company every year. A few owners think this process is a waste of time and decide things as they come.

When creating goals, it is important to make them specific and to evaluate your progress. For example, when creating sales goals make them specific in terms of sales numbers (say increasing from $600,000 to $1M), then look at creating specific action steps to achieve these goals. Finally, every month- and quarter-end review the goals and the results. The article How to develop your 2015 Business Goals provides a clear explanation of the process.

Once you have determined your goals, you will need to create a good strategy to implement the action steps. Now, how do you create a good strategy, or what is a bad strategy? Most often this is understood in hindsight when we look back at what did not work.


Photo Courtesy edonahue Creative Commons Attribution

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Small Business Tips

OfficeClip Release 8.2.5

by SK Dutta 7. December 2010 16:43

 

Thank you for your patience and feedback, we are now in 8.2.5. Here is the summary:

  • Enhancements on Invoices
  • Use Microsoft Word® to create and send campaigns
  • Tags are more visible and useful
  • Ability to move or hide contact fields

Enhancements on Invoices

In this release we have made the Invoice application more useful and stable. Following are some of the many enhancements we made to this application:

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OfficeClip News

Send Invoices to your Customers using OfficeClip

by SK Dutta 27. October 2010 13:16

OfficeClip now has a new application for invoicing customers. There is no need to export or synchronize your accounting system information with OfficeClip. You can directly invoice customers from within OfficeClip.

This feature will be useful for our service oriented users who does their Contact Management, Account Management or Web Timesheet using OfficeClip. It is available as an add-on to OfficeClip Web TimeSheet and Contact Management module.

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OfficeClip Tips

Strategies for Managing Remote Offices Efficiently

by SK Dutta 25. January 2010 14:58

Managing data in a remote office is often complex and challenging. Some tasks can be completed independently, but others require consolidation. Potential issues include the following:

  • How are your employees billing their time?
  • How are projects being implemented?
  • Are problems communicated effectively between branch offices?
  • Are internal issues and customer issues tracked efficiently?
  • Are resources having special knowledge being used effectively by various organizations?
  • Are these organizations securing all data?
  • Are processes that can be tracked centrally (e.g., contacting leads via phone) be done more efficiently?

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OfficeClip Tips | Small Business Tips

How a small business became more efficient using OfficeClip

by vasantha 14. January 2010 12:55

Steve Pavent of Optimum Payments is a small-business owner who offers payment solutions to many other small businesses. Before using OfficeClip, the head office manually processed all business applications. Steve had the following requirements:

  1. Each agent should be able to view and edit their assigned contacts and leads, because agents are geographically dispersed and earn commissions from their sales. They have to work on the contacts they acquire and manage.
  2. The corporate office needs to look at all newly acquired leads and allocate them to various sales agents for further action.
  3. Each agent's work hours, as well as the amount of work, need to be captured.
  4. To maintain contact for better conversion and upselling, newsletters and periodic emails should be sent to all contacts and customers.
  5. All documents associated with contacts and customers need to be connected within the system.
  6. Careful records should be kept of all notes, events, and issues associated with any contacts.
  7. Business forms should be sent directly to all prospects.

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Small Business Tips

Small Business - Buy the Best of the Breed or Unified Solution?

by vasantha 31. December 2009 12:07

UNified Solution

As a small business, you can run your business more efficiently using many products that are delivered today via SaaS (Software as a service) or locally installed. For example, you may need to:

  1. Manage your prospects, accounts opportunities and campaigns
  2. Create and send regular campaigns for your prospects and customers
  3. Manage customer support incidents and issues
  4. Track Time worked on various projects
  5. Track how your employees are spending time
  6. Track employee and company expenses
  7. Track internal issues
  8. Share documents with your offsite employees and customers
  9. Invoice customers
  10. Share calendar events and meetings with customers, prospects etc.

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Small Business Tips

Two inexpensive ways to do Backup, File Replication and Synchronization

by SK Dutta 8. December 2009 11:32

Backup Disk

If you do a Google search on Backup, File Replication or Synchronization software you will see hundreds and thousands of hits. I want to share with you two tools we have been using effectively for sometime that a small business can use for little or no cost.

  • SyncBack - Allows you to sync your files from your computer to an ftp site. This is essentially a nice ftp backup utility with lots of options.
  • DeltaCopy - It can synchronize large files very quickly by sending differences between the files in small compressed chunks.

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Developer Resources | OfficeClip Tips

Building an Online Community: Part 2

by Admin 7. May 2009 09:05
Our first post in this 2-part series talked about the use of forums in buidling an online community for your current and prospective customers. In this post, I will discuss how a blog, together with a forum, can be great resources for small businesses and serve your customers better.

 

Blogs can be used to build relationships with customers, as well as help you in product development by sharing new features and welcoming ideas and feedback from the readers. Blogging can also be used for viral marketing, as the posts can create a number of responses from other bloggers, bringing traffic to your blog and improving your SEO.

 

Blogs can help you improve your operations and this is where running a forum parallel to a blog can really benefit your customers. Blogs and forums can both give support to customers; blogs through the article format and forums more through a question and answer(s) format.

 

Although all the above are true benefits your company can experience from blogging, perhaps the biggest one is the ability to create brand awareness and set yourself apart from your competitors. At OfficeClip, we have chosen to use our blog to help other small businesses become more efficient. We do this by sharing tips on marketing and advertising techniques, technologies and strategies, and by explaining the benefits of our timesheet software, web contact manager and issue tracker.

 

Blogging is a way for us to share what we know and what we struggle with, so that we can help our current and prospective customers. Hopefully, they'll leave comments and suggestions for us too!

 

As far as platforms for blogs, we use www.wordpress.org and this is probably better for a business than www.wordpress.com because we have more control over things like widgets, adding features, changing the design, etc. to fit our specific needs. Also, we get to have our own domain name, which is very important for SEO.

 

Online communities connect us to our customers in ways that most could not have even imagined a few years ago. Building one by being transparent, honest and creative can help you establish your company on the web.

It Continues to Look Bleak for Newspapers

by Admin 16. April 2009 10:04

This post will be a follow up to my previous post, Would you Pay for Your Online News?, which examined what will happen to newspapers as advertisers leave in drives due to the recession and more people switch to reading online for free.

There was a very interesting post in the NYTimes about "hyperlocal" web sites and blogs that are bringing community news to the community as the major papers are cutting back on this news. These "hyperlocal" online sites are filled with links to news articles and posts from local bloggers, data feeds from city government, crime reports, restaurant openings and specials, locations for road construction and traffic, etc.

The biggest question is how these sites will make money and the answer appears to be advertising, although in a different form, and this is where the innovation of this idea could become a huge business. “When you slice further and further down, you get smaller and smaller audiences,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst who has followed the hyperlocal market for a decade. “Advertisers want that kind of targeting, but they also want to reach more people, so there’s a paradox.” 

However, he means large advertisers. But what about small ones? Numerous small businesses have never put ads online before and their estimated worth by 2013, according to Peter Krasilovsky, is $32 billion. Let's have an example.

We at OfficeClip are a small company located in Atlanta (Norcross, specifically). At present, we advertise online but not too much locally besides listings. Now let's say there is some very local news on this "hyperlocal" website about the police department nearby or a local chain restaurant adopting a new software or technological device to make their business run better, etc. That would be a great place for us to put an ad for our web timesheet software or web contact manager software. We might not reach as many people as we do with Google, but it probably would not be as expensive either. Also, there is a dedication that small businesses have to other local small businesses. This would enable them to know about one another more easily.

In all, this is probably bad for the newspapers, since they did not come up with it, but these "hyperlocal" sites still get information from them so they need to get advertisers quick in case their main artery newspaper fails. I still think this is a great idea and could really benefit local companies willing to participate!

A Discussion on Geo-Targeting

by Admin 26. March 2009 10:03

Some conversations have come up here at OfficeClip regarding reaching local businesses. Since we are located in Atlanta, GA, we are keenly aware of how many great opportunities there could be to reach out to other companies to offer our product or simply share ideas.The web is massive and sometimes  leads and sales can come from companies that want to or are willing to support other small businesses in their community.

Geo-targeting is what it's called when you do this with ad campaigns. I am not sure what it's called when it's a focus for social networking, like Twitter and Facebook...but I will lump it together for now.

My last post kind of hinted that Google has its faults (gasp!) and in this post, I am planning to return to that idea with this article, by Brian Carter of Fuel Interactive-a marketing agency in Myrtle Beach, SC and also offer some of my own thoughts on geo-targeting.

Mr. Carter's article focuses on experiences he has had with Google Adwords and his geo-targeted campaigns. He gives the following example:

"Say I want to serve ads about Myrtle Beach Hotels only to people in North Carolina – I’m creating a campaign specifically for North Carolinians with ads about a gas credit to save money on the drive down to Myrtle Beach. With AdWords’ current set-up and the query parsing exception, if someone in California searches for one of my keywords, like “myrtle beach hotels”, AdWords may still show them that ad. This happens despite the fact that the ad is for a gas credit that no one in California would ever use. Ridiculous. "

And I will have to agree with him here. Ridiculous. He goes on to further express some things I occasionally think when using Google:

"If I’m smart enough (or have good data from my analytics) to geotarget more specifically for better results or for specific campaign goals, I should be able to do so. Google either thinks their algorithm is smarter – and clearly it’s not - or they care more about making money than about helping me reach my advertising goals, or this is an antiquated approach they need to update. "

Things are tough out there right now and from what I've been hearing on Twitter and in some LinkedIn groups, people seem very committed to helping out their local businesses. Geo-targeting lets us try to get in touch with one another. If I want everyone to see my ads, I will create a campaign for the whole USA. But if I also want to target the Atlanta metro area, to see if any businesses here need web timesheet software or a web contact manager, I will want to create a campaign to geo-target this area for OfficeClip. Why does Google Adwords get to decide differently? Isn't it our money and our data? This is, for me, certainly an example that Google is too big and has too much control.

On another note, we have not implemented geo-targeting here at OfficeClip as of yet, but we are interested and engaged in our research. Any advice or comments...please post 'em as we would love to read 'em!

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

by Admin 26. February 2009 14:02

So there's a lot of buzz right now about Twitter and how small businesses can leverage it.  Everyone has ideas about how this microblogging phenomenon can help companies improve communication with customers and foster open dialogue and feedback. While all of that seems to be a good thing, it remains to be seen how much value a company can get out of Twitter for the time they put into it.

Benefits

There is an article on CIO.com that discusses the best ways to get started using Twitter for your business. For businesses, you need to be interested in sharing ideas and tips with others in your industry or field and also committed to responding to others, which is called "following." For example, a small marketing firm might join Twitter, seach out other marketing professionals and discuss articles, news, industry updates, etc.

The other benefit is that, when you have enough of a following, you will see an increase in traffic on your website, blog, etc. and perhaps an increase in sales. This would come from the large exposure of your company to your followers on Twitter who perceive you as an "expert" and will be interested in your product themselves, or pass your information on to others.

Drawbacks

The main thing Twitter is not for, however, is self promotion. You should not put your blog and website link on every update. The idea is to connect with others and build relationships with those who share common interests. Trying to aggressively sell yourself is highly frowned upon (and it is in the blogosphere as well).

It seems to me that this would all take a large amount of work. I am still unsure of the true benefit this would provide to OfficeClip; some people say it won't take a lot of time because the updates are only 140 characters. This is certainly a fair point, but you still have to find the research, news, etc. to share with others. Also, every other kind of social networking, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and even blogging and forums, require quite a bit of time investment in order to achieve results. Its seems that Twitter would need to be approached from that perspective as well: you get out of it what you put into it. The question I have is, what do you really get out of it as a small business?

What to do?

But, on the other hand, we all know how powerful the internet is and how many companies are not taking full advantage. Maybe this a great to join Twitter then and get established as a company unafraid to enter the world of micro-blogging. I would love to hear some ways that Twitter has or has not worked for you, please leave comments below!

 

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Small Business Tips | Marketing Strategies

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