Monthly Archives: August 2017

Benefits of Online Data Storage

For small businesses, cloud services are the preferred method of storing digital data. While they used to rely on in-house servers to store their growing collections of online files, many small businesses are now transferring those services to online data storage services, such as JustCloud or Dropbox. Small businesses experience a number of benefits from storing their data in the cloud, including cost savings and the ability to access data from anywhere with an internet connection. Here are eight of the biggest benefits small businesses say they get from using online data storage.

Online storage data allows employees to work from anywhere there is an internet connection, which is a huge benefit to Matthew Vollmar, CEO of managed IT services provider Newmind Group. He said his staff is no longer limited by location. “It provides our 19 team members the freedom to work from anywhere (home, coffee shops, client facilities) and still have access to any needed documents or information,” said Vollmar.

Jeff Kear, owner and founder of online event management software provider Planning Pod, said one of the greatest benefits he gets from using online storage services is that he doesn’t need to hire IT staff or retain consultants to maintain a server for all his digital data. “Servers are expensive to run and often more expensive to maintain, and by using a service like Dropbox, I don’t need to spend additional money on server support personnel,” Kear said. “This probably saves my business $5,000 to $10,000 every year.”

As CEO of ecommerce consultant PDB Sales Inc., a business that has moved offices five times in the last seven years, Tao Wong said online storage makes the process go much smoother. “Concerns about data loss are minimized,” he said. “With the online data storage solutions, setup for the [new] offices has been a matter of plug-and-play.”

Robyn Tippins, co-founder of marketing agency Mariposa, said that with offices in three states and consultants across the globe, online data storage allows the company to share files efficiently. She said they previously used email files, but that didn’t work as well as they added new staff members. “We use an inexpensive cloud storage provider to ensure everyone has the most up-to-date version of working docs, like client proposals, training documents, SOWs and contracts,” Tippins said. “It helps us manage our workflow, onboard new consultants and new clients, and makes it possible to be a small team, despite the large geographic area we span.”

Cost is a big reason why Mickey Luongo, vice president of heating and air conditioning products provider Total Home Supply, uses online data storage services over in-house options. “Managing servers in-house is expensive,” Luongo said. “By outsourcing our data storage, we saved on a lot of hardware and maintenance costs.”

Data backup is one of the most valuable aspects of online data storage for Matt Ham, president of Computer Repair Doctor. “We also pair online backups with once-per-month local backups. Just in case we get ransomware and all our files become encrypted, we don’t want them auto-uploading to the cloud and then be left with no backups,” Ham said.

Shaikh Hafizur Rahman, founder of Juicer Moz, said adopting online cloud storage into his business has given him ease of mind about the security of his files. “Every year, the threat of cyberattacks is becoming rampant. By using cloud data storage, I have become largely immune to these cyberattacks,” Rahman said. “Cloud storage facilities like Dropbox and JustCloud have tough security measures that can withstand large cyberattacks.”

Jonathan Marsh, owner of home care agency Home Helpers of Bradenton, said he can easily share data with employees and clients. “We have also used the cloud or online storage creatively as an easy way to share information or documents with our employees and our clients. From a document- and information-sharing standpoint, we oftentimes use the cloud as an alternative to attaching documents to email to limit the size of outbound emails,” Marsh said. “We also employ a strategy that allows for employees and clients to access common documents via a shared online directory. More specifically, this allows for self-service, where clients and employees know where to find the common documents online, thus saving time by not having to call the office.”

Tips for Making Your Remarketing Campaign

Remarketing is a tactic that involves showing ads to people who’ve visited your website or used your mobile app. This strategy is a particularly cost-effective way to increase your sales conversions because you’re reaching out to customers who have already expressed interest in your products or services. It used to be that only large, data-centric organizations were able to invest in data mining, said Raj Beri, business head of Uber India. But small businesses across all industries now have access to the tracking tools necessary to take advantage of digital remarketing.

There are different strategies for remarketing, and each one has its own benefit. For example, standard remarketing through Google AdWords shows ads to your past visitors as they browse Display Network websites and use Display Network apps. Dynamic remarketing, on the other hand, uses ads that include products or services that people have viewed on your website.

If you want to launch a remarketing campaign, here are three tips to make it successful.

Most businesses choose a specific channel for their remarketing campaigns, such as display, banner, Facebook or video ads, said Mike Hans, founder and CEO of Forge Group. But consumers aren’t on just one channel. Just as in any other marketing efforts, it’s important to catch the consumer where they are. This means spreading out across a variety of channels, including (and perhaps especially) mobile devices.

Hobbs recommended segmenting your list of web visitors by behavior for an even more targeted remarketing campaign. For instance, if a consumer gets to the last page of an ecommerce checkout process and doesn’t complete the purchase, that person should be added to a different segment for a different messaging set than a visitor who only visited the homepage.

There’s no straight line to success, Beri said. What you thought at the outset about your product and how people use it will change daily. They key is to “fail fast” – learn from what worked and what didn’t, and keep improving on your product and business model.

Small Business Owner’s Guide

Whether it’s brochures, business cards, menus or letterhead, your small business just can’t quit paper. And there are plenty of services online ready to take your business. The print-on-demand industry offers tons of options. And like so many industries, printing has gone digital. This is a stark difference from years ago when offset printing – the traditional printing standard – was generally the go-to method for businesses. Offset printing takes ink from plates, transfers it (or offsets it) to a rubber roller or blanket and then places it on paper. This method of printing tends to offer greater control over everything from materials to ink colors and customizations, which is ideal for high volume print runs and brand-critical pieces. However, digital printing has come a long way, and for many designers and small businesses, it’s the predominant method for print runs of all kinds. And the reasons for this are tough to challenge: Digital is fast, it’s cheap, and it gets the job done. For most businesses, these three reasons alone justify why so many click the Submit button online and place a printing order.

  • Price. Price carries a lot of weight in choosing a digital printer versus a local vendor, especially for small quantity jobs such as invitations, fliers and business cards.
  • Convenience. Online printing gives you instant, anytime access that draws most people to online. Create an account, upload your artwork, customize your print job and get it rolling – from the convenience of your laptop. And, as far as design, online printing can help in that area, too. Premade templates shepherd you through the process of, say, creating a business card.
  • Speed. Online printers are fast. You can typically receive a printed job in a week or two. Remember to build that time into your production schedule. And it’s nice to plan a few extra days for proofs, should you require one.

Online printing makes printers around the globe available to you, but which one do you trust and how do you choose? For Granger, the only limit is Google’s search results – literally. She is game to try vendors from Massachusetts to China, and she’s had luck with both big names and obscure shops.

The Best Online Business Plans

Successful entrepreneurs know that getting the details down on paper is critical before starting any new venture. For help in the planning stages, many new owners use an online business plan service. Such services provide potential investors with details on how a new business will become profitable. Online business plan software offers the tools and templates needed to create a professional presentation that can be put in front of prospective backers to demonstrate where you want your venture to go and how you plan to get there. The best services provide financial calculators and chart generators to help crunch numbers and illustrate the business’ vision in a quantifiable manner. They also offer a number of additional features such as performance graphs and goal achievement monitors that let business owners track their progress and make necessary changes along the way.

  1. LivePlan

LivePlan earned this year’s TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for simplifying the business plan writing by providing access to the work and materials from any computer with an internet connection. For those launching their first venture, the service guides them through each step. By incorporating teaching into the writing process, LivePlan produces not only an exceptional business plan, but also a more informed entrepreneur.

2. BizPlan

BizPlan earns high marks for providing a step-by-step process that’s accessible to users of all skill levels. While new users have resources to learn what they need, business veterans have the tools required to formulate a business plan without unnecessary handholding. A highlight is the service’s overall compatibility with other widely used applications such as Excel and cloud-based document creation and sharing services like Google Docs. Additionally, it integrates with social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

3. PlanHQ

PlanHQ is well regarded not only for helping users write a business plan, but also assisting in executing it and setting business goals. Through a unique approach of couching almost everything in the context of goal setting, the service helps business owners fully understand exactly what needs to take place in order to start a successful business. The service also enables users to collaborate with business partners, identify demographics and size up the competition.