Auto Attendant – Make Your Small Business Sound More Professional

As a small business owner, it is very important to project the best of your business and impress your callers. The auto attendant VoIP phone system can make your small business sound more professional. It has extensive advanced call handling features incorporated into it to manage all your business calls efficiently and make your business look like a Fortune 500 company.

Sphisticated Call Handling Service

Without the support of a live telephone operator, the auto attendant can perform all call handling functions reliably and efficiently. Callers are greeted with professional sounding welcome messages. These messages can be personalized to present your business in a professional manner. Calls are managed through interactive, impressive voice responses as their calls are connected to extension lines.

As an initial interface in call management, it is possible to connect calls to the required extensions using a menu of options including dial by extension, dial by name, dial by department or zero out to live operator. With these professional phone services offered by the virtual receptionist, the callers will feel like they are interacting with an established company.

Useful VoIP Auto Attendant Solutions

The auto attendant offers impressive call management features which include:

Find-me/Follow-me call forwarding If you are traveling or in some distant location, the calls to your office will be efficiently redirected to the given cell numbers, home phones or other personal numbers. Calls to a certain phone extension will be routed through the predefined list one by one, until someone attends the call.
Voicemail to Email If any calls are unattended, they will be automatically directed to the voice mail boxes of these phone systems. These voice messages will be further forwarded to your email account. The call forwarding system of the PBX system offers your workers a lot of independence as they can work from home or any other convenient location.
Music on Transfer You can upload music-on-hold facility to facilitate your callers, when the calls are being transferred to a different extension.
Features and functionalities are not just limited to these. Other functionalities include groups, conference rooms, call queues and much more. The auto attendant phone system to makes your small business sound more professional and credible.

Small Business Blog Tips That Can Make A Big Difference.

Blogs have revolutionized the way that people do business. It seems that all the big companies are making use of blogs to promote themselves and market their products. However, corporate blogs aren’t just for big companies. Blogs can also be utilized by small businesses with great effect.

Setting up a small business blog is easy and has many benefits. They are powerful promotional tools and a great way to communicate with clients.

Here are some tips on using a small business blog:

1. Write Naturally and Honestly

Small business blogs can be more personal than large corporate blogs. It’s best to write in way that feels natural to you. Avoid writing needlessly complex posts filled with technical jargon. Doing so will endear customers and promote conversation, which is what a blog is for, after all.

As with any blog, you must always tell the truth. Blogs should address all issues, be it good or bad. This will ultimately beneficial as it helps builds trust the customers.

2. Post often and Respond to Comments

Remember to post frequently. Provide readers with plenty of content, so that they will keep coming back to your blog.

Comments are a vital part of blogs, providing useful feedback. Respond to reader comments often to build strong ties between them and your company.

3. Promote your business, Promote yourself

A small business blog is an innovative way to promote a business.

A good technique is to document your projects. This is good way to show how capable you are at your profession and to garner trust. This is especially important with small business, where reputations can make a big difference.

Blogs allow for unparalleled interaction with customers. Use this to get closer to clients, and to build bonds of trust. The information gained from readers is invaluable for improving your small business.

4. Be Informed and Informative

Read plenty of other blogs to gain useful information. Post comments and promote your own blog. Be an active part of the blogosphere.

Post links of related information on your blog, and use technology like RSS/Atom feeds to constantly provide your blog with interesting content. This is a great way to promote your business and be informed of everything concerning you industry. Besides informing your readers, it can lead to interaction and possible collaborations with other businesses, all of which will benefit a small business.

5. Search Engines

For those who wish to achieve higher search engine rankings, a blog can be an invaluable asset. The constant updating combined with the right keywords can raise search engine results dramatically.

Does Your Small Business Really Need A Server The Answer Is No.

As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.

Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.

Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?

Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.

And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.

Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.

Save Money with Small Business Management Software

Small businesses owners often find that there are certain times of the year when cash flow is not as healthy as it could be. This could be due to the fact that the business has seasonal customers, money being spent wastefully or through outmoded business practices. Regardless of the reason as to why money is being lost one thing is for certain good business owners and managers are all looking for a way to save the business money.

One way to save money in a small business is to implement small business management software. Software such as this enables a business with less than 50 employees to be operated via one software application. By being able to switch to one application a small business owner can save thousands every year as all other applications that require a monthly or annual fee to be discontinued.

As soon as they see just what small business management software can do many business owners and managers are keen to start using it. Not only can small business management software save a business money in terms of slashing the number of applications a business has to pay for it also saves money in other ways such as:

Increasing the number of leads that are converted into sales with ease. When using small business management software an employee can create a quote and save this to a customers file. This will contain their contact details and other relevant information. If this quote is not accepted within a certain period of time, this lead can then be chased up by the sales department.

By ensuring that projects are always completed on time a business will not lose customers. With small business management software projects can be assigned and tracked in real time. Managers and owners can quickly and easily check on projects that are nearing their due date in order to ensure that they are progressing as they should be. By utilizing this feature projects should never be behind schedule ever again, which means that money will be saved in the long run through customer retention.

Small business management software also allows employee calendars to be seen by owners and managers at a glance. This means that projects and so on can be planned with regard to staffing numbers. Money is therefore saved by ensuring that all employees are working to capacity and not being diverted to projects which are already fully subscribed.

As small business management software is web based it means that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. So if a manager or owner is away from the office on business they can access the application and get any information that they need. This saves business money as laptops and mobile internet is not required when an owner or manager visits potential customers.

These are just a few of the ways in which small business management software can save a business money each month.

The Benefits Of Small Business Search Engines

Plowing through endless piles of websites is something that most people do not want to do, especially when they have a specific product in mind. In order to eliminate some of the stress, individuals should use small business search engines. What are the benefits of using a site such as Feedster for your shopping needs?

It’s No Nonsense
Sometimes, when you are using other search engines, you wind up with a bunch of scams and phony websites shown on your page. Through small business search engines, the information presented takes you right to the source. No useless junk sits in your way, which allows you to find what you are looking for in no time.

A Brief Preview
Another issue that occurs is when you have no idea what specifically a website is about. By using small business search engines, you’ll see a little snippet under the link to the site. As a result, you, and other consumers, will have a sneak preview as to what the content of the website is about. Instead of clicking on ten different sites only to find out they do not meet your needs, you’ll be able to immediately choose the best site for you.

Connecting with the Seller
Major businesses and companies are often difficult entities with which to communicate. Fortunately, such search engines literally bring you right to the source. When you want to buy a product from a small business, you have the added benefit of receiving personalized attention. Maybe you see something on the site that you like but have an idea as to how it can be customized to suit your specific needs. You need not wonder for long. The sites presented to you on this search engine generally provide much ease for the customer to business communications.

It’s Simple
Fancy and flashy are words to which some people flock. However, when it comes to websites and search engines, most individuals want something that is easy to read and navigate. This search engine lays all of the results out in a simple format. Ads are not flying out in front of the user’s line of vision, and annoying pop-ups are not causing the website to become convoluted.

Essentially, small business search engines are an easy and helpful way for consumers to find the products that they need and to navigate the websites without any sort of difficulty.

Starting a small business online,500in15,500 in15 review

Starting a small business online

How to take the first steps to starting a small business online. Today you can easily access anything from online shopping to job information online with just a click of your mouse.

If you already have an idea of the kind of business you plan to start you can begin by researching on the internet to see if this is something people are really searching to buy. You need to establish there is a demand for your idea. If not, however good you think it is, it is not likely to be successful.

If you are not sure exactly what your business will be you can browse the internet to find ideas. You can also visit your local bookstore and look for books and magazines on topics of interest to you. Again you should make sure there is a large group of people, or market, for this product or service.

By browsing the internet and clicking on a few sites of interest to you, it is easy to start an avalanche of information flowing into your email inbox. If you are venturing online for the first time and you have no previous experience it is very easy to feel overwhelmed very quickly. Most people seem to experience what is now referred to as “information overload” at some time.

One way round this problem is to look for an online marketing offer which will help starting a small business online a little easier. There are many online marketers offering a solution to your problem but how can you choose a good fit for you? Beginners in the online business field are often referred to as “newbies” so this is a good place to start.

You should look for an offer that concentrates on the basics for any online business rather than the latest trend at this time. If you can find a course that will take you step by step from the creation of your website, setting up your offer and getting visitors to your website this will reduce the time it takes. Why start from scratch when there are plenty of proven systems that work already.
I highly recommend you stick to one method to start with.

Enjoy the 5 minute video

Curing The Top 3 Business Frustrations With Small Business Coaching

When considering whether you are ready for small business coaching, check first to see if you are suffering from any of the following 3 business frustrations. An experienced coach can guide and support you in remedying these road blocks to small business success.

Not Enough Customers

One of the major frustrations for entrepreneurs is how to consistently fill their sales pipeline with qualified prospects Are you suffering from too few prospects to convert into customers? Have you considered your approach to how you go about marketing your business?.Many businesses utilize a very limited tool box of strategies and tactics in bringing potential customers to their business. A small business coaching program can open your eyes to many different methods for pulling more clients and their dollars.

Lack of Focus and Lack of Direction
It is very easy to become distracted and diminish your effectiveness by splitting your attention over too many tasks. Are you doing too many things and think this means you are productive? This can lead to poor results and an unhappy business owner. Machines can multi task; humans weren’t designed for this function.
Reaching your goals and dreams is more probable when a clear focus and defined objectives are directing your energies. To satisfy your main business goals you need to forego the adhoc decision making approach and structure the way you make decisions based on important priorities. A decision to commence a small business coaching program could be the answer.

Working Too Many Hours
Perform this exercise and enlighten yourself. Write down how many hours you are putting in each week towards running your business. Multiply this by say 50. Now jot down how much you draw in remuneration from the business per annum. Divide the dollar amount by the yearly hours and this will reveal your hourly rate. Sometimes owners will discover what they already feared; that they are earning less than some of their employees.

One of your reasons for starting a small business coaching regime may have been to be financial independent or at least to make enough to enjoy a great lifestyle. The main goal here is to improve your business to the point where:

– You are making more income than if you were working for someone else
– The business is making a profit (not just covering your drawings)
– You will eventually be working less hours

Transition from Military Life to Small Business Careers

Perhaps one of the most challenging career and employment situations imaginable takes place every single day when individuals serving in the military prepare to move from military service to a new career. This involves thousands of motivated government employees who at first glance should have absolutely no trouble in obtaining an appropriate job. It is hard to imagine any prospective employees who would have more motivation to work hard and succeed in whatever they do.

Despite initial appearances, military personnel are currently experiencing a high unemployment and underemployment rate. Perhaps because of this or outdated assumptions about the value of all forms of college education, the first step in military transition to business careers is often a decision to obtain a college degree. This can prove to be the right move in some cases, but it can also become an expensive mistake.

The difference between education and training is frequently misunderstood by many people, and such misunderstandings probably contribute to a disproportionate percentage of career choices focusing on educational institutions instead of more specialized (and much cheaper) career training programs. While advanced education has a special place for specific purposes and goals, it is simply not the best career choice in a surprising number of cases. One of the best possible illustrations of this dilemma occurs when someone is departing from the military. In this situation, education can appear to be the “easy” decision. But with more scrutiny, training frequently emerges as the “smart” decision.

Just as specialized business training is usually one of the most cost-effective strategies available to small businesses, the selection of a practical career training program will often prove to be a more cost-effective military transition alternative in comparison to other options that include lengthy and expensive university studies. It is true that the most viable and appropriate training choices will require some investigative time and effort to evaluate thoroughly. In large part this is due to the fact that colleges and universities have extensive marketing resources to advertise and persuade while the less well-known training opportunities are more of a “word of mouth” situation.

For example, one of the most effective career training situations devotes no resources whatsoever to advertising and lobbying. In this case the program leads to a small business finance consulting career. Because overhead is much less than the highly-capitalized universities, the cost of such services are understandably much less. Unfortunately it is not always true that you get what you pay for, so a prudent military transition will require due diligence from start to finish.

Stephen Bush has provided candid business advice to small business owners for over 30 years. He specializes in business negotiating and business proposal writing. Steve offers career training programs for small business finance consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who works directly with individuals leaving military service and helps with the transition to a small business career.

VoIP 5 Tips to Improve a Small Business

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a method of electronic communication that is rapidly increasing in popularity. Used to make phone calls, VoIP technology uses a computer’s internet connection, rather than a cellular wireless or traditional wired telephone line. This technology is used not only by personal consumers, but also by businesses small and large. Here are 5 tips for using VoIP to improve a small business:

1. Use One Company for Internet and Phone – Any modern small business has a website and is likely already paying an internet service provider (ISP) for access to the internet. Rather than negotiating prices and dealing with customer service for two services, a company can save time, effort, and money by using their internet connection as their phone service provider as well.

2. Save Money on Long-Distance and International Calls – Unlike traditional telephone companies, VoIP services work regardless of the distance of the call, so pricing is not dependent on the number of local, long-distance, or international calls. This means that international calls, which can be especially expensive, can be handled without incurring additional costs. For small businesses that do business internationally or have business partners overseas, this can mean an enormous cost savings.

3. Better Voice Quality – Because of the nature of the medium and the wires that transmit the signals, VoIP services can provide cleaner, better-sounding phone calls than traditional phone companies. While it might not seem like a big change, having crisper more professional phone calls can be the edge a small business needs to win over customers or seal a big deal. Dropped calls or poor-quality calls, on the other hand, can devastate a company’s business.

4. Simplify Things for the Technical Staff – For small businesses, the internal technical staff is usually stretched thin at all times, and should be outsourced when possible. Keeping a business up and running smoothly 24/7 is no small task. Consolidating one’s internet and phone systems can provide a significant advantage, in terms of time and sheer number of technologies to monitor, to a company’s technical support and services team. For small businesses that don’t even have a dedicated technical staff, having a single number to call for technical support, rather than multiple numbers, can simplify things considerably. Prompt service and skilled technicians are key.

5. Additional Features Included At No Extra Cost – For starters, useful calling features like conference calls, call forwarding, and caller ID are all included for free. Additional features like video calls and video conferencing are also easy to add to VoIP services.

Three simple and affordable advertising ideas for your small business

When running a small business, marketing your products and services is an important aspect your must consider and plan for. No matter what industry you play in you will no doubt have competition. Even if you provide a better service or product you still need to stand out so consumers know. Marketing can be a big cost but there are also many affordable alternative to advertise your business.

Here are three simple advertising ideas and suggestions to give you high visility.

Vehicle back windows

A rear car window covererd with a sticker of your business is an affordable option to promote your business. Whenever your car is being driven around your business is being seen. For as little as one hundred and fifty dollars this is a small investment. Depending on how many years your sticker last, the breakdown cost of purchasing you rear window sticker works out to be even less.

Don’t overload the sticker with too much details. Keep the sticker bright and colorful. Avoid a cluttered look with too much details. Keep it simple. Don’t put more than three items of information. Your logo with business name, phone and tagline is all you need.

Car magnets

Large car magnets are another cheap alternative. These magnets are strong enough to withstand high speeds. To repeat – keep the design simple. Order many at a time and hand them out to your friends for their cars. You can purchase four magnets for as little as fifty dollars.

An alternative to magnets is use multiple smaller sized ones. A stack of twenty five magnets can be bought for about thirty dollars. Get people to take notice by scattering you car with these. When people take your magnets you know they’re working.

Outdoor banners

Ask your signwriter to print you a large banner. The cost of a small banner can be as little as one hundred dollars. We’ve even seen banners from as low as six dollars.

Use the small banners effectively by parking at the front of a busy event or location. Hang the banner from the side of your car. Your car and banner can’t be missed.

These are three simple advertising ideas to kick start your marketing on a budget.

Click Here to see Ryan Johns working these advertising ideas