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Taking the Leap into Mobile Payments

April 30, 2012

You may think accepting electronic payments at your small business gives consumers plenty of payment options. And, until very recently, accepting debit cards, credit cards and good old-fashioned cash did meet the vast majority of consumers’ payment needs. But the times, they are a-changing.

While still a relatively small segment of the market, mobile payment – payments made using smartphone – is making serious headway. How serious? Consider this: In less than a year after Starbucks launched a mobile app complete with a payment option, the company reported more than 26 million mobile payments.

Smartphone use is on the rise and is playing a larger role in where people spend—especially in urban areas where users rely on apps like Yelp to read reviews of local hotspots before taking a gamble on a new businesses. Bumping up “accepting mobile payments” on your to-do list may be a wise move. (more…)

Start a Business on the Cheap Using the Internet

April 11, 2012

Starting a small business has never been easier, especially if you know some of the incredible tools on the Internet. This month, I go over some of my favorites.

Free PDF Business Cards (

One of the first steps in starting your business is to have some business cards created. Well, now, instead of paying some printer for these essential promotional pieces, you can make them yourself. At the aptly named, site, you can easily upload a logo, choose numerous lines of text, and, in the end, create an 8.5 by 11 PDF sheet of cards ready to print. At that point, all you have to do is buy a bunch of Avery pre-cut cardstock. Simple!

Gliffy (

One of the ingredients of a good business plan is a clear explanation of EXACTLY how it will operate. And what better way to communicate that idea than a professional flow chart or diagram. Instead of going out and buying expensive software like Visio, check out, a free site that allows you to create beautiful Venn Diagrams, floor-plans, and business process charts. See their site for even more ideas! (more…)

Mobile Technology Helps Small Businesses Break Down Boundaries

March 23, 2012

By 2015, it is expected that there will be a mobile device for every person on the planet and most people will use mobile devices to access the internet. However, just having a mobile device does not mean you or your business are truly mobile or that you are getting the most out of your device(s).

Have you ever needed a file that was back at the office on your desktop? Couldn’t find a client’s phone number to return their call? Have a big project come up at the same time you have a family vacation planned? With a business strategy that includes mobile technologies, situations like these can be handled seamlessly regardless of location or timing.

Before developing a mobile strategy, assess your company’s current mobility needs. Here are a few questions to consider:

· Do you have the capability to access email, files, etc. while away from the office?

· What are your internal and remote technology capabilities?

· How easily can employees communicate and collaborate with one another both inside and outside of the office environment?

· How secure are your internal and remote systems? (more…)

How to Choose a Domain Name

March 20, 2012

A domain name represents an easy-to-remember mnemonic address designed to help a person easily reach one of millions of servers on the Internet.  Typically, a company has one of two goals when choosing a domain name: branding or memorability.

If a company has been around for some time, their name becomes branded to what they do and where they are.  People associate their service with the brand.  By choosing a domain including that brand, a company strengthens their brand exponentially.   Good examples include,, and

Sometimes, a company’s name is not the best choice for a domain name, primarily because of potential spelling confusion.  In those cases, I recommend a domain name based on memorability and spelling ease to those clients.

For example, one of my clients is “Faulkner’s Pest Service.”  While is available for registration, I recommended my client choose another domain.  My suggestion was based on my own usability belief that most people on the Internet operate with a seventh grade educational spelling ability.  The word, “Faulkner” is easily misspelled and would, no doubt, cause numerous problems for my client’s customers and potential customers in reaching his site.

Instead, I recommended he go with something more memorable.  After research and brainstorming we decided was the best choice – easy to spell, easy to remember. (more…)

Is your SMB seeking greater productivity? Consider the cloud

February 29, 2012

In our strained economy, it’s essential for small business owners to be able to do more with less, while maximizing productivity as much as possible. The advent of cloud computing has ushered in a host of ways small and midsized businesses (SMBs) can maintain and even increase productivity among workers. Here are a few areas in which cloud computing can help:

Collaboration and Commumication – It can be challenging to build a team of employees that work seamlessly together, with trust, transparency and teamwork as the foundation. Add to that the need to invest in and maintain technologies that facilitate effective collaboration – and you’ve got an even bigger hurdle.

Fortunately, the cloud makes it easy for SMBs to provide workers with integrated, intuitive ways to collaborate and remain productive in the process. Cloud productivity solutions that combine programs employees use the most – e-mail, document creation, messaging, conferencing, etc. – deliver enterprise-class capabilities at prices smaller organizations can afford, such as Office 365, which starts at just $6 per user per month.  (more…)