small business news

Not Too Cute

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Thursday, 28 April 2011 09:02

(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Hot Pockets Side Shots

While watching the Celtics sweep the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, my wife was utterly and completely disgusted when the image of little round M&M-like figures streamed across the television screen.


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Why Non-Profits Should Pay Attention to Twitter (and other social media platforms)

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010 13:40



I just read Beth Kanter's blog entry recapping her bithday Twitter campaign to raise money to send Cambodian youth to school.If you don't know, Beth recently raised over $5,000 through Twitter in only 5 days.

Are the non-profits out there listening yet?

This campaign underlines what an active, engaged community can do for you and your cause. I highly recommend reading the post. Keep in mind that this is not an overnight success (Beth did the same thing last year), but rather the fruits of a lot of hard work, sharing and engaging on Beths part.


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Empowering Your Clients

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Tuesday, 05 January 2010 07:03


superhero I live in an old house with an old heating system. It seems I am constantly having problems with my boiler. This past week the boiler just stopped working. It wouldn't fire up and it was pretty cold outside. I called my plumber, A. Fagundes Plumbing and Heating and Al walked me through some things to check. It turned out that he had to come out. While he was here, Al walked me through the steps he was taking and answered all the questions I had.


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Bing - Microsoft Rebranded

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Friday, 05 June 2009 08:54


Bing screenshotFrom MSN to Live Search and now to Bing, it seems Microsoft is having an identity crisis with numerous attempts at rebranding going on. Microsoft has now changed the name of Live Search to Bing. Not only that, they have declared that Bing is not a search engine, but a decision engine. Whatever that means. Microsoft claims Bing will save us from the information overload caused by other search engines (ahem... Google).


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Freshens Breath Too

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Tuesday, 02 June 2009 13:40

(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Mmmmm yummy air freshenerI saw a new commercial for Renuzit Crystal Elements and immediately saw the hazard they pose to children. The bright colors and and rounded shapes combined with 'your favorite glass container' make these crystals look delicious. I'm really not sure what they were thinking here. Who designed this? A room freshener that looks like candy? I don't smell 'Ruby Berries' I smell a lawsuit.


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OfficeSync - Using Office and Google Docs

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Friday, 29 May 2009 08:11

(3 votes, average 4.33 out of 5)

I don't really use Google Docs much myself. I find the power of Microsoft Office is needed for many of the documents I create. Because of this I have not used the collaboration features available through the Google Docs app.

Enter OfficeSync.

OfficeSync allows me to use Microsoft Office as my document editing program, but still use the collaboration features of Google Docs. Documents can be save directly to your Google Docs account from the new OfficeSync toolbar for Microsoft Office. Other toolbar options allow you to rearrange folders, add collaborators, email documents, etc. Visit the OfficeSync website for more info and make sure to check out the demo video.


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Firefox... extended

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Thursday, 26 March 2009 11:55


I love Firefox. Not the first time I've said that. Firefox is a fast, secure, open-source browser. One of the best aspects of Firefox is the multitude of free third-party add-ons available for the browser. Available add-ons allow you to do pretty much any and everything you want (or wouldn't want) with Firefox.

There's so many add-ons out there, here are a few of the ones I use on a daily basis:

ColorZilla - Allow me to get hex and RGB color values by clicking an eye-dropper icon and then clicking anywhere on a web page. I can then copy the value to the clipboard and use it in Photoshop or another program.

Firebug - Allows me to interact with CSS live in the browser as well as troubleshoot JavaScript.

FireShot - Gives me the ability to take and edit screenshots without leaving my browser. I was so tired of pressing print screen and then pasting everything into Photoshop.

Forecastfox - The forecast right in the status bar of my browser.

Foxmarks Bookmarks Synchronizer - I have this running on three computers. It keeps all my Firefox bookmarks synchronized.

Web Developer - Tools to validate pages and other web design tasks.

As you can see many of the add-ons are specific to what I do: design websites. What do you do? I'm sure that you can find some add-ons that help you do it better or faster. Take a look at all the add-ons available.


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Stash vs Lipton

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Thursday, 12 March 2009 10:21


Yesterday, I began making myself a cup of tea. I poured water into the tea kettle and put it on the stove. Then I went to get a bag of my favorite tea, Chai Green Tea. Stash (the maker of my tea) has done something they must consider to be user-friendly with the packaging... it's not.


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Dynamic Data Design on LotusJump

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Friday, 06 March 2009 12:12


Check out the interview I did with the good people at LotusJump: http://lotusjump.com/blog/friday-spotlight-dynamic-data.

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Got Backups?

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Tuesday, 24 February 2009 09:44

(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Have you ever turned on your computer only to find out it isn't turning on? Is your first thought 'I just lost all my files'? If so you need a backup system. A backup system works best when you can set it and forget it. If it's a manual process, you're most likely not going to do it as often as necessary. I mean, come on, as small business owners we are constantly juggling enough tasks, remembering to backup files on your computer is probably going to get pushed to the back, until it's too late.


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TurboTax Business For FREE!

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Monday, 16 February 2009 18:35


Here is a link to download TurboTax Business for free!

http://www.turbotax.com/lp/ty08/ppc/ttb-learn-more-biz-free.jsp

TurboTax Business is for corporations and multi-member LLCs. Strange how on one page of their website, TurboTax is trying to charge you $110 for this software and, on another page, they're giving it away.


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Forget Your Flash Drive!

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Friday, 13 February 2009 09:43


A while back I posted an article on encrypting your flash drive to keep the contents safe in case it is lost or stolen. Since then, I have tried out a bunch of new technologies that claim to make the flash drive as obsolete as the floppy disk. I tried Dropbox, Live Mesh and, for now, have settled on Syncplicity.


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GetListed - Setup and Claim Your Local Listings

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Wednesday, 21 January 2009 06:19


Getting your website listed in the local results of the various search engines should be one of your first steps when it comes to Internet marketing. Not only is the process pretty painless, it's free for most search engines.

Since many search engines, including Google, list local results before regular results, it can pay off dramatically to get your business high in local search results. To do this, you must usually enter in the details of your business (address, phone number, services, etc.) and then verify this information with either an automated phone call or a postcard mailed to your address.

A great tool to check the status of your local listings is GetListed.org. This free tool will ask for your business name and zip and search across various search engines to check if your business has a listing and whether it has been claimed by the owner.


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6 Do’s and Don’ts of Email Etiquette

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Thursday, 08 January 2009 08:30

(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

The use of email can be a huge timesaver. It can help you reach more customers faster and improve your marketing efforts. But, if used incorrectly, email can make you (and your business) look stupid.
The following are a few rules to keep in mind when using email. This list is, by no means definitive, but should help you avoid the major no-nos.


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Tips for Maximizing Website Conversion

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Thursday, 01 January 2009 12:11


To maximize website conversion (turn visitors into customers), you must put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors. Here are some tips for writing effective copy for the web.


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QuickBooks Customer Experience

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008 18:38


So I was able to get the new version of QuickBooks free after rebate. I forgot that I had to call Intuit to register the software once I installed it. Microsoft, Adobe and other software companies have figured out ways to allow users to register software online. Why can't Intuit? Instead they have me call some call center in India, where a representative asks me questions about my company that she couldn't care less about while waiting for her computer to generate my registration code.

Ok, I'm done venting.


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Branding for the Small Business Owner

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008 13:53


Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Master Card are all some pretty well-known brands. But what is a brand? A brand is the perception a consumer has in his/her mind about a particular company. The closest synonym I can think of would be reputation. So if brand = reputation, what is branding? Simply put, branding is the process of changing your images, processes and customer interactions to convey values that are important to your company. While a new logo design may have a place in branding, a logo by itself will not change your brand.


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Free QuickBooks Pro - 12/22 Only

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Saturday, 20 December 2008 18:58


It's been going around on The Web that staples will be offering the Windows version of QuickBooks Pro 2009 for free after mail-in rebate on Monday, December 22.

The deal apparently works like this: $199 - $40 instant savings = $159 with a mail-in rebate for $159 = sales tax only.

I have no way to verify this, but wanted to pass this on in case there's some truth to it.


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Is SEO Dead?

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Thursday, 18 December 2008 09:37

(3 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)

After reading an article on Biznik by Gabriella Sannino in response to an article by Eoghan McCabe, I have to jump back in with my 2 cents.


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Mind Your Biznik

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Tuesday, 16 December 2008 15:44

(2 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

There are so many social networks out there. So many, infact, that an acronym, YASN (yet another social network), has been created to describe them.

I have recently started using Biznik. It's the best business-oriented online network I have used to date. The tagline is 'business networking that doesn't suck'. C'mon, you know that sounds good to you!


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Is Your Flash Drive a Liability?

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Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:46


It happened again. This time I lost two of them. Two USB flashdrives and a set of keys, all on one keychain. Has this happened to you? If you use a flash drive, it's bound to happen at some point. It's not a good feelling wondering what files were on that flash drive. Fortunately for me, this time my drives were encrypted. Before you are faced with this situation, you should encypt your flash drives too. Here's how:


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When Google Talks, You Should Listen

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Friday, 05 December 2008 06:44


On November 13, Google released a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. This is a great guide for making sure you cover the basics of SEO. I have written about many of the SEO tips contained in this article before, but having Google reiterate them means they're important.


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Insourced SEO?

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Monday, 01 December 2008 16:42


LotusJump has launched a new web-based SEO service. I got there following a link from Duct Tape Marketing and was able to signup for $10/month. The full-priced service is supposed to cost $99/month. Seems pretty over priced, but for $10/month it may be worth checking it out. The sale was a one-day sale so if you're not reading this on December 1st, you probably missed it.


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Is Your Landing Page Working?

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Saturday, 29 November 2008 10:12


After writing an overview of landing pages, I received a question about testing your landing pages. Here is a brief overview of the simplest form of testing.

Web Analytics

Before we begin testing you need to have some kind of web analytics software to gather data about the visitors to your website. Because I use Google Analytics the article will be geared towards this package however, I'm sure there are many ways to accomplish the same thing. Check out my post on getting Google Analytics set up on your website.


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New eBook from Duct Tape Marketing

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Friday, 28 November 2008 13:05


Mmmm. Turkey and duct tape. Maybe we should call it turducten!

John Jantsch, the mastermind behind Duct Dape Marketing has released a new ebook titled Let's Talk Social Media for Small Business. It's a good, if basic, read. The ebook is sponsored by Microsoft Office Live so you get Windows Live Spaces (what?) listed with WordPress and TypePad. I don't think there's any comparison there. But the ebook does still have some good tips in it; it's definately worth reading, especially since it's only 23 pages.

Take a look at the ebook and let me know what you think.


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