Top 10 Small Business "Windows 8" Upgrade Tips

Small Business Working on a laptop and Smartphone - Credit: freedigitalphotos.net In 2013, Microsoft significantly changed the Windows 8 and Office user interface. Your employees are going to have to re-learn how to use Office Applications after you upgrade your PCs and Laptops.  Here are a few key tips to help evaluate this upgrade for your Small Business.

 

 

Small Business "Windows 8" Upgrade Tips:

1. Read the Walt Mossberg article (see link below) on Windows 8 before you spend any money 2. Increase (or establish) a budget for employee Office Software training 3. Line-up extra help for your staff, including: phone and one-to-one coaching 4. Make sure your existing software will work with Windows 8 5. Identify and Implement any business process changes 6. Re-write any office manuals 7. Confirm who in IT Support actually knows anything about Windows 8. It's new to everyone.... 8. Check that all your existing PC & Laptop accessories will work 9. Budget lots of extra money to deal with the unknown 10. You may want to wait for the rest of the industry to come up to speed before you invest in this upgrade.

The bottom-line is that your Small Business Staff & Information Technology Resource "Productivity will likely go down" and your "PC Costs will go up" by implementing Windows 8 in 2013.

Hope these tips help....

 

Note: It's important for a Small Business Owner to read the Mossberg review below before you upgrade or buy a new Windows PC.  Microsoft will have a Windows 8 upgrade by 2014 to fix many of the problems created by the new design.

 

"Microsoft is giving Windows its most radical overhaul since 1995 and even its most devoted users won’t recognize the venerable computer operating system in this new incarnation, called Windows 8, when it appears Oct. 26."  Walt Mossberg

Windows 8 Review by Walt Mossberg - AllThingsD

 

Note: Photo Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

How to Print from an iPad for Under $20

When you run a Small Business you are always looking for ways to improve productivity by saving time and money.   Our last article on "18 Tips for using an iPad in a Small Business" focused on finding the top iPad Apps. After you use an iPad for a day or two, you quickly begin asking yourself... "How can I print from my iPad?"  Here's the good news.  After much research, we found a very easy way to print from an iPad for under $20.

There are a three good options for printing from an iPad:

1. Buy a new Printer that works with Apple iPad AirPrint

2. Transfer your data to a PC or Mac and then print from there.

3. Buy "Printer Apps" that are compatible with Apple AirPrint technology and will let you print on most existing printers in the office

 

Here are the Details.........

Option 1. Buy a New Printer You can print from an iPad on almost all the new Hewlett-Packard (HP) Printers and a few Epson Printers support Apple Airprint.  Prices run from $100 to $300, plus the cost of any extended maintenance contract. Tip: Plan on extra time to evaluate,  select,  purchase, install, test, check printer drivers for the new printer and recycle the old printer.  Click to see a list of  the top printers that work with iPad Apple AirPrint technology.

 

Option 2. Transfer your data to your PC or Mac and then print from there. Here are two good options for transferring the files from the iPad to a PC or Mac.

  • Use iTunes App (Free): You can sync an iPad with your PC or Mac using iTunes. After the sync is completed you can find the file on your PC or Mac and print it like any other file.
  • Use the DropBox App (there is a Free version):  If you use the DropBox App on your iPad, PC and Mac, you can just save a file in the iPad Dropbox Folder and then go to your PC or Mac and print the file.  The iPad App that created the page or file you want to print must be compatible with Dropbox. You can look this up on dropbox.com

 

Option 3. Buy a Printer App (NOT a new Printer) for your PC or Mac (Our Favorite - We Did This) After doing a lot of research, we found a printer App for our PCs and one for our Apple Macs. Here's what you need to do.

First install the appropriate printer app on any relatively new PC or Mac that is connected to an inkjet or laser printer. Then make sure you have a WiFi Wireless Network turned on in the office (or home).  Get the network Password... You'll need to enter the password in the printer software settings.  That's it... you're done!   Now anyone in the office (or home) that has an iPhone, iPad, iPod or Touch can print.  It is amazing to watch... and it just works.  Here are the two Apps we use and recomend:

  • Printopia - by ecamm Network:  Works on the Mac only and costs $20
  • FingerPrint - by Collobos:  Works on a PC or Mac and costs $10

 

Hope this helps.   We have not had any problems with both of these Apps since they've been installed.

Please add your comments for any other Wireless iPad Printing Options that work for you (and you would recommend to a family member)  :)

Give us a call @ 650-866-5517 or feel free to contact us to discuss how you can use the latest mobile technology to boost sales in your Small Business.

 

 

Small Business Poll - Top Technology to Implement in 2012?

Are you starting to think about planning for next year? Do you have any feel for the top cost-effective new technology that will boost your company sales and productivity? During the fourth quarter, we asked Small Business Executives, Managers or Owners to share  the Top 3-4 NEW Technologies that they were thinking about implementing in 2012.  Based on the survey, the following are the top 4 technologies for 2012:

  1. Upgrading the Company Website with the Latest Technology
  2. Implementing Smartphones and Tablets
  3. Testing and Implementing Social Marketing
  4. Adding Video Content for the Website including: Customer Demos, New Product Announcements, Success Stories and Best Practice Tips

[polldaddy poll=5485445]

Note: The votes were  anonymous and we do NOT collecting any personal info.  All poll results are available now.

Please share the poll results with other managers or owners... and add any comments or questions in the comment field below.

Top 10 Must-Do Tips For Creating & Updating Your Website or Blog

Your website is the most important technology needed today to grow your small business.   Yes. It is more important than Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Smartphones, Tablets and everything else you read about. We recently underwent a big project to move and update several of our company Websites and Blogs.  We learned a lot from these projects and would like to share some of experiences.

The following are the top 10 tips that helped us minimize the time, cost and hassle of this project.

 

1. Move to a Popular Content Management System (CMS)

If you are spending the time and money to update an existing or create a new website or blog, you want to move to using a modern "Content Management System" or CMS.  Some of the more popular Content Management Systems  include: Wordpress, Google Blogs (Blogger), Drupal or Squarespace.

We suggest Wordpress for most Small Businesses.  It may not the best solution for everyone.  However, it is very popular,  with  50+ million worldwide websites (that is not a typo).  Wordpress is also very cheap and there are lots of resources for help everywhere.  There is even a Free version available for companies that have virtual no budget or staff.  More on this later.

 

2.  Design Your Site for Mobile Visitors

According to Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley, by 2015, the majority of users will be accessing your website from a Smartphone, Tablet or even a TV.... NOT a laptop or desktop computer of today.  If you are creating a new website or updating an existing site, you want to do this project once now and have it work for the short-term future.

You should only use a Content Management System (CMS) that will support mobile devices now... or will in the future.

Mary Meeker: Mobile Internet Will Soon Overtake Fixed Internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Remember HTML 5.... NOT Flash

As I just mentioned in the  last tip, mobile is important now and will be extremely important in the near future.  Unfortunately, there is a website technology battle going on today in the industry. The older technology is Adobe Flash.  The new technology is called HTML 5.  HTML 5 is the worldwide standard. We recommend that you make sure your website is designed with HTML 5 support... not Flash.

Many website and marketing vendors  like to push Adobe Flash technology because that's what they have been using for the last 5 to 10 years.    Please DO NOT let someone talk you into creating an Adobe FLASH Website or Blog.   The whole worldwide industry is quickly moving to the HTML 5  standard. Even Adobe, the developer of Flash recently announced that it will be selling a product to create HTML 5 websites in direct competition to their Flash technology.

By 2011, there were 200 million Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch & Apple TVs) that use HTML 5... but DO NOT read FLASH technology.   If you use Flash Technology on your new website or blog, you will exclude millions of potential customers.  Many fancy restaurant and resort websites were designed using Flash... and for the last two years,  million of potential customers haven't been able to see their websites.  Now, many restaurants are rebuilding their sites using HTML 5 technology for mobile and desktop users.

Wordpress supports HTML 5.

4. Six Must-Have Websites  Pages

If you are creating your 1st website, there are a six key pages that you need to publish on a website. Below are some thoughts about the type of  information you would write for each page.

  • Home Page - You 1st page summarizes a few key points:
    • Company Name
    • Contact Info
    • Poduct and Services List
    • One Paragraph describing your business
  • About Us - Tells everyone about who you are
    • Company Name
    • Background
    • Company Founder and Management Summary
    • Partnerships
  • Services/Products/Solutions
    • List of each Product or Service with a description of key info
  • Blog - Blog Articles that are published on a regular basis and provides your readers and customers tips, key info and advice
  • Contact Us - The Page that gives your readers info on how to contact you
    • Address, Phone and eMail
    • Social Networking Info
    • Map and Directions to Your Office
  • Landing Page - A special page designed to capture Sales Leads
    • Key Sales Lead or Order Form
    • Info on a product or service

Tip: The best thing to do is to read other websites and blogs that you like and see what they have written on their key pages.

 

5. "Share Widgets"

It is very important to add a way to share your website and Blog content to help grow website visitors, marketing leads and provide customer service.  There are two top FREE widgets you can use for your website: Addthis.com or  Sharethis.com.

You publish a share widget on each page of content to help increase readership.  These widgets should be placed in the website design templates or plug-ins. Here are a few of the top share links:

 

6.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How do you attract the most visitors to your updated website?  One of the ways is to to have great Search Engine Optimization or SEO.   The following video explains SEO in 3-minute video.

 

 

7. Key Accounts You Need to Open

In addition to publishing a website / blog, you need to also open important internet accounts to help you market your company and website. Most of these services are Free or are very inexpensive.

  • Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • gMail and YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Hotsuite or Tweetdeck
  • CRM
  • eNewsletter
  • Skype

8. Metrics & Reporting

Use Google Analytics for website reporting, management tools and metrics.  Almost all small businesses use Google Analytics service. It's Free.

9. Videos and Photos

Almost all new Small Business websites should use video as well as photos.   Adding videos is one of the top trends.  The top three video publishing services include:  YouTube, Vimeo and Brightcove.

10. Update Weekly - Website-Blog + Social

Once you have your Website / Blog up and running, you need to update them with fresh new content and let the world know about your wonderful information.