Smartphones – Managing Your Office On The Go

For many of us entrepreneurs, sole traders and small business owners, the ability to run our business on the move is crucial. We want to be able to respond to clients’ emails, compare prices, track shipments, make payments, update calendar and pretty much    maintain convenient access to our essential data. The smartphone does just that, it helps us to manage our office while we are on the go, giving us a new found freedom. It gives us the opportunity to be more efficient and to be more responsive to our clients.

Here are 4 top benefits of owning a smartphone

1. Instant access to the web. Whether you’re researching the price of products, assessing your competition online or looking for the perfect vacation spot, you’ll find it using a smartphone.

2. Sync with your desktop computer. Synchronizing your smartphone with your desktop allows you can store, view, and work on documents directly on your handheld. You can also receive and respond to emails as they arrive in your inbox on your home computer with real-time push email.

3. Smartphones can also serve as multimedia devices, so your entertainment goes with you. They can store and display pictures and videos of friends and family and even entire feature-length movies. Most smartphones take pictures and capture video, but the most common multimedia function is the ability to play MP3s—sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite tunes while traveling or during breaks.

4. Numerous third-party applications (or apps) geared toward hardworking business tasks as well as  entertainment. With thousands of apps available to download in a range of prices, there’s sure to be something that will appeal to you.

Features to consider when buying a smartphone for your business

1. Design – The size and weight, screen size and resolution make a difference in the display and handling of a smartphone.

2. Multimedia – The best business cell phones have at least a 2 megapixel camera with zoom features and the ability to play and record audio and video. Smartphones act as life management devices and include organizational features like calendars and task lists.

3. Call Features/Quality- The foundation of business is communication, and a smartphone’s first function is as a cellular phone. Smartphones for business should include all typical cell phone features including speaker-phone, three-way calling, voice dialing, call waiting, etc.

4. Memory/Storage – The most practical smartphones are compact, include good input and display options with enough battery life to last through a full day’s work and beyond.

5. Additional Features – Many smartphones include practical tools like calculators, map applications and GPS. Some have the ability to support third-party or browser-based programs that can perform a variety of specific functions. Third-party apps are becoming a key component of a smartphone, allowing the user to customize their phones to support their unique lifestyles.

There are a number of smart phones to choose from and here are some options to consider.


Beware of Computers Hackers

Your computer can be a dangerous place. You can lose control of your computer, your email programs and even your identity if you are not vigilant. Everyday you have to be on guard against those who want to turn your computer into a part of their botnet – zombie army. Computer hackers can send you messages via your website, blog or email. The messages maybe “Here is a cool site, (link attached). Come by for a chat.” If you should click on that link then WAM! BAM! and a malware will be put on your computer.

A hacked computer can create havoc

There are lots of scam artist marketers who are willing to mislead you into visiting their links. Their whole purpose is to infect your computer with malware so they can start using it to send out their own spam emails. Or so they can gain access to your personal information.

Here are a few tactics that you can use to protect your computer against these hackers:

  1. First, learn to recognize a spam comment or email vs. a legitimate one. Spammers will almost always use canned comments – something that is non-personal and can be sent to thousands. A legitimate comment will be more detailed, more personal and will mention something from your article.
  2. Be careful about who you interact with. If you suspect something fishy, turn tail and run!
  3. Also make sure you have the latest virus, spyware and malware protection on your computer. Use a firewall if possible.
  4. When you’re not using your computer, close your browser.
  5. And check your outgoing or sent emails now and then to make sure someone has not pirated your email.
  6. Change all passwords frequently.

Malware or virus sneaking into your computer

If you think your computer’s been hacked, immediately disconnect from the Internet and scan your computer for malware and viruses. Report unauthorized access to your computer to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaints Center.

Have you had any experience with someone hacking into your computer? If so share it with us. How else can we protect ourselves from such unscrupulous persons?

Update to post – 07/28/10

If you have a good password such as a non dictionary word that you cut and paste in order to log into your account, then it is very difficult for hackers to figure out your password. For example, if your password is a the acronym of a wise saying mixed in with symbols and number it is virtually impossible to crack and so regular changing of the password is not necessary. An example is the acronym of the saying ‘You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down’ mixed in with numbers would be Yc3Ka6gM9d.

Copying your password from a file and then pasting it in order to log it makes it hard for hackers to track what you are doing. Another tip is not to use the same for all your various accounts.


Does Your Website Pass The 7 Seconds Test?

Seven seconds. That’s all the time you have to make a good impression on your web site visitors. Seven seconds is not a lot of time! What happens if your site doesn’t make the grade? CLICK! Off to the competition they go. Here are a few tips that will help your website pass the 7 seconds rule.

Know your target audience as well as you know your best friend – First and foremost, the site has to revolve around the customer. Every idea must begin with the customer in mind. Each aspect should attribute to the customer’s experience. Take the time to find out who your customers are and what appeals to them. Use that information as the foundation for designing your site.

Simple site layout – Use the KISS rule , keep it simple sweetie! Your site must be easy to navigate. Think of your customers. Consider what actions they are likely to take while visiting your site and stick to the three-click rule. Create a layout that would allow the customer to get to where they are going in three clicks or less.

Design – less is more – Flashing animations, tons of photographs and high-megabyte graphics are not necessarily the signs of a well-designed site. Those things slow your load time and can look overwhelming. Making the customer wait is not something in your best interest. Remember, part of your first impression on the visitor will be how quickly your site loads. Certainly, graphics and photos add interest to the pages, they are a worthy addition but use these things sparingly.

The copy is the mainstay of any web site. It presents the information, leads the customer through the steps and makes the sale. Copy also contributes to your search engine rankings. Balance of search engine keywords and vital sales information make for professional copy that really draws in the target audience. In addition, proper use of keywords allows those in your target group to find you in the first place. Be sure to choose keywords that your type of business would be frequently searched under.

Remember, you do not a second chance to make a good first impression.


List Your Business For Free On The Internet

Here are some very free ways to geo-target through free business listings on the Internet.

Yellow Pages – Free listing of your business; company name, address, phone number, email, a brief description of business, industry category, website, hours of operation, payment method, certifications, licenses and affiliations. Click on the link ‘Get your free listing’ and you can create a free listing for your business in a few simple steps.

Google Maps – Free listing of your business; company name, address, phone numbers, email, website a brief description of business (200 characters) and type of industry. Go to the link put your business on Google maps and then set up a google account which is just establishing what email and password you will use to log on.