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10 Reasons To Shop Local

 

 

Keeping your spending dollars circulating through the local community is important for a number of reasons.  Although the results may not be immediately noticeable, we’re here to let you know that there are some really great benefits for you and your community to keeping things local.  Your buying choices are like a vote each time you spend money, so let your local business owners know that you support them by shopping in their stores, voicing your opinions and letting them know your product preferences.

If that’s not enough encouragement, here are 10 more reasons to shop local.

 

 

1. Wealthy Community:  When you spend locally the multiplier effect takes place…  Say what?  Spending money locally generates a lasting impact of economic wealth throughout your community’s local businesses, residents and organizations.

 

 


2.  Clean & Green:  Local, independent businesses are typically greener based on the simple fact that they are usually smaller than big box retailers & chains – which means less land, smaller buildings, and less resources.  That’s not the only environmentally beneficial perk!  These types of businesses are often community-focused and volunteer to keep their communities clean & green.  Since they live close to their businesses, they also have shorter commutes, which leads to less air pollution and traffic congestion.  Who knew owning a local business would make you clean, green, environmental machine?

 

 


3. Community Building:  Do you know the produce guy’s name in your grocery?  How about the check-out gal at your local pizza shop?  Shopping locally helps to build relationships throughout the community.  These days, many people turn to social media platforms to connect, but there are so many wonderful relationships just waiting to blossom within your own neighborhood.

 

 


4. Local Flair: Individually owned businesses are unique in their appearance, but chains or big box stores look the same everywhere.  By supporting local businesses, you are contributing to the uniqueness of the city.  Just like people, there are many types of businesses.  Shouldn’t we celebrate our differences and embrace our unique characteristics?  Life is boring when we’re all the same!

 

 


5.  Democracy Reigns:  Locals owning businesses means residents with community roots are involved in important decisions that not only shape our local environment but also our lives.


 

 

6. Giving Back:  Do you know that small businesses donate twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events and teams in comparison to big businesses?  Now you do!  It just makes sense that locally owned businesses would be more invested financially in their local communities, be more willing to give back, and donate their time.  By shopping local, you are giving back to your community.

 

 


7.  Economy Strength: How much do you spend locally?  (Estimate…)  Now take that number and multiple it by THREE!  That’s the amount of money you are contributing to the local economy when you shop local.  When you shop local, you are returning 50 times more money to the local economy than you would be had you shopped at an online or chain retailer.  Just think how much money we could return to our local economy if we all shopped locally!

 

 


8.  Better Options:  When we shop local, we help to shape the product landscape.  By voicing our desires to business owners, it guides them on what the surrounding community needs and wants.  It’s basic supply & demand…  The community wants a particular item, so the supplier stocks it for them.  It doesn’t get more catered than that!  And who wouldn’t want to support a business owner that actually listens and supports the needs of the community?  Speak up to let your local business owners know what you’d appreciate them carrying or services they could offer you think would benefit the surrounding community.

 

 


9.  Keep Taxes Low:  Seems unlikely, huh?  But it’s not!  When businesses are centralized and the community shops local, there is less wear and tear on our roads and city wide resources – such as sewage and safety services.  Another perk…  more tax revenue is generated per dollar spent locally vs. chains!  What does this all mean?  More locally owned independent businesses help to keep our taxes lower than they would be without them.

 

 


10.  More Opportunities & Jobs:  Local businesses typically support other local businesses, such as farms, wholesalers, accountants, lawyers, printers, etc. by being customers.  Not only do they spend money back into their community businesses, but they also employ more people directly per dollar of revenue!  This combination creates more jobs & opportunities for local entrepreneurs and job seekers.


Source:  American Independent Business Alliance

10 Tips To Drive Traffic To Your Website

 

We’re all suckers for the numbers…  Those numbers on social media: the follows, likes, and re-posts – our insights & analytics, and views – and how it all translates into website traffic.  With fast moving trends and ever-evolving platforms, it can be hard to keep up with the best ways to drive traffic to your website.  Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!  Here are 10 tips to help you reach your target audience and drive more traffic to your website.  The best part…  They’re all FREE!

1. QUALITY CONTENT:  When you provide content that customer find of value or benefit, they are more likely to come back to your site.  They will you as an expert voice in your field, and your value opinion.  If you need more time to publish quality content, that is OK.  It’s better to share quality, well thought out content once or twice a month as opposed to a blog post every day or week that lacks substance.

 

2. LANDING PAGES:  Creating a landing page to offer a free download to your customers is a great way to gain new customers also.  People LOVE free stuff!  When you offer a free download, you can gift something that is not a huge monetary investment for you, but is of value to your customers.  For example, you could offer: an e-book, industry related tips, recipes, and much more – without a huge investment of time or money, and your customers will feel appreciated.  (Mailchimp is an easy tool to create a free landing page.)

3. ONLINE COURSE:  Think about the needs of your customer.  What are some of their common challenges?  Create a course offering solutions.  You don’t have to include a product in every video.  Your customers will appreciate your helpful advice, without your video feeling too “sales-y.”  Think about your customers’ lifestyles, and get creative!  For example, if you own a juice shop, you could create a  video of someone making a smoothie and share the recipe with your customers.

4. CATCHY HEADLINES:  Taking the time to create an eye-catching headline is so important.  Customers are often searching through a see of your competitors, so make yourself stand out.  Often we find people say,”I don’t care about the little details.  Nobody is perfect.” but will often show the opposite in their actions.  Subconsciously they care about the details.  If you need ideas, you can always look online at websites similar to yours, search for synonyms, and definitions to make sure you’re standing out enough to be unique but staying on track with your message and reaching your audience.

5.  MIX IT UP:  Engagement is key in retaining and keeping your customers back to your website.  An easy way to do that is to mix up your content.  For example, Say you create two posts a month…try posting a short written article & a video one month.  The following month post a longer written article and an image post – such as a 10 Tips Graphic.

 

 

6.  COLLABORATE:  Do you have a friend or contact that also owns a business?  Are your industries similar?  Great!  Team up with this person and cross-promote your business through a giveaway, product review, or by working on a project together.  This will help drive traffic from each others audiences to your websites and create new customers for both of you in the process.

7.  WEBINARS:  Similar to online courses, webinars are a great way to offer something of value to your customers and educating them in the process.  It’s also a fun way to learn more about your current customers while gaining new customers.  Try incorporating live chat into your webinar to gain customer insights and learn more about your audience & their needs.

 

 

8.  INVITE A GUEST:  Do you need a brain break from creating content?  Try this idea…  Invite a guest writer and feature a piece on your blog.  This is another way of incorporating cross-promotion into your marketing efforts.  If you don’t need a break from creating, your guest writer could also feature you on their blog.  This will help to broaden both of your customer bases.

9. GO LIVE:  It seems customers are loving live video more and more!  Whether you use Instagram or Facebook, live video is a great way to connect with your customers.  You can have Q&A sessions, discuss a particular topic, do a quick tutorial, or share an experience with your customers.

10.  SOCIAL MEDIA:  This seems like a no-brainer to many, but you would be surprised how many people still don’t understand the importance of social media.  It is a great tool for driving traffic to your website.  If you have a blog, use social media to share you blog posts, any new products, upcoming releases, events, news, & important information.  (If you have not checked out Linktr.ee it is a great way to incorporate multiple links into to share in your Instagram profiles.  It’s FREE with the pro version costing a mere $6/month!)

5 Proven Social Media Engagement Strategies for 2018

social-media-engagement

“In the world of social media marketing, the word “engagement” gets thrown around a lot, but few brands actually know how to achieve it.

Brands might pursue the low-effort game of tweeting, ‘gramming, feeding Facebook, and Linkedin-ing updates about products, services, and educational content, but see little engagement.

Engagement just isn’t easy to produce. You have to be, well, engaging. In your business niche, the “like my page” approach probably isn’t going to be effective as you’d like.

Manage and plan your social media posts with the help of this free calendar template.

Let’s look at ideas that could make you a force to be reckoned with. I’ve organized them into an AEIOU list. (I want to call it an acronym, but how would you pronounce the five vowels?)

A is for Ask

The best way to engage someone is to ask a question. “How are you?” and “How’s it going?” are popular options in conversion, but too dull for social media warfare.

“What’s your name?” probably won’t work and “What’s your email?” might come off as a bit too forceful. How about …

“What do you think?” Yes! That’s a winner.

People like to think things through. They like to hear from other thinkers. Certainly, they want other people to know what they think. Try prompting your audience with one of the following “What do you think?” strategies:

  • Probe their personality. Post a question that invites people to share their opinion or weigh in on something.
  • Play the “test your knowledge” game. It’s irresistible.
  • Post a poll. It’s easy to create polls on Twitter and Facebook. In addition to engaging your followers, you stand to learn meaningful things about them too.
  • Respond to my email. Email from brands are bound to ask you to click-through to read, watch, and try or buy something, but how often do they simply ask you to write back? I find this this be an enormously engaging strategy and have seen it work for my brand and many others. Notice I wrote, “Respond to my email,” not “our email” or “this email.” A human-to-human first person approach will be the engaging way to call this play.
  • Just ask. Interactivity 101: simply post a question. Whether done so in a social stream, blog post, online group or community, or on a Q&A site such as Quora, I’ve witnessed asking followers relevant, provocative, and timely questions creates some of the most engaging and thought-provoking social media activity of all.

Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Personality quizzes have been red-hot engagement magnets for years on Buzzfeed, and it’s easy to create them to promote your brand with a template-based tool such as ShortStack.

Nice going AARP. “Test Your Beatles Trivia Knowledge” engaged me, but you could have asked a few easier questions. I went 0–for-8 (and I’m a huge Fab Four fan).

This simple Twitter poll from Airbnb does a great job of engaging followers without any fancy tools.

E is for Expression

“E” is for “expression” because of the way social and mobile have collided, making the ubiquitous smartphone a personal expression machine.

It doesn’t matter how you create content. The camera might be front or rear facing. Audio might be on or off. Filters, emojis, stickers and so forth may be applied or not. Posts may be permanent or self-destructing. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Smartphone apps enable people to express themselves every which way, and so they do.

Here are a few ways you can encourage your audience to create content featuring your brand:

  • Hash it out. The hashtag has become the click-to-connect ticket for bonding with like-minded people. When you put something of interest out there, do a little hashtag research first, or hash out a unique phrase that reflects your brand. Hit that # key, and invite your followers to jump in and hashtag content related
  • Conduct media upload contests. Many social media fans adore Instagram and Facebook contests, and are especially engaged in the types that involve shooting and sharing original photos and videos. Contests may call for other forms of self-expression as well, such as: recipes, recordings, illustrations, poems, essays, and more.
  • Rally reviewers. Thanks to pioneers like Amazon and Yelp, reviews, ratings, and testimonials have been baked into the fabric of e-commerce selling spaces and beyond.
  • Showcase customers, partners and employees. Provided you’re doing something people like, consider creating advocacy programs featuring customers, partners and employees to catalyze your community, amplify your voice, and engage newcomers by giving them a platform to express themselves.

Let’s take a look at an example:

#KajabiHero is an impressive example of customer advocacy at work. Satisfied customers happily endorse the “knowledge commerce platform,” and wear their t-shirts proudly. They’re rewarded with special features, links to their websites, and social media support.

I is for Incentive

I’ve mentioned numerous forms of interactive content, some of them competitions, but have yet to introduce the term “gamification.” People like to play games, compete, keep score, and most of all, win.

Satisfy your audience’s competitive spirit by featuring compelling incentives in your promotions. As incentives go, valuable prizes loom largest, but you may be surprised how even small rewards prove to deliver a sizable lure.

I swept through a post that features 37 Facebook contest ideas to inspire fans to bond with your brand in an effort to extract some ideas you can use to encourage people to get involved.

The entry form on this promotion by Michigan’s Friendship Circle explains, each person who casts a vote for their favorite pair of hand-drawn Converse All Stars will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free pair of the winner. The winning shoe was subsequently reproduced and sold as a fundraiser.

O is for Offer

Your engagement strategy doesn’t need to be interactive or gamified 100% of the time. Your brand can engage customers and prospects the old fashioned way, with attractive offers such as:

  • Instant coupons and discounts
  • Membership clubs (example below)
  • Pick your discount promotions
  • Free shipping

The link in Pura Vida Bracelet’s Instagram bio invites you to “join the Pura Vida Club.” BTW, the brand’s Instagram feed (1 million followers) bubbles over with joyous photos, mostly from customers, engaging questions, challenges, posts about charitable causes, and conversations.

Experiment with different types of offers to discover what your customers best respond to.

Facebook makes it easy to promote offers. A flavor of the Facebook ad portfolio is the “offer ad.” Offer ads can be redeemed online and/or be saved by Facebook fans to be redeemed in-store.

A help page from Facebook offers the following best practices:

  • Make discounts substantial. Offers with free items or with discounts of at least 20% off will reach more people.
  • Use an engaging image. Photos of people using a product often perform better than photos of a product by itself, and both generally perform better than logos.
  • Set an expiration date. Give people a few days to discover and claim an offer and allow time for your offer to be shared among friends. The ideal length of an offer is 7 days.
  • Promote your offer: After creating an ad for your offer, pin it to the top of your Page to help it get noticed.

U is for Utility

Engagement and utility are close friends on the web today.

Data from a research report about interactive contact from Content Marketing Institute and ion interactive reveals the top two reasons for using interactive content are (1) educating the audience and (2) engagement.

A major majority of savvy B2B marketers put utility at the forefront of their content marketing programs. Useful content created to engage prospective customers could include tools, blog posts, video, infographics, downloadable guides, mini-courses, helpful email sequences, webinars, and much more.

Above is a LinkedIn ad from ConnectWise Automate that offers what appears to be a highly useful guide to help vendors price their IT services.

The ad is the pitcher… and here’s the catcher: a highly engaging and smartly designed landing page.

ConnectWise landing page.png

I love the question style headline, the directional cues, the 1/2/3 infographic vignette, the very cool bonus offer (a calculator), and the nicely designed form.

Utilitarian marketing ideas work offline too—and for any size company or individual.

I love the story from Jay Baer’s book Youtility about Taxi Mike. Jay calls an enterprising taxi driver he encounters a “one man Trip Advisor.” The driver created the Taxi Mike Dining Guide (above) and updates it regularly to handout to his passengers.

How will you AEIOU engagement with your brand?

A quick review:

(A) Asking Questions

(E) Invoking Expression

(I) Providing Incentives

(O) Making Offers

(U) Delivering Utility

I hope you found these ideas and examples useful — and engaging.”

Written by: Barry Feldman Source

5 Advisor Growth Strategies for 2018

5 Advisor Growth Strategies for 2018

“According to the Chinese zodiac, 2018 is the year of the dog.¹ I have no idea what that means for you or if you even care. What I do know about 2018 is that growing your practice will take a big commitment. Here are five ideas that work well when done together and in sequence.

ONE
START THE YEAR WITH THE RIGHT MARKETING MINDSET

Do it right
Stop silo-marketing initiatives that don’t create momentum and don’t last. Buy in to an integrated, long term marketing approach that will continue working for you for year. You can add or takeaway parts, but get focused on a strategy that will last.

Think long-term
Build for many years of success, not just the next 90 days or you’ll spend each 90 day segment starting something new with little momentum from last quarter. It’s no way to market and grow.

No short cuts
There are no short cuts. Do it right. Stop paying silo-marketers for shortcut marketing. List buying doesn’t work alone. Seminars alone won’t do it. Search engine marketing only works as part of a much larger strategy. Stop lead generations tactics that aren’t built around an overarching marketing plan.

Invest
Nothing comes without hard work and smart investing. Find out what makes sense for you, not necessarily what worked for someone else. 10% of your gross revenue should be dedicated to marketing every year. It may be more if you need to build your foundation (brand, website, social profiles).

Understand your true ROI
ROI isn’t just objective. It’s subjective. Don’t ever forget the value of looking good, being intriguing and making it easy for people to engage you. Too many advisors look for clear and simple ROI guarantees. The greatest wins are the subjective ones. Confidence to close. Attracting more ideal prospects. Inspiring referrals from COIs and Clients you haven’t heard from in a while. Attracting opportunities to network, partner or contribute.

In most cases, ROI is what you make of it, not what it does for you. Stop waiting for the leads to pile in, go get them with your brand, content, website, social network and more. Have a “go get ‘em” mentality, not a “when are they coming” mentality.

TWO
EMPLOY THE RIGHT FRAMEWORK TO BUILD TRUST

Trust Formula - Framework

Own your story
Nothing is more important in financial services than having a story that differentiates you. In the least, it should clearly articulate who you serve, what you do, and why it’s important to them. Your brand precedes you. Your prospects experience your brand before they ever meet you in person. What’s your story? Are you different? Are you better? Who should work with you? Why should they care?

Prove your expertise and commitment
It’s not enough to say you are good, different or better. It’s everything to prove it and your ideal audience expect it. Show you care. Show your personality. Share your expertise. Make a commitment to creating and sharing content that tells your story and more importantly, helps them understand theirs. Prove your brand.

It’s not “build it and they will come”. Get exposed
Once you have a story, you need to get it out there in a meaningful way. Know where your audience is, find them and address them on their terms. Engage them in your story and your content. Get them to share your content with their networks. Expand. Find ways to target build your list. Use LinkedIn search. Find verticals and COIs who work with your ideal audience. Engage them too. Be everywhere you can be and as efficiently as possible.

THREE
SAVE TIME & MONEY

Stop “trial and error” marketing
Why try and fail when you can try and succeed. Find someone who’s had success with a strategy, not just a tactic. Will it work for you? Why did it work for them? Will your audience respond the same way? What hasn’t worked for them? Why? Do some research of find a firm that’s helped many different types of advisors find their way.

No more “old school” marketing
If “old school” only meant, build trust, that would be okay. What it means more often than not is trying the same things advisors did 15 years ago and expecting the same results. Old school thinks: referrals are just about asking, “free consultation” is a valid call-to-action, social media is a black hole, direct mail is personal, and seminars are purely educational. Marketing these days is about content, conversations and being everywhere.

Stop “I Hope…” marketing
Every advisors needs a strategy, not just tactics. How does your marketing work together? How do you create momentum? What’s effective and efficient?

Avoid SUNK marketing
Sunk marketing dies after it’s been used. Irt has no long-term value. Some examples are ads (digital, print), seminars (if you don’t follow up), direct mail (if it doesn’t lead to something else), emails marketing (if it doesn’t lead to something else), date specific content, and webinars (if it doesn’t lead to something else. The key is, does it lead to something else and does it have value once it’s been used? Some examples of lasting marketing: evergreen podcasts, videos, blog posts, published articles (if evergreen), and social profiles. Ten podcasts are worth more than 2. They add credibility to your cause. Digital advertising is gone once it’s done. Unless of course it led to content engagement where you can now initiate other marketing: social, email nurture, email newsletter, RSS to your blog/podcast and so on. The key here is to use “Old school” tactics and advertising to engage people in digital marketing, then you have something to build on.

FOUR
BUILD MARKETING MOMENTUM – EVERY DAY

Get sticky
Get people coming back for more. Share content that your audience will use over and over. Make your content so compelling people want to come back for more.

Engage people
Use every opportunity you have to get people to engage in digital marketing then eventually face-to-face opportunities.

Influence people
Once people are engaged, stay in touch with them often enough and with appropriate content to further ingrain your expertise and commitment.

FIVE
IMPLEMENT, IMPLEMENT, IMPLEMENT

Focus on progress over perfection
If you’re waiting for the perfect website, the perfect paper, the perfect article, the perfect value proposition, you’’ll be missing out on more opportunities and the learning that comes from implementation.

Do what you can and build from there
Start small and focus on building momentum versus only using attraction tactics. Build your brand first, then your website, then your content, then start attracting.

Outsource when needed
You can’t do it all. You don’t have time and you won’t know how to maximize each strategy/tactic. Find help for what you don’t know or aren’t efficient at.

Simplify
Keep your marketing and relationships as simple as possible. Advisors often have 3-5 marketing vendors working for them at any given time. Start from square one, what’s your strategy? How can you simplify implementation? Can you find one or two vendors instead of 5?

Be accountable
Make sure someone on your team is holding you or others accountable. Too many advisors ignore what’s working or not and wait too long to address the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness.

Clear obstacles
Be aware of obstacles that steal your focus and keep you from starting or implementing better marketing. One of the most common obstacles advisors face is the “I already invested in this” mindset. If you invested and it didn’t work, don’t stick with it just because you spent the  money. Fix it now. If you spend too much time writing blog posts that drain the energy out of you, find another way. Try podcasting for instance. It’s much easier. If you don’t have the right technology to be efficient, find a way to get it. If you have a marketing assistant who doesn’t have the right digital skills to help you, find someone who does or enroll them in our Marketing Assistant Course.

Travel light
The bigger your marketing commitments are, the harder they become to manage and sustain; both financially and time-wise. It’s best to be really good at a few marketing tactics that work really well together than to be spread too thin.

2018
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

Advsior Marketing Formula for Success in 2018

1 – The Chinese regard a dog as an auspicious animal. If a dog happens to come to a house, it symbolizes the coming of fortune.

Written by Kirk Lowe: Source

Create A Mobile Office

How to Create a Mobile Office for Your Small Business

Tips for Setting Up an Office You Can Take Anywhere

“Technology is a powerful thing for small business owners, regardless what type of business they run. Using technology can help entrepreneurs do amazing things, including save money, streamline business processes, promote their products and services in new ways, and work more productively.

Technology also gives many small business owners the ability to leave their home or business offices behind and create mobile offices so they can work from anywhere, at any time. This kind of mobility eliminates geographic challenges, and helps small business owners become nimble and more flexible.

If you are ready to take your business on the road, here is some advice for creating an operational mobile office that allows you to work from anywhere.

 

  1. 01

    Choose the Right Mobile Computer

    Business people reviewing financial data on digital tablet
    •••

    If your work requires a computer, you will need a light and movable system that you can pick up and take with you when you leave your main office. That eliminates a desktop computer, but you still have other options to consider.

    Depending on the work you do, you may need a powerhouse laptop, such as a MacBook Pro. If you won’t be doing any heavy lifting from your mobile office, a less expensive and more streamlined netbook, such as an Asus Eee PC, may fit your needs. In some cases, a tablet computer, such as an Apple iPad, may provide enough features to help you bridge the gap between your primary office and your mobile office.

  2. 02

    Get a Reliable and Secure Internet Connection

    internet connection
    •••

    You can’t run a business these days without an Internet connection, but free Wi-Fi hotspots are not going to cut it. First, free access points are typically not reliable enough for business work. And second, Wi-Fi hotspots are not secure. Using one with a business computer can put your data at risk.

    One alternative is a high-speed mobile access card, or a MiFi (a compact wireless router). You can purchase the device and data plan from your mobile phone service provider, or from a company that offers pre-paid or pay-as-you-go wireless access. Whichever option you choose, make sure you protect your data by using an encrypted password.

  3. 03

    Make Your Data Accessible

    business data
    •••

    If you have multiple computers (a desktop in your office and a laptop for mobile working, for example), you will need a way to share files between your computers. You can manually email yourself files, or use a USB drive to move files from one computer to the other. This is tedious, however, and can present version control issues. The best option is using an online backup service that will automatically backup and synchronize your data across multiple devices.

    An online backup service makes it easy to access data from a mobile office. And even if you have just one main computer, this is a great way to ensure consistent backup and accessibility of your data in case of a system crash.

  4. 04

    Consider Going Virtual Across the Board

    virtual business
    •••

    Mobile offices need to be easy to break down, pack up and take anywhere. That means you can’t drag your double file cabinet along with you on the road. That may leave you in a tough spot if you are traveling, though, and find that you need to review a paper document back in your office. If this is a recurring challenge for you, it may be worth transitioning to a paperless (or at least mostly digital) office.

    You can create a paperless office and digital document management system by scanning in hard copy files and creating a virtual file cabinet; managing finances, bookkeeping and budgets on your computer; taking meeting notes on your computer, or transferring them later on; and using electronic agreements. Once you create a digital document management system, you will have all of your paper documents accessible and searchable on your computer. And once those files sync to your online backup service, you can access them from anywhere, making your office truly mobile.

    You can even use virtual phone lines and digital fax lines to create a telephone system you can bring with you wherever you go. This can help you run a professional and seamless business on the road.

  5. 05

    Run System Maintenance Regularly

    software update
    •••

    There is nothing like booting up your computer, only to find that there are a slew of operating system and software updates that need to download and install. This is a major productivity-killer, especially when you’re mobile. Make sure you update your system before traveling to avoid this unnecessary downtime.

    You should also make sure you have reliable anti-virus software installed and updated. And don’t skip those security patches that need to be installed. Keeping your system updated and virus-free is vital for every business, mobile or stationary.

  6. 06

    Don’t Forget Peripherals

    computer accessories
    •••

    Whether it’s a portable printer or scanner, an extra battery, or your favorite mouse, make sure your mobile office is ready to support your work, comfortably and efficiently. You should also bring the power cord for your mobile computer so you can keep it charged and ready to go. And it’s a good idea to travel with a small surge protector to protect your computer in case of an unexpected power surge.

    Setting up a mobile office can be a very individual process. Start by deciding how much access you really need and work backwards to create your mobile office. Once you perfect your mobile workspace, you may even find that you don’t need a stationary central office any longer.”

    Source

    With plenty of city-wide green space and beautiful weather, Austin is a great place to have a mobile office.  Whether you are always on-the-go or want to be less attached to your desk, there are so many ways to achieve a mobile office. Not sure if a mobile office is right for you?  Ask yourself a few questions!

    1. Do you want a more flexibility  schedule?

    2. Do you enjoy being spontaneous?

    3. Would you like a change of scenery?

    4. Are you in a convenient location for your customers?

    If you answered,”Yes!” to any of the above questions, a mobile office may be right for you.  Start small, if it seems intimidating.  Remember, this should be a streamlined version of your current setup – able to go where duty calls.  You’ve got this!

Top Time Tracking Apps

Top Time Tracking Software & Cloud-Based Apps

For U.S. and Canadian Businesses

“Good time tracking software pays for itself. Being able to precisely track the time spent on various projects lets you bill your clients accurately and manage your time more efficiently. The time tracking software programs listed here are also easy to learn and use, and include reporting and billing features, features most freeware time tracking software programs don’t have.

As with accounting and tax software, most vendors of time tracking software are moving their products to the cloud and offer online subscription-based services ranging from basic to advanced in features and price (see also The Best Accounting Software for Small Business and Top Tax Software Programs). Most have “try before you buy” options so you can test drive the product.Note that some of products listed include sophisticated time tracking for businesses with employees, including interfaces for time clocks, bio-metric readers, etc. If you are a freelancer/contractor and don’t need the features of dedicated time tracking software note that many accounting software packages (such as FreshBooks) include basic time tracking capabilities.

    • 01

      TSheets Time Tracking Software

      TSheets is a cloud-based, comprehensive, time tracking and management system. As well as browser access there are apps for mobile devices and you can also clock in via text messages or dial-up.

      TSheets has an excellent employee tracking system that uses GPS to track and record the locations of employees with mobile devices, which is very handy for contractors who work on remote sites.

      TSheets integrates directly with QuickBooks accounting software – after initial setup, QuickBooks and TSheets can synchronize payroll and accounting information in real time.

      For plans and pricing see the TSheets pricing page

    • 02

      uAttend Time and Attendance Cloud-Based Software

      If you are a small business and need to do time tracking of employees, uAttend time and attendance software is a perfect solution. Being cloud-based it does not require desktop software installation.

      Employees can enter data via web browsers, mobile devices, and telephones, or automatically via a variety of uAttend devices, including time clocks, fingerprint readers, and biometric scanning devices.

      The system tracks employee time each day and can also manage vacations, sick days and time off. The job-tracking feature enables logging of the amount of employee time spent on specific projects.

      uAttend has plans starting as low as $18.00 U.S./month for businesses with 1-9 employees. However, there are additional charges for telephone clocking, additional administrators, and extra clock devices.

    • 03

      Dovico Timesheet Tracking Software

      This cloud-based professional time tracking software from Dovico has excellent functionality and is inexpensive. The program allows multiple types of time entry, handles multiple projects, lets you create a variety of reports and invoices quickly and easily, and allows data to be exported in a variety of formats. It also integrates well with Microsoft Project, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel and Intuit QuickBooks. For those who work internationally, Dovico supports multiple currencies.

      For features and pricing see Dovico plans.

    • 04

      BillQuick Time and Billing Software

      BillQuick is a comprehensive time/billing and project management solution suitable for professionals in a variety of industries, including construction, accounting, engineering, information technology, etc. In addition to time tracking and project management, BillQuick includes invoicing and accounts receivable and (in the enterprise version) accounts payable, which includes deposits, vendor bill payment, etc.

      Deployment is very flexible and scalable – data can be entered via desktop apps, browsers or mobile apps on iPhone, Android, or Blackberry devices. A full cloud-based version (BillQuick Online) is also available. BillQuick data can easily be exported to accounting applications such as QuickBooks, and it has over 400 customizable templates for reporting and over 150 invoicing templates.

      For a full list of features and pricing see BillQuick plans.

    • 05

      TraxTime Time Tracking Software

      TraxTime is a very inexpensive, desktop PC application that while dated, has a surprising list of features. TraxTime can also handle unlimited projects, and its punch clock metaphor makes it easy to use. And if you like, you can append memos to the time entries. Customized reports can be sent to printers, saved to file or viewed onscreen. The Manager’s Version of this time tracking software, which is slightly more expensive, allows you to maintain a shared project list and create comprehensive reports for several users.

      Unfortunately, TraxTime is not cloud-based or cross-platform, but if you are looking for a very inexpensive PC desktop-based time tracking application, TraxTime may fit the bill.

    • 06

      TimeWriter Time Tracking Software

      TimeWriter’s entry screen is a weekly grid which displays one week of hour entries at a single glance, which makes it easy to enter hours worked quickly. This time tracking software program has excellent report functionality, and data can be exported in a variety of formats. Because the time tracking software was designed for workgroups, it has more administrative features than other single-use programs.

      TimeWriter has Windows and Mac OSX clients, as well as a Web client and iPhone and Android apps. There is also a freeware version with a reduced set of features available for personal use.”

      Source

      The better time management we have, the more time we have to focus on our profits and spreading them throughout our community in ways that benefit us all, while still having plenty to finally take that vacation you’ve been planning or making that large donation you’ve been putting off.  It’s time to build the Austin that thrives on community, local partnerships, philanthropy, & genuine relationships.

      Learn how we can work together.

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