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The last time a person used the word “organic” was probably in a high school chemistry class.  While researching social media for your brand, the term may be one that you've heard before. Rest assured that organic social media has nothing to do with plants, animals, organisms or even science at all. It’s a term that describes one of two main categories of social media, with “paid” posts being the other.In part four of our educational series on how small businesses can best leverage social media, we’ll discuss exactly what organic and paid social media marketing means. We'll explain the differences between the two and how you can use either approach to your advantage.  Also, you can determine which method works best for your business.

Think about the last few purchases you made. How many of them were purely impulse buys? Where you hadn’t done any research on the manufacturer/provider, the product/service, or even spoke with someone who had? The fact is that 90% of people believe in brand recommendations from friends. Word-of-mouth marketing has never been more critical than it is today. In addition to the bump it provides in conversion rates, a huge benefit to utilizing word-of-mouth is that there’s no cost. Word-of-mouth isn’t the only cost-effective way to reach potential customers in a targeted way. The rise of social media has also given small businesses the type of publishing platform that used to come with a pretty expensive price tag.

Conventional wisdom often suggests that while large corporations grow more advanced, small businesses retain a more old-fashioned identity. This may be true in some cases. Small businesses often operate on local or regional levels. As a result, they don't have to win customers in a national competitive landscape. Many rivals pour millions into new technologies and cutting-edge strategies for boosting profits. Further, their own rivals sometimes aren't especially forward-thinking, either. This eases the pressure on them to pick up on the latest business trends and evolve with them.

Many businesses have peaks and valleys, but few understand the gravity of these swings like those in a seasonal market. For instance, a landscaping company in a cold climate doesn't have the same type of work lined up in late January than it does in late July. If you’ve been racking your brain for a few ways to increase awareness during your downtime, we've got some ideas to help you. Here are three ways for your business to stand out in a seasonal market.

In 1975, actor Roy Scheider delivered one of the most memorable lines in movie history when he said: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” The phrase—first uttered by Scheider’s character, Chief Martin Brody, in Jaws—has grown a life of its own in the 40+ years since audiences first heard it. Today, its meaning spans well beyond Brody’s attempt at thwarting the man-eating shark’s thirst for carnage. It’s now a euphemism for a situation where someone is ill-equipped or unprepared to handle what’s in front of them.If you own a small business and you’re feeling overworked and understaffed, let us first congratulate you. Finding that level of success isn’t easy, and many fail before encountering the problem you have.  Also, it may cause damage to the long-term health of your business if you don’t consider when it’s time to hire a bigger team.  Here are three ways to know when it’s time for that proverbial bigger boat.

There are many incorrect assumptions about how software might negatively impact a business. These include misconceptions around the price, lack of obvious business benefits, or worries about how hard it is to use the software. These myths are particularly prevalent among small businesses. That’s a shame because in many ways small businesses stand to benefit the most from these platforms' features. Here are a few of the biggest and most enduring myths about business software.

Small business owners should never feel like they need to acquire business software simply for the sake of implementing the latest technology. Yes, the business software market is expanding rapidly and growing at a rate of eight percent a year. Its market share is now hundreds of billions of dollars, but that doesn't mean entrepreneurs should rush to purchase the latest platforms. Small businesses should take a careful and strategic approach to select software. They can do this by first examining their own objectives and identifying areas they want to improve on.

There’s a reason why you’re more likely to find an old “Yellow Pages” phonebook in an antique shop than someone’s home. Like rotary telephones, black and white televisions and typewriters before it, new technology basically left the printed directory in the dust. We all know most people now go online to gather information, but did you know 90% of American adults use the internet? And they’re not just searching for phone numbers either.

For small businesses, one of the keys to success is establishing consistent cash flow. Whether you own a three-man plumbing company or a small bakery, you need monthly revenue. Some small businesses can't afford to maintain a dedicated billing and invoicing department.  As a result, the work of drawing up and sending out invoices falls to the owner, who already has a ton of other priorities to juggle. In other cases, small businesses may dedicate a specific time of the week to creating and sending invoices.  The billing process can get slowed down, and maybe even delayed or overlooked altogether. Not getting those invoices out in a timely fashion can choke up cash flow and can cause stress. The latest small business software can bring major relief.

As a small business owner, there’s a good chance you’ve been in a position where you felt it best to go with your gut. There are times where taking an analytical approach and reviewing the facts to determine value is the right move. But, occasionally, there are rare opportunities where your gut and statistics align, and the answer is clear. Deciding to use home service software to augment your employee relations is one of those times, and we’re going to give you three reasons why. We think both your head and your gut will agree.