Tech Tools to Boost Business

by Ben White, Director 17. May 2013 08:01

It is no secret that nearly everyone has been affected by the rough economic times and as we all know, it is a cyclical process that influences both consumers and proprietors. It is during these times that out of necessity we turn to new methods to enhance a spiraling business environment. One of the most accessible avenues to reach the consumer public in this modern age is through technology. “Shop from home, save gas.” “Spend $50, receive free shipping.” More and more these simple gimmicks work to reach the public and entertain their interest in the user world.

For businesses, the easiest format to reach the online world is through a website. Whether simple or complex in design, a website can reach even the lesser tech savvy crowds. However, with a more complex design and easy to navigate features, a website can become a great tool to enhance your existing business and including interactive tools and advanced features to help guide purchasing online. The most basic necessity to a website is keeping it up-to-date and revised with new information or products. It is important to note upcoming promotions through an online calendar and an added bonus is posting customer comments to promote your quality of goods and services. To further advise a business in their website design, owners can utilize website tracking and usage analysis tools to track web viewers and trends.

The next step in technological communication beyond simplistic email comes in the form of an E-newsletter. Businesses can format these e-newsletters to suit their needs and market. They can be used to showcase new merchandise, advertise promotions, or recreate a connection to prior clients. Furthermore, e-newsletters can be mailed to web addresses businesses have attained at a personal level or purchased via online marketing companies to expand their market.

Another element in the web era is networking, and necessarily in the traditional meet-and-greet format. There are many networking websites that businesses can take advantage of to increase their web traffic and online inquiries. Although MySpace has been traditionally promoted to the younger age categories, this age group is the upcoming consumer market so why not advertise on their level. Facebook is another avenue that allows you to reach out to both prior and potential customers and also lets your post upcoming information or merchandise to rouse interest. Above all, these networking websites are free and very easy to navigate.

A final stride in reaching the tech world is through visual representation. Just as the above networking websites are free, YouTube and other online video and photo galleries are also free and great marketing tools. Online video advertisements of a business, an event, or even merchandise serve as a free online commercial. Online photo albums can be used in much of the same way and at no cost to the business. Not to mention, you can easily add links to these resources from the business website.

The web world only has to be as complicated as one makes it so use it to your advantage. By accessing free tools, drum up some new, or existing, clientele to help your business through the tough economic times. Ingenuity often comes through necessity so make the most of a rough situation by learning a new set of tech skills and boosting your business at the same time.

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Going Green in Downtown

by Ben White, Director 17. May 2013 07:56

As the desire to “Go Green” is ever-increasing, businesses are looking for more ways to cut back and get involved. There are many ways in which to reduce, some more specific to the type of business than others.  However, there are numerous ways to reduce the amount of energy used that are very simple and can be applied to almost any business. From packaging to paper towels, a few minor adjustments can make a substantial difference to our environment.

To begin, one of the easiest things a business can do is to reduce the amount of packaging to and from their business. Asking product manufacturers and wholesalers from whom products are bought to reduce excess packaging is an extremely eco-friendly start.  Once shipments arrive, business should recycle boxes and shipping materials. Lastly, a simple solution toward environmental-friendliness is to reduce the amount of packaging on a business’ own products, or simply offering a small discount to those customers who bring in their own bags.

Another simple way to reduce the amount of wasted resources is in bathrooms.  The use of occupancy sensors to activate light fixtures would drastically cut back utility costs. This idea can be applied to more areas than bathrooms, including storage rooms and other spaces vacant for long periods of time. The installation of high-efficiency toilets reduces the use of energy, as well as the amount of water used throughout the day. Lastly, replacing paper towels in employee restrooms with reusable cloth towels is a simple way for everyone to recycle.

A huge way in which to reduce wasted resources deals with a business’ choice of supplies. Purchasing recycled paper, Energy Star-rated equipment, and non-toxic cleaning supplies are simple alternatives. Using conference calls to minimize driving to meetings, and emails and websites in place of printed flyers or letters, resources can be spared. These simple steps can be a relief on both resources and employees as well.

Utilities are another place where energy can be radically reduced.  Putting storefront window display lights on timers, rather than leaving the lights on all night can save a tremendous amount of energy. Other ideas along these same lines include using a programmable thermostat, motion sensors to activate interior and exterior security lights, and power strips with on-off switches in which the power can be turned entirely off when the items plugged in are not in use. Replacing incandescent bulbs and exit signs with an LED alternative also makes for an easy reduction in the amount of electricity used.

One of the most popular ways in which to reduce resources is through transportation. Providing incentives to employees that commute to work, either by public transportation, carpooling, biking, or walking, is a simple way of reducing. Offering deliveries on foot or by bicycle within the Main Street district would cut back transportation pollutants. In turn, ensure that employees have a safe and secure place for storing their bikes throughout the workday.

Lastly, keeping business local is both environmentally and economically friendly. By buying as much of your merchandise, supplies, and services from local businesses not only cuts down on transportation and shipping costs, but it keeps the money circulating within the community as well. Finally, help customers reduce the amount of time driving by learning about products and services offered by other business in the same commercial district. When a customer asks where they can find an item your business doesn’t offer, direct them to another store in your district. These simple steps take little time but can have a dramatic impact on the community and the environment.

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