Why the Internet of Things is for Your Business not just Your Home

Businesses should be looking to exploit the interconnected world in which we live. Thanks to the Internet of Things, or IoT for sure, many homeowners have thought about an interconnected home where devices talk to one another and can be controlled remotely by those with access to the system. These include turning lights on and off, opening the garage door or preheating the oven en route home. Smart businesses have not only got on the act in terms of creating and selling IoT products, but exploiting this technology for the benefit of their own businesses. In a world of integrated devices, it’s never been easier to grow a dynamic, responsive business.

Integrated Work Spaces

As we’ll explore below, some businesses can work purely online with no physical presence. However, many businesses from retail to manufacturing need a physical bricks and mortar presence. The IoT is perfect for creating smarter workspaces by allowing businesses to better control lighting and heating for example. This includes creating fake nighttime lighting programmes to give the appearance of the offices being used or more focused security lighting.

Integrating Diverse Employees

Many service and some product-based companies can actually work purely online now. The IoT allows for companies to design or access online work platforms such as Slack or Trello as well as communication tools like Skype. The former allows businesses to build a range of chat channels and personal conversations, Trello is a pinboard for tasks and checklists, and Skype is the most famous chat and video conferencing app. Information can also be shared using cloud storage services which allow for a need to know access to particular photos, files or data across a wide range of devices and locations. In doing so, if well organized, the data flows better across verticals and separate work groups and divisions. If you know the term, Big Data, then this is how it was accrued – services and products can send real-time data back while it is easier for separate departments to access and process the said data then share their results across the company.

The Flexibility to Expand or Contract

Not all of the staff accessing the above IoT applications need to be full-timers. Access can easily be gained or removed on a needs basis. Furthermore, there are a huge number of gig and freelance websites and services such as UpWork, which allow businesses to quickly sale up with new PAs, new writers, designers, delivery drivers, and sales reps as needed. Each freelancer takes care of their own financial arrangements, and as work is paid on an item by item or hour by hour basis, if there is no work needing to be done, there is no expenditure for the business.

Jenny Holt is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Are You Taking Advantage of All the Internet Has to Offer?

If you’re not much of an Internet user, how could you truly know what you are missing out on?

That said even those with little or no use for the Internet will oftentimes come around, knowing that finding that information they require ASAP is likely on the worldwide web.

From your professional needs to those in your personal life, there’s a good chance some of what you require in terms of details, data and more can be found with a simple click on the Internet.

Yes, you may have to do some digging for a number of informational items you seek online, but the rewards can prove well worth it.

With that being the case, are you prepared to fully take advantage of all the Internet has to offer you?

Where to Begin Your Search?

When you are turning to the Internet for informational needs and more, where exactly are you best suited to begin?

For starters, most people begin the search by turning to Google.

Although there are other search engines out there (Bing, Yahoo etc.), Google clearly controls the search engine market. As such, it is not uncommon for an individual to type in a keyword or a few keywords on the Google search page to get going.

If your search does not initially lead you to what you want, don’t give up. In some cases, being off by a word or two can throw your search efforts amiss. Try and be as clear as possible in what you are trying to find.

While many businesses use Internet search for myriad of tasks they’re looking to complete, so too does the general public.

 Need to Look Someone Up?

Maybe you’ve come across someone and you’re just not sure about them, something seems odd. You can easily go online and do a public records search. There are services online that allow you to access all sorts of information about people.

These companies out there are specifically geared towards providing consumers with searches for personal use

In using such companies in your search tasks, do your best to find out the following ahead of time whenever possible:

  • History – How long has this particular public records search company you are considering using been around? Do they have a history of getting the job done for consumers? While some people will go out of their way not to be found in such searches, these types of companies are oftentimes quite effective at providing consumers with the details they seek;
  • Customer service – Given some of your public records searches will prove challenging at times, you want to work with a provider who is adept at offering good customer service. Do they have dedicated customer help available, customer service that is more than just a slogan?

Lastly, are their search offerings available on more than just your standard desktop or laptop computers?

In today’s digital age, millions of consumers are busy day after day on their smartphones, and tablets. As a result, having public records search capability across various digital platforms certainly helps both the public records search company and of course the consumer.

When the time comes for you to do a public records search, where will your first turn take you?

By turning to a public records search provider, there is a very good chance that you will find what you are looking for sooner rather than later.

Best of all, many of these types of services are affordable, typically providing you with countless reports, reports that can be searched in a safe and secure manner

So, are you ready to let the Internet begin searching for you?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and technology topics on the web.

 

 

What Do Internet Users Actually Want

In an ideal world, internet users would be as equally passionate about your product or service as you are. They would line up just to click through to your latest post or tweet about your new 10% sale, and every click would lead to a conversion. Alas, that doesn’t happen with anyone, no matter how interesting or hip your company is. So if they’re not looking for content that’s solely about what you offer, then what do they want? Here’s a few ideas to make sure your content gets read.

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Source: Pexels.com

Content They Actually Want

Do people want to read about the latest improvements a hotel has made to its establishment? No. Do they want to read about the top 5 destinations to spot celebrities in your city? Of course they do. Buried somewhere within that article will be a subtle nod to your business; and in any case, by writing an article that gives the people what they want you’ll be naturally bringing visitors to your website. Some of whom might click through and spend money on your site.

Initially, it’s all about getting visitors to your site. Give them something that most people would consider interesting, and you’ll get a response.

Entertainment for the Eyes

When people want to sit down and read a wall of text, they’ll visit the library, check out the latest page turner, and curl up on the couch as they get transported to another world. Very rarely do they scan websites looking just to read content.

That’s why it’s all the more baffling that more companies don’t use visually entertainment ways to communicate their message. The internet has spoken – it’s what they want! If you have something interesting to say, it’s much better to do so through an infographic, poster, or video. Posters are easy to make when you have software like Adobe Spark, and videos don’t have to be overly complicated, either. Mix up your content with stuff that, for lack of better term, is simply pretty to look at and you’ll notice an improvement when it comes to crunching the numbers.

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Source: Pexels.com

To Be Inspired

If you have a business, you know that you’re not really selling whatever it is that you sell; you’re selling an image. If you’re not, then you should be – think about branding, the image you want to project, and then make that flow through everything you do.

For example, if you’re an environmentally conscious fashion retailer, then you’ll be posting blogs about the environment. People look for inspiration in all spaces, they want the internet to reflect their passions. Be that mirror!

…And What They Don’t

To understand what they do want, it’s best to clarify what they don’t want. And what they don’t want are: adverts, overly complicated websites, and content that doesn’t in some way work for them. When you’re moving forward, before posting new material to your website or social media accounts ask yourself: ‘I am posting this for the benefit of me, or the benefit of my audience?’ If it’s the latter, then you’ll have found your mutually beneficial content.

The Future Is Now: Fantastic Ways The Internet Has Revolutionized Business

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Picture: Pexels

Can you remember back to 2000 when the Internet was starting to really take off, and many households were installing it into their homes? Back in the day, it was just a way to retrieve information. However, right now in 2016, it has completely revolutionized our lives. It makes everyday life a whole lot easier, thanks to the various apps and devices we can now use around the home. But there is one area in which is has completely turned everything upside down for the better. And that is in business. Gone are the days of pushing papers and having to navigate various time zones to call clients. The Internet has made things super easy for business owners now. Here’s how.

Communicating Has Never Been Easier

You can now easily send a message to your colleagues across the globe using email. At the click of a mouse, your message can be instantly in their inbox. Thanks to this, you don’t have to pay to carry out an expensive international phone call or wait a few days for your letter to arrive on their desk. This has now made business a lot more efficient than what it once was. This also helps customers as well, as they can content customer service advisors in a matter of seconds thanks to more and more companies welcoming emails and offering live online chats.

Improved Marketing Techniques

Gone are the days of having to walk around your town or city sticking up posters and handing out flyers to get people’s attention. Now all you need to do is sign up for social media to get your name out into the public’s attention. That’s not all, though. As SEO continues to be super important for businesses, it is now also a major marketing player. Get your search engine marketing spot on and you will be reaching an audience of potentially thousands!

Outsourcing Has Never Been Easier

As we are now no more than a mouse click away from each other, outsourcing certain tasks and jobs has never been easier. In fact, the Internet has helped boost the number of contractors and freelancers available, so you don’t have to worry about most of the major talent only looking for full-time positions. You can now easily outsource your accounts, HR, and legal as well as so many other areas of your company. This can help you cut costs as well because you won’t need to employ full-time staff and provide office space for them.

Simple Market Research

Need to know some facts or figures? Easy! Just Google for them! The Internet puts a whole world of information and statistics right at the tips of our fingers. After a few clicks, you could potentially have all of the market research that you need. You will also be able to keep a keen eye on your competitors. Just watch their Internet presence to try and judge their next move. By doing this, you can always try to be one step ahead of them!

This Is Why Your Small Business Is Struggling

It isn’t easy for small businesses. This is something that most entrepreneurs and small business owners already know. However, there is one thing that many owners don’t know but wish they did. And that is why exactly their business isn’t quite cutting it. Usually, it is because of some of the most common mistakes that many business owners make time and time again. Here are the most common, and how you can avoid them.

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You’re Too Focused On The Big Picture

There is nothing wrong with focusing on the big picture, of course. But there is something wrong with it being your one and only focus. You shouldn’t just be looking into expanding your international reach. It is also important to ensure you are also considering your company’s local appeal. The best way to do this is to look at your local brand and to make sure it appeals to those clients and customers in your local area. If you don’t have time to do this in-house, you can always outsource your brand analysis by using a company such as chatmeter.com.

You Have Insufficient Capital

Many small companies find enough capital to get their business up and running. However, they fail to think about how they will finance their company after the first few months. This is especially important for small companies who are offering niche services and products. It can often be slow to build up your sales. While you are working on this, you need to make sure that you have enough money to keep the business ticking over until sales start to take off. You can always find more capital for your business by getting a business loan: fundingcircle.com/uk/businesses/

You Haven’t Thought About Your Location

Location is everything to your company. You need to place yourself somewhere where your clients, customers, and employees can reach you. Ideally, you should be looking for office space in town and city centers. This will make the commute employees a lot easier. And it also makes it easy for clients to come in for meetings. However, there is one obvious downside to this. The cost! Office rent in city centers can be very expensive, which is another reason why you should focus on getting enough funding for your company.

You’re Not Using The Internet Properly

These days, it is imperative to have an online presence for your business. Websites are extremely important as many customers look for businesses and companies online. You need a slick website on which potential customers can easily find your contact details. To make sure as many people are finding your site, you need to increase its SEO. You can do this by having a company blog in which you post articles with lots of keywords. Make sure you are also using social media as well. This is a quick way you can get your brand out to international and local audiences.

Hopefully, you will now be able to expertly avoid these common small business problems!

Is Your Company Internet Disconnecting with Customers?

If your business isn’t always connecting with customers, you’ve got a problem.

networkIn order to increase sales and ultimately your revenue, your customer connection must be solid. From a sound website to phone communications that are crystal clear and uninterrupted, communicating with clients should never be taken for granted.

While it may sound like a simple process, how many times have you as a consumer and not in the role of business owner been frustrated trying to connect with companies? The answer is likely more times than you would like to admit.

Don’t be that business owner that customers have trouble connecting with.

Take some time today to review your connections with customers to make sure you’re not dropping the ball.

Review and Repair Where Needed

So that you are giving customers the best means possible to connect with you, start out by reviewing your connections.

Among them:

  • Phone – While many consumers are turning to online modes and even texting or social media to reach out to companies, the old and reliable phone still carries a ton of weight in today’s business world. Make sure your connections are solid, your employees answer calls in a timely manner and do not leave customers hanging, and customers can track down the proper individual or department without jumping through hoops;
  • Internet – Just as important as your phones, your Internet connection needs to be solid and not going down all the time. If you have a website that routinely crashes, both current and potential customers are likely to get frustrated with you. In the end, some customers may decide they’ve had enough and will ultimately leave you. Just as you would want the right home Internet connection, be it FiOS or another such provider for all your residential online needs, the same should hold true for your business. If you’re thinking about changing Internet providers at work, look to see if you can find one who offers bundle deals so you can save some money, allowing you to only have to deal with one vendor. Finally, make sure you and your employees respond to customer emails. Yes, your email box may get flooded at times, but any customer inquiries should not be pushed to the end of the pile;
  • Social Media – More and more companies are fortunately getting the message that social media matters. With that being the case, make sure your social connections don’t go unattended. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any other relevant social sites, be sure you update them regularly. It is not uncommon for customers to go to your social networking pages to leave you feedback and/or have questions for you. If you don’t respond, don’t be shocked if some of those customers take their needs to your competition;
  • Conferencing – One final area of customer contact (both current and potential) is when attending networking events, trade shows, Chamber of Commerce events etc. Make sure you are available to meet with consumers, especially those who are looking to learn more about your brand. While giving them a brochure or two or a five-minute video demonstration is great and all, that one-on-one personal touch is priceless. Map out the best events to attend during the year, promote them beforehand, and go with the idea that you’re coming home with some new customers when all is said and done.

Connecting with customers should always be at the top of your priority list as a business owner.

If it is not, you have some broken connections that need fixing.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as marketing and small business.

Is Your Internet Business Connection Slowing You Down?

With all the time and effort it takes to successfully run a small business, the last thing you want or need is a slow Internet connection.

Links Face it; having to wait to boot up your Internet is frustrating beyond belief. Not only are you wasting your time, but you can also be wasting the valuable time of clients, those same clients who may become a little disenchanted with you because it takes you longer than needed to respond to their needs.

If you have client information downloaded (which is likely the case), a slow Internet connection can delay you in getting back to clients. You could also ultimately lose valuable data if your computer continues to crash. When all is said and done, you could essentially be throwing money out the window.

In order to avoid such dilemmas, take the time now to see if your Internet connection truly is what you need it to be.

Speed up Your Business

For those running small businesses, here are several factors to not forget when looking to speed up your business:

  1. Your Internet – First and foremost, you need a fast Internet connection in order to keep things running smoothly. Whether you go with frontier communications or one of the many other providers out there, look for the provider who can give you the best service at an affordable price. Having 24/7/365 tech support is important too. Lastly, look for a provider who is always moving to the future with technology and can give you Internet options that are current and progressive, not old and tired;
  2. Your responses – All small business owners get sidetracked at times, it is just part of the business. With that being said, do not get into the habit of delaying your customer responses. Whether through phone, email, text, social media or even traditional mail, make sure you give your customers A+ service. In the event you do not do this, there will be plenty of other small businesses out there in the same industry who gladly will;
  3. Your time – While you may have started out as a one-person show, you have hopefully seen your small business grow over time. As a result, you are likely seeing more customer needs and your time is being greatly consumed. While you may be hesitant to hire help (be it part-time or full-time) due to budget constraints, look at things from the other side of the table. Having people to help you means you get back to customers quicker and you are not left having to juggle everything. In a day and age when customers want stuff yesterday and not today, having the right amount of manpower on hand is very important.

When speed matters in today’s business world, make sure you’ve got all your basis covered.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as marketing and technology.