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Does Your Small Business Really Need A Server The Answer Is No.

As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.

Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.

Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?

Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.

And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.

Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.

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Small Business Owners Business Best Practices Ideas

Small businesses are often beaten out by larger competitors because the bigger business has better practices than the small ones do. The good news is that there are many of the business best practices that are used by big companies that can be translated for small businesses.

These business best practices are some of the best kept secrets and will in the long run make a business more successful. Here are a few ways you can use these business practices to fit your small business.

One: Borrowing ideas from other companies is one business practice you can use in your small business. This is known as best practice benchmarking and it can lead to vast improvements in your business structure if it is done the right way.

Most small businesses have a tighter budget than the big businesses do so the business practices that you learn can save money and can be even more beneficial to you than it would be for the big business. When you emulate another business and how they cut costs, you will be able to do the same thing they have done in a much shorter time period.

Two: You have to have a clear understanding of business methods if you are going to borrow their business practices. You need to do some heavy research and ask questions. This will help you figure out how others were able to get the job done to get them to their goals.

This is imperative if you are going to have success using these practices with your small business. One helpful way to find out the information you need is to send surveys to businesses that are successful in the business field you are looking at.

Three: Once you have studied the business best practices and you know how that business uses them, you will need to translate them to fit your small business. Before they will work for your business t want business practice you can use in your small business is borrowing ideas from other companies here may be some crucial modifications that need to be made.

Four: One business practice that is imperative to the success of any business of any size is to have good communication in your business. This means that you need to communicate on a regular basis with your employees.

You have to do this to make sure that everyone is on the same page business wise. Otherwise, you may find problems cropping up that you will have to deal with.

Emulating business best practices is fine but you want to make sure that you don’t steal their practices outright. Always do your research and use the business practices that you can modify to fit your small business. Don’t do anything to get your business in trouble in the future.

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VoIP 5 Tips to Improve a Small Business

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a method of electronic communication that is rapidly increasing in popularity. Used to make phone calls, VoIP technology uses a computer’s internet connection, rather than a cellular wireless or traditional wired telephone line. This technology is used not only by personal consumers, but also by businesses small and large. Here are 5 tips for using VoIP to improve a small business:

1. Use One Company for Internet and Phone – Any modern small business has a website and is likely already paying an internet service provider (ISP) for access to the internet. Rather than negotiating prices and dealing with customer service for two services, a company can save time, effort, and money by using their internet connection as their phone service provider as well.

2. Save Money on Long-Distance and International Calls – Unlike traditional telephone companies, VoIP services work regardless of the distance of the call, so pricing is not dependent on the number of local, long-distance, or international calls. This means that international calls, which can be especially expensive, can be handled without incurring additional costs. For small businesses that do business internationally or have business partners overseas, this can mean an enormous cost savings.

3. Better Voice Quality – Because of the nature of the medium and the wires that transmit the signals, VoIP services can provide cleaner, better-sounding phone calls than traditional phone companies. While it might not seem like a big change, having crisper more professional phone calls can be the edge a small business needs to win over customers or seal a big deal. Dropped calls or poor-quality calls, on the other hand, can devastate a company’s business.

4. Simplify Things for the Technical Staff – For small businesses, the internal technical staff is usually stretched thin at all times, and should be outsourced when possible. Keeping a business up and running smoothly 24/7 is no small task. Consolidating one’s internet and phone systems can provide a significant advantage, in terms of time and sheer number of technologies to monitor, to a company’s technical support and services team. For small businesses that don’t even have a dedicated technical staff, having a single number to call for technical support, rather than multiple numbers, can simplify things considerably. Prompt service and skilled technicians are key.

5. Additional Features Included At No Extra Cost – For starters, useful calling features like conference calls, call forwarding, and caller ID are all included for free. Additional features like video calls and video conferencing are also easy to add to VoIP services.

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Small Business Development And Marketing Strategies

Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:

* Advertising
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals

For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.

There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:

* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals

Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.

An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.

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Unsecured Small Business Loans Easy Financing Without Collateral!

Statistics prove that the demand for unsecured small business loans have been rapidly increasing over the past few years. The idea of an unsecured loan creates new financial horizons for individuals that may not have collateral. This is also of special interest to new business owners that are interested in entering a new business venture. Potential business owners are always interested in a business loan to provide working capital for their new endeavor.

The paradox when applying for most unsecured small business loan programs is that a new business owner does not yet have any collateral. This can quickly shatter a business dream. The only other consideration such an individual can have is to use his or her personal assets to secure a loan. But new business ventures have a risk associated with them, once that many people are not willing to transfer to their hard earned assets.

Collateral is often the biggest obstacle to the prospective business owner. Not only does a new business not yet have any commercial collateral to provide; but it is asking a lot for an entrepreneur to put his hard earned personal assets at risk in order to start a new business venture. Yet, without collateral, getting a business financing can sometimes seem impossible.

Small entrepreneurs, who do not have collateral to offer, find unsecured small business loans as an alternative, which help them expand their business to new horizons. They are only required to make regular repayments to the creditor without any apprehension of their business assets being repossessed by the lender in case of defaults. At the same time, small businessmen who opt for unsecured small business loans should be prepared to pay a little higher interest as compared to other credit options. However, interest rates may vary depending upon the credit history of the businessmen.

No collateral unsecured small business loan products are now available through select lenders, although they can still be relatively difficult to find among traditional banks and lenders. The revolutionizing force is coming from a plethora of web based lenders that are offering innovative new financial solutions, including no collateral loans. A variety of unsecured loan products for business and personal needs can be found via web based financial companies.

Applying for unsecured small business loans is easy, all the business owner need to do is just go on line and submit their loan details. Then the lenders will refer back to you with the loan decision in a few days.

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The Benefits Of Small Business Search Engines

Plowing through endless piles of websites is something that most people do not want to do, especially when they have a specific product in mind. In order to eliminate some of the stress, individuals should use small business search engines. What are the benefits of using a site such as Feedster for your shopping needs?

It’s No Nonsense
Sometimes, when you are using other search engines, you wind up with a bunch of scams and phony websites shown on your page. Through small business search engines, the information presented takes you right to the source. No useless junk sits in your way, which allows you to find what you are looking for in no time.

A Brief Preview
Another issue that occurs is when you have no idea what specifically a website is about. By using small business search engines, you’ll see a little snippet under the link to the site. As a result, you, and other consumers, will have a sneak preview as to what the content of the website is about. Instead of clicking on ten different sites only to find out they do not meet your needs, you’ll be able to immediately choose the best site for you.

Connecting with the Seller
Major businesses and companies are often difficult entities with which to communicate. Fortunately, such search engines literally bring you right to the source. When you want to buy a product from a small business, you have the added benefit of receiving personalized attention. Maybe you see something on the site that you like but have an idea as to how it can be customized to suit your specific needs. You need not wonder for long. The sites presented to you on this search engine generally provide much ease for the customer to business communications.

It’s Simple
Fancy and flashy are words to which some people flock. However, when it comes to websites and search engines, most individuals want something that is easy to read and navigate. This search engine lays all of the results out in a simple format. Ads are not flying out in front of the user’s line of vision, and annoying pop-ups are not causing the website to become convoluted.

Essentially, small business search engines are an easy and helpful way for consumers to find the products that they need and to navigate the websites without any sort of difficulty.

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Retirement Planning for Small Business 3 options

Wondering if your business is too small for a group retirement plan?

One of the keys to attracting and retaining top employees is to offer a high-quality retirement plan. A group savings plan conveniently helps employees save money for the future while reducing and deferring taxes today. Plus, the investment you make in a group retirement plan is an investment you make in your organization, your employees and your reputation. Everyone’s a winner.

Three options stand-out depending on what you want to accomplish with your plan and how much flexibility you need. These are: 401(k) plans, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs.

The 401(k) Offers the Most Flexibility and High Contribution Limits The traditional 401(k) is probably the most widely known retirement product on the market. It’s the fully loaded, high performance SUV of retirement plans. It’s generally defined as one that enables a business owner and employees to make consistent, tax-deferred contributions during the length of their careers.

SEP IRAs are Pretty Easy to Start and 100% Funded by the Employer Simplified Employee Pensions, more commonly referred to as SEPs, are also a popular retirement plan choice as they offer a contribution limit that’s similar to a 401(k). It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a 401(k) plan, but it’s got a good engine under the hood. One of the most important things to understand about SEPs is that 100 percent of the contributions made are by the employer (no employee contributions allowed) and these dollars are immediately vested for the employee.

The SIMPLE IRA is a Solid, Affordable Third Option

The SIMPLE IRA’s name is a bit misleading (it actually stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees). While both employer and employee can contribute to the plan, the employer must match and matching is vested immediately.

If you do decide that you want to offer a retirement plan, you are definitely going to need some professional advice and guidance. Pension rules are complex, and the tax aspects of retirement plans can also be confusing.

As a financial planning and wealth management professional firm, Mintco Financial has been helping its clients effectively plan for comfortable retirements.

Michael Minter, as a managing partner of Mintco Financial, is a trusted investment management professional who carries more than 16 years of experience in this challenging career field.

Throughout his professional history, Michael Minter has gained strong insight into what skills and knowledge is necessary to perform investment management, wealth building services, small business development and retirement plans.

Michael MInter is also author of the book I-Plan, a guide for your financial security.

Call Michael Minter at 813-964-7100 at Mintco Financial.

Retirement Planning for Small Business

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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESS

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESS

About 33 % of consumers are not connecting with brands on social networks, according to a new report by interactive marketing firm Razorfish. Razorfish surveyed 1,000 consumers who reported both social media and ecommerce activity with the goal to find out how social media influences their purchasing decisions. 80 % were members of at least one social network and 40 % were active in two. -Social media has quickly become one of the most talked-about topics in marketing. We didn’t want this report to just be more of the same, so instead we took a different, more scientific approach to evaluating this phenomena and measuring its effects,- said Shiv Singh, VP and Global Social Media Lead at Razorfish. -Today, a brand’s actions speak louder than its words and pushing out messages is no longer enough to excite and engage consumers.- The question is now: How about you the small businesses and your social media activities? More than brand companies, small and medium business should step into social media marketing to expand your message and spread the word to the potential client, to make him informed, to make him interested and to make him a paid customer. To bother your targeted audience with outbound advertising messages is not enough in today’s times. The user out there has established some kind of personal advertising filter. Moreover he wants to find valuable information when he decides that he needs them, not when you decide to send him message through email marketing, radio or TV commercials, or call him by phone and disturb his daily doing. You need to build your credibility to address your marketing message. You need to be personal and authentic and to avoid sounding like an advertisement. Behelpfuland bevaluableofferrelevant content. This is the way how you as a small business cangain customer loyalty. – BE THE FLAME NOT THE MOTH! – Read more great posts like this one, visit -Blog Ad Monkey-. Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog viaRSSto get more great posts like this one. Your comments and ideas are welcome!

KPMRS is a free website ranking monitoring, Keyword rank checker and Back link tracker SEO tool . It tracks search engine positions for keywords phrases on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Monitor your website rankings for different keywords for free.

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Content Writing Service – How To Start A Small Business Web Content Writing Service

Do you have a knack for writing? Well, why not put your talents to good use and start earning money through your writing? If you have been excluded by the editors of the publications high forehead bigger than you always wanted to work and have resorted to bogging just away his thoughts, then why not put your own little web content writing service company ? As for having enough capital, so do not really need much except for his team – which, obviously, and a reliable Internet connection – this is an absolute necessity, and, of course, natural talent in writing.

Bearing in mind that what you are trying to establish here a small business content website writing service, you just about to start or small businesses who are still fighting their way into the possibility of settling in the market or to grow your business. You can start offering such services to potential customers, of course, try to avoid a budget can really afford and do not dwell on the benefits. If you ask by a huge professional immediately, so expect your potential customers to easily get off and decline their offer. Remember that, given the economic situation these days, companies are really doing their best to make ends meet while still being able to make a profit. Try to reason with them how to put your own website and you and helping manage the content of the website will boost sales of their companies to be able to reach more potential customers without having to spend so much on advertising, etc. Try to find a creative way for you to be able to present this idea.

Launch a web page small business content writing service is not really a novel idea. Since so many people are switching to an independent career, there are more ways for small businesses to get some consultation or public relations service for much less cost compared to how large advertisers and agencies Advertising usually charge. Would also be very beneficial if you are able to provide you with samples of their work. If you have already finished writing public relations, web content writing and editing, or have worked in advertising, then you will be able to provide its customers with an impressive body of work just so they will be able to get an idea of style. If you and your prospect are apparently different styles, trying to properly assess your client has a point. Do not be overly biased and imposed his personal style and taste of its customers, try to work with them and adjust to what they want, what your company needs, after all they are paying to do just that. However, when they are a bit hesitant to the suggestion that you are a customer, to voice their concerns and hope that the two of you will be able to find a solution.

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Small Business Start Up Planning and Success The 7 Vital Keys

With over 20 years experience and exposure to small business, we have learned an enormous amount on what to do and what to avoid. You don’t need to go through all the problems we experienced trying to start-up a small business. We’re happy to share our secrets with those who’d like to listen. Yes, we’ve made mistakes. Some only small, others took us to the brink of bankruptcy! But the great thing is we learned from them and took away important lessons each time.

We took these lessons, and combined with our formal Business Management and Development Training, have developed our 7 Vital Keys To Small Business Success. These are the very same Quick and Easy Systems we used to grow our Successful International Franchise Network.

Yes! We went from our garage to franchise in under 12 months, and International Franchise in just over 2 years. We later sold our interests, and profited further from our systems. Our processes are easy to understand , with clear methods to follow. By following our 7 Vital Keys To Small Business Success program, you could quickly establish your own small business, helping you enjoy the lifestyle you desire and the freedom to be your own boss. We know it works. We have seen these processes repeated over and over. Small Business should be about working smart, not working yourself into the ground.

Starting a Small Business can be risky. About 80% of small businesses fail in the first 2 years. So why do people keep doing it, you ask? Why put your money, family and reputation on the line, just to follow your dreams? Because it’s such a wonderful feeling to start-up and run your very own successful small business. You don’t need to go it alone, though. There is help. Overcome the statistics and be one of the successful few. Start your small business with the right help and know how. You will achieve amazing results in the best possible time, with less headaches, and saving you hard earned dollars along the way.