The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Archive for “Leverage Business Technology”

19 Ways to Increase Your Website Conversions

How do you increase the ROI of your business website? Simple. Increase your conversion rate. Whether the conversion event on your website is an online purchase or a lead capture, you will positively impact your bottom line by increasing the percentage of site visitors who take the actions on your site that you value. To [...]

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Creative Capitalism: one for one, from day one

Recently, I was contacted by a PR firm (Attention) and asked if I would profile Blake Mycoskie on my blog(s). I’m ashamed to say how long it’s taken me to turn this piece around, however seeing the latest ATT commercial featuring Blake after a long day of meetings (at my day job) shamed me into finishing. My [...]

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SPEEDing Your Website Visitors to Checkout

If you sell products or services through your website, speed is critical. People’s attention spans online are notoriously limited. That means you need to capture your site visitors’ attention and compel them to click through your conversion funnel. The process should be as intuitive and seamless as possible. If you distract them, if you leave [...]

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SEO Copywriting Works

Way cool! My client’s traffic just went up 43% due to search-engine optimization (SEO) techniques. What about your site? Have you implemented SEO to help potential customers find your site? If not, you are missing out on a great opportunity. Check out free tools like www.wordtracker.com and www.keyworddiscovery.com for more information. Now, for those of [...]

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What’s Wrong With Your PR Activities?

The phone is not ringing and crickets are chirping. That’s likely what will happen if you are sending out press releases to the masses and waiting for the sales to come in. I bring this up because several entrepreneurs contacted me recently about their PR activities. They hired publicists. But instead of obtaining media exposure, [...]

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My Most Passionate Encouragement to Start Up

Check out this NYC regional TV show with Brian Lehrer as host (and me silenced in the first few minutes but then unLEASHing my enthusiasm about why now is a great time to start up, once my mic starts working, that is…) I give a five point prescription for steps to take to pursue your startup opportunity [...]

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A new way to cut costs: your phone system

An overlooked cost savings for entrepreneurs is switching to VoIP, or an internet-based phone system for your business. According to a recent survey, over 86% of business owners rated VoIP satisfaction level as “very high.” Why? VoIP and internet-based phone systems offer features, services and equipment that some traditional phone systems can’t compete. In terms of service outside your business and systems inside your business, switching to VoIP can save your business money. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

VoIP choices

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) based systems use the internet for calls. Most smaller businesses choose a basic package from Packet8 or Speakeasy for their service. You can also choose a hosted service and all you need is either an adapter (ATA) or a router. The equipment is all done remotely by a provider. If you have a high call volume and don’t have room for wires, this option works well because there is no maintenance and configuration to worry about.

Cost savings

Typically you can get a good VoIP system for under $1000 plus the cost of the equipment. If your business places a high volume of long distance calls, you can expect to save quite a bit. Monthly bills for service plans typically run up from $10-20 monthly. One study tracked the impact on Intel Corp when they switched to a VoIP phone system and found a cost savings of $312,000 a year. Most business owners are surprised to learn that you’ll save the most by becoming more efficient.

VoIP features

Besides the standard features that all businesses need (voicemail, call forwarding, call transfers and hold messaging), auto-attendant is another additional service that lets the caller dial by name, extension, or listen to a general message containing business hours. Features are generally included in a VoIP plan, but make sure you ask if you specifically need a feature like video conferencing or one-click dialing.

VoIP providers

There are many phone system providers that offer affordable VoIP solutions. Some of the larger and well-known companies like Vonage and Jive have websites where you can see pricing and packages. You can also visit our quote center and find a list of vendors that match your specific needs by simply filling out this form. There are many systems to choose from depending if you want services outside your business or inside your business so do your homework. You can get an inexpensive system with all the “big name” features and the systems just plug into a standard Analog line.

VoIP negotiation

Ask for free equipment. Most salespersons are allowed to include VoIP phones or adaptors to win a contract. If equipment is a no-go, ask for additional features. Can you get a bundle package for cheaper? Try shopping at the end of the month when sales needs to meet their quota.

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An overlooked cost savings for entrepreneurs is switching to VoIP, or an internet-based phone system for your business. According to a recent survey, over 86% of business owners rated VoIP satisfaction level as “very high.” Why? VoIP and internet-based phone systems offer features, services and equipment that some traditional phone systems can’t compete. In terms [...]

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America’s Most Promising Social Entreprenuers

From Business Week: America’s Most Promising Social Entreprenuers “Social entrepreneurs—enterprising individuals who apply business practices to solving societal problems such as pollution, poor nutrition, and poverty—are now 30,000 strong and growing, according to B Lab, a nonprofit organization that certifies these purpose-driven companies. Together, they represent some $40 billion in revenue. Not surprising, then, that [...]

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Win Tax Software (delivered by express mail) for Your Business

Knowing some among you are in a last-minute dash to get those taxes filed, we’ve worked out a special giveaway opportunity for 20 StartupNation users to win a free copy of TurboTax Business software, provided to us by Office Depot.  TurboTax Business is tax preparation software that asks easy questions about your personal and small business income, [...]

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GoToBilling.com’s Mom Entrepreneur Offers Success Tips

On Tuesday, we talked to super Mom entrepreneur, Stacy Roderick. Stacy helped create the one-stop resource for paperless invoicing, marketing and electronic billing atGoToBilling, www.gotobilling.com.Today, Stacy shares more of her work-life balance success tips. What advice do you have for other couples who work together?   Separation of duties and plenty of communication. Try not to step [...]

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The New-New Store Front

Interesting article in this Sunday’s NYTimes about vanishing store fronts. …[Store fronts signs] are artifacts of consumer culture before commercial branding and environmental signage (as signs are now called) became so self-conscious — when sign painters plied their craft without pretense. A store sign had to be bold, eye-catching and immediately recognizable, so that customers [...]

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Innovative Business Idea: Looking for one?

In this economy, people are selling everything. Ebay, Etsy and other such retail hubs are increasingly popular. But let’s step outside the overstuffed box of old sports cards, second hand coach bags, and retro 70s clothing we are trying to get rid of and think of what else we can make money on. In this [...]

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GoToBilling.com’s Mom Entrepreneur Gives Tips

If you are a mother pursuing your small business dreams, check out this interview with Stacy Roderick of www.GoToBilling.com. Stacy manages to take care of her family, cook healthy meals, stay in shape, and help run a successful business all at the same time. Here’s what Stacy had to say: How did you get started [...]

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Win the Small Business Startup Kit

It’s tough slogging out there, entrepreneurs, isn’t it?! That’s why we’ve created an opportunity for one among you to win a Small Business Startup Kit, designed to get your home business’s world headquarters in gear! And it all happens right here in this blog post. The Small Business Startup Kit was assembled in collaboration with Office [...]

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Steve Roderick of gotoBilling.com Exposes Success Secrets

On Tuesday, we heard from Steve Roderick of www.gotoBilling.com, a one-stop small business resource for paperless marketing, online invoicing, electronic billing, gift cards, and more. Due to smart planning and excellent customer service, gotoBilling.com is thriving in today’s economy and helping other small business owners succeed. Here is the rest of our conversation and Steve’s [...]

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SEO Press Releases Boost Sales

According to a recent article in DM News at http://tinyurl.com/dfmen5, many business owners are increasing their public relations efforts right now. Why? Especially when times are tough, it’s essential to build buzz and keep your messaging in front of targeted audiences – Otherwise, the competition will.  And if you have a tight budget, you can significantly increase [...]

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Practical Advice from Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp

My team visited Scottsdale, Arizona last week as exhibitor and sponsor of the Women Entrepreneurs’ Boot Camp.  We had a chance to sit down with organizer, Susan Ratliff, and discussed key marketing tips and business tactics for beating the recession in 2009 and I thought I’d share some of her insights. Susan happens to be [...]

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