App Reviews: Great Apps for Nonprofits and Small Business Owners

Nonprofits, like small business owners have very limited budgets and resources. Anything that a nonprofit can do to save time, energy, or money can really translate into a huge return on investment. Even more important, when nonprofits and small business owners are able to better use their resources, it means a greater positive impact on the community around them. So, without further ado- here are some of my favorite apps for nonprofit-esque peeps (yes Lynn Quijada-Splan this one is for you and your nonprofit work!)
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App Reviews: Solo Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

When the job market is not so great, many people turn to self-employment. There is a good news and bad news in being self-employed. First- the good news: Being your own boss puts the reward of your hard work directly to you! And, despite the economic downturn- many business owners are finding they are having record growth. In fact, female small business owners are doing quite well right now! 

The bad news: If you are in business for yourself it is all on you. Yep, I said it... there is a LOT on your shoulders! However, there are some wonderful apps out there that can turn that little smart phone in your pocket into a helper, or even a receptionist! Here are some fun apps that you may want to check out for your business! 

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Drowning in Paperwork...

Are you drowning? While my work office is streamlined, efficient and paper-light, my home office is overflowing! I'm ready to get a handle on it once and for all! My husband has a home based business, while I have a fabulous office in a cute little builidng in Modesto, CA. He purchased a business printer for home office business use, and I have one for my office. 

Guess what? His is a pain in the tush! Seriously! My printer at my office was easy to set up so I could easily put papers in and have them "scan to email" or easily "scan to computer." That means if I had that printer at home, I could put in a stack of all of this paper nonsense, and it would scan the stack front and back, and put it in a secure file on my computer. I, of course, would have that file uploaded to myofficedrop for secure offsite, searchable storage and presto- no more stacks of paperwork! 

In addition, I'd be able to simply type in keywords when looking for a document later like "Valley Oak" to search for doctor's bills, or mortgage to pull up mortgage interest paid. 

However, for the moment, I am stuck fighting with this silly printer, and staring at a box of papers that need to be scanned... 

Anybody else get bamboozled when purchasing a printer? Thinking it was something simple and easy and find that it just doesn't work as advertised? Here are my top tips to purchasing a fabulous piece of hardware whether it be a printer, a smart phone, or a tablet computer:  

  1. Think about what you will really use it for.

  2. Make a list of the things you hate, and ask around- is there a technology solution for it that you may not even know about it?

  3. Talk to people who own one, check out amazon reviews (especially the 1 star reviews), but don't spend TOO much time doing that! (it can become a time suck and a stressor all in itself)

  4. Touch whenever possible! Go to a friend's office and touch their technology, go to the store and play, or ask your child, niece, or grandchild to show you how to do it ;0)

  5. Focus on what YOU need!

Here is what I need in a printer: 

  1. Wireless (I want as few cords as possible). This means I can print the printer from anywhere in the house, and all my printer really needs to plug into is a wall plug and be in a place where it can "see" the wireless.

  2. Airprinting- I'm planning on upgrading to a tablet in the next year and I already have a smartphone Airprinting will allow me to print to my home printer while in a coffee shop, at my office, or in an airport.

  3. Easy connectivity to email and to scanning to a file on my computer. Scanning to email makes it easy for me to scan a document to email to my bookkeeper, a client, etc.

  4. Duplex scanning. I don't want to be flipping pieces of paper over! I want to set it and forget it!

  5. A touchscreen that is easy to see and read when I am choosing my printing options.

What about you? What are your needs for the perfect printer? 

Super Shrinks

I got a chance to attend the Super Shrinks Conference today with Scott Miller, PHD as the speaker. He was phenomenal! A Super Shrink is the unusually effective and talented psychotherapist. Through Scott’s research it became evident that Super Shrinks are always seeking consultation, engaging with questions, and trying to figure out what they need to improve. It is about improving our outcomes as therapists and not settling in our comfort zones. It got me thinking not only about how we need to seek to grow in our clinical skill but in our technological skill as well.
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What you can learn from other's websites

Kelly and I were able to do a few of these live website reviews while we were in the same zip code. A couple of fabulous people were wiling to allow us to share their evalutions, in the hopes that it would help YOU be successful with your own website.

How did you find out about us: "I heard Miranda talk on an event Casey Truffo had a while ago and I love what you both are doing. I used your suggestion for Square Space and Argonaut."

Here is what Kim had to say about the process! Notice that she used one of our suggestions and was able to start showing up on Google right away! (If you are doing groups, talks, or events, we highly recommend using a service like this one to get the word out.)

1. What was it like receiving your video evaluation? 

I

 love the evaluation being a video. I can review it over and over and I can see on my website exactly what you are talking about. Also, it's a little scary to ask someone to evaluate my website (I have spent a lot of time trying to get it right) and from the start you make kind statements about it and made me feel at ease with your ideas/recommendations.

2. What was the most important thing that you learned about your site from the video evaluation? 

Most important? Really the evaluation is 15 minutes packed with information. You validated some of the concerns I had and you gave me suggestions how to fix it. I just used Eventbrite (as you suggested) and I am showing up on Google!

3. What changes will you make based on this feedback? 

I am beginning to implement all of your suggestions. I like that you talked about the SEO and you saw I did a little, but gave me ways to do more.

4. What lingering questions did you have? 

For me the hardest part of the website is making it look appealing. With Square Space there are so many options, I get lost in the color and style optioins. So lingering question would be style suggestions- but you did make some statements how I could clean it up.

5. May we quote you? 

Absolutely. I loved your evaluation. I felt that you were talking to me and you found a way to communicate at my level  of understanding about my website.  

We hope you will also go over and give Kim's website a look to see what other changes she has implemented into her site as time goes by. You can visit her here. 

How to stretch more time out of your old laptop!

Everybody has a lot of irritations and frustrationgs about technology. While there are complaints about software- there is nothing more irritating than the piece of hardware you have not working right! Before you run out and drop a bunch of money on a tablet, a laptop, or a new PC, here are some things to do that might just stretch out the usefullness of your PC.
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Access to Expertise: A longer story than usual...

I love working with small business owners, because many of them don't even realize how valuable they are! I love helping them to see their expertise and their value and translate that onto their website, into social media. Sometimes, Kelly and I just get to help people use the best tools to let them focus on their expertise. 

However, this morning I am reminded of part of the reason why Kelly and I of ZynnyMe.com have been so successful- we have access to some wonderful experts in our own homes. I won't "out" Kelly's hubby at the moment- but I will take a moment to tell you about mine. 

When people meet my husband and find out he has been in IT for over 10 years- they assume "Oh- this is why you are so good at tech!" We both always laugh and say yes, and no. My husband and I focus on completely different aspects of technology. 

In fact, when you have heard me talk about technophilliacs here, (people who love technology for technology's sake), I'm really thinking of my husband! It was a real transition to put someone who is into every latest and greatest technology with someone who is quite frugal (cheap)! 

So, back to the point... I got a new computer yesterday.... wait that isn't the point- well it is and it isn't. If any of you have gotten a new computer, or even considered getting a new computer, you know how much of a pain it can be to get things started on a new computer. 

My husband seemed a little more excited than normal to go in and add all of your software. I thought maybe it was just an "ooh shiny" moment. I know he is busy- so I started doing it myself... he looked disappointed! Why? Because he had a new toy to use! It made loading many of my favorite programs SO much easier, and SUPER fast (oh and FREE). 

The site is called http://ninite.com/ and you simply "check the box" of all of the programs you want to install, click install and it will install all of the programs without a million little "next" and "run" and "finish" and... well you get the picture! 

I'm going to be sharing a post tomorrow(ish) about which programs I decided to download on my new computer and why! But, back to the point, having access to the right expertise can make all the difference and save you literally hours of work! 

Be sure to surround yourself with people who have the knowledge you need. Even better, be sure to make yourself well known enough that other people know the amazing kind of expertise YOU have! Until tomorrow!