Small Business Mistakes: Master the Fundamentals

Running your own business is hard.  Unfortunately, many business owners make it even harder on themselves with a lack of standards for themselves and their business.

I live in a small town, which includes a small Main Street and a small shopping center on the main road.  Since we are a small town, there are only two pizzerias that serve us.  Being a blustery Friday evening in October, our family decided to order pizza.  Friday nights are great for pizza and a movie.

Guess what happened? We ended up having tacos and perogis from the local bar and grill because both of our local pizzerias failed us miserably on what is usually the busiest pizza night of the week.  They both failed for two totally different reasons, but both are equally embarrassing and shameful for a small business owner.

(I'm leaving out names as I want to use this as a learning lesson, not to slam anyone)

 

Pizzeria #1

This one has by far the better tasting pizza out of the two.  Its priced considerably higher, but being born and raised in NYC, I don't mind paying more for pizza that can at least come reasonably close to authentic, thin crust NYC pizza.

So what's their problem?  Inconsistency.

When I called them at 8PM on a Friday night, they were closed.  The voicemail message said to call back, I did that.  Got the voicemail again.  As I passed by on my way home, I saw that they were indeed closed, no note on the door or explanation on the voicemail message.

Unfortunately this is the norm for this business.  The owner(s) never keep consistant hours.  On their front door and in their brochures, they are open daily until 10PM.  As soon as things slow down even a little bit, or they just don't feel like staying any longer, they close.

They have no idea how much business they have lost with this inconsistency.  A customer will only call or stop by a few times to find you closed (when you are supposed to be open) before they stop trusting you as a business, and bring their business elsewhere.

As a business you have to keep your promises, no matter how small they are in your eyes.  If you say you will be open during certain hours, be open.  If you say you offer something, then offer it.  There are few things that irritate a customer more than an inconsistent experience.  You want to build trust with your customers and it's very hard to do when you you can't deliver on even your smallest promises.

 

Pizzeria #2

This place has mediocre pizza.  Not too bad, but not very good either.  I'd rank it at or slightly below your typical franchise pizza chain like Pappa John's or Little Ceasars.  This pizzeria is located on our little Main Street and is actually right around the corner from us.  We rarely order from here (my wife thinks its aweful), but I have a thing about supporting Main Street businesses, they are a dying breed.

So what's their problem?  Poor Operations and Customer Service

Once again, I called them at 8pm on a Friday night.  At least they were open!  A girl answered the phone and asked what I would like.

I asked for a large pizza for pickup.

Her response. “hold on”

She then proceeded to have a full on conversation with another employee with the phone apparently still by her mouth as I heard the entire conversation.  It went like this;

Girl: “We're out of dough and this dude wants a pizza, what do you want me to tell him?”

Other employee:” I don't know, take the order and we'll make more dough in a little while”

Girl: “We still have four more orders we need to make before this one and we have no dough, how long will it take you to make more dough?”

Other employee: “about an hour”

Girl: “What should I tell this dude then?”

Other employee: “Just take the order”

The girl then proceeded to speak to me again, apparently unfazed that I was listening to the whole conversation and said “what would you like?”

Me: “Uh, how long is an order going to take?”

Girl: “A little while”

Me: “The other guy just said an hour to make the dough, then you have to cook it, that's going to take alot longer than a little while”

Girl: “yeah”

Me: “I think that's going to be too long for me”

Girl: “take care”  She then hung up.

So where should we start?  The total lack of customer service training, the apathetic attitude towards the customer or the fact that you ran out of your only product (pizza dough)  a few hours into your busiest night of the week?

Customer service.  Every business, unless you have a business without customers (if you do, please let me know the business model!) is in the customer service business.  Whether you sell products or service, online or offline, you are in the customer service business.  The businesses that understand this thrive and the one who don't, die a slow death.

Take customer service seriously.  Train and demonstrate to your employees what great customer service looks like.  Create a customer service standard for your business and show all of your employees how to hold themselves to it.  I don't blame the girl for the very poor customer service, I place all of the blame on the business owner.  Little things like this, added up, result in a poorly regarded business.

Poor operations.  You don't have enough dough?  It's not like it was Super Bowl Sunday and you were over run with hungry (and thirsty) football fans, in which case you may be justified for running out (maybe).  But a regular Friday night?  That's just a result of poor planning.  Once again, this is not the first time this has happened.  Several times I have gone here and they were out of toppings, drinks and one other time, pizza.

How do you consistently run out of everything?  Poor planning.  Just like with the first pizzeria, inconsistencies like this will drive away many of your customers as they can no longer trust that you can deliver on your promise, in this case pizza.

 

Do the Fundamentals

Running your own business is hard, don't make it harder on yourself.  Learn to do the fundamentals really well and do them consistently.  Build trust with your customers, give them a great customer service experience and watch them turn into loyal fans of your business.

In the coming months there is a new commercial strip  being built in our town, word is that a pizza franchise will be opening up there.  If these two pizzerias don't step up their game they are going to lose out to this chain pizzeria.  Why?  Because despite not having the greatest product, franchises offer something that keep people coming back again and again,  a consistent experience each and every time.  Next time i'm on a pizza binge, i'll go for the sure thing.

Image: Grimaldi's Pizza, Brooklyn, NY

Small Business Toolbox-October Thirtieth

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don’t go into much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.  If you know of any great tools and services that will help small business owners, please share them in the comments below.

Spring Publisher – A free desktop publishing program that lets you create business cards, flyers, postcards and letterheads.  You can also download templates from their online store.  If Microsoft Publisher is out of your business budget, this might be a nice alternative.

App Bistro – If you have a Facebook Fan Page or you are planning to create one, check out App Bistro.  App Bistro has dozens of free and low cost applications you can add to your Fan Page to really supercharge it.  Create contests, quizzes, daily deals and just about anything else you can imagine for your Fan Page.

 

Flickr image credit: glaciernps

Designing The Perfect Business Card: Today’s Top Trends

This is a guest post by Jessica Wiener, you can find out more in the bio footer
 When Kathy Morrison started doing freelance work for a children’s website, she was given just enough business cards to last her for two months. “The cards looked nice and current, as they said that the website had just launched,” she recalls. “I liked the look of them and felt proud to give them out.”
When Kathy ran out of cards, her boss gave her a packet of 250 more. Like the first set, they said “New Website, Just Launched!” on the front, along with the firm’s contact details. “I thought it was a bit odd as we were already several months old, but I didn’t give it a second thought,” she says. “As a freelancer I was grateful to get any cards, so I considered myself lucky.”
Three and a half years later, Kathy is still using the same old cards – although now she feels a bit embarrassed by them. “Most people don’t realize they’re old, but sometimes I have to explain why we’re three years down the road and still using business cards saying the website is brand new. I just tell clients a white lie – that a new shipment has been ordered but has yet to arrive – and hope they forget about it.”

 

Lasting First Impression

Business cards, like a limp handshake or crude joke, say a lot about a business – and can make a lasting first impression. Kathy’s business cards, which became more and more out-dated with every passing day, were at best telling clients that her website didn’t keep up with current trends, and at worst letting them know that her firm didn’t really care about its own corporate image or brand identity – and probably won’t care a whole lot about yours.
It doesn’t matter if you run a small website or are employed by a FTSE-100 company, a business card is often the first thing a potential client sees when he or she is introduced to your firm, and is a way to capture your brand image. If that initial impression comes off as negative, being either sloppy, behind-the-times or simply out-dated – then the effect can backfire.
Business cards exist to provide vital information about a business, including important contact details and the nature of the work you provide. At a time when more people meet up online than anywhere else, you’d be forgiven in thinking that business cards are a bit passé. They aren’t.
Today’s business cards are more than just a means of passing contact information from one person to another – if that’s all they were, then a scrap of paper or Post-it note would do. Business cards serve to encapsulate your brand in a tiny moment in time, letting potential clients know not only who you are and what you do, but also how you do it.

 

Contemporary Design Trends

 There was a time when almost all business cards were black and white, printed on one side only with most people opting to copy the Ogilvy ad layout formula. Most people would recognize it when they see it: the company logo is printed on the upper left side, followed by the individual’s name and contact information on the bottom.
Things got a bit more exciting when people decided to branch out and forsake the former patterns, choosing bolder colors and sometimes even printing their photo on one side. Then designers got even braver with business card printing, using both sides and adding a bit of foil or a cut-out to make the card stick out from all others.
Nowadays, however, things are getting back to basics. Designers are choosing to keep things simple, going back to neutral colors and plain, simple designs that exist without a modicum of fuss. Clean designs have rapidly taken over from the fussy, busy designs of yesteryear, often with a plain logo on one side and contact information on the other.

 

Business cards that will make clients sit up and take notice include:

Smaller cards: The uncommon shape will make people view your card as unique.
Square or circular cards. They might not fit nicely into your client’s wallet, but they will stand out from the crowd.
Cards with rounded corners. Make a card a bit more fun.
Cards that include images: Projects the business attribute you want to emphasize immediately.
USB cards. Promote your business with text on the card’s external surface, then fill up the internal Flash drive to store anything from data to presentations to photos.
Gadgetry cards. Your clients won’t be able to forget that your business exists if they drink out of a mug with your contact details on it, use a mouse pad featuring your contact details, or have a fridge magnet with your contact details! Goes one step further than the once-ubiquitous imprinted pens.
Creative cards. Dental business cards featuring useable floss, cards made from stainless steel and those in the shape of an ice cube are just a few original designs that will capture clients’ imaginations.
Cards with QR codes. Give your clients something to think about.
Plastic cards. Designed to last as long as your relationship with your client.

 

Make It Real, Make an Impression

There’s no time like the present – so why not sport a new business card and show clients what you’re made of?

 

That's why Kathy decided to do something about her outdated business cards. After three years of freelancing she has just become part-owner of the website herself – and is in the process of re-designing it from top to bottom. And, of course, she is redesigning a new set of business cards as well.
“The colors in the old card were dated, and I certainly don’t want clients to think we’ve just launched now that we’re almost four years old,” she says. “I’m going to make a much bigger logo, that’s plain and simple, with no photos or anything, just contact information at the bottom. The new website is going to be on-trend, sleek and sophisticated, and I want that reflected in our business cards as well.”

 

Enough said.

Small Business Toolbox-October Twenty Three

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don't go into detail much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.

Spring Pad – An online cloud storage service that becomes your own virtual file cabinet.  Quickly save anything you want to remember for a later date like website links, notes, checklists and images.  With web and mobile apps available, you can have Spring Pad with you everywhere you go.

Sign Now – Have you ever had to print a document just you could sign it and fax to back to the sender?  Sign Now is an amazingly useful tool that lets you open a document, add your signature, and send it back…..all without having to print.  You can also use it on your iPhone or Android device.

Flickr image courtesy of El Frito

Onpage SEO or How to Optimize Your Website for Your Keywords

This is a guest post by Alex Petrovic, you can find out more in his bio at the end of this post

Great part of onsite optimization relies on keyword placement and optimizing your pages for your chosen keywords. Once you have done the research and find the keywords you wish to target you need to implement them into your pages and posts in order to successfully engage in link building and expect to see some results.

Now we don’t live in 1999 anymore, so keyword density is a thing of the past, regardless of bunch of old articles that still float around the web, and some can even be found in top results (way to go Google). What you should be focusing on are LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing), or basically synonyms and keyword variations that will enrich your content and give it more relevance to your topic.

Example:
Main Keyword: Running Shoes
LSI Keywords: footwear, sneakers, tennis shoes,
Keyword variations: men running shoes, women running shoes, running shoes on sale, running shoes for flat feet, ergonomic running shoes, Nike running shoes (insert brand name in front), running shoes review and the list goes on…

The important thing here is to make your content varied with keywords; this will help you write a quality post without thinking of slapping on keywords in each sentence. Now let’s talk about keyword placement and positioning. Here is an overview of things we need to watch out for:

  • Titles
  • URL’s
  • Content titles
  • In content keywords
  • Internal Linking
  • Alt’s

 

Title Tags

Title tags are one of the biggest priorities when it comes to keyword placement as this is the title of the document and search engines find it very important. As you probably know search engines read the page from top to bottom, so the first think they look at is the title tag, this is the first thing that gives them a clue of what the page is about.
The best practice for titles is to include a sentence like phrase where your keywords are placed and add the company or website name at the end, example:

New York Electrical Bikes Shopping Store – Company Name

The title is descriptive and it has important keywords placed, it also helps with branding. Note that the example title is 55 characters, so I could have placed a word or two more, but no need, you just need to be mindful of the maximum character limit, which is 70 characters that Google will show in their search results.

URL Structure

Url structure doesn’t have as much importance as the title tags, but nevertheless it has an overall influence on the onsite optimization. It is one little piece that needs to come into its own place like everything else in the SEO world.

Keywords in your URL will influence and improve the overall relevance of the page in question. Now there is a question whether you should use only the main keyword or the entire title as the URL (this mostly doesn’t apply to ecommerce websites as they mostly deal with dynamic URL’s), example:
1.http: //www. website. org/category/three-words-keyword/
2.http: //www. website. org/category/three-words-keyword-that-will-help-with-something-something/
Some will argue that it is better to use just the main keyword; others (myself included) are more for the second option. If we are talking about main pages like contact or a particular service than its fine to use the main keyword, but for posts or product pages the URL is better of being as descriptive as possible. You will also be adding additional keywords to your URL. The main thing to remember with titles and URL’s is to put your main keyword at the beginning.

Content titles

With everything said about titles and URL’s there is not much need to talk too much about title of the content or product. The same rules apply, the difference is that you should always place the one main title in the heading so that search engines would recognize it as a title of the product or post, usually H1 tags, for subheading as they move down the ladder of importance you can assign h2, h3 and lower values.

Content Keywords

And here comes the golden part of onsite keyword optimization, including your keyword in the content.

Basically, no keyword stuffing, don’t repeat one keyword and use the same keyword over and over again. The idea is to create a valuable piece, great content or amazing product description that speaks for itself. When you write about something you are bound to mention the product/topic/name/keyword a few times in the post. Now once you finish go over the post and try to vary it a bit by adding LSI keywords or using keyword variations like long tail keywords containing the main keyword.
As for the placement, which is also arguable, but in most cases you should include the main keyword once at the beginning of the content, and after that you can just sprinkle variations without giving too much importance to where they should be placed. Maybe a reminder at the end can do you good.
With keywords already placed in the title, url, content title, do you think you need to place a bunch of them in the content. The answer is obvious, so just concentrate on quality content and you will do just fine.

Internal Linking

Breadcrumbs and internal linking are important for keyword optimization, especially if you are linking from within the content. Keywords that you use to connect your pages give significant importance to those pages, especially if the link comes from a related content.
If you link from content about wood stoves to a page about furnaces that is great as it is logical place to put your link, but linking to an online casino just because you said that a certain brand of stoves can be a gamble is way off limits.
You have to think carefully about the anchor you use and from which pages you link out, if there is relevance you will boost up your pages significantly just by implementing a few internal links. As with everything else, don’t overdo internal linking, keep it to a logical level and link if there is a reason to link, not just because you can.

Alt Tags

Yes, images should be optimized for your main keyword; they are an important part of onsite optimisation. First off, don’t upload images titled DSC2537, name them properly using your keywords, let’s take an example:
Name: mint-chocolate.jpg
Title: Dark Mint Chocolate
Alt Tag: Dark Mint Chocolate Manufacturer name
This would look something like:  <img alt=”Dark Mint Chocolate Manufacturer name” title=”Dark Mint Chocolate” src=”http:// www .website. org/uploads/mint-chocolate.jpg “>

Images don’t just decorate the page or give insight to the viewer what the product is, they also tell the search engines a little bit more about your page, so don’t neglect them.

To summarize, keywords have a few places where they need to be, but remember to be moderate about them. Slapping keywords all over through content, links and alts will get you a very different result, one you wouldn’t hope for. This can all sound too much, but trust me, this is something you finish within a few minutes, and it’s that easy and simple once it becomes a standard practice, well everything besides content itself can be finished in a few minutes.

Before you think of social media, link building, landing pages to target, you need to sort out your onpage, and these few keyword practices will greatly help you in achieving just that.

image credit:Idea Go

 

This is a Guest Post by Alex Petrovic is an SEO strategist with  Dejan SEO company
where is holds the position of Link building team leader

Saving Money on Credit Card Processing – Tips for Small Business

This is a guest post by Eric Stauffer of cardpaymentoptions.com, your can find out more about Eric in his bio at the end of this post.

With customer spending down and cost of goods on the rise, small businesses need to find any and every way that they can save money. One of the most expensive and often frustrating cost can also be a source of great savings for the organization willing to put in a little work: credit card processing.

If you talk to a number of business owners about their payment processing fees you are likely to find a commonality when it comes to the level of dissatisfaction and confusion they experience each time their processing statement arrives in the mail. The truth is that the industry is designed around secrecy and misinformation, and uses both to extract large amounts of dollars from small business owners. The good news is that with the right knowledge, any business owner can save a small fortune when negotiating their payment processing deal.

Interchange Pass-Through

The typical credit card processing agreement breaks charges down into three categories; qualified, mid-qualified and non-qualified. Each of these categories (or buckets) carries a specific rate. The processor then takes all the different credit card types (there are over 400 at last count) and lumps them into the three buckets. Then they change each card in that specific category the same rate.

The problem for the merchant is that most of the cards within a given bucket are rounded up to the highest rate for any one card in the same category. Therefore, the majority of the cards run in that bucket are costing a premium.

Interchange pass-through is a type of wholesale processing cost that up until recently was only offered to merchants doing sizeable volumes. Essentially it gives each card the wholesale processing rate plus a small markup so the processing company can make a profit. So instead of having three different transaction rates that each card falls into, there can be over 400.

When negotiating a merchant services contract, it is important to request interchange pass-through pricing. If the rep is unwilling to offer it, move on to another provider. It is also common for reps to downplay interchange pass-through or act like they do not know what you are referring to. If they do this, do not do business with them.

Processing Fees

Most credit card processing contracts are littered with numerous fees. Some of these are industry and standard and difficult to avoid, however, there are often additional fees added on by the sales rep strictly as profit.

Independent sales reps are given a lot of freedom when writing fees into the agreement.  For example, many processors do not require a specific contract length but their sales reps have the freedom to add a term and a cancellation fee if they wish. If the merchant cancels the contract and pays the cancellation fee, the sales rep would receive the entire amount as a commission. This is not always the case, but it is important to find out if the underlying processor requires the fees listed on the agreement.

The best way to limit the fees is by getting quotes from multiple providers and push back on each fee individually. By comparing different processor agreements you can determine which ones are standard (such as statement fees) and which ones may be written in by the sales rep as added profit.

photo credit:posterize

On Boarding – How To Bring New Employees Into Your Team

Market research questions to ask your customersAs  business owners, we understand the importance of hiring the right people and training them to become a productive part of our team.  But what you do after you hire them can be the determining factor as to how long they will stay and how productive they will be as a part of your team.

Take a minute to recall your most memorable first day….… at a new job, in school, on a sports team.  Does any part of that day resonate in your memory, good or bad? Were you made to feel comfortable aside from generic pleasantries?  Where you ignored? Did you know where anything was located beyond the restrooms? How long did it take before you started to really relate to those you would be spending so much time with? Did you really feel like you had a connection with them?

Now take a minute to recognize the opportunity before you as a business owner; the opportunity to create a memorable first day for every individual that has committed to becoming part of your team. You can immediately start building the foundation for that individual’s loyalty to you and your business.

The experiences had during this crucial acclimation period can very well determine the duration of their employment with you, as well as how loyal they will be to you and your business. This proactive process of helping the new employee to adjust to your company culture, understand their new role, and reach productivity is commonly referred to as On Boarding.

What Is Onboarding?

According to Wikipedia, On-Boarding refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.  In my own words its the steps we take as a business to educate, train and integrate new employees and to make them feel like a part of the team.

On-Boarding typically begins at the moment the employment offer is accepted and can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on your business.

Effective On-Boarding has many benefits:

  •    Accelerate performance
  •    Increase employee retention
  •    Help integrate employees into company culture, processes and values
  •    Reduce employee turnover
  •    Shorten the training cycle and create productive employees faster
  •    Create trust between the empolyee and owner/management

Creating an On-Boarding Plan

Creating an effective On-Boarding plan is not difficult, nor does it have to be elaborate.  The main point is to number one, have a plan and number two, use it.
Below are some points to include in your On-Boarding plan, you can add whatever you think will help make a new employee feel like a part of the team and to start the road to productivity.

Be Proactive In Your Employee Retention

One of the greatest advantages of On-Boarding is your opportunity to proactively retain your employees and minimize team member turnover.  Start building that trust and loyalty from day one and you can create a team that will stick around even when times get tough.

Some things you can do to immediately start building a long lasting relationship:

  • Have a team lunch to welcome your new hire to the group.  This will give your new team member the opportunity to meet everyone in a casual setting before getting right into the training process.
  • Have a one on one lunch or coffee with your new team member.  Spending some quality time at the beginning will help accelerate the relationship building and start the road to loyalty and trust.  You'd be amazed at how many business owners never get to know their employees, yet are surprised when they leave for another job.
  • Assign a mentor.  Assigning one of your veteran or top employees to mentor the new hire has a two fold affect;  The new team member now has a confidant, someone they can turn to, while the veteran employee gets empowered with the responsibility of helping to train new employees.
  • Give a token of appreciation.  A small welcome gift that is meaningful and related to the business can be a nice gesture that they are now part of the team.  

Be Clear In Setting Expectations

If you want to be a successful business owner, you will need to become really good at setting expectations for your team members.  Many a business owner has closed their business because of the frustrations in managing others.  Communication is key to great employee relations.
For the same reasons you set customer expectations to ensure their loyalty, you need to set employee expectations so they know what you expect from them, and what they should expect from you.

Some tips for setting employee expectations:

  • Spend the first day or two orientating, not training your new employee.  Tell stories.  Tell stories about why you conduct business the way you do.  Give examples of the high standards you and your team have set for the business.  Talk about customer success stories and examples of why you are such a great business.  The last thing a new team member wants to do is ruin a great reputation.
  • Explain to them how you and the rest of the team hold each other accountable.  I like to tell new hires that my team members often call me out (the owner) when I fail to live up to the teams expectations.  Be crystal clear in the importance the team takes in everyone pulling their weight.  I have lost a few new hires during this stage as they realized we meant business and they knew they couldn't live up to our expectations.  Better now than later.
  • As the business owner, you should tell them “Your Story“.  How many of your employees know how and why you started your business?  What the motivation is that drives you?  You should be telling all of your employees why you do what you do.  I find that when your team knows how much you go through as a business owner (they have no idea), they will try their best not to let you down.
  • Perform frequent follow ups during the first few weeks.  The best way to re-enforce good behavior and cut out bad is to give frequent feedback on performance.  Your new employee will be looking for validation for their performance, be sure to give it to them.
  

Create an Employee Handbook

Providing your employees with an Employee Handbook protects your business, as well as educates your employees on what you expect of them, and what they should expect of you as their employer.  It does not have to be long, but it should cover enough so that it will serve as a reference for your new employee and answer their most common questions.

Some of the basic information it should contain:

  • Employment Practices (Complaint Procedures, Emergency Closings, Immigration Law Compliance, Outside Employment, Workers Compensation Policy, Performance Appraisal System, Promotions and Transfers, Corrective Actions, Extensive Medical Leave, etc).
  • Employee Responsibilities (Dress Code and Appearance, Standard for Conduct, Communication and Information Systems, Facility Security, Attendance and Coverage Procedures, Confidentiality, Drugs, Employee Conduct and Work Rules, Personal Property, Safety, etc)
  • Compensation and Benefits (Payroll Procedures, Hours of Work, Scheduled Breaks, Overtime, Insurance and Benefits, etc)
  • Time Off (Funeral Leave, Holidays, Jury Duty, Vacation, Sick and Personal Time)

Spend time going over your employee handbook with your new employee and answer any questions they have.  There are other elements that should be included in your employee handbook but the above should serve as a base to answer questions and to help clarify procedures should a conflict ever arise.  Be sure you are familiar with your state employment laws before adding anything that may conflict with them.

The Important Thing Is To Have a Plan

No matter what elements you decide to incorporate into your On-Boarding plan, your main goal is to quickly acclimate your new hire and to make them feel like a part of the team.  The faster you can make them feel comfortable, the quicker it will be to train them and to turn them into productive employees.
If you are unfamiliar with creating written manuals for your business, you can check out this article,  “How To Create An Operations Manual For Your Business”
If you liked this article and found it useful, would you please sign up for my newsletter?  Its full of useful tips and advice to help you run your business.  You can sign up for it in the sidebar on your right.  Thanks!

An Easy Way To Share Large Files

Sharing large files can be difficult. Most email programs have a limit on the size of files you can share. Gmail for instance, currently only allows 25 megabytes to be sent or received from you account, and they are one of the more generous email services.

So what do you do when you need to send a customer or business associate a large file like a video presentation or high resolution photo set? Fortunatly, with the increasing popularity of cloud storage there are several options for you to choose from.
I'm going to give you an introduction to two of the services that I use and find to be pretty handy when I need to send a large file to someone.

Minus

Minus is one of the newer cloud storage options offering a very generous 10 Gigabytes free when you sign up for an account. Minus is an easy to use file sharing platform that lets you upload, publish and embed photos, docs, music, videos. I use Minus to send clients sample video presentations, training tutorials and images that are too large for emailing.
Some of the neat things about Minus:

  • 10 Gigabytes of free storage, more than most similar services
  • 2 Gigabyte file upload limit. You can send a full length movie and still have room to spare
  • You can create a custom short link to share the file anyway you like
  • Embed files directly on your website
  • You don't have to register to send files, though they will be deleted after 30 days

To upload a file, just drag the file directly into your Minus Dashboard

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Once the file is uploaded, you will have several options for sharing and embedding your file

 

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As you can see, there isn't much too it. A simple and easy way to share your large files!

Ge.tt

Ge.tt is an instant, real-time file publishing and sharing service. There is no need for special software, you don't even have to register to start sharing files. This is a very simple file sharing tool to send images, videos and documents without any hassles.
I use this service to send large files to friends and clients without having the need to store the files themselves online, saving myself storage space.
Some of the neat things about Ge.tt:

  • You do not have to register to send files, though you get some added benefits if you do
  • You can share and publish files BEFORE the upload is complete. A great feature when uploading large files
  • Files are stored for 90 days before being erased. You do not need to host the files online anywhere once it is uploaded
  • This is probably the easiest way to share a file, not many features but simple to use

Uploading a file is easy…….

 

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Just select the file from your computer and start uploading

As soon as the upload begins, you can get the short link and start sharing, even if the file is still uploading!

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As you can see, these are two very easy ways to send large files when email just won't do.  Though I'm a big Dropbox user, I don't like to have large files like these clogging up my storage space, especially when I don't really need to access them online.

There are lots of other file storage options available online, these are just two that I know and use.  If you have other suggestions, leave them in the comments below!

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Photo Credit:renjith krishnan

Daily Motivation-Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn (September 17, 1930 – December 5, 2009) is often seen as the founding father of the modern personal development movement.  Tony Robbins mentored under him in the late 70's and many others, like Jack Canfield (the Chicken Soup for the Soul series) and Brian Tracy, credit his influence to their success.  I have read many of Jim Rohn's books, watched his videos and love reading his quotes.  He is a source of inspiration that has given me a boost at times when i really needed one, and i'm thankful for it.  Though there are many, here are a few of my favorites.

According to Mr. Rohn, the Five Components of Success Are:

  • Philosophy – how you think
  • Attitude – how you feel
  • Action – what you do
  • Results – measure often to see if you are making progress
  • Lifestyle – the kind of life you can make for yourself out of the first four pieces

 

Jim Rohn was famous for his quotes, a few of my favorites are:

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune”

“Failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day”

“Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better”

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary”

 

Whenever I need a kick in the butt to get me going, I like to watch this short video

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