How to use LinkedIn to create business value

2016Feb12_BusinessValue_ALinkedIn is a highly useful site, but many small businesses simply don’t make the most of it. The problem is that most of the information out there, that SMBs try to model, is focused on tips and strategies for larger organizations. And these strategies are simply not as effective when applied to the SMB. So what can the small or medium-sized business do to actually gain value from their LinkedIn efforts? Here are few tips to get you started.

Know LinkedIn’s purpose

Simply put, LinkedIn is not a content marketing platform. Yes, people do publish articles and posts, but if you have a small budget and are short on time, you will get more bang for your buck on social media networks that are more content marketing friendly. For example, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all far better options in this scenario. Many users are on these platforms to view content in one form or another. On LinkedIn, content can undoubtedly be viewed, but people are primarily there to make connections. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post an occasional article on LinkedIn. It just means don’t make it the main source of your content marketing efforts.

Another way businesses misconceive LinkedIn is in terms of lead generation. Basically, you shouldn’t expect your LinkedIn page to generate a large amount of leads. As an SMB, your marketing budget is limited, so you’ll be better off using your advertising budget to drive leads to your actual website or even a Facebook business page. Your LinkedIn business page should be used instead to validate your experience, credentials, and professionalism. With that said, make sure your page is polished and updated with all this information.

Double down on business trips

We all know that LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with business colleagues. If you’re active on the platform, you likely have hundreds of connections. So when you make that next business trip, why not tap your network to book additional meetings in the city you’re traveling to? Ask yourself, which of your connections could help you extend your sales in that region or benefit your business in some other way? You don’t have to stick to business colleagues you know personally. You can create valuable new relationships by tapping your current LinkedIn network. To do this, search first and second degree connections using the geographic search option, and filter your results to job titles, industry, and company size of your ideal prospect. Once you’ve found potential contacts, see if you can get an introduction from one of your first connections, or simply InMail them and reach out yourself.

Your page is about your business—not you

A very common small business mistake on LinkedIn is making your company page about you, not your business. You may mistakenly create this page like your personal profile, listing accolades and job experience. What you should really be focusing on, however, is something much bigger: the story of your business or brand. A story will help engage your prospects, creating an impression in their minds, and also give you an opportunity to touch on the value your business provides to customers. Your profile should also include some of the top brands your business has helped. If one of your clients is Target, The Gap, Whole Foods or another big name, make sure to mention it, as it proves your credibility as a business or service provider.

Find talented hires

While big companies have the budget and time to post job openings on LinkedIn, as an SMB, there’s a good chance you’re lacking both. Fortunately, there’s an alternative way to find top talent on LinkedIn. Simply search for them yourself.

Before you get started, you need to know exactly what kind of hire you’re looking for. Think about people you already know who would be perfect for the job. While you may not have the ability or budget to hire them, look them up on LinkedIn and see their career path. What kind of roles did this person previously have? What kind of experience did he or she have before their current position? With this information in hand, now you can search for people who are in or have held similar positions, and will likely share qualities of your ideal candidate. Once you have a pool of potential applicants, reach out to them through InMail or a shared connection to see if they’re interested in your job.

Ask for help, and be helpful

Like all social media platforms, if you don’t engage with your connections, you’ll see little value generated from your time using it. However, with LinkedIn, the type of engagement you participate in can be extremely valuable for your business. All it requires is for you to ask for help or feedback. For example, if you have several logo designs for a new product and are unsure of which is best, share some of them with your network to get feedback. If you’re curious about a new productivity tool and wonder if it’s worth investing in, ask your network if anyone’s used it before. Oftentimes in the business world, people are happy to help you if you just speak up. However, don’t forget to return the favor. If you become the person who seems to only be taking advice without giving any in return, it can have a negative effect on your reputation.

If you’d like more ideas on how social media or technology can create value for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our IT solutions can help you overcome challenges, and create an even more valuable business.

Posted in Business Value - ROI, Why MSP Services Matter, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

How to gain business value from LinkedIn

2016Feb12_BusinessValue_BWhile there is a lot of information out there about how to gain value from LinkedIn, most of it is aimed at large companies or individuals. Some of this information can be useful, but some of it can cause you to make mistakes that present your business in the wrong light. As an SMB owner, you need to utilize LinkedIn in a way that matches your business size. That’s why we’ve provided these tips catered to SMBs who want to gain more value from their time spent on LinkedIn.

Know LinkedIn’s purpose

Simply put, LinkedIn is not a content marketing platform. Yes, people do publish articles and posts, but if you have a small budget and are short on time, you will get more bang for your buck on social media networks that are more content marketing friendly. For example, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all far better options in this scenario. Many users are on these platforms to view content in one form or another. On LinkedIn, content can undoubtedly be viewed, but people are primarily there to make connections. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post an occasional article on LinkedIn. It just means don’t make it the main source of your content marketing efforts.

Another way businesses misconceive LinkedIn is in terms of lead generation. Basically, you shouldn’t expect your LinkedIn page to generate a large amount of leads. As an SMB, your marketing budget is limited, so you’ll be better off using your advertising budget to drive leads to your actual website or even a Facebook business page. Your LinkedIn business page should be used instead to validate your experience, credentials, and professionalism. With that said, make sure your page is polished and updated with all this information.

Double down on business trips

We all know that LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with business colleagues. If you’re active on the platform, you likely have hundreds of connections. So when you make that next business trip, why not tap your network to book additional meetings in the city you’re traveling to? Ask yourself, which of your connections could help you extend your sales in that region or benefit your business in some other way? You don’t have to stick to business colleagues you know personally. You can create valuable new relationships by tapping your current LinkedIn network. To do this, search first and second degree connections using the geographic search option, and filter your results to job titles, industry, and company size of your ideal prospect. Once you’ve found potential contacts, see if you can get an introduction from one of your first connections, or simply InMail them and reach out yourself.

Your page is about your business—not you

A very common small business mistake on LinkedIn is making your company page about you, not your business. You may mistakenly create this page like your personal profile, listing accolades and job experience. What you should really be focusing on, however, is something much bigger: the story of your business or brand. A story will help engage your prospects, creating an impression in their minds, and also give you an opportunity to touch on the value your business provides to customers. Your profile should also include some of the top brands your business has helped. If one of your clients is Target, The Gap, Whole Foods or another big name, make sure to mention it, as it proves your credibility as a business or service provider.

Find talented hires

While big companies have the budget and time to post job openings on LinkedIn, as an SMB, there’s a good chance you’re lacking both. Fortunately, there’s an alternative way to find top talent on LinkedIn. Simply search for them yourself.

Before you get started, you need to know exactly what kind of hire you’re looking for. Think about people you already know who would be perfect for the job. While you may not have the ability or budget to hire them, look them up on LinkedIn and see their career path. What kind of roles did this person previously have? What kind of experience did he or she have before their current position? With this information in hand, now you can search for people who are in or have held similar positions, and will likely share qualities of your ideal candidate. Once you have a pool of potential applicants, reach out to them through InMail or a shared connection to see if they’re interested in your job.

Ask for help, and be helpful

Like all social media platforms, if you don’t engage with your connections, you’ll see little value generated from your time using it. However, with LinkedIn, the type of engagement you participate in can be extremely valuable for your business. All it requires is for you to ask for help or feedback. For example, if you have several logo designs for a new product and are unsure of which is best, share some of them with your network to get feedback. If you’re curious about a new productivity tool and wonder if it’s worth investing in, ask your network if anyone’s used it before. Oftentimes in the business world, people are happy to help you if you just speak up. However, don’t forget to return the favor. If you become the person who seems to only be taking advice without giving any in return, it can have a negative effect on your reputation.

If you’d like more ideas on how social media or technology can create value for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our IT solutions can help you overcome challenges, and create an even more valuable business.

Posted in Business Value - ROI, Why MSP Services Matter, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

LinkedIn tips for the SMB

2016Feb12_BusinessValue_CAs a small business owner, you may be a bit perplexed how to gain the most value out of LinkedIn. You may have already spent countless hours trying to leverage the platform with little success. So what are you doing wrong? And how can you make the most out of your time on the platform? Here are a few tactics any SMB can follow to gain more value from LinkedIn.

Know LinkedIn’s purpose

Simply put, LinkedIn is not a content marketing platform. Yes, people do publish articles and posts, but if you have a small budget and are short on time, you will get more bang for your buck on social media networks that are more content marketing friendly. For example, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all far better options in this scenario. Many users are on these platforms to view content in one form or another. On LinkedIn, content can undoubtedly be viewed, but people are primarily there to make connections. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post an occasional article on LinkedIn. It just means don’t make it the main source of your content marketing efforts.

Another way businesses misconceive LinkedIn is in terms of lead generation. Basically, you shouldn’t expect your LinkedIn page to generate a large amount of leads. As an SMB, your marketing budget is limited, so you’ll be better off using your advertising budget to drive leads to your actual website or even a Facebook business page. Your LinkedIn business page should be used instead to validate your experience, credentials, and professionalism. With that said, make sure your page is polished and updated with all this information.

Double down on business trips

We all know that LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with business colleagues. If you’re active on the platform, you likely have hundreds of connections. So when you make that next business trip, why not tap your network to book additional meetings in the city you’re traveling to? Ask yourself, which of your connections could help you extend your sales in that region or benefit your business in some other way? You don’t have to stick to business colleagues you know personally. You can create valuable new relationships by tapping your current LinkedIn network. To do this, search first and second degree connections using the geographic search option, and filter your results to job titles, industry, and company size of your ideal prospect. Once you’ve found potential contacts, see if you can get an introduction from one of your first connections, or simply InMail them and reach out yourself.

Your page is about your business—not you

A very common small business mistake on LinkedIn is making your company page about you, not your business. You may mistakenly create this page like your personal profile, listing accolades and job experience. What you should really be focusing on, however, is something much bigger: the story of your business or brand. A story will help engage your prospects, creating an impression in their minds, and also give you an opportunity to touch on the value your business provides to customers. Your profile should also include some of the top brands your business has helped. If one of your clients is Target, The Gap, Whole Foods or another big name, make sure to mention it, as it proves your credibility as a business or service provider.

Find talented hires

While big companies have the budget and time to post job openings on LinkedIn, as an SMB, there’s a good chance you’re lacking both. Fortunately, there’s an alternative way to find top talent on LinkedIn. Simply search for them yourself.

Before you get started, you need to know exactly what kind of hire you’re looking for. Think about people you already know who would be perfect for the job. While you may not have the ability or budget to hire them, look them up on LinkedIn and see their career path. What kind of roles did this person previously have? What kind of experience did he or she have before their current position? With this information in hand, now you can search for people who are in or have held similar positions, and will likely share qualities of your ideal candidate. Once you have a pool of potential applicants, reach out to them through InMail or a shared connection to see if they’re interested in your job.

Ask for help, and be helpful

Like all social media platforms, if you don’t engage with your connections, you’ll see little value generated from your time using it. However, with LinkedIn, the type of engagement you participate in can be extremely valuable for your business. All it requires is for you to ask for help or feedback. For example, if you have several logo designs for a new product and are unsure of which is best, share some of them with your network to get feedback. If you’re curious about a new productivity tool and wonder if it’s worth investing in, ask your network if anyone’s used it before. Oftentimes in the business world, people are happy to help you if you just speak up. However, don’t forget to return the favor. If you become the person who seems to only be taking advice without giving any in return, it can have a negative effect on your reputation.

If you’d like more ideas on how social media or technology can create value for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our IT solutions can help you overcome challenges, and create an even more valuable business.

Posted in Business Value - ROI, Why MSP Services Matter, General Articles C | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

5 time-saving Microsoft Word tips

2016Feb11_Office_CAlthough there are many alternatives out there, Microsoft Word remains one of the most popular and user-friendly word processors for businesses large and small, and for good reason too. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac and is highly capable of handling and creating business documents. While there are millions of people who use Word every day, most are unable to tap into its full potential. Check out these five tips that will make you a better Word user and get more work done in less time.

Combine text from multiple locations

We’re all familiar with the copy and paste function on PCs. The problem is, you can only copy one thing at a time, which makes it hard to combine pieces of text from various sources. And even if you manage to do so, the whole single copy and paste process can be long-winded and downright time-consuming.

Word has feature called “spike”, which allows you to cut pieces of text from documents and pages and paste them all in one go! To use it, simply highlight the text you want to copy and press Ctrl+F3. Repeat this and when you’re satisfied with what you have, you can paste everything on another document by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F3.

Format images

You probably already know that it’s possible to copy and paste, or drag and drop, images onto a Word document. But the image will place itself on a line of its own, pushing text above or below it. You can drag the image all day long to position it in a way you want, only to find that it’s not working properly. There’s a much better alternative. Simply right click on the image and select one of the layouts under Layout Options. You can position the image in line, behind or in front of text, and crop the image to remove unwanted areas.

AutoRecover feature

Microsoft Word can restore and recover unsaved documents when a crash occurs, but you can add another level of protection and peace of mind by enabling the AutoRecover feature. Navigate to File → Options → Save, and check the box that enables AutoRecover. This feature will automatically save your documents at regular intervals that you specify, minimizing the risks of losing important documents in an event where your computer crashes, reboots itself, or experiences any issues that shut Word down before you can hit the save button.

Use text boxes for layouts

Many people use Word only for reading and typing text. But did you know that you can play around with text boxes to make your documents more readable? By inserting text boxes and images, you can create rough mockups of ideas and projects, whether it’s website design or product catalogues. Adding text boxes is easy – just choose the Insert tab, click on Text Box and choose from many available styles and formats. You can customize text boxes with colors, frames and size.

Show hidden characters

If you’re a regular Word user, chances are you’ve come across that moment when something just feels a little off, whether it’s an extra space, out of place paragraph or weird bullet points. If you can’t understand why your document is behaving unexpectedly, you can get to the root of the problem by clicking on the paragraph symbol under the Paragraphs tab to make all the hidden marks (spaces, paragraphs, tabs) visible. This makes it easy to remove any characters that’s causing the error.

These tips may seem small, but they will make a big difference in helping you work more effectively towards your goals. Want to learn more Word tricks and tips? Get in touch with our professionals today and we’ll help you save time and increase productivity.

Posted in General Articles C, Microsoft Office - News & Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Boost productivity with these Word tricks

2016Feb11_Office_BMicrosoft Word has become the top choice of many businesses when it comes to word processing. Its capabilities go far beyond basic document editing – you can use Word to create professional documents such as invoices, statements, proposals, and even incorporate data visualization tools to add tables and graphs to your documents. But there are a number of hidden features that, when utilized properly, could greatly enhance your Microsoft Word experience. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these nifty Word tricks that will help you get things done faster.

Combine text from multiple locations

We’re all familiar with the copy and paste function on PCs. The problem is, you can only copy one thing at a time, which makes it hard to combine pieces of text from various sources. And even if you manage to do so, the whole single copy and paste process can be long-winded and downright time-consuming.

Word has feature called “spike”, which allows you to cut pieces of text from documents and pages and paste them all in one go! To use it, simply highlight the text you want to copy and press Ctrl+F3. Repeat this and when you’re satisfied with what you have, you can paste everything on another document by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F3.

Format images

You probably already know that it’s possible to copy and paste, or drag and drop, images onto a Word document. But the image will place itself on a line of its own, pushing text above or below it. You can drag the image all day long to position it in a way you want, only to find that it’s not working properly. There’s a much better alternative. Simply right click on the image and select one of the layouts under Layout Options. You can position the image in line, behind or in front of text, and crop the image to remove unwanted areas.

AutoRecover feature

Microsoft Word can restore and recover unsaved documents when a crash occurs, but you can add another level of protection and peace of mind by enabling the AutoRecover feature. Navigate to File → Options → Save, and check the box that enables AutoRecover. This feature will automatically save your documents at regular intervals that you specify, minimizing the risks of losing important documents in an event where your computer crashes, reboots itself, or experiences any issues that shut Word down before you can hit the save button.

Use text boxes for layouts

Many people use Word only for reading and typing text. But did you know that you can play around with text boxes to make your documents more readable? By inserting text boxes and images, you can create rough mockups of ideas and projects, whether it’s website design or product catalogues. Adding text boxes is easy – just choose the Insert tab, click on Text Box and choose from many available styles and formats. You can customize text boxes with colors, frames and size.

Show hidden characters

If you’re a regular Word user, chances are you’ve come across that moment when something just feels a little off, whether it’s an extra space, out of place paragraph or weird bullet points. If you can’t understand why your document is behaving unexpectedly, you can get to the root of the problem by clicking on the paragraph symbol under the Paragraphs tab to make all the hidden marks (spaces, paragraphs, tabs) visible. This makes it easy to remove any characters that’s causing the error.

These tips may seem small, but they will make a big difference in helping you work more effectively towards your goals. Want to learn more Word tricks and tips? Get in touch with our professionals today and we’ll help you save time and increase productivity.

Posted in General Articles B, Microsoft Office - News & Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

How to make the most of Microsoft Word

2016Feb11_Office_AOver the years, Microsoft Word has become the best word processor for businesses big and small. From creating documents such as company reports, forms, statements, and receipts to producing promotional materials, Word is able to accomplish all of these and much more. But its sheer number of features mean there are hidden functionalities unknown to many users. Here, we uncover some of the most useful tricks that will help you get the most from Word.

Combine text from multiple locations

We’re all familiar with the copy and paste function on PCs. The problem is, you can only copy one thing at a time, which makes it hard to combine pieces of text from various sources. And even if you manage to do so, the whole single copy and paste process can be long-winded and downright time-consuming.

Word has feature called “spike”, which allows you to cut pieces of text from documents and pages and paste them all in one go! To use it, simply highlight the text you want to copy and press Ctrl+F3. Repeat this and when you’re satisfied with what you have, you can paste everything on another document by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F3.

Format images

You probably already know that it’s possible to copy and paste, or drag and drop, images onto a Word document. But the image will place itself on a line of its own, pushing text above or below it. You can drag the image all day long to position it in a way you want, only to find that it’s not working properly. There’s a much better alternative. Simply right click on the image and select one of the layouts under Layout Options. You can position the image in line, behind or in front of text, and crop the image to remove unwanted areas.

AutoRecover feature

Microsoft Word can restore and recover unsaved documents when a crash occurs, but you can add another level of protection and peace of mind by enabling the AutoRecover feature. Navigate to File → Options → Save, and check the box that enables AutoRecover. This feature will automatically save your documents at regular intervals that you specify, minimizing the risks of losing important documents in an event where your computer crashes, reboots itself, or experiences any issues that shut Word down before you can hit the save button.

Use text boxes for layouts

Many people use Word only for reading and typing text. But did you know that you can play around with text boxes to make your documents more readable? By inserting text boxes and images, you can create rough mockups of ideas and projects, whether it’s website design or product catalogues. Adding text boxes is easy – just choose the Insert tab, click on Text Box and choose from many available styles and formats. You can customize text boxes with colors, frames and size.

Show hidden characters

If you’re a regular Word user, chances are you’ve come across that moment when something just feels a little off, whether it’s an extra space, out of place paragraph or weird bullet points. If you can’t understand why your document is behaving unexpectedly, you can get to the root of the problem by clicking on the paragraph symbol under the Paragraphs tab to make all the hidden marks (spaces, paragraphs, tabs) visible. This makes it easy to remove any characters that’s causing the error.

These tips may seem small, but they will make a big difference in helping you work more effectively towards your goals. Want to learn more Word tricks and tips? Get in touch with our professionals today and we’ll help you save time and increase productivity.

Posted in General Articles A, Microsoft Office - News & Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Get more productivity from your iPad

2016Feb10_iPad_AEver wish you could get more work done with your iPad? You’re not alone. In fact, one of the main reasons people purchase an iPad in the first place is because they believe it will give them the ability to be more productive while out and about. The reality is that many individuals only end up using it to surf the web or watch Netflix. However, if you still harbour ambitions of making your iPad a productivity tool, here are the three things you need to make it happen.

Keyboard

We understand a lot of people buy an iPad because it doesn’t have a keyboard, but if you really want to be more productive using your iPad then a keyboard is a must have item. With both Microsoft Office and Google Apps for Work now available for use on iPads and iPhones, it means that it is now easy to create and edit documents and spreadsheets from your tablet. And it is far easier and quicker to edit them using a keyboard.

A number of iPad keyboards are available including Apple’s Smart Keyboard which acts as a case as well. Logitech’s Create keyboard is an alternative that will give your iPad the look and feel of a laptop. Both of these options connect to your iPad via the Smart Connector, but you’ll also find a number of Bluetooth keyboards on the market too. The key is finding a keyboard that you find comfortable to use.

Duet Display app

If you have ever worked in an office that let you use dual monitors, you know how awesome it is. Unfortunately, if you have to work from home or out on the road it means you are usually confined to the single screen of your laptop. However, with the Duet Display app, you can connect your iPad to a Mac computer operating on OS X 10.9 or above or a PC running Windows 7 or above and have it serve as your second monitor. Both mirror and extended desktop modes are available so you can capture the same feel of working at the office even if you can’t physically be there.

Stylus

Samsung Note users constantly rave about how much they love using their stylus but Apple continues to lag behind on this front. The software giant didn’t release their first stylus until late in 2015 and the functionality is still fairly basic. However, many third-party developers have stepped in to fill this gap by creating styluses for the iPad and now some heavy hitters including Microsoft are making their apps stylus compatible to increase your productivity options.

That’s great news, but the biggest productivity benefit of using a stylus is probably more of a mental one than any tangible gain. Holding and working with a pen, or in this case a pen-shaped device, feels more like traditional work and gets you in productivity mode. Since you likely use your fingers to navigate your iPad in more casual settings, this mindset can carry over to when it’s time to work. Investing in a stylus can create a clear divide as to when it’s time to work using your iPad and when it’s okay to open up your favorite freemium game and challenge for the high score.

Need more advice on how to boost your productivity when using an iPad? Want to see what work alternatives are available for mobile employees? Contact our experts for answers to these and any other questions you might have.

Posted in General Articles A, Mobile Tablet - iPad | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

iPad productivity tools to help you out

2016Feb10_iPad_CMany people buy an iPad with hopes that it can increase their productivity when outside of the office. Unfortunately, it can end up in a drawer somewhere or perhaps given to your child if you never manage to incorporate into your work processes. Owning an iPad alone is simply not enough to help you increase your productivity. You need to have the right accessories and apps to unlock its true potential as a productivity device. We have listed three here that can help turn your iPad into an essential business tool.

Keyboard

We understand a lot of people buy an iPad because it doesn’t have a keyboard, but if you really want to be more productive using your iPad then a keyboard is a must have item. With both Microsoft Office and Google Apps for Work now available for use on iPads and iPhones, it means that it is now easy to create and edit documents and spreadsheets from your tablet. And it is far easier and quicker to edit them using a keyboard.

A number of iPad keyboards are available including Apple’s Smart Keyboard which acts as a case as well. Logitech’s Create keyboard is an alternative that will give your iPad the look and feel of a laptop. Both of these options connect to your iPad via the Smart Connector, but you’ll also find a number of Bluetooth keyboards on the market too. The key is finding a keyboard that you find comfortable to use.

Duet Display app

If you have ever worked in an office that let you use dual monitors, you know how awesome it is. Unfortunately, if you have to work from home or out on the road it means you are usually confined to the single screen of your laptop. However, with the Duet Display app, you can connect your iPad to a Mac computer operating on OS X 10.9 or above or a PC running Windows 7 or above and have it serve as your second monitor. Both mirror and extended desktop modes are available so you can capture the same feel of working at the office even if you can’t physically be there.

Stylus

Samsung Note users constantly rave about how much they love using their stylus but Apple continues to lag behind on this front. The software giant didn’t release their first stylus until late in 2015 and the functionality is still fairly basic. However, many third-party developers have stepped in to fill this gap by creating styluses for the iPad and now some heavy hitters including Microsoft are making their apps stylus compatible to increase your productivity options.

That’s great news, but the biggest productivity benefit of using a stylus is probably more of a mental one than any tangible gain. Holding and working with a pen, or in this case a pen-shaped device, feels more like traditional work and gets you in productivity mode. Since you likely use your fingers to navigate your iPad in more casual settings, this mindset can carry over to when it’s time to work. Investing in a stylus can create a clear divide as to when it’s time to work using your iPad and when it’s okay to open up your favorite freemium game and challenge for the high score.

Need more advice on how to boost your productivity when using an iPad? Want to see what work alternatives are available for mobile employees? Contact our experts for answers to these and any other questions you might have.

Posted in General Articles C, Mobile Tablet - iPad | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Boost your productivity using an iPad

Have you ever seen someone on an airplane using their iPad to knockout some work and wanted to know what their secret was? It’s actually not as complicated as you might think. With a few accessories and apps in place, you too can enjoy greater productivity when using your iPad. Now you’re probably wondering just what tools you will need to make this happen. Here are three of our favorites.

Keyboard

We understand a lot of people buy an iPad because it doesn’t have a keyboard, but if you really want to be more productive using your iPad then a keyboard is a must have item. With both Microsoft Office and Google Apps for Work now available for use on iPads and iPhones, it means that it is now easy to create and edit documents and spreadsheets from your tablet. And it is far easier and quicker to edit them using a keyboard.

A number of iPad keyboards are available including Apple’s Smart Keyboard which acts as a case as well. Logitech’s Create keyboard is an alternative that will give your iPad the look and feel of a laptop. Both of these options connect to your iPad via the Smart Connector, but you’ll also find a number of Bluetooth keyboards on the market too. The key is finding a keyboard that you find comfortable to use.

Duet Display app

If you have ever worked in an office that let you use dual monitors, you know how awesome it is. Unfortunately, if you have to work from home or out on the road it means you are usually confined to the single screen of your laptop. However, with the Duet Display app, you can connect your iPad to a Mac computer operating on OS X 10.9 or above or a PC running Windows 7 or above and have it serve as your second monitor. Both mirror and extended desktop modes are available so you can capture the same feel of working at the office even if you can’t physically be there.

Stylus

Samsung Note users constantly rave about how much they love using their stylus but Apple continues to lag behind on this front. The software giant didn’t release their first stylus until late in 2015 and the functionality is still fairly basic. However, many third-party developers have stepped in to fill this gap by creating styluses for the iPad and now some heavy hitters including Microsoft are making their apps stylus compatible to increase your productivity options.

That’s great news, but the biggest productivity benefit of using a stylus is probably more of a mental one than any tangible gain. Holding and working with a pen, or in this case a pen-shaped device, feels more like traditional work and gets you in productivity mode. Since you likely use your fingers to navigate your iPad in more casual settings, this mindset can carry over to when it’s time to work. Investing in a stylus can create a clear divide as to when it’s time to work using your iPad and when it’s okay to open up your favorite freemium game and challenge for the high score.

Need more advice on how to boost your productivity when using an iPad? Want to see what work alternatives are available for mobile employees? Contact our experts for answers to these and any other questions you might have.

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IT Security Policies you need to implement

2016Feb9_Security_AMost business owners have an employee handbook. But when it comes to the online security of their business, often times this portion is either not adequately addressed, or not addressed at all. However, with cyber crimes an ever increasing threat, and the fact that employee error is one of the most common causes of a security breach, it is incredibly vital that your staff is informed of your policies. Here are four policies that every business owner should share with their employees.

Internet

In today’s business world, employees spend a lot of time on the Internet. To ensure they’re not putting your business at risk, you need a clear set of web policies. Here are three important ones to keep in mind:

  1. Employees should be using the Internet for business purposes only. While this is undoubtedly hard to avoid without blocking specific websites, having a policy in place should at least cut back on employees spending time on non-business related sites.
  2. Prohibit unauthorized downloads. This includes everything from music to games, and even data or applications.
  3. Accessing personal email should not be done on business devices. If employees must access their own email account during the day, they can do so on their smartphone or other personal device.

These are just a few Internet policies to get started, but you should also consider including information on your recommended browsing practices and your policies for using business devices (such as company phones) on public wifi.

Email

Just like with the Internet policy mentioned above, company email accounts should only be utilized for business use. That means your employees should never use it to send personal files, forward links or perform any type of business-related activities outside of their specific job role. Additionally, consider implementing a standard email signature for all employees. This not only creates brand cohesion on all outgoing emails, but also makes it easy to identify messages from other employees, and hence helps prevents spear phishing.

Passwords

We’ve all heard the importance of a strong password time and time again. And this same principle should also apply to your employees. The reason is rather simple. Many employees will create the easiest to crack passwords for their business accounts. After all, if your organization gets hacked, it’s not their money or business at stake. So to encourage employees to create strong passwords, your policy should instruct them to include special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, and numbers in their passwords.

Data

Whether or not you allow your employees to conduct work on their own device, such as a smartphone or tablet, it is important to have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. If your employees aren’t aware of your stance on BYOD, some are sure to assume they can conduct work related tasks on their personal laptop or tablet. So have a BYOD policy and put it in the employee handbook. In addition to this, make sure to explain that data on any workstation is business property. That means employees aren’t allowed to remove or copy it without your authorization.

We hope these four policies have shed some light on best security practices. If you’d like more tips or are interested in a security audit of your business, do get in touch.

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