15 Business Tools and Services You’ll Need

pile of money inside of a case

Hi, I’m Deborah Pretty  (PY ) an active business owner present and past with 40 years of business experience, with heartaches, cuts, nicks, blows to the head, and big PAY DAYS to prove it!!!  I’ve founded and started 5 businesses in 5 different industries. What I’ve uncovered about business growth and development are profound and fascinating. That is, that business is business and that most business skills are transferable.

Simple Business Strategies for Explosive Growth

Currently, I’m still running a traditional business with our son Tae, which is what sparked this new business endeavor. This information I’m sharing is designed to help small business owners save time, sidestep the landmines, and show how to super-size sales using simple technology. According to one of the most famous authors and business developers of all times…famous quote: “we grow only to the level of the people we meet and the books we read”

Expect to become spell-bound; as we share simple, overlooked- underutilized business strategies that can double your income. I’ve learned a lot about business development, effective advertisement, SEO, page ranking and my recent obsession (technology) simple business technological aids that without a doubt helps small business owners and entrepreneurs save time and grow sales~

 

Keep Reading: 15 minutes of your time can save you thousands or more!

#15. I’ve recently become obsessed with technology and automation. Another one of those things I wanted to do but never had time. And for some reason, I read this “take a few minutes to do what you don’t think you have time to do, to save more time later” … I’ve heard similar messages for ages but again when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

Our current business was working me day and night. I’m sure my husband was getting tired of me hymning and humming. My solution… Technology, I’m certain most of us have heard or seen CRM advertisements. Just in case you’ve been hiding under your desk, buried under papers or ducking sales reps. A CRM (customer relationship management) is a piece of business software that makes you want to kiss the developers.  You may have heard of “Salesforce “they are the largest and most popular CRM. It’s a Super Helpful piece of technology designed to manage many different job functions under one umbrella.

red umbrella

Find out more here.

#14. Speaking of making our business easier, this is going to be short and sweet. But it’s the simple things that we overlooked that can become a huge income producer. Our computers… OK…before starting, I must admit… I’m a little tight with money…. I hold it longer than I should and pinch more than most!  I’m happy to announce; not as much now as in the Past! …The older I get the more aids I’m searching for. Pun intended; but as things age, they normally slow down. The same is true for our computers. So, the lesson here is if you’re working on antiquated office equipment, even worse if you have employees using out-dated equipment, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Out-Dated Equipment Kills Productivity

out-dated equipment,,showing out adding machine

Fact!… research shows, that employees waste 3 hours per week complaining about not being able to complete their work because of outdated equipment. To add insult to injury we stand a greater chance of losing Good talent.  Skillful employees won’t stick and stay if we fail to provide quality equipment.. Poor performing office aids… hence, Slow computers …slows down productivity…. Your competition is coming, don’t stop and wait for them!

Helpful resources here

#13.  Websites play a vital role in today’s’ business. I read a staggering statistic that over 40% of businesses don’t have a website. I still find that hard to believe in today’s technological environment.  A website can perform several important tasks such as:

website printed on a monitor
  • A convenient way to display products and services.
  • An easier way to educate clients or customers.
  • The quickest route to inform customers of upcoming sales and other promotions.
  • It portrays a professional business image.
  • Can create an additional income stream via the World Wide Web.

 Furthermore, when applying for business credit, a website could be looked favorably upon as a credibility factor which helps to establish your business legitimacy. Click here for details

#12. As I’m sitting here writing our Next-door neighbor is having about (15) 80-ft pine trees cut down. Me being me, I go outside every now and then to check on the progress. I watched them grind a stump… it took about 15 minutes. Now, I’m wondering how long will it take to grind all those stumps? And the flip side, what if the blades aren’t sharp; it could take FOREVER!… Rule of thumb, buy the best products and services your money can buy…Time is MONEY!!! Check here

#11. These pointers may seem unimportant but once you finish reading, you’ll understand. Firstly, web speed, if you’re wondering what speed has to do with it… keep reading. Ironically, just today I was reading a newspaper article my hubby brought to my attention that touch on this same issue. While reading, there was one thing that stuck out that I found humorous. The writer stated that he didn’t want to have to wait for a slow email… Slow Email… he didn’t say slow snail mail… Freaking Email….  Times are changing, there are many people that now complain of microwaves being too slow …one of those person’s is writing this post 🙂

Keep your computer and other business equipment running effectively. A photo of a laptop that may be sick!
Keep a check on your business equipment.

That being said; if your website takes longer than 4 seconds to load, you stand a great chance of losing potential customers. Fortunately, that’s an easy fix. You can have your website speed tested by your web designer or test it yourself. Your website loading speed should be at least 93% or above…  top sites are loading at 97% or above.  Web speed test

#10. I know we talked a bunch about a website being the most critical piece of technology that can dictate the outcome of your profits. Unfortunately, there are other serious issues arising out of technology. The purpose of speaking on this issue isn’t about trying to induce fear, just awareness. Our government, mobile carriers, and many other business entities are all trying to do their part to help to protect us.

man working in the dark, on a dark website. presenting cybercrime

This newly growing issue is the threat of cybersecurity. If you knew me personally, You would know that I would be the last person to talk about security… if it wasn’t for my recent cyber- attacks. Thank God, I caught the mayhem quickly. Frankly, I was a little naive about what was going on at the time probably like most people. We all think it won’t happen to us. But yes, I was spoofed.  I still cannot tell you how or when. Additionally, the bank card that was spoofed was still in my possession.

Within this last section…. I’ll go over a few recommendations of precautions you may find helpful. Regarding business account logins, viruses, and computer protection.

Another one of my husband’s responsibilities is to keep our computers secure, malware and virus-free….…as you can see all things dealing with Security is Fred’s responsibility…

 I call him Security Patrol behind his back… I guess he knows it now…LOL!!!

But I must admit… I used to attract viruses frequently a few years back. He signed up with a program that keeps our computers safe… I cannot remember the last time we had a computer virus. The great news… we have a service that handles it all…they take over the computer, clean, install and protect. Here’s the secret

#9.  I know we all think identity theft won’t happen to us. Like Les Brown’s once-favorite saying. “Just because you are a nice person doesn’t mean someone won’t knock you in the head” … sad but true.

Whereas identity theft can happen to anyone, those that are victimized many times feel hopeless and defenseless. Although it’s hard to out-smart cybercriminals and hackers; neither should we just hold our hands up to let them rob us blind. Education is always the great equalizer. What we don’t know about identity theft can hurt our chances of financial and personal recovery. You can retrieve more knowledge about what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft from the FTC, (Federal Trade Commission).

There are a few ways to protect yourself. (1). You can place a freeze on your credit report eliminating anyone from opening an account in your name. (2). Use a password manager to generate long, harder to guess logins. (3). Go the extra mile to protect your financial and personal logins by incorporating two-step authentication on your financial and personal accounts.

 Moreover, you may want to consider a credit monitoring service. There are also other free services available. Such as the ITRC, a non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases and to broaden public education and awareness. 

#8. Regarding logins, I incorporated hard to guess passwords; most are computer-generated. So now I just copy and paste them because they’re too hard to memorize. We have a few pieces of software that generate passwords. But you can use a password manager service, one of their many features, are computer-generated passwords.

#7. In addition to that, my hubby talked me into placing an additional layer of protection on my phone; two-factor authentication. Before every call, I had to unlock my phone. Hmmmmm…. not feeling that at All !!!…. I have a new phone now and it locks but isn’t as cumbersome as the Android…Sorry! Two-Factor Authentication

two-factor authentication

#6.  I must admit to not using ACH (direct deposit and withdrawals) … I’m funny with my money…. But I’ am thinking hard about it. After research, I find that it’s a much safer option than what I got going now. ACH is a way to electronically transfer funds… you can read more about it here. I must confess, I love the companies that pay us via ACH …and less like the snail mailed payouts.

#5. I think I found my best and most knowledgeable accountant yet. All from speaking with the service rep that was behind the desk of an auto repair shop. That person turned out to be the owner of the business. During our conversation, he started to speak very highly about his current accountant. Conversely, he spoke how his prior accountant/CPA performance wasn’t up to par. I asked if his accountant were taking on new clients, I was given his number and so far, so good. One year back taxes down, one to go, only two years behind, one now…. The lesson within a lesson Pay YOUR TAXES ON TIME… Uncle Sam doesn’t play!

#4. Keep reading because here’s a lesson learned from personal massive SEO bumps to the head. These lessons can help all businesses, especially since every business should have a website.

One of my very first SEO clients was a wedding photographer. I met online. (Cold Call) I noticed his beautiful wedding photos were on the second page of Google. Why was I on the second page of Google… because I knew the businesses that were on the second page wanted to be on the first page.

SEO  or Search Engine Optimization is critical for ranking in the search engine.

 Long story short, after a brief conversation he hires me to perform SEO services. Translation, he wanted his website to show up on the first page of Google. So, when searchers typed wedding photographer, Raleigh, NC he wanted his website to show up on the first page. In a few days, his website went from the second page of Google to the second position of the first page of Google.  Bam!.

Question?… how much was my services worth to him?… Mind you, his wedding packages started at $5000.00. The point I’m trying to emphasize is that having a web presence and it is properly optimized, is a must! I still like looking at the emails I received from servicing him. we never meet and the money came in like clockwork. You’ve Got Money!!!

Uncover more here!

#3. Honestly, how many people you know that try do everything themselves… as business owners, we are afraid to let go…. For close to 10 years in our current business, I’ve been outsourcing in my Mind! The idea sounds terrific. I’ve read about it… 4 Hour Work Week etc.…. It’s easy! But I was afraid to take both feet off first base. However, playing in the back of my mind… I can hear my mentor saying, “if you’re the only one working in your business, you don’t own a business”.  You are an employee having an entrepreneurial seizure!!!

To create a true business, you must create a team. That’s the only way you can win the game of business ownership. Remembering this slogan: “Do what you Love, Outsource everything else”... Outsource Details Here!

millage tracker

#2. What I’ve tried to do within this article is to inform others how critically important mileage trackers are and how not having one can cost you “Big Bucks’’.  Respectfully speaking, we can’t outperform technology. And since business mileage is one of the largest expense categories (especially, if you travel) it only makes sense… no dollars and cents to immediately incorporate a business mileage tracker to your business arsenal asap! 

#1. I’m still watching the construction next door, from my home office. I’m trying to figure out how much money can they reasonably charge for their services? It took sooo much time and equipment… just wondering!

I remember years ago, we had all our trees cut down, (52) and it was a pretty penny. But I can’t remember them using all of the heavy equipment they used next door.

paper and pen

 Ok, here’s the helpful part… the father and I talked about small business insurance. Long story short, his insurance company recently notified him that they were going to eliminate parts of his coverage and increase his premium… Huh????? He called around and found another carrier, they offered increased coverage, better rates, and he ended up saving $30,000. That’s what he told me. Boo-yah! Lesson learned to take time to mind your business. Lesson: Incorporate yearly check-ups on all business services.

Below are a few more helpful tips!

Very helpful!