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An Exchange Server Alternative For Small Business

For the business user, the main advantages to working in a company that has an exchange server are:

1. File sharing
2. Access to email from any configured computer
3. Contacts access
4. calendar syncrhonized and shared between all employees

Essentially it means the office worker can use any configured computer to access his or her files, emails and calendar. The company will often configure a laptop and provide remote access so the member of staff can also work from home or while travelling and still have complete access.

The problem with this kind of product when it comes to a small or mid sized company, is that it requires someone to manage it and there is a huge cost, in terms of both initial cost and ongoing expenses.

So if you manage a small business and you want your employees to have a high level of flexibility i.e. to be able to telework or while travelling, or even to hotdesk at the office, you will need an exchange substitute.

There are two alternatives which will offer you many of the features of Exchange without the expenditure.

The first is a hosted exchange server. The second is the Easy-Email synchronization solution plus file synchronization software.

A Hosted Exchange server is a great solution. You get almost all the advantages but you are spared the resource cost and management time. You simply pay according to the number of users. This allows for quick expansion so as the business grows you just increase a user.

Easy-Email is a fabulous alternative for small firms.
Its an email sync answer set out in the form of a series of guides that you, or an IT professional you hire, can follow. It will sync a users mail and contacts on their desktop, laptop, home computer, pda or netbook. In addition it will allow them to manage their email from any other computer via Gmail.

The Easy-Email solution is incredibly good value compared to any other alternative solutions It’s just $67 US for the Advanced Guide to Outlook and you can get all of your staff set up for this fee!
The disadvantage in comparison with exchange is that there is at present no shared calendar so you will need to use a google calendar or similar.

And in terms of shared files and folders its really simple. Set up Dropbox. Dropbox provides you with a system of shared folders that are all automatically sync’d via the internet but they are also stored on the computer so you dont have to be online to access the files. You can select which people have access to which folders and the first 2GB of storage space is free (and it’s very reasonable after that).

Questions to Ask When Searching for a Small Business Banking Account

The bank a small business owner chooses to bank with is critical to the success of a business. Choose a bank that takes too many fees out, or one that doesnt offer the services a small business needs, and the success of the business is on the line. Conducting research before choosing which bank you use for your small business banking is critical. If you are in the beginning stages of your bank research, the following questions can help you determine if a bank is right for your small business.

The first question you should ask is what banking options the bank provides your small business. Every small business is different, and the banking options one business needs will vary from another. Determining what features are offered, and how they help your small business can help you determine if a certain bank is right for your small business banking needs. Some questions to consider asking include if a bank provides online access to bank accounts, the ability to choose remote checking, and the option to directly deposit checks and money remotely. Once you have determined what features and banking options are being offered to your small business, you can determine what bank offers you the most.

The second question you should ask is what, if any, potential is there for accessing small business loans. Some banks include in their small business banking features the ability to easily gain access to small business loans. If there is reason to believe that your small business may need to apply for a loan sometime in the future, then a bank that offers easy access to a small business loan might be beneficial. If a small business loan is not on the horizon, then the small business loan feature doesnt affect your decision on which bank to use.

The third question you should ask is what bank fees will your small business occur over time. Small businesses will sometimes incur thousands in bank fees over a period of time. Asking what bank fees are can help you assess whether a particular bank is right for your small business banking needs. Banks fees to consider include account holding fees, fees to access online accounts, transaction fees, debit card fees, and remote banking fees. Once you have determined what fees are being assessed by which bank, you can determine which bank is the best choice for your small business.

Why Use a Small Business Bank

One of the most important decisions a small business owner, or any business owner for that matter makes is what bank they are going to use. Small business banking provides a wealth of financial services beyond simple deposits, check writing, and withdrawal. Many small businesses need to establish a line of credit or perhaps even take out a loan. Another one of the many services that small businesses need to setup is credit card processing, payroll services, and automatic bill pay. A small company cannot function without the proper financial setup. In order to withstand the financial needs of a successful business, the company needs to set up an account with a bank that is familiar with small business needs.

In order for a bank to attract small businesses, they need to provide aggressive attractions and a wide variety of services. The bank must offer convenience. For example, many small businesses deal with cash and coin. Therefore, they will likely make many trips to the bank to deposit and withdraw money. A bank must also offer plenty of convenient ATM locations so that the small business can have access to their account at any time of the day or night when they need it.

Many banks charge fees ranging from credit card fees to ATM charges, wire transfer fees, and many other normal fees. As a small business owner, you should not find any surprises. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask the small business bank of your choice what fees they charge so that they are not caught by surprise. Make sure and choose a bank that is upfront about their charges, one that is capable of providing you with the lowest rates, the most feasible financial options, and the best in banking service so that you can run your business smoothly and efficiently.

Small business banks must also provide excellent customer service so that when a small business owner has a problem; bankers that can guide the business owner through their problems address the problem. There are many reasons why a small business owner would experience a banking problem such as transaction issues or a forgotten PIN. That is where the small banking specialists step in and take care of your worries so that they can get you and your account straightened out.

Personalized Koozies – Five Ways To Use Personalized Koozies For Your Small Business

As giveaways at job fairs: with the economy the way it is, businesses need as much exposure as they could acquire, as well as exactly what better place than through a job fair. Even if you’re not planning on employing a lots of individuals, personalized Koozies still make a good promotional giveaway product that attendees may take along with them. This is particularly beneficial if you’re a service kind of company, and may keep your name right in front of their minds for some time to come.

2. Charity happenings: whenever charities are trying to boost money, the first to be approached are local businesses in your community exactly where they will be holding their fundraising affair. By including personalized Koozies with your logo along with name on them, you not just practice good local community assistance through assisting the charity with their fund raising, you get nice publicity and also advertising for your business at the same time. Designing them to replicate the charitys concept as well as colors makes them a collectible, too.

3. As sales giveaways: in case your business endures sales, then providing personalized Koozies in your sales agents for use as part of their own personal promotional deals is a great idea. Whenever they contact a new customer, they are able to leave one or more with them as being a gift for being attentive to the presentation. At product sales seminars for your enterprise niche, they generate great gifts for your prime sales staff, customized with their accomplishments, or as a free gift throughout the meeting.

4. When sponsoring local sports clubs: lots of companies today will support local sports teams as part of their promotion efforts. Precisely why stop at just supplying jerseys for any Little League team, when you could give personalized Koozies also? You may have them imprinted up with the team name, their logo, and also the season or perhaps year. They will show how much you care about the kids, and provide them, and their guardians, something to remember your sponsorship as well as your small business.

5. At welcome centres or even chambers of commerce: When individuals move into a new community, they generally check with local workplaces for names of organizations they may have need of in the foreseeable future. Chambers of commerce would gladly supply space for giveaways to new people, as well as handy stuff like personalized Koozies will always be delightful. The Welcome Wagon will always be searching for new gift items to incorporate in their welcome deals, also. Exactly why not provide them with a few cases of Koozies along with your logo, name as well as contact information to encouraged newbies with?

Auto Attendant – Make Your Small Business Sound More Professional

As a small business owner, it is very important to project the best of your business and impress your callers. The auto attendant VoIP phone system can make your small business sound more professional. It has extensive advanced call handling features incorporated into it to manage all your business calls efficiently and make your business look like a Fortune 500 company.

Sphisticated Call Handling Service

Without the support of a live telephone operator, the auto attendant can perform all call handling functions reliably and efficiently. Callers are greeted with professional sounding welcome messages. These messages can be personalized to present your business in a professional manner. Calls are managed through interactive, impressive voice responses as their calls are connected to extension lines.

As an initial interface in call management, it is possible to connect calls to the required extensions using a menu of options including dial by extension, dial by name, dial by department or zero out to live operator. With these professional phone services offered by the virtual receptionist, the callers will feel like they are interacting with an established company.

Useful VoIP Auto Attendant Solutions

The auto attendant offers impressive call management features which include:

Find-me/Follow-me call forwarding If you are traveling or in some distant location, the calls to your office will be efficiently redirected to the given cell numbers, home phones or other personal numbers. Calls to a certain phone extension will be routed through the predefined list one by one, until someone attends the call.
Voicemail to Email If any calls are unattended, they will be automatically directed to the voice mail boxes of these phone systems. These voice messages will be further forwarded to your email account. The call forwarding system of the PBX system offers your workers a lot of independence as they can work from home or any other convenient location.
Music on Transfer You can upload music-on-hold facility to facilitate your callers, when the calls are being transferred to a different extension.
Features and functionalities are not just limited to these. Other functionalities include groups, conference rooms, call queues and much more. The auto attendant phone system to makes your small business sound more professional and credible.

Small Business Development And Marketing Strategies

Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:

* Advertising
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals

For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.

There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:

* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals

Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.

An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.

Easily Build a Small Business Website with WordPress

WordPress is one of the most essential and highly flexible content management system. It serves as one of the founder for a blog or for fully fledged small business website especially for the online marketing or ecommerce. Now it has become easy to add new pages and post to your blog with WordPress built site. It does not require any HTML, CSS or any other mind numbing acronyms.

It’s quite easy to customize the look of your website in order to make it unique. Hundreds of Plugins can be added in order to add new capabilities thereafter your site will become search-friendly. By adding All in One SEO Pack you can easily optimize each and every page/post in order to boost website in search engine ranking. So in order to build a site like this for small business website you will have to download WordPress from WordPress.org. Here the software is free this is due to its open source feature. Adding to its better features you can also avail themes and plugins in free. Here the only thing you would have to do is to pay for the web hosting that would be as low as $6 per month. Or on the other hand you can also host WordPress site on your own server.

Thereafter you will need web hosting service that supports PHP version 5.2.4 or greater along with MySQL version 5.0 or greater. In this situation Apache or Nginx is most recommended. It is most robust and full of features for running the WordPress inorder to create free wordpress site. After this work will be done without any problem. In the directory Web hosts is listed here you would have to select Bluehost, in this the service is featured in a very prominent manner, it provides unlimited disk storage, monthly data transfer and email address.

Bluehost hosting account has become quite easy with Bluehost installing WordPress. One would only have to install it by using Bluehost’s Web-based control panel and then follow the steps 2 through 6 to create wordpress site free.

Transition from Military Life to Small Business Careers

Perhaps one of the most challenging career and employment situations imaginable takes place every single day when individuals serving in the military prepare to move from military service to a new career. This involves thousands of motivated government employees who at first glance should have absolutely no trouble in obtaining an appropriate job. It is hard to imagine any prospective employees who would have more motivation to work hard and succeed in whatever they do.

Despite initial appearances, military personnel are currently experiencing a high unemployment and underemployment rate. Perhaps because of this or outdated assumptions about the value of all forms of college education, the first step in military transition to business careers is often a decision to obtain a college degree. This can prove to be the right move in some cases, but it can also become an expensive mistake.

The difference between education and training is frequently misunderstood by many people, and such misunderstandings probably contribute to a disproportionate percentage of career choices focusing on educational institutions instead of more specialized (and much cheaper) career training programs. While advanced education has a special place for specific purposes and goals, it is simply not the best career choice in a surprising number of cases. One of the best possible illustrations of this dilemma occurs when someone is departing from the military. In this situation, education can appear to be the “easy” decision. But with more scrutiny, training frequently emerges as the “smart” decision.

Just as specialized business training is usually one of the most cost-effective strategies available to small businesses, the selection of a practical career training program will often prove to be a more cost-effective military transition alternative in comparison to other options that include lengthy and expensive university studies. It is true that the most viable and appropriate training choices will require some investigative time and effort to evaluate thoroughly. In large part this is due to the fact that colleges and universities have extensive marketing resources to advertise and persuade while the less well-known training opportunities are more of a “word of mouth” situation.

For example, one of the most effective career training situations devotes no resources whatsoever to advertising and lobbying. In this case the program leads to a small business finance consulting career. Because overhead is much less than the highly-capitalized universities, the cost of such services are understandably much less. Unfortunately it is not always true that you get what you pay for, so a prudent military transition will require due diligence from start to finish.

Stephen Bush has provided candid business advice to small business owners for over 30 years. He specializes in business negotiating and business proposal writing. Steve offers career training programs for small business finance consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who works directly with individuals leaving military service and helps with the transition to a small business career.

New Small Business Directory Release 2013-2014 Directory of Housing Authority Procurement Opportun

New Book Release: 2013-2014 Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities and Vendor Applications, Volume 1, Edition 1

Use this Annual Directory to Apply for Often Untapped Housing Authority Small Business Contracts and Procurement Opportunities

Untapped Small Business Contracts

Housing authorities are a fertile source of contracts for smaller enterprises. Larger city and state contracting opportunities are often more visible and accessible by business entities; but there are a plethora of contracting opportunities with local housing authorities that often go untapped by small businesses.

Easy-to-Use Resource

This directory is an easy-to-use, one-of-a-kind, resource tool for small business owners seeking to grow their companies by doing business with housing authorities across the United States.

Receive Bid Solicitations as Soon as they Become Available

By using the Housing Authority Directory, small business owners can click and apply to receive bid solicitations and procurement opportunities in their regions as soon as they become available by housing authorities. They can also seamlessly click and complete vendor packages online without having to do the research to find and sort out contracting opportunities.

What’s Included in Housing Authority Directory

The 2013-2014 Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities & Vendor Applications, States A-F, Volume 1, Edition 1, includes the following:

— Direct links to housing authority procurement applications.
— RFP and Bid Solicitation Requests for several housing authorities, complete with bidding deadlines.
— Housing authority contact information, including street and website addresses.
— Direct links to small business vendor packages in several states.
— Procurement contacts, including point-of-contact names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax lines, and email addresses.

Get started quickly and easily today. See the 2013-2014 Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities and Vendor Applications, Volume 1, Edition 1, at , for an easy-to-use resource for registering your business and finding contracting opportunities in housing authorities.

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Cassandra Black is the author of the Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities and Vendor Applications available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Stone Cottage Books, the Master List of Property Preservation Companies Directory, 3rd Edition, and other small business publications.

Does Your Small Business Really Need A Server The Answer Is No.

As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.

Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.

Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?

Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.

And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.

Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.