Let’s discuss the social media darling you’ve probably heard a lot about lately: Pinterest. Though female consumers have led the way to this site becoming incredibly powerful, it won’t be long until corporate brands start making an impact on this site. Businesses with strong visual elements are already doing well on Pinterest. Watch this video by Magnet Media to learn some basic tips for how your business can use Pinterest effectively:
What if your business is not inheritably visual? You can still think of other ways to include visuals in your marketing materials. Some key places include…
Your landing pages
When I first asked writers on the Journyx blog to include a picture with every single blog post (or some other media element), I was met with resistance. But with sites like Pinterest demanding brands show their ideas in a visual way, my instincts to make the Journyx blog more multi-media driven were right. Think back to when YouTube first came onto the web. At first, it was just a place for young people to film their lives and entertain each other. But now YouTube is the go-to location for online video content for all types of brands and businesses.
How can you present your business in a more visual way? Is your brand already on Pinterest? We are!
We recently came across this helpful video created by one of our customers, KOOP Radio. KOOP is a community radio station owned and operated by its members in Austin, Texas. Watch the how to video they created for their volunteers below.
KOOP uses Journyx Timesheet software to track the hours of more that 100 volunteer DJs. KOOP has been our customer for two years now and we’re very glad to see them teaching their volunteers how to use our product.
Would you feel more comfortable logging your time as a volunteer for KOOP if you saw this video?
During our time at Convergence 2012, we had the opportunity to talk with Michele Price on her radio show Breakthrough Business Strategies. She captured some of the engaging techniques we used in our booth with a short video which you can view below.
Michele’s interview with James Brawner and Christa Freeland revealed multiple key ideas which you can use for your own business. If you’re considering going to Convergence next year, here are a few things we did at the show that Michele really complimented Journyx on:
Michele thought our booth was very effective in telling attendees what we had to offer without requiring passers by to read a large amount of text.
Christa highlighted how we followed the Convergence hashtags (#Conv12, #msdyngp, #msdyncomm) to create a live feed of everything happening for the show before we even went to Houston.
Michele thought we were ahead of the curve with our flyer encouraging game players to scan a QR code to tweet their scores and spread the word about the Journyx booth.
Michele really found our video game (Kinect Joy Ride) fun, innovative and engaging.
Do any of these tips give you new ideas for your next trade show?
Technology can either make us feel like we’re superhuman or it can be a super drag. One area that makes most of us want to pull our hair out is our email inbox. Email can easily become too cluttered to be managed and it affects the sender and the recipient. I have experienced numerous times where my email gets lost in the shuffle and I am asked to resend important information so the recipient can finally find my email.
But what if your email could be clean and automated? What if email could make you feel powerful instead of inefficient?
Boomerang is an inbox management tool for Gmail and Outlook. With Boomerang you can…
Track email responses
Send email back to your inbox for a later date
Boomerang is also available on your mobile phone, so you can manage your email on the go. I think Boomerang is an awesome idea. I’m already used to sending email with scheduling capabilities via our marketing automation tool, so I can see how useful this feature could be for my own personal email. No more forgetting birthdays or looking like a spammer to new network connections! The more I read about Boomerang, the more I feel empowered by this tool and what it can accomplish for the user.
Does managing your time with effective technology make you feel like a superhero? Let our readers know so they can feel superhuman as well.
At Journyx, we speak to many professionals who deal with payroll on a day-to-day basis. Our customers have an easy time submitting data to payroll, but other companies that don’t have a solution like Journyx can have a harder time. Payroll can be a huge headache, especially for a CEO of a start-up. Take, for example, the CEO of Tasting Table:
Being without a bookkeeper, Geoff Bartakovics needed to process payroll ASAP. I find it interesting that Bartakovics felt such pressure to get payroll done on time because of his employees. He believed that distributing his team’s paychecks late would make his employees doubt his new company. The faith that his employees had in the business wasn’t something Bartakovics would sacrifice.
When I hear this story, I wonder if I take my on-time paycheck for granted sometimes. As a young worker, I sometimes read horror stories on Facebook of friends who aren’t paid on time. I can’t imagine the stress they’re going through with a late paycheck; how is that affecting their ability to support themselves? I can remember a former job where I experienced something worse than a late paycheck—a bounced paycheck. My trust for my employer was shaken during that time, and rightly so. It was a clear sign that something was seriously wrong with the company and shortly after I left, the company folded.
In this stressful economic time, are you making sure that your employees are paid on time? Is payroll a total nightmare for your company or a breeze?
It’s typical for local publications to showcase the yearly keynote speakers at SXSW Interactive here in Austin where Journyx is based, but there’s always one speaker that shines just a little bit brighter than the others. This year it was Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case:
Case is responsible for the app Geoloqi and speaks at many tech conferences. She even has a TED Talk under her belt called “We Are All Cyborgs Now.” I find Case fascinating because she speaks about technology like she’s already seen how it will ultimately develop. Case isn’t afraid of the fact that we are dependent on technology. Rather, she sees power in mobile technology becoming an extension of ourselves. Case has convinced me that we need more philosophical discussions of our developing relationship with technology as new tech is developed.
Ultimately, what Amber Case has to say about technology makes me very excited, and a lot of other people are taking notice as well.
As you probably have heard, Journyx is exhibiting at Microsoft Convergence 2012. The conference attracts about 9,000 attendees every year, so it’s a great time to network and make valuable business connections, as seen here in this video by Microsoft:
We’re extending an open invitation to meet up with Journyx in Houston during March 18-21. You can stop by booth #2053 to meet the Journyx team. You can also schedule one-on-one meetings with a Journyx team member. Our sales team, marketing team, and upper management are all available to meet with you personally. If you’re interested in setting up a personal meeting, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure your meeting is set up. We look forward to meeting you!
Every business is unique and has different business needs. Because of this, Journyx Timesheet integrates with a variety of accounting systems, from Quickbooks, ADP, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Dynamics™ GP. Many accounting systems come with a simple time keeping system, but usually, companies find that it doesn’t meet all of their needs. This month, we’re going to Microsoft Convergence to show off our integration with Dynamics GP to the Microsoft community. Microsoft Dynamics GP is a mid-market business accounting software that is part of the Microsoft Dynamics Business Solutions platform. Are you considering using Dynamics GP? Here’s an inside peek of what the product looks like for a sales manager:
We recently announced that Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) will use Journyx Timesheet for employee time tracking. Their decision was in part based on Journyx’s integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP. According to Susan Singleton, Business System Quality Improvement Manager for KUA, “We can make customizations in Journyx and know that the system is going to work smoothly for our specific needs. No two companies are going to have the same needs. Companies will have different rules, levels of approval, quirky payroll calculations - all unique to them. Journyx allows us to configure everything to meet our needs upfront, which really allows us to save time and gain productivity.”
Do you use Microsoft Dynamics™ GP? Are you getting the time keeping data that you need?
Many U.S.-based companies (including Journyx) didn’t have a company holiday for President’s day this past Monday. Why is that? It’s not a surprise that many Americans found themselves at work last Monday considering that we work more hours than almost any other industrialized country. Watch what David Lazarus of The LA Times has to say about American work hours:
President’s Day is this Monday, as you probably know. Maybe you have the day off of work to commemorate the holiday. What has tech-savvy President Obama been up to lately besides hosting a very well received Google+ Hangout? He’s also been using the popular Square device for his campaign, allowing for mobile payments for fundraising, representing yet another way he has used new technology in his campaigns. Check out this video from the Mashable team:
Are you a small business that receives payment on-site? If so, you may want to consider giving your mobile sales team Square card readers. Square allows businesses to accept credit card payments via customers’ iPads, Androids or iPhones. Also, Square is cost-effective -- it only charges 2.75% per swipe. And even better, the app and the card reader are free.
Have you used Square or had your card swiped through a Square reader?
Email—it’s a part of our everyday lives as business people. Do you send emails that your co-workers take seriously? Do you find some incoming emails off putting? This humorous video by Entrepreneur Magazine highlights some common office email mistakes:
Remember, email is tone deaf. If you’re writing a sensitive email, ask a trusted colleague if your email sounds appropriate. It also helps to read your email aloud and, of course, proofread. Email can be an incredibly effective communication tool if used correctly.
Email is also a little bit of a dividing topic and I’d love to know your opinion on two areas:
Do you think attaining an inbox of zero messages is important?
How often should you check email to stay informed, but productive?
For the first time, Journyx will be exhibiting at Microsoft Convergence 2012. Convergence is the premier event for the Microsoft Dynamics Customer and Partner business community. This year, the conference is in Houston—not too far from the Journyx headquarters in Austin! It’s hard to ignore the buzz that surrounds this show. Check out this video created by the Microsoft Dynamics team:
This video so full of energy! We’re really working hard to bring our A-game to this conference. Now why is Journyx going to Convergence 2012? Journyx wants to show off one of its more recent integrations with Microsoft Dynamics GP, specifically with Project Accounting. We’re proud to know that we can provide easy project tracking for GP users, as well as give data validations, approval levels, and customization benefits. Many GP users find that they need just that extra bit to make GP all encompassing for their business. So we hope we can make a big splash for GP users looking for accurate, easy time keeping.
Will you be at Microsoft Convergence this year? Is the George R. Brown Convention Center as amazing as Microsoft makes it out to be? I personally hope it is.
We have a new face on our Account Management team, Neil Penberthy! To let people get to know Neil better, our Marketing Specialist thought it would be a great idea to create a video of Neil. Below is the finished product:
This way, our current customers can feel more comfortable with Neil on their accounts. I love that Neil incorporates the company dart board in his video. The dart board has been a big hit with the Journyx Sales and Development team. Around 4pm, you can find them taking their daily dart break and competing with each other. It’s healthy and fun competition between co-workers.
I’m also excited that there is a new video on the Journyx YouTube channel. If your small business has not considered incorporating YouTube videos into your marketing or advertising plan, maybe you should! YouTube videos have a high SEO rate, which means more eyeballs for your company’s site. Videos in general are much easier for new prospects to digest compared to text. It’s why we’ve been incorporating more videos on the Journyx blog to create a multi-media experience.
What do you think of Neil’s new video? Leave us a comment!
Registering in the CCR is an essential first step into government contracting. Below is a video from SBA, which will encourage your decision into seeking business with the government and help you brainstorm how to make yourself attractive to the government after you register.
Have you already registered for the CCR? We’d love to hear your experience!
When starting out in government contracting, you can’t get too far into the process without a D-U-N-S number, which stands for Data Universal Numbering System. It’s a unique nine-digit number for each location of your business and is completely free. A D-U-N-S number is required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants. You can’t join the CCR (Central Contractor Registration) without it! Below is a basic overview of the D-U-N-S number from InsideUp:
The D-U-N-S number was created in 1962 and copyrighted by Dun & Bradstreet. A D-U-N-S number has been assigned to over 100 million businesses worldwide. The D-U-N-S number was adopted as a standard business identifier for federal electronic commerce in October of 1994. It was also incorporated in the Federal Acquisition Regulation in April of 1998 as the official identification code for all procurement-related activities. Start your process of acquiring a free D-U-N-S number today!
Gamification has been a hot topic this past year with the popularization of Foursquare. But the theory of gamification is just starting to be explored more in-depth. What does gamification look like beyond badges and points? It’s an important question for small businesses to think about going into 2012. One example for gamification without points or badges is in an upcoming smartphone app called Zombies, Run:
This demo video is used for the Zombies, Run Kickstarter page. The video and accompanying description must have been effective because they surpassed their original goal of $12,500 by over $60,000!
So what does this successful app teach us about gamification? First, Zombies, Run is not based on badges and points. Rather it functions more as a role-playing game since the runner is given a character that exists inside the game. The recognition of different game mechanics is incredibly helpful when deciding if/which gaming systems would work best for your business.
The next draw towards Zombies, Run is that the game gives an incentive for an activity that many of us put off: exercising. Zombies, Run promotes exercise by offering an ongoing story that is directly influenced by how much you run. This is a very powerful idea, especially for companies that sell products for activities that most of us don’t want to do even though we should. Journyx has done much research into why tracking time is important. But even with all that research, we still find ourselves with the same conundrum that entering your time can be very boring for most employees.
Zombies, Run also has an effective way of bringing customers back to their product. There’s a “hook” at the end of every 20 minute section. Bringing customers back to your website is a challenge most companies face. Keith Smith of Big Door, a company that sells gamification mechanics for companies, was led to gamification practices after extensive research into web visitor metrics. He found that many customers come to websites less than 2 times per month, which is a pretty scary statistic. To have a hook or reason for customers to come back is great to keep in mind. Apple does this by using mystery; they don’t release information about their products until they are absolutely ready. This keeps customers guessing on what Apple will think of next.
Do you see gamification coming into your business in 2012?
Happy Holidays! The Journyx office is happily empty this Friday for the holiday weekend. Breaks are a great time to take a step back from work and let great ideas come in. Especially during the holidays, this is the perfect opportunity to think about how 2012 will look for you. To help with your 2012 plans, here are some updates from Mashable about what’s coming in 2012 for the iPad:
Numerous sources have identified the iPad 3 coming out in 2012, but a mini iPad is something I didn’t expect. Here are some other trends coming out in 2012:
Here at Journyx, we’re big fans of QuickBooks because our solution directly integrates with the system. We’ve helped a large number of customers due to this seamless and simple integration. So you can see why we would be a little worried that many government contractors are being led astray with the myth that you can’t be government compliant with QuickBooks.
If you currently use QuickBooks, here’s a helpful video from the Intuit team about how to customize your invoices:
If you are a small business looking to work with the federal government, you hopefully are finding this blog incredibly helpful these days. Recently, I found this great Howcast on the subject of government contracting:
Howcast is a very useful how-to video service with a wide range of videos, including business advice. The videos are engaging and informative and a great way to start research on a new subject.
Do you find learning through videos easier than text?
Happy Black Friday! I commend all you courageous Black Friday shoppers for braving the shopping frenzy that’s currently happening. But have you heard of Small Business Saturday? It happens tomorrow so listen up!
Small Business Saturday is a campaign run by American Express to encourage shoppers to buy at small businesses the day after Black Friday. Many small businesses get ignored during Black Friday in favor of big box retail stores who are able to give huge discounts on their merchandise. Small Business Saturday gives small businesses a chance to cash in on the shopping frenzy that occurs during this weekend.
Why so much attention on small businesses? Small businesses often win when it comes to flexing their marketing and creativity muscles to compete with big box retailers. Here in Austin, the “Keep Austin Weird” campaign was specifically designed to encourage Austinites to shop local. Small businesses also bring in a higher ratio of money into the community compared to big box retailers. So shopping at a small business helps your local community. The government also sees the benefit of small businesses by focusing many of its contracts specifically on small businesses.
Small Business Saturday is nicely nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving. Let’s face it: holiday shopping is huge, and B2C businesses are all trying to get a piece of the pie, whether they are a big box company, a small business, or an online retailer.
Where will you be spending your dollars this Thanksgiving weekend?
Sarah Glass is the President and CEO of AimSourcing, Inc. AimSourcing specializes in outsourced accounting services, management information systems, and business consulting. AimSourcing helps Journyx customers integrate with Quickbooks, which automates the flow of time data into customers’ billing, project management, and payroll processes. This is an excerpt from Glass’s webinar “Top 10 Reasons to Outsource Your Accounting Operation” where Glass explains why outsourcing your accounting operations will ultimately save you money:
Lower Cost Operation
Purchasing, configuring, installing and maintaining an accounting system is very expensive. Outsourced services usually include the accounting system as part of the overall structure. More than a few companies have wasted thousands of dollars installing their own accounting systems. They don’t live up to the vendor’s promises and require an army to maintain. AimSourcing has converted several Journyx customers from larger ERP systems to QuickBooks Enterprise and saved them lots of money.
Avoid Hiring Full-time Staff for Part-time Tasks
Have a qualified company manage your bills and deal with vendors. Better managing of the receivables can help you minimize late fees and also increase your overall cash flow. You can better maximize the investment you’ve made in your staff by keeping them focused on your business and letting someone else handle the back-office functions.
Eliminate Lost Productivity Costs
Accounting problems are disruptive to the whole company and will consume not just your time but also your staff’s time. You can provide the highest level technical service to your customer but lose their confidence with an inefficient and inaccurate invoicing process.
Minimize Tax and Other Regulatory Exposure
Outsourcing to a provider that understands tax and regulatory requirements can save you lots of money but will also keep you in compliance. In addition to the IRS, companies that have federal government contracts are subject to federal acquisition regulations, government cost accounting standards and they are audited by the Defense Contract Audit Agency. These rules require specialized knowledge that most companies don’t have.
It’s really cool that YouTube has been featuring business story videos lately. This particular female entrepreneur showed up on the feature page recently:
Marie Forleo is a business consultant for women who are online entrepreneurs. I love how she makes her videos incredibly informative for those who are starting their own business. Forleo is committed to working with other female entrepreneurs. Likewise, the United States government specifically awards contracts to small businesses run by women. Eligibility includes the firm being:
51% owned and controlled by one or more women
Owned and managed by women who are U.S. citizens
“Small” in its primary industry in accordance with size standards for that industry
Are you a female entrepreneur who owns her own business? Tell us about your business – we’d love to hear more about it!
Our CEO, Curt Finch, has been paying his respects to the recently deceased Steve Jobs on his CIO.com column. Steve Jobs and his company, Apple, have had a huge effect on the consumerization of IT. When I look back on Jobs, I realize that Jobs made technology exciting and electric for the masses, not stuffy or forced. It’s apparent in this video that shows the introduction of the Macintosh:
What technology makes you excited? When does technology actually make your life easier?