Business Services Blog

Posted by on 09/21/11 | Comments
A recent article in the Daily Herald, "Small Businesses are Spending on Technology" looks at the increase and redistribution of funds for technology. Business owners have more options than ever before for staying connected in and outside of the office with the use of laptops, netbooks, smartphones and tablets like the iPad. Files can be stored remotely with “cloud computing” and accessed from multiple devices and locations wherever you can access the Internet.
 
For more information on using technology in your business check out the Library’s monthly Business Bytes series or set up a one-on-one appointment with Shannon, the Business Services Librarian. The  Library has excellent electronic and print resources on integrating technology into your business, to learn more visit the library, browse the catalog or make an appointment
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Posted by on 09/13/11 | Comments
This month's Business Bytes program is Using Deal of the Day Sites for Your Business. The use of coupon "deal-of-the-day" sites such as Groupon and Living Social has gone mainstream. Businesses and consumers are buying and sharing great deals on everything from personal services to travel.

Deal of the day sites offer products and services at deeply discounted prices for a limited time in specific geographic areas. Businesses can reach millions of potential customers by partnering with deal of the day websites and offering deals which are shared via email, smartphone apps and social media.

For information on using these websites check out the slideshow below or contact the Answer Center to speak with Shannon, the Business Services Librarian or set up an appointment.

Posted by on 08/12/11 | Comments
The Business Bytes program for August is Checking in on Foursquare and Facebook Places.
 
Foursquare and Facebook Places are location based social networking websites where users "check-in" to locations using their mobile devices. Foursquare currently has over 10 million registered users and over 500,000 businesses participating.
 
Foursquare and Facebook Places users can share their location with Twitter and Facebook followers as well as recommendations and comments on the businesses where they check-in. Businesses can reward their frequent Foursquare and Facebook Places users with special deals, offer incentives to customers who find them by location based technology, and interact with their customers through these social media websites.
 
To learn more about Foursquare and Facebook Places and how these websites can help your business view the slideshow below or to schedule an appointment with Shannon, the Business Services Librarian contact the Answer Center or set up an appointment.
Posted by on 07/13/11 | Comments
The topic for the July session of our Business Bytes series was Google Docs for Business. Google Docs is a free, web based application that allows users to create, edit, store and share documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and other data online. You can access your files from any computer with Internet access and create and collaborate on files in real time. Documents can be private, shared or uploaded to a URL address accessible to anyone on the Internet.
 
Interested in learning more about using Google Docs for your business? You can view the slideshow below, or to schedule an appointment with Shannon, the Business Services Librarian contact the Answer Center at the Library or set up an appointment.
Posted by on 06/28/11 | Comments
Our Business Bytes program in June was Twitter for Business.  Not familiar with Twitter? Twitter is a social networking site with over 200 million users. Content of 140 characters or less is created and "tweeted" to followers or located through a simple search. Businesses and customers are enjoying the benefits of communicating in short, precise messages to share store sales, coupons, hours of operation, specials, jobs, customer service and thank you's. If you would like more information on using Twitter for your business contact the Answer Center to set up an appointment. You can also check out the slide presentation below.
Posted by rkong on 06/15/11 | Comments
I just came across an interesting post, "Cracking the Q.R. Code," on the New York Times' small business blog. It highlights how a California Thai restaurant is experimenting with QR codes to help create a unique customer experience and generate more business. 
QR codes are not a household term yet, but there are signs that they are becoming more popular as more people make the switch to smartphones. Even if you don’t know what QR codes are, I’m guessing you’ve seen them around. They are popping up on products, promotional materials, storefronts, and basically anywhere you can place a sticker. 
 
Most people scan them using special apps on their smartphones. The apps decode the scanned image and usually provide a short message or a link to a website or online video. It's a way to pack a lot of information into an image and save people the trouble and time of reading and typing information into a browser. 
 
If you own a smart phone and want to jump on the QR code bandwagon, check out this list of QR code readers that might work for you. Keep your eye out for QR codes everywhere and I think you’ll find that scanning them is pretty fun!
 
Want to generate your own QR codes and share them either in print or digitally? It couldn’t be easier. Check out this QR-Code Generator and start figuring out creative ways you can use them for your business. 
 
What are some ways you can use QR codes for your business? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below! Make an appointment with us if you need help starting out.
Posted by rkong on 05/26/11 | Comments
Forbes.com has an interesting blog post, "Apple Store 2.0" Why Customer Experience Leaders Should Care," about how Apple has created meaningful customer experiences in their retail stores. Recently, Apple added iPad displays to provide customers with information about their products. What interests me, though, is the point made about how Apple understand the value of a human connection, even in our increasingly technological world.
 
Here's an excerpt from the blog post:
 
"Whether it’s the greeter at the front door or the gal teaching a free iTunes class, these frontline employees play a critical role in the in-store experience – and Apple obviously knows it.  While beefing up self-service capabilities within the store, Apple simultaneously made live human help even more accessible and transparent than it was before."
 
So, what are you doing with your business to enhance customer experience? How are you making sure your customers have a way of connecting with you and not just your products and services?
Posted by rkong on 05/21/11 | Comments
By now, it's no secret that most people who are online use Google to search for information about local restaurants, shops, and other businesses. As we presented in a recent Business Bytes program, it's simply common sense for most businesses to verify their listing on Google Places. But have you ever wondered what came before Google Places? Many of you might remember Google Local and, of course, Google Maps is still around.
 
This presentation by Mike Blumenthal provides a brief history of features Google has implemented in Google Local, Google Maps, and now Google Places. What's most interesting to me is Google's shift to develop content and information for mobile device users. What types of features are you hoping for in the next year?
 
Posted by rkong on 05/13/11 | Comments
If you missed our most recent program in the Business Bytes series, check out the slide presentation below and contact us if you'd like to set up a personal appointment to get training.
 
 
 
The Business Bytes series is designed to introduce technology topics to local business owners and employees. Next month's topic is "Twitter for Business" so be sure to register now.
Posted by rkong on 04/11/11 | Comments
According to a recent PEW research study, 48% of Americans have researched a product or service online and 24% have posted reviews or comments about the things they buy. If you're a business owner or manager, it's definitely worth spending a little bit of time learning how to monitor what people are saying about your business online.
 
Our latest "Business Bytes" program focuses on review websites like Yelp.com and Angie's List. If you're interested in learning more, please take a look at the presentation slides below. Afterwards, schedule an appointment with a librarian who will be able to explain the finer details of each website and help you get started!