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How to Improve Your Business Marketing With TextMagic

Here’s the Tea! Nearly nine out of every ten businesses use email marketing to distribute their content. That’s A LOT of businesses! Assuming that your business is also using email marketing techniques; Is it working for you? Based on a 2019 study, only 11% of businesses use text message marketing. Despite the consumer demand for texting offers, not many businesses are taking advantage of the opportunity to build a new audience. THAT’S CRAZY! If you’re not already using text message marketing… You should start. 

As a business owner, you want to effectively promote your business without boring consumers! Because we know that nine out of ten businesses use email marketing, we can concur that consumers regularly receive too many promotional emails! The chances of your business emails standing out from the other business emails piling up in their inbox are slim! Maybe, just maybe, email marketing has worked for you…But you can’t disregard the numbers! Consumers want text message marketing! 

We can confidently say that there’s a simple solution to that problem and it’s called TextMagic! TextMagic is the answer to your desperate plea for easier and more effective communication with your customers! Yeah… We heard you from over here in Missouri…

Let’s take a look at the facts. Nearly 75% of people prefer to receive offers via text! If consumers want to receive offers through text, then why aren’t businesses providing that?

TextMagic is a business text messaging service for sending notifications, alerts, reminders, and SMS marketing campaigns. TextMagic is a necessary element to enhance business communication with your customers and grow your company! If a majority of people would rather receive an offer through a text message, then you need to be using a trusted service that allows you to easily send and receive messages (Cough… TextMagic). You must be where your customers are!  

Are you liking what you’re hearing? The TextMagic features allow you to create chats with your customers, combine messaging tools with a user-friendly control panel, send and receive text messages through your email, send personalized bulk text messaging using mail merge text, receive replies and view conversations as SMS chat, integrate SMS API with your business and text directly from your app, quickly import contacts and share them with your team, and integrate TextMagic into practically any business software. You can also use Zapier Integration to get access to thousands of business apps that you can connect and integrate. 

 

Getting started with TextMagic is simple. All you need to do is create a free account!

  1. You can start by creating your Free Trial by clicking Free Trial in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

  1. You’ll see this popup asking you to enter your name, work email, password, and country.

  1. Next, enter your information in the boxes provided below and click “Create my FREE Business Account”.

  1. You’ll see this popup asking you to check your email and verify it to process the activation of your account. 

  1. Once you verify your account, TextMagic will have you choose what type of number you would prefer. As you can see, you have the choice between a local number, a toll-free number and text-enabling an existing landline. I chose to use a local number, but you can choose whatever works best for your company!

  1. I selected the local number and it gave me the option to choose my country, the area code, and also go through the available numbers. TextMagic will also give you the option to choose Call Forwarding, which would forward a call from your virtual number to your actual phone number. It is a phenomenal tool to use if you want your virtual phone number to connect with your real number. Click Next. 

  1. This popup gives you more information on each feature and what you can do with it. Here, you can watch tutorials and ask questions. You can also choose to skip this page! 

 

  1. At the top of the page, you will see your account balance, the Buy Credit option, and the name of the account that you are logged in with. If you end up liking the features, you have the option to purchase more credit for SMS messaging! The great thing about this is that your unused SMS credit will never expire! SMS credit is also backed by the “money-back guaranteed”  which means TextMagic will refund all of your unused credit on the first request. On the left-hand panel, Under Compose, you’ll see chats, contacts, scheduled, and so on. While you’re on the Compose page, you can send texts! Enter the recipients of your message in the To field. You can type or paste mobile numbers. You can also use existing contacts and create a list with any amount of recipients! In the From field, you can choose the number that you want your messenger to originate from. Use the default settings to get the highest delivery rate. The default settings can be found in the settings section. You can either schedule a message to be sent out at a later time, preview the message, or send it immediately.

  1. On your screen, you’ll see three menus: the main menu on the left-hand side, the quick menu (which you will see by hovering your mouse over the plus sign icon), and your account menu (which you can see by hovering your mouse over your name). Under the Chats tab, you will see the contents of the message that you just sent from your Compose page. Unfortunately, there is no way to undo a message that you just sent. Another cool thing about TextMagic is that you can receive notifications on your desktop and your phone!

  1. The Contacts section allows you to create a new contact or list of contacts, send an SMS, import, block, delete, and share. You can do so much with your contacts on this page! If you don’t have contacts yet, you can add contacts by importing or copy and pasting phone numbers onto the page. The import process only takes a few moments! You can also send personalized messages to your contacts. You can organize those contacts into lists and share them with your team members in just two clicks. Under the service tab, you can manage your team of sub-accounts, view the history of messages, review invoices or detailed costs statements, check audit logs and reports, adjust your notification settings, and set up autoresponders and rules. 

  1. Another cool thing you can do with TextMagic is to create templates for your messages. If you frequently send similar text messages, then you can save time by making templates. To create a template, all you will need to do is click on the template button on the left-hand panel and press New Template. You will want to use a template when you create a new text message! The templates contain a tag, a picture, and personalized messages. It also shows you the length of the text, the characters, the parts, and the cost of the message (which depends on the number of parts, recipients, and length).

Take some time to explore the TextMagic features! The entire panel on the left side of the screen is there for you to easily navigate the website, send messages, create templates, receive replies, and view conversations and so much more. 

TextMagic also uses a very simple pay-as-you-go pricing model where the credit amount is deducted from your account only after you have used the service. TextMagic offers SMS bundles from $10 to $10,000 US dollars. If you’re not sure how much credit you need, you can click on the pricing calculator. It will help you decide which is the most suitable package for you! You will also need to choose a payment method. You’ll want to use your credit card, Paypal, or a regular bank transfer. If your account balance becomes too low and no credit is purchased, it will usually cause a service interruption, which is not great for any business. You can avoid this by enabling an auto-recharge and have TextMagic charge your card. TextMagic also gives you a good overview of the data that is being stored on its servers. You can download all your messages or contacts, as well as delete data from the TextMagic servers at any time. 

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, only 11% of businesses are using text message marketing. Consumers actually prefer text messages over emails! What better way to kick off that process than to integrate TextMagic into your business?

If email marketing is working for you…that’s great! But, ask yourself, “Could I be doing better?” 

The answer is YES! Sooo…What are you waiting for? 

Stop letting your Competitor Win; Unveil your Company’s Online Curb Appeal with These 4 Secrets

(WARNING: If you’re not a reader, click here to instantly view the four secrets to creating an unmatched online curb appeal! If you’re new to this, we encourage you to keep reading.)

Be honest with yourself for a minute. 

Have you ever wondered why your competitor’s website is more successful than yours?

Well… There’s a reason for that. They are doing something that you are not.

That’s a loaded question considering that means you have to look at your website and its downfalls. Most people struggle with gaining traffic, attracting reviews, or securing sales. If you can relate to those struggles, you may have already tried to justify why you don’t have consistent traffic to your website. You might feel as though you have tried everything possible and your competitor is still beating you. Does this sound familiar? In this scenario, you should be thinking, “What are they doing that I am not doing?” because the answer is simple. 

People cannot visit your website if they cannot find it on the internet. By that I mean, your business needs to “pop up” when they search for you. For example, let’s say that you own a coffee business named Coffee Craze. If a consumer searches “Best coffee places near me” and Coffee Craze does not show up, then how do you expect your customers to find you? That might seem like a wild accusation, but it is equal to buying a house and expecting everybody to know where it is, without you mentioning it. You might even be thinking, “Well, wait. Why didn’t my business show up?”. Don’t worry, I’ll get to that later.

What if I told you that the reason you are not gaining traction to your website is that your online presence is virtually nonexistent. You might be thinking, “That is so untrue! I post to social media every day!” or “I have a website… doesn’t that count?”

The answer is no. You are not doing enough. If there is one thing you can do for yourself, it is to recognize that your company’s Curb Appeal is the most important part of your business and you are neglecting it. 

No, I am not talking about the visual aesthetic of the building that your business resides in. Let me explain.

Nowadays, only utilizing a web hosting provider is not enough. You need an online presence and marketing plan that will ultimately “revamp” your company’s curb appeal. I can already tell that you are wondering, “Okay, why is this important?”. 

You might recognize the term Curb Appeal as the initial appeal of a property to prospective buyers. For example, you visit a coffee shop and the first things you notice are the lights strung above the outdoor tables, the plants in the window, and the trendy aesthetic of the building. It is fair to say that the first thing that caught your eye was the external appeal of the building! It would be difficult not to be mesmerized by an appeal that piques your interest. Although a company’s exterior appeal is important, that is not what we are talking about. Your company’s Curb Appeal has nothing to do with the external attractiveness of your business property. Instead, it focuses on the attractiveness of your business’s online presence.

Your online presence ultimately determines how successful your business will be. 

Let’s keep the vision going. Imagine that a consumer searches “Coffee shops near me” on their internet browser. Behind the scenes, Google is compiling several options and lists them at the top of the page for them. The first thing the consumer sees is your competitor topping the page with numerous five-star reviews. Meanwhile, your coffee shop is nowhere to be found. After looking through the reviews and ratings, the consumer is sold and searches directions to your competitor’s coffee shop. You just lost a sale because your business did not show up in the search results. Wait a second… How did that even happen? Cases like these are exactly why your online presence makes or breaks your business. 

We have heard it all before: You cannot have success without failure. Letting your competitor steal your customers is a temporary failure for your company. You cannot let your competitor “out-business” you. Success takes time and patience. But, it’s not very often that the keys to success are literally handed to you.

If you have not yet picked up on it, you need much more than just a website to be successful as a business. As I said before, it is just like having a house and expecting everyone to know where it is without you telling them. If you gain anything from this article, let it be the value of having an active online presence. An online presence will allow you to stay relevant, consistent, and easily accessible.  

To be honest, we (meaning us here at Hostirian) want to see you succeed. That is why we are sharing with you Four Secrets to an Attractive Website.  These four secrets are your road map to perfecting your company’s Curb Appeal. Follow these four steps and watch your business grow like you have never seen before.

1. List your Business Information Online

Although this may not seem important, it totally is! Your online listings are websites that hold all of your business information, such as your business name, phone number, address, email, and operation hours. Some Online Directories that you might have seen before are 411, CitySpace, Yahoo, Bing, Foursquare, and Alexa. Trust me, there are many more! The key to success is to get into as many online listings as possible and to make sure all of that information is accurate. Only being listed on websites such as City Space or Yahoo is not enough. Your business information needs to be accurate. That piece is so important. The reason for this is so that search engines can trust you.

Let me say it again: The point of online listings is not to attract customers. It is to earn a search engine’s trust. Are you wondering, “Why is it important that a search engine trusts you? Why does that matter?”. It matters because that is how businesses end up at the top of the search results page, or better yet, the Google 3 pack! Below is an example of how your business, Coffee Craze, is displayed on five different online directories. Pay close attention to each listing.

  • 411: Coffee Craze 123-456-7890, 123 Main Street
  • CitySpace: coffee Craze 1234567890, 123 Main Street
  • Yahoo: Coffee craze 123-456-7890, 123 maine street
  • Bing: Coffee Craze Inc. 1234567890, 123 Main St.
  • Alexa: Coffee craze inc. 123-456-7890, 123 main st. 

Do you notice the difference? 

As you can see, the examples above are all inconsistent. There is not one listing that matches the other. This is a problem. If this is what your online listings look like, you might as well kiss the top of the search results page GOODBYE! Search engines, such as Google, will not have any reason to trust you. You cannot expect Google to trust you if you can’t even get your business information to match online. The perfect combination is utilizing the hundreds of online listing websites available and inputting your information correctly on all of them. Choose one consistent way to list your business information and stick with it. 

If you list your information similar to how it looks above, then you will never see your business show up at the top of the search results page. In addition to utilizing the online listings, you also need to make sure that your results are up to date. If you change the information on one listing and not the other, then you have created an inaccurate message. If all of your listings send the same message, then it is easier for search engines to confirm that you are who you say you are! Earlier I mentioned that you should want your business in the Google 3 Pack! It is also known as Google Maps, Google Local Pack, and the Snack Pack! Below is an example of what the Google 3 Pack looks like!

Nearly all searches on Google have local intent. This means that the first three businesses that pop up in Google search results are local businesses. Most people do not scroll past the first three results. In that case, your goal is to get into that Google 3 Pack! A question most asked in this industry is, Where is the best place to hide a dead body? 

Can you guess? 

The best place is on the second page of the search results because nobody looks there! You do not want your website to show up on the second page of results. The takeaway is to make sure your business information is listed on numerous online directories, make sure your information is correct across the board, and that your information is up-to-date.

2. Be Active on Social Media 

There are so many benefits to having a social media account for your business! I could go on for hours about why your business needs a social media account. If you already have some type of social media account, then you need to be more active on it and create a consistent posting schedule. One of the most important things to remember about your business is to make sure that you are where your customers are. Read that again. If your customers are on social media, then you need to be on social media. But let’s be real, it is absolutely ridiculous to think that your customers are not on social media. More than 4 out of 5 Americans have a social media account, which might include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube. The easier that you make it for your customers to see you, the more your business will be noticed. 

By sporting your company on social media, you are increasing your brand awareness. People are not on social media to connect with brands that they already know. People are always looking for other businesses to connect with, at least that’s what 60% of Instagram users say! Your social media pages are also establishing your brand as a credible leader. You want your company to be known as the “go-to source of information” on topics that explore your business niche. 

If you still do not think that your social media is important, then hear me out! It is proven that social media will increase your website traffic, help generate leads, and boost sales as long as you have your website link on your social media pages. Social media also gives businesses the opportunity to partner with influencers, which would expand beyond their “normal” audience. Utilizing those social media posts and ads are a simple way to drive traffic to your site. 

What’s interesting to us is that nearly 71% of small business owners manage their own digital marketing. That is a large percentage of small business owners. Are you a part of that statistic? Oftentimes small business owners have so much on their plate that it can be easy to lose sight of their social media and neglect the one thing that really matters. Do you think you are holding yourself back from having a successful business? Social media is so important to maintain because your business can not move forward without it. You need to constantly be inviting more people to explore it. You’ll notice that once you have a solid and active presence on social media, you will start to attract more people to your website.

If you are too tied up in your business to worry about online listings or keeping up with all your social media platforms, then don’t worry! All exceptional web hosting providers offer a marketing and online presence package that will cover online directories, social media, and much more! Basically, they do all of the difficult stuff for you. If you are a business owner with little time on your hands, it is definitely worth looking in to.

3. Leave a POSITIVE First Impression: Have a Website

Whether you recognize it or not, we are always forming first impressions of the people around us. First impressions are so important because they make or break potential friendships, relationships, clients, customers, interviews and so much more. Think of your website as your chance at forming that first impression with the world. Did you know that 75% of consumers admit to judging companies without a website? Consumers are literally forming their first impression of a company based on whether or not they have a website! If you do not have a website, you are neglecting the opportunity to grow and expand. If we were to stick with this “first impressions” metaphor, you would be leaving a sour taste in the mouth of the consumer. Unless you are completely okay with your business not growing, you need a website. 

Have you noticed thus far how each step ties back into having a website? That’s because your website is your home base! It is your most important marketing asset. Without one, it would be difficult to grow your business. In today’s modern world, people turn to Google to research the product they want before they purchase. In fact, 93% of business purchase decisions start with a Google search. If you already have a website, make sure your website is attractive enough so that somebody wants to stop and look at it. Those online directories that we talked about earlier will help your website appear at the top of the search results page.

A website builds trust and credibility with web users, it boosts sales, allows you to tell your story, creates your brand, and improves your chances of being discovered by new customers. 

Although having a website is extremely important, it does not mean that it will automatically bring paying customers to your door. It just improves your chances of drawing in new customers and gives you a platform to push your brand. Without a website, you cannot have an effective call-to-action. (Which, by the way, is SUPER important when getting people to buy your product). 

Want to know something interesting? There are over 40,000 online searches every second. When you consider that number, it is hard to believe that your website won’t be found online! Let’s look at some other statistics. Nearly 30% of consumers will not consider a business without a website. That means, if you did not have a website, 30% of people would not even consider buying from you! Did you also know that Americans spend an average of 23.6 hours a week online? Wait a second… The average American is spending almost an entire day online every week? Ask yourself: How in the world would consumers NOT find your website if you gave them the tools to find it? Consumers expect companies to have an online presence. Fulfill that expectation and grow your business while you’re at it.

4. Ask for Reviews 

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that online reviews are hard to get. What’s even more difficult to get? …Good reviews. The ironic thing is that reviews are essential for your online business. So… if reviews are hard to get, then how does a business go about getting them? 

Studies show that 70 to 80% of people research a company online before making a purchase. Studies also show that nearly 9 out of 10 consumers think that online reviews are important. This means that people will first look at reviews when researching a product online. Reviews, whether good or poor, have a way of spreading quickly to consumers. Reviews are important because you need them to get ratings. 

There are countless other reasons why reviews are important. First of all, reviews are GREAT for social proof. People are more likely to purchase a product if it has been publicly decided that buying that product was a good idea. Social proof has proven to impact sales. In fact, most people read about 7 to 10 reviews before they make a purchase. Reviews make your business more visible, they help build trust, expand the conversation to other social media outlets, aid in consumer decision making, and give you an easy way to start a conversation with a customer about their experience. 

You might be thinking, “What if I already have a website and I’m struggling to get online reviews?” Do not worry. As mentioned at the beginning of this step, getting reviews can be hard. But, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews! Physically asking someone to write a review can go a long way. The truth is, most people are happy to leave a review if you ask them to. Unless a customer had a beyond “normal” experience (meaning an incredible or terrible experience) at a business, they do not think to write one. Do you think about leaving a review for every business you have ever been to? I would venture to say no, but you may think differently. All it takes is a little push and you will have online reviews coming in no time. 

If you don’t feel comfortable asking your customers directly, then encourage them at the bottom of their receipt or through an email. You can also gain reviews by spreading positive things about your business through word of mouth. As we all know, word of mouth travels just as quickly. 

Encouraging consumers to review your business will help expand your company’s reach! Another way to keep those reviews coming is to always respond to them. It does not matter if the customer tore your business apart by detailing their terrible experience or if they wrote a glowing review; it is so important that you respond. If someone left you a good review and you ignored it, that is the equivalent of ignoring someone attempting to give you a high five! That would not be cool, AT ALL!

Here is what you need to know: A 1-star increase results in approximately 9% annual revenue increase. Another interesting fact is that two-thirds of all purchases are made based on what people have read online. So…basically your sales will increase with more positive reviews. Remember, reviews are also FREE Marketing. Cherish your reviews and make your customers feel valued by always responding! They took the time to write it, so don’t leave them hanging!

Sit back and think about your business and the four secrets that I have just shared with you. Do you think your company’s Curb Appeal is as good as it could be? Are you currently implementing any one of these areas into your business’s online presence? 

If you are not actively using these steps to better your online presence, do you now realize why it is important that you need to? Think about what you have done for your website in the past and why it has not been working for you. 

You’ll notice that this whole process is interconnected. When you have an outstanding online presence, your business will be positively impacted in so many different ways. Your online presence is the most important element of a successful business. Reconsider those four secrets that I shared with you. If you can accurately list your business information, be active on social media, leave a positive first impression with your website, and ask for reviews, then you are headed in a great direction.

By investing in your company’s Curb Appeal, you are setting yourself up to grow and expand in ways that you may have never imagined! You are not only doing yourself a favor, but you are also doing your customers a favor. Success takes patience. Your business will not grow and expand overnight. By following these four steps, you are setting yourself up to improve your business and accepting the change that comes with it. Be willing to work hard for that success. It will come sooner than you think. 

How to Choose the Best Open Source Software

Open source software

Open source software can bring many benefits to businesses.

The term “open source” refers to software that is designed and built to be publicly available, so that people may use, modify or share it as needed. This means that anyone can access and modify the source code – the engine room of the software.

One of the big advantages that draws people to open source software is that it is free. If I can use LibreOffice to create documents and presentations for free, why should I pay for Microsoft Office?

There are actually several advantages and disadvantages to using open source software in your business, so it’s important to weigh these up. If you’re making the decision to go with open source software, do so knowing how to make the best choices. Let’s take a closer look:

Free download: Get our checklist for choosing open source software

The risks and advantages of open source software

Advantages of open source software

  • There are usually no or very few licensing fees. Open source software can also be installed on unlimited machines or devices, as opposed to limits set by licensing agreements.
  • Saves companies time and money by providing software that is ready to use. (You don’t have to spend months creating a proprietary code).
  • Open source means many experienced people have had access to code the software and fix bugs. This can also mean rapid fixes if anything goes wrong – you don’t have to wait for the next release from a software company.
  • You can customize open source software for your own needs. For example, you might create your own plugins or mix and match features to suit.
  • It tends to have good longevity. Anyone can access it so it is evolving continuously to suit current conditions.
  • Any security issues tend to be fixed promptly due to so many people being available to take care of them. (Sometimes you will wait a long time for vulnerabilities in licensed software to be fixed).
Open source software

Disadvantages of open source software

  • Sometimes the GUI (Graphical User Interface – the bit you use on the front-end) is not particularly user-friendly. Many open source software focus on getting some kind of big job done, not so much on the interface.
  • You probably won’t have great support. Licensed softwares often have 24/7 support desks in case you have the need. There are forums for open source software which can be very helpful, but you’re still going to wait.
  • With anyone able to access the source code, there is a chance that some people with malicious intentions might do so, creating security vulnerabilities.
  • If you are reliant on open source software and there is a problem that needs immediate fixing, you may find that you need to pay considerable amounts to developers to get the issue fixed yourself.

Open source software can be a time and money saver, but not without potential risk Click To Tweet

Tips for choosing open source software

If you’ve decided to go for open source software, or any other kind of software, the first thing we would do is make a list of all of your requirements that need to be met. This will help you to choose or eliminate options. Does it already have, or can you add the features that you need?

Once you have a short list of open source software options, here are a few things we would look for:

The track record or reputation of whoever is behind it

What do reviews say about the software? Who founded it and what is their background? Do they have a good track record for keeping open source projects going?

Sometimes people offload their open source projects or simply cease to work on them. That might be fine with you if you have the expertise to keep it going, but you will probably find all upkeep is now on you.

One clue that the software will probably be available and maintained into the future is if a company has developed a tool for in-house use, then opened it up. If they’re still using it in-house, then it’s probably here for the longer-term.

The security protocols and vulnerabilities

Look for regular updates to the software – what version is running and how long has it been going? Look for the last stable version. There is virtually no software that is without bugs, so if Version 1.0 is still in use a few months after launch, there’s a good chance that issues aren’t being picked up, or at least aren’t being fixed.

You’re looking for clear evidence of ongoing effort, that is, unless you’re quite happy to pick up the package as-is and deal with any bugs in-house. Given that you can access the source code, this option is available to you.

Your company has the skill set to deploy and maintain the software

One of the cons of open source software is that you don’t usually have readily-available support. You can turn to forums, but there is no one there waiting to answer support questions, unlike licensed, proprietary software.

This means that open source software is best deployed in a company that has the available skill set to maintain it themselves. What if you were reliant on the software for critical activities in your business? You need to have any issues fixed as soon as possible.

There are active communities

If a software is popular and has active communities around it, then it will be more likely that it is maintained. You’ll find that if it’s not the original developers, other groups of core users will take over maintenance.

You’re looking for regular contributors – if the software has not been updated in a long time, then there’s a good chance it’s about to die.

An active support community is also a very good sign. Look at popular open source software such as WordPress (which now powers at least 30% of websites) – there are huge communities around it and constant flow of information. While your choice of software might not be as big, you still need to see an engaged community.

Good documentation and clean coding

It’s always helpful to have clear documentation to help with implementing and maintaining the software. Documentation is also a good sign that the software project is being taken seriously and is intended to continue.

You should also examine the code base for the software (or get someone with the right experience to check it). You’re looking for clean coding that has clearly been well thought-out. This is a good indication that seasoned professionals are behind the software and that it has the potential to be maintained in-house.

Open source software

Have an open source policy

If your company is going to use open source software, it’s a good idea to implement an open source policy. This helps to ensure that everyone understands how and when open source software is to be used. Having a policy helps you to maximize the benefits of open source software by enabling employees to use it effectively.

Your policy for open source software should also tackle how you will minimize any associated risk. Companies are often concerned with the implications, should anything go wrong with the software. You might include a risk assessment, using some of the key disadvantages outlined here as a starting point.

You should also clearly identify key stakeholders and outline your strategy for how open source software is selected, used and maintained. Make sure you have buy-in from all key stakeholders.

Get our checklist for choosing open source software here

Final thoughts

Open source software can be a real gift to businesses, helping them to save into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a whole lot of time on proprietary development. Open source gives you access to all sorts of features and to improvements made by developers from all over the world.

Of course, the nature of open source means that it also comes with risks. It’s important to weigh up the risks and benefits, and establish criteria for assessing possible software choices. Lastly, establish a policy for open source software in your company. This helps to ensure orderly selection, implementation and maintenance.

Networking Champions Do This. Do You?

Networking-Champions

Here’s a networking tip for when you’re out and about spreading the word about your new business. Instead of chatting briefly and exchanging business cards, ask this, “If I were talking to someone who needed your services, what should I say to them?” This gives them the opportunity to give you their 30 second commercial touting their business. Everyone loves to talk about themselves and their business.

Ask for ten of their business cards

Then ask them for 10 of their business cards instead of one. Why? Because it says to them that you’re interested in networking with them, instead of just marketing to them directly – like every other sales rep they’ve ever met. It sets you apart.

Reaching their sphere of influence

When you think about it, everyone has a sphere of influence. When you say word of mouth is the best way to grow your business, how do you get that prospect or client to spread the word about your business? It all starts by showing an interest in their business, providing solutions that help them, and above all – great customer service.

They just said, YES

You’ll never be able to reach their sphere of influence on your own. Ask them for referrals (their sphere of influence) immediately after the sale. They’ve just said YES to your product or service. They know, like and trust you. Take it one step further. Ask them to let the person they just referred to you know that you’ll be calling.

Ask for the referral

All sales reps know that you have to ask for the sale. The same principle applies in networking – you have to ask for the referral.

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