Mobile AppsProductivityTechnology

Mobile apps can make your life easier in a lot of ways.  Here are ten great apps I personally use to simplify and improve my life.

1. Feedly

feedly logo

Feedly is a news aggregator.  That means it allows you to see all the articles related to different topics or from different sources all in one place.  We’ve got ours set up to show us all the things related to Blogging, SEO, Social Media Marketing, etc.  Ultimately, which news aggregator you use is up to personal preference, but I find that Feedly is sleek and easy to use.  The fact that it’s also available on the web helps since I can always switch over to the desktop too.  The only downside is that since their logo is a rounded square with one corner missing, it drives me crazy.

2. Teams

Teams logo

Microsoft Teams is an alternative to texting, like Telegram, What’s App, and all of those, but in addition to chatting with contacts or groups of contacts, you can also set up teams where people can post and reply to updates and attach files.

3. Everhour

Everhour logo

Time tracking is obviously important.  Everhour makes the process simple and straightforward.  They have a free plan that allows up to 5 users though if you need more users or integrations you’ll have to go with one of their premium plans.  It works in your browser, as a browser extension, and as a mobile app, which means that you can track your time while you’re in or out of the office with a few clicks or taps.

4. 1Password

1Password logo

Did you forget your password again.  Well, it’s not too hard to remember it.  It’s one of the 1,000,000 passwords you use so that should be easy to remember.  Or you could just use 1Password.  If your phone has fingerprint detection capabilities you can fill in all your passwords just with your fingerprint.  And since you don’t have to worry about remembering your passwords (except for your 1password password.  Don’t lose that one.) you can go with those passwords that were written by 10000 monkeys on typewriters.

5. Kitchen Stories

Kitchen Stories logo

Kitchen stories is a cooking app with a major advantage.  In addition to the free recipes  in the app and added to it by users, it also includes free instructional videos on various cooking techniques making it easy to follow along while you cook.  I used it to learn how to make the perfect poached egg and now my eggs benedict is to die for.

6. Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive

Google Drive logoDropbox logoOneDrive logo

It’s hard to pick a favourite between the big three in cloud storage and file sharing.  Dropbox has the least free storage but it still has its benefits.  It would be a lot longer of a blog post if I went into which one you should go with and why.  I just think you should go with at least one of them.  That way you can easily access important files on any of your devices.

7. Overcast

Overcast logo

Apple’s built in podcast app is alright, I guess.  But Overcast is where it’s at.  It’s ridiculously easy to sort podcasts from newest to oldest, oldest to newest, or even sort the unplayed episodes one way and the other episodes another.  More importantly, since Apple removed their playlist feature, it’s easy to create playlists and smart playlists for yourself.  It’s only for IOS, but there are free apps out there that do similar things for Android if you can’t stand android’s built in podcast player.

8. Duolingo

Duolingo logo

I’m probably not telling you anything new for this one, but Duolingo is definitely one of the most fun ways to learn a language.  I’ve been doing their Russian course and I’ll probably try out their new Latin course too.  If you haven’t heard about Duolingo before, they are

9. Scannable

Scannable logo

A few years ago, the scanner attached to my printer stopped working.  While trying to repair it I discovered Scannable.  To this day, my printer’s scanner still doesn’t work.  Scannable is an app that allows you to scan documents using your phone’s camera.  You’d expect a low-quality scan, but I’ve been able to get better quality scans using Scannable than I get from the office printer.

10. Every Dollar

Every Dollar logo

My wife got me hooked on budgeting.  Our life is so much easier to manage now that we’ve budgeted it.  The app we used to help us manage that budget is Every Dollar.  If you’ve heard of Dave Ramsey, you’ve probably heard of Every Dollar since it’s his app.  It’s great.  It’s easier to use and gives a clearer picture of your budget in my opinion than Intuit’s Mint which is the most popular budgeting app.

 

By the way, the answer to the riddle in my last post Game-ing the System is: The man had the hiccups.  So the bartender pulled out the gun to scare his hiccups away.

ProductivitySelf-ImprovementUncategorized

Habits to keep you organized at work

A tidy work place not only looks good but actually helps you stay focused and productive. We’ve all spent time looking for things that get lost in the mess, so keeping a tidy desk will help reduce clutter which in turn reduces stress. Did you know that a clean desk actually saves you time, spurs on creativity and communicates professionalism. That’s right, it might actually have more of a benefit than just looking neat. These are some ways I like to stay tidy in the workplace.

What I organize constantly:

My deskDesk

I have a specific place for my bags when I come into the office at the beginning of the day. I keep one water bottle or glass of water on my desk, during the day, there’s no need for more than that really (unless I’m drinking coffee, then you can find my coffee cup as well.) I keep only one pen, and one highlighter along with my daily planner on my desk. Anything that comes out of my desk goes back right after I’m finished with it. My biggest tip is to clean off your desk at the end of the day so you have a fresh start the next morning. Keeping only the things you need on your desk eliminates unnecessary clutter.

 

 

My daily planner

I like my day to be planned out in front of me on paper. Once a task is completed I check it off or highlight it. This helps me balance my work load throughout the day. At the end of the week I make a plan for the next week (so I don’t forget tasks over the weekend) and when I come in on Monday I eliminate the ‘Monday fog’ and have my day already planned for myself. I update my planner frequently during the week and balance out my work load if any new tasks arise.

My Computercomputer

Instead of keeping all tabs and programs open, I like to filter through the things I am absolutely finished with, save and close them. If I have a few things on the go I simply minimize the programs until I am actually working on them. This way I don’t tempt myself to jump back and forth between projects. But can focus on one thing at a time and close projects when they are completed. I go through my emails/voicemails (like most people) at the beginning of the day and throughout the day I reply to the ones that require my attention as well as delete any junk mail that may come through.

 

What I organize occasionally:

Files

My whiteboard

I have a whiteboard on the wall by my desk and this is where I jot down things that I need to look at daily. I don’t update this as often as some things are analytics, strategies and reminders. I do however make sure that when I jot down things on my whiteboard, since they will be there for a while, that I keep it looking neat and legible.

Computer Files

This is something I will admit that I need to be more organized with. I have a tendency to save documents or pictures in the ‘all files’ or ‘all pictures’ category. I do however still go through and move files and pictures into their correct places. Just like your paper documents this keeps the clutter out of your computer files.

Desk Drawers

Desk drawers are sometimes a dangerous place! If you want something off your desk it gets thrown into a drawer as fast as possible, out of sight out of mind right! Cleaning out your drawers may be more rewarding than you think! You may find your favorite pen that you were sure was lost to the darkness behind your desk. I’m curious what the craziest thing was that you found in your desk drawer you didn’t even know was there!

Organization bonus:

Since I am the social media specialist at the office, I definitely organize my social media accounts. Going through your social media and cleaning up old tweets, Facebook posts or Instagram photos is a great habit to get into. Keeps your accounts looking fresh and professional. Once a year I go through the accounts that I follow, and I unfollow accounts that no longer serve purpose to me, are spam, or accounts that hinder my mental well being.

 

Share some things you like to do to keep organized or if you have some tips for me leave a comment below!

CommunicationSelf-Improvement

What place do personal beliefs and opinions have in an office?  On the one hand, conversations around the water-cooler about politics or religion can lead to tense working relationships to say the least.  On the other hand, conversations about the weather aren’t conducive to building strong friendships.  The heated nature of political and religious discussions arises because those beliefs are fundamental to who we are.  We have an emotional investment in them and when the topics come up we start speaking with our emotions.  So instead we discuss the regular small-talk and keep our work-life and our private-life as far away from each other as possible.

Nuclear Explosion
Don’t let your workplace conversations turn into this…

Now, personally, I think this is a fine status-quo for a large company.  Each employee represents the company first and foremost.  You aren’t going to be friends with the CEO so the office small-talk when you’re stuck in an elevator with him makes sense.  But I’m not so sure it’s the best way for a smaller business.  The biggest advantage of a small business is the personal connection between the company and the customer.  The most important tool in building that personal connection?  Seeming like a person.

The human connection is an amazing asset for small businesses, but it doesn’t come out of thin air.  It comes from building friendships between you and your coworkers and between you and the customer.

 

Donair
Now I’ve done it. Now I want a donair,

When I go to a big box retailer I’m not there to say hi to any of the staff, I’m there to get what I want and get out as quickly as possible, I’m polite to the staff of course but I don’t want to hear their life stories.  But when I go to a small family-run business like my local donair restaurant I want to know if the owner’s car got fixed, how is kids are doing, if his wife got back from her trip, etc.  Sometimes it seems I stop in because I want to catch up, rather than because I really want a donair.  Why?  Because, since he doesn’t have to represent a faceless corporation, he’s free to chat about life while he prepares my donair and to infuse his workplace behaviour with his personality.

Not to blow our own horn, but Panda Rose is another great example of that personal connection.  The other week I was sitting at my desk when the boss came over and said, “I need to see you in my office.”  A single sentence that is able to put the fear of God into any employee.  When he said it to me all I could think was, “What have I done now…”  I walked into his office, gingerly sat down in the chair facing him, and prepared myself for the worst.  “I need your help finding a Catholic priest to bless our offices.”

It goes without saying that I was taken aback ever so slightly.  This wasn’t quite the phrase I was bracing myself for.  But I rallied myself sufficiently to manage a simple, “Uh… what?”

Panda Rose Office Blessing
Even the server room got a blessing.

Because our office is such a tight-knit community, the boss knows that I’m Catholic.  We’ve seen each other at different Catholic events and I met him through a mutual Catholic friend of ours.  He also knows that I’m good friends with a lot of Catholic priests in the area.  So when he wanted to get a Catholic priest to bless our offices, he figured he could let me handle it.  I got my parish priest to drop by and bless the offices and as you can see, things went very well.

How did this happen?  Because in our office environment we’re comfortable talking about our opinions and beliefs.  They don’t dominate the discussion, and it’s never in an argumentative or confrontational way, but because we know we can have conversations on the stereotypical taboo workplace topics we’re able to understand each other and work as a team better than if we felt we had to walk on eggshells when talking about our personal lives.

One important thing to emphasize is that I’m not telling you to be obnoxious about your beliefs.  Don’t yell at your coworkers because they voted for someone else.  Don’t make every single conversation about your religion.  Don’t be annoying about it.  What I am saying is that if you are able to have friendly conversations about controversial issues where both you and your coworker walk away understanding each other better, you’ve strengthened your team, not hurt it.

Social MediaTechnologyUncategorized

geometric panda head

The office has two 3D printers, not just any 3D printers, these were built by our CEO himself. We decided we wanted to print everything we could think of. We wanted to see how the printers would hold up, how successful the outcome was and what kind of things we could make!

A Phone Stand

Phone standphone stand with phone

The phone stand took a total of 6 hours to print. This is super functional if you are a frequent Facetimer and constantly find yourself propping your phone on a pillow. You can use it to watch movies on your phone, or keep your phone in a super functional position while at your computer.

Geometric Wall Hanging

geometric panda head

The sky’s the limit when it comes to 3D printing. Next we printed a cool decoration to add some life to the office. This also took a total of 6 hours to print. If you’re looking to add decorations to your house 3D printers are an amazing tool, you can print out exactly what you like, the color and size, depending how big the printer is. Which brings me right into our next print job.

Dog Figurine

dog figurine Dog figurine

This one quickly became a favorite. Anyone would love having a super cute dog to look at while you work! If you’re not a dog person, a cat can be printed up just as easily and as cute. Even though it may not look like it, the dog is actually quite small for size, standing only a little taller than the phone stand, it fits nicely into anyone’s hand, even small children.

A Cookie Cutter

cookie cutter

The cookie cutter has been printed many times by us before and for good reasons! It takes about the same time as the others to print, and is a great gift to give to others. If you’re wondering if we’ve tried it out, we have in fact and it worked just as expected, perfect. The last, but definitely not least print job is by far the most ridiculously fun.

Finger Soccer

finger soccer

Yes, you can in fact 3D print games! Who would have thought? While a tournament has yet to be played we pulled the finger soccer fresh off the printer today just to get amazing pictures of it. It’s super fun and comical.

3D printers have so many uses, from pure entertainment, to super handy, to adding life to your office. Next to be printed is Barbie furniture, more pandas, of course and definitely more games. We are proud to say the printers haven’t had trouble, yet (the Barbie furniture itself will test new limits on the printers) and the outcome of each job was better than expected. Follow us along on Facebook and Instagram  to see new projects and how our journey continues.

BloggingEducationMarketingSEOUncategorizedWeb Development

Today when people are searching for your business they are mainly going to their phones or computers to find you. Google is the biggest search engine out there, and if you aren’t on board, people may be missing you. Starting a Google My Business account or optimizing your existing one is vitally important for your business and how it appears in searches.

Setting Up a Google My Business Account

Google My Business listings

If you haven’t set up a Google My Business (GMB) account yet, you’ve got one mission for today…set up a GMB account! No seriously, it may seem like just another place to add your business to but this one is important and here’s why. When people are searching for a product or service they jump onto Google. For example, searching “office supplies” pulls up the Google accounts of places that offer these supplies. This image is what your GMB account will show up like. You will see the rating of your business, location, some images and much more as you go in further. If you have a good GMB account, this may even show up before your website listing. The initial set up is straight forward, but it’s the actions you take in each of those steps and after your account is set up that makes or breaks your account.

Images Are Everything

images are everything

When you have the option to add pictures of your business, always, always do it. You don’t want to resort to stock images because Google will find them and remove them. Take this chance to show off your business, inside and out. Take multiple pictures of the front and inside of your building. People feel comfortable when they can see different aspects of your business. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer either. Take clear, well lit images of the first place you see when you walk in, the staff and definitely your products. Don’t make people feel like they are going on a blind date when they are coming to you. If a business adds stock images as their product photos or avoids images of their building, I usually question why their products weren’t deemed “good enough” to make it to the front page. Or what the building looks like so I wont drive past, or wonder if I’m at the right address. Including these images shows you are proud of your work and prepared. Add pictures of the people working there, recognizing a face when walking into a business, even if it’s just from a picture, helps puts people at ease and builds trust.

Take advantages Of Features

using features

Just recently, Google made it available to get a short name for your business. Creating a short name makes it easier for people to send links to others to leave a review. When adding a logo to your profile be sure corners aren’t being cut off and it is a good quality image, a square usually works best. Choose a header that represents your business well and be creative when writing your business description. Please don’t copy and paste directly from your website, make your description unique.

Post regularly

Post regularly

Be active on your Google My Business account, post every week about new features or products. Bring to life aspects of your business that go unnoticed. Posts will expire so keep your account updated for the best reach. Regularly check your categories because they are often updated and new categories are added that you may want to be found under.

Reviews

reviews

Reviews aren’t as scary as they seem. We have an entire blog post about how to manage bad reviews. So when it comes to Google reviews, don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave a review after their visit. It’s a great way to hear about their experience and gain exposure! Although in the event that a bad review pops up, don’t take it personally. Be professional, address the issue, create a solution, if it hasn’t been solved already, and apologize for their experience. Keeping emotions out of it is the best way to professionally solve a problem. Since you can’t control the actions of others, it starts with you. Don’t become aggressive or invalidate their experience. Accept it and always apologize, then respond to them in a positive way. This is important. Always respond to reviews, good or bad, in a positive manner. Recognize that some bad reviews are good. Many people want to look at bad reviews just like they want to look at good reviews. They take note of how you responded and what your solution was to the problem.

Creating a Google My Business account increases the amount of people you reach. It helps give more information about who you are and what you do. It encourages people to find you in other areas, like Facebook or maps. You don’t want to skip on an opportunity for people to see your business and to gain more customers.

EducationMarketingSelf-ImprovementUncategorized

Client Relationships

Have you ever bought from a business knowing full well that you could go somewhere else and get a better price? Some people have, but why?

Maybe it’s that they’re closer to your business, or the quality of the product, but the main reason people keep coming back is because of the relationship you have with the staff, manager, or owner. Sometimes companies buy from other companies because there’s a history between them. Maybe it’s a personal friend you want to support. But most likely, it’s because they have great customer service. Client relationships are valuable for your business and your customers. In fact, avoiding taking an interest in your clients or taking too much interest can hurt your business as much as a poor product.

Learn your customers

Client Relationships

Getting to know your customers helps you get to know more about their business, why they buy your product, and their buying habits. This helps you anticipate their needs and fulfill them. But on a deeper level, learn the person. Learn their interests, if they have a family, and how they got into the business in the first place. This helps you leave a lasting impact on them. I’ll give you a story of how asking about people and their lives leaves people feeling valued and wanting to come back.

I used to always go into the bank to do all my business, walk up and talk to a teller instead of stop at a machine and tap a screen. The one particular teller began to recognize me every time I came in. She recognized my mom and sister and took an interest in their lives as well as my own. This lady would ask about trips we were taking, offered places my (fresh out of high school) sister could stay as she traveled abroad. This teller became the person we all looked forward to talking with when we went in to do business. Before leaving she would always ask us to say hi to the rest of the family and knew us by name.

She started with small personal conversations, asking about our family, what we do for a job and how we like doing it etc. I’m not necessarily saying offer your home to anyone who walks into your shop or even at all, but you may share similar interests that you never knew about. You my gain a golfing buddy or a fellow sports fan of your favorite team. Building trust with customers is so important, you can easily ask questions about their life, go beyond the small talk, and bringing up the weather. That’s how you become familiar with clients but never create a relationship. 

Client loyalty

Shaking hands

These two seem to go hand in hand. If you invest time into the clients that walk through the door they will keep coming back. In a marketplace where your customer competition is high it’s vital to rise above the rest and show amazing customer service. Don’t promise too high and deliver low.

Recognize the people who buy from you, and remember things about them. If a person buys three cans of paint and is telling you about a project they are working on. Remember it and ask them how it turned out the next time you see them. As easy as it is to walk to the ATM machine, I preferred to go to a teller because of the positive experience I had. If you give this to your customers they will chose to buy from your flower shop instead of buying at a Walmart, or stop at your coffee shop instead of Starbucks.

Angry customers tell their friends

Angry Customer

People don’t generally say anything if they are satisfied. That’s because they aren’t blown away if their expectations are met. But if they are mistreated, the word will likely spread fast. If someone has a bad experience they will tell friends and family. They don’t want others wasting time and money if they are getting mistreated or their needs won’t be met.

 

Client relationships are extremely important when running a business. Building trust and community with your customers will keep people coming back and make it easier to get new work.

 

BloggingMarketingProductivitySecurity & PrivacySelf-ImprovementSocial MediaUncategorized

screen time

Social media nowadays is more than just a social network. It is used as a tool for businesses and a way to communicate with others. Although sometimes, we can get too caught up in the scrolling world that we don’t realize how it could be affecting our well being, relationships and even work.

As a digital marketing specialist I work with various social media platforms every day. It’s my job to scroll, to build community and relationships with people. Social media is a business tool so deleting it just isn’t an option… or is it?

The answer is yes. Yes, you can delete social media and you know why? Because it’s good for you.

community

 

The average person will spend nearly two hours a day on social media.

Want to to see if you fit the average? Take a look at your Screen Time feature (if you have an iPhone.) The results will likely surprise you. You can see which categories you spend the most time on. Entertainment, productivity, social networking etc. You can also see how many notifications you get a day and how many times you pick up your device. As someone who works on social media for work, my times may be a bit above average but I want to give you a look at what my statistics look like.

Average Screen time per day: 4 hours 33 minutes

Social networking (you will be knocked off your feet here) 24 *hours* 20 minutes! (Time for a social media detox!)

Pickups: 92 per day

Notifications: 59 per day

This is a lot of phone time! Most of it is social networking.

So here’s why it’s so important to take some time away from social media, even if you use it as a business tool. And some tips to get around the business aspect of it to put your mind at ease when you step away.

 

1. Social media tends to make you focus on others more than yourself

You mindlessly scroll, coming across a picture of how your co-worker bought a new car, or that your friends went out and had sushi on Saturday night. Are these things you really need to know about? No, not really. It’s entertaining, for sure. But this tends to just make you more concerned with what others are doing with their lives, rather than what you are doing with yours. Weekends spent working towards your personal, or business goals may not be glamorous or Instagram worthy. But it’s good for you. Taking the time away from social media means that you have to go out of your way to find out about other peoples lives. Its not just information accessibly to you. So if you need to know what others are doing you will have to be intentional.

private

2. Too public

Privacy has gone out the window, that is usually when it comes to social media. Of course as a business, keeping people in the loop about new offers or features you offer is key to your account and potential leads. But are you being too public with your personal account? Or finding it draining when others are too public with their lives? This could be a sign that you need to take a step away from the screen. Realigning what is appropriate to post on social media platforms and what is private to you or your family sometimes comes from taking a step away and realizing that you can still have a good time, without having to post about it or update your Facebook status.

3. Distorted version of reality

I can tell you that many accounts you follow on Instagram or Facebook are not all they say they are. Not that they are lying to you with their words, but sometimes it can be hard to differentiate whats real and whats not in an image. You see it in magazines, on billboards, TV ads and so many more places, especially on your own device. With the apps available to literally anyone, you can’t trust what is real or not. I can make the trees in the fall look more radiant than they actually are, my skin more glowing, even make water move in a still image. False images are thrown to you left and right and sometimes it’s exhausting. Even if you don’t realize it.

photoshop

4. Live in the moment

Ever been to a wedding and can’t actually see the beautiful bride because of all the phones popping up all over the place? Cellphones have actually changed how professional photographers do their job. Some couples have asked that people put their phones in a basket because the photographer won’t be able to get beautiful pictures without arms stretched all over the isle trying to get pictures or live videos for the world to see. We have sometimes forgotten how to truly live in the moment. Taking a social media detox will make events or scenery more fulfilling for you. Try going outdoors for a hike and just breathe in the fresh air, take in the moment.

Resist the temptation to pull out your phone to document the event or share it with your friends. Do it for you.

you are here

5. Free up your time

Now that your phone doesn’t have 410 notifications (okay maybe that an exaggeration) a day from Facebook or Twitter what do you do with all your free time? You can read a book, try yoga, go for a long walk with your dog… the possibilities are endless. You may even notice your energy go up, with removing yourself from comparison and false reality.

 

Quick tips to take a break from social media if you need it for work:

  • Get a scheduling app. Apps like Buffer or Tailwind can schedule your content for you if you need to be on top of posting for your business. Put in a bit extra time to retrieve content and caption your posts. Schedule them for times that suit your audience, simple as that!
  • Only delete your personal account to cut down on time you spend endlessly scrolling on the platform. Restrict your time limits to only work hours or only to answer messages or comments. (check in once a day for only a few minutes and avoid going into the feed. Only check notifications or places that actually need your attention.)
  • Hire someone to manage your social media accounts for you, so your account is still active even if you aren’t. This will make it easier if you want to make it a routine to get unconnected with the digital world more often.

social media

Taking a digital detox (more specifically social media) has multiple benefits to your personal well being.  The world will not end if you don’t upload a picture of your food. Allow yourself to step away from time to time. It’s becoming more and more important as social media grows to set boundaries with what’s private and what’s public. Start with one day, then a weekend, and adjust accordingly. Some can go a month, while for others, a day is just as refreshing.

 

If you are looking for someone to manage social media for your business, send us an email or call us at 780-652-1190

Uncategorized

Virtual Reality

Today, virtual reality is used for many things, most commonly in the gaming industry. Although that may be the most popular way to use those fun goggles, there’s many ways that common business are utilizing them as well.

You walk past the Microsoft Store in the mall. People are crowded around a person wearing big goggles. They attract attention as they swat around in the air randomly. If it’s the first time you’ve seen this, you may be confused, thinking they are crazy or totally intrigued! But if you’ve seen this before, you might already know it’s Virtual Reality! How does such an advanced tool that seems only practical for gaming apply to common businesses?

Here’s some ways your business can benefit from virtual reality other than games. Don’t worry it will still be loads of fun!

Kitchen

Try before you buy

For example; if you are a hardware store, many people come looking for things to upgrade their home. Sometimes it’s small things for regular maintenance. Other times its a total transformation to their home. Customers can design their bathroom or kitchen exactly the way they want it and use virtual reality to test out their new design.

resort

Promoting tourism

Many Travel agencies are using VR as a way for clients to virtually experience their vacation before they even step out of the office. Viewers can walk the along pathways in British Columbia with a new VR experience called “Wild Within.” You can also add virtual reality to hotel or resort bookings customers can walk through the lobby and even tour a room to seal the deal with their bookings.

Audi

New spin on traditional sales

In the business of selling cars? Why not offer your customers a virtual reality experience to try out vehicles not yet available at the dealership. Promote new features and upcoming looks, so customers can see their dream car in “reality.” Automakers are looking to VR to attract customers, increase time spent at the dealership and to promote car sales. In a Audi dealership in London, 50 percent of customers within the first year of using VR experience, pilot ordered vehicles without customers having a physical test drive, basing their purchase upon their virtual experience.

Safety Training

Virtual Reality has even become valuable on the factory floor. Training employees on forklift safety using VR has many benefits. It’s a safe environment for employees to gain hands on training without the risk of injury or property/equipment damage. While virtual reality may seem costly, it saves time and money on in person training, repairs, insurance claims and liabilities.

virtual reality

Virtual Reality is a fun tool to promote your business and engage with your customers on a whole new level. It is widely used for gaming but has so many more features to offer small businesses as it becomes more mainstream.

 

Interested in Virtual Reality for your business? Send us an email

Uncategorized

We believe every business needs a mobile app in 2019. The number of users downloading apps is rapidly increasing and it’s not stopping anytime soon! We break down some reasons why your business needs an app, yes that’s right (even) YOURS!

Dog Walker

Sales Growth

Is your business selling something or offering a service to the public? Of course! A mobile app keeps users updated by directly sending them push notifications about new offers and promotions. Mobile payments are being used more frequently because of just how easy it is. Setting up mobile payments within your app offers customers another chance to buy from you and making it easy so they’ll want to come back again and again! Win!

iphone

 Audience Building

Once you download a shopping or service app, do you go back into your search engine and insert the web address every time you want to contact or buy from them? Of course not, that’s why you have the app. Users are more likely to click into your app when its right at their finger tips, that is the day and age after all. So it makes sense to set up an app where customers can easily contact you and search things within your app.

Dinner Table

Loyalty Growth

Asking customers to pay for a food order, movie tickets or a dinner table is asking them for loyalty and when its easy, they want to give it you. Keeping customers coming back is key to any business. You want customers to like the products or services you offer and refer your business to other people.

 

Mobile apps are generating business in so many new ways, the benefits are almost endless! Be sure to contact us at [email protected] with any questions about getting an app set up for you today!

 

Uncategorized

Do you ever feel at the end of the day you were super unproductive? That you really could’ve done more? More tasks could’ve been completed, more words written or you just didn’t feel entirely present that day. Don’t feel too bad, we’ve all been there. Here’s some hacks that will help you beat those days and become even more productive during the day.

Wake up earlier

If you haven’t heard it said already you’re hearing it now. Becoming an early riser is probably one of the most popular hacks to become more successful and make the most of your time. Successful people are often early risers. Start your day off the right way in the morning, enjoying the quiet and peacefulness is a great way to charge up for the day. It also ensures you will have time to eat a wholesome breakfast which is the most important meal of the day.

Notebook

Write down the 3 most important tasks for the day

Before you start working on anything in the morning, write down your three most important tasks for the day. Being specific with your description helps you manage your time wisely. Avoid being vague, use more than three words in your description. Saying something like “research printers” can easily allow you to get distracted and your search can become unproductive. Whereas saying something like “find and compare prices on printers” is more specific and clearly states what you are doing.

Use a password manager

Most of us are constantly on the internet during the day, which means that logins and passwords are frequently being used. Trying to remember all of them or digging through papers to find where you may have quickly jotted it down is definitely not time efficient. Use a password manager to keep all your logins and passwords in the same place. This makes them easy to find and input. It may seem like a waste of time transferring all your passwords but it saves time in the long run. You will no longer have to remember all of them or go through the process of resetting a password when you can’t remember one. Simple things like this make you more efficient during your day as well as keeping your information more secure and organized.

Set quarterly goals rather than yearly goals

Setting yearly goals can sometimes be tricky. Your business is changing every few months, thus making your goals tough to reach. Quarterly goals are easier to achieve and ensure you stay on track. Don’t get too carried away with how many goals you set, this can overwhelm you as you reach your “due date.” Instead set a few major or most important goals to keep you focused and preserve your energy for what’s most important as your business grows.

Understand the value of your time

As a business owner you take on a variety of tasks everyday. Some of which are your specialty and some that aren’t. If you have tasks that are better suited for an expert but you’re not prepared to hire an employee to do the job, consider outsourcing to a freelancer, contractor or other professional fitting for the job.

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Monitor and measure your activities

Keep track of ways you spend your time, limit areas that are not being as profitable or efficient as they could be. By continually analyzing your work you will avoid spending time on things that aren’t as profitable as they once were, and be able to determine which tasks are taking longer than usual. Some examples are:

  • Using Google Analytics – using this tool gives insight to what is effectively driving traffic to your website and what isn’t. If Facebook is generating more traffic than Twitter, more of your time should be spent on Facebook.
  •  Track your time – time yourself to see how long it takes to complete a project and if it could be taking up to much of your time that it’s no longer profitable. Seeing it this way may justify that you pass on the task to an employee, hire an employee or outsource it.

Finding some ways to manage your time will help make you more productive and therefore more profitable, which every business owner is looking for!

MarketingSocial MediaUncategorized

3 Reasons People Follow Your Social MEdia

Businesses of all kinds are finding their way to various social media platforms. I get asked a lot of the time how to increase following. While there are various “tips and tricks” for each platform, because they can not all be treated in the same manner, there is three basic reasons why people choose to follow a social media account.

Entertainment

People are seeking to be entertained. Whether you sell flooring, are wanting to become an influencer or selling homes, people are seeking the entertainment factor. People might not be interested in buying a home currently, but are more likely to follow a realtor’s account if they have an entertaining factor. A great local example of this is Tammy Colbow. She offers these fun and entertaining videos weekly to engage her followers. Gives them a reason to follow along and visit often. I often see her posts on Facebook and LinkedIn and I find myself stopping and watching without even thinking!

So entertain your audience. Find a way that feels most authentic to you and your company/brand and run with it. Maybe that means a weekly information video or memes (not too many!) or anything that resonates with your clientele. Maybe your clients are moms and you share interesting parenting articles with them.

 

Education

Think about some of the bloggers you may follow. Why do you follow them? Maybe it’s a food blogger sharing recipes you love or a fashion blogger showing you the latest trends? We are acquiring knowledge from these people. Knowledge about parenting, fashion , fitness, technology, business or otherwise. They know something about an interest we have and are following them to learn more.

A great example of this is Tony Robbins. He has 3.6 million people following him on Instagram. I don’t know the reason for everyone following him but I know a lot of people follow him to learn. They are following him to learn about business or personal development and love all the information he gives them.

 

Community

No matter if it’s online or in person, people are naturally designed to seek community. We want to be able to connect with other people, ideally like ourselves. Sometimes we find ourselves scrolling when we are waiting in lines or hanging out at home and we stop when we find ourselves looking at something we connect with. Or if you are apart of a Facebook group for example, you might find yourself regularly in there chatting it up with other people you “know”. Facebook’s algorithm shows the groups you are most active in and pages you converse with the most, because it shows you as part of the community.

Apply this to your own business social media strategies, but in a way that is true and organic to you and your brand, just like above for education. Think about your consumer and who they are. Aside from your company, what else might they be interested in? Connect with them on this level and ask them questions! This helps build the community, showing you care about them, but doubles as valuable customer data, so you can bring them the very best you have to offer that relates to them.

 

Ideally you will have a blend off all three of these things for a really solid account, but try to keep two in mind as you are posting. What value are you adding to your followers/potential clients.

 

Come check out all the entertaining, educational and community things we are doing at Panda Rose!

Panda Rose Instagram Panda Rose Facebook Panda Rose Twitter Panda Rose Linked In Panda Rose Alignable

 

MarketingSEOSocial Media

online review

Managing Online Reviews

You open your email and find a note saying “____ left a 1 star review”. What do you do?

It’s commonly a joke in the online world that you’ve “made it” once you have “haters”. Meaning that as soon as you are big or important enough to have people that will take time out of their day to say something negative, you know you are on the right track. Well, to an extent. If everyone and their dog is writing a bad review, or has something awful to say about your business, then I would take a look at some things. BUT, today we are talking about how to manage those online reviews that aren’t a perfect score.

What went wrong?

First things first, look into the persons concern. Was it poor service that needs to be addressed with an employee? Did they not receive the product they asked for and it needs to be fixed? Is it an ex employee that feels they weren’t treated fairly? Once a negative review comes in, it may be an opportunity to A) help change their minds or B) improve processes/products. Figure out what went wrong and address the concern offline to the best of your abilities.

Respond

Respond to the reviewers request in a timely manner. This doesn’t have to be done within hours of the review, especially if something is being sorted out. If it is being sorted out offline, still respond to the review afterwards explaining the resolution. This will help show people reading the review that you care and can come to a solution. Be professional at all costs. Getting into a keyboard war with someone online, will not help anyone. Check out this below response that probably could have gone another way……

 

managing online review

SOME negative reviews is a good thing

Now hold on a minute, I know this one seems a little counter productive, but there is a bright side to a negative review. Like said above, it shows other people that are reading the reviews you care and are willing to make it right for the customer/employee. This shows that regardless of your company size you take the time to look at what’s not working and what you can do to fix it.

Additionally the odd negative review makes you actually look more credible in the eyes of those looking at reviews. It’s nice and all when you come across a company online with a wonderful rating review, but something seems off when you have a lot of full 5 star reviews. Imagine you were looking for a hotel online. You come across a couple options that fit well and are the same price. You take to the reviews to make your final decision. Hotel “A” has 50 reviews total with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. They have had a couple unhappy people, but otherwise people are generally happy with their stay. You come across Hotel “B” and it has 50 reviews total and every single one of them is a 5 star review. Would you suspect that “something’s up” maybe? How could a whole hotel get it right EVERY SINGLE TIME? I know I certainly would be questioning. In 2014 it was estimated that 10-15% of reviews are purchased! Which is HUGE no no when it comes to your SEO. If you get caught, google will remove ALL reviews and penalize your site showing up in searches!

So do not panic when you come across a negative review online for your business. Managing a bad review can sometimes even be a blessing! Or fun like this hilarious rebuttal below.

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