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September 28th, 2009

sacramento-bj

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – GNT Solutions has been named one of the Sacramento Region’s Fastest Growing Companies by the Sacramento Business Journal.

In September, the Sacramento Business Journal announced its 2008 Fastest Growing Company list makers. GNT Solutions was ranked 14th on the list with a significant growth of 163% over the past three years.

Topic News
August 26th, 2016

2016August26_BusinessIntelligence_BWhat are the components of a good CRM software? Must it fit into your budget? Should it be easily navigable? Or must it have a simple interface? All the aforementioned qualities are vital, but none of them are important if they don’t meet all your business’s unique needs.The more pressing question is this: how would you know? The truth is, sometimes you don’t. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of this year’s top-tier CRM software options for your consideration:

Since every business differs in terms of size, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to CRM. Thus, varying corporate sizes require unique CRM software that best addresses requirements. We’ll be taking a look at ideal CRM software options for the following categories: businesses in general, very small businesses and ones that are free.

Best CRM Software for Small Businesses: Salesforce

Salesforce has long been considered one of the top-tier CRM solutions, mainly due to its cloud-based nature coupled with full-featured capabilities that cater to businesses of every size. Typically, Salesforce is synonymous with larger enterprises, but that doesn’t mean small- and medium-sized businesses are denied the same perks. Enter Salesforce’s small business edition: with it, SMBs can utilize the robust set of CRM tools at an affordable rate.

Salesforce Small Business Solutions offer packages that are tailor-made for small businesses. With it you’ll be able to fully utilize all that Salesforce has to offer. In order for your company to really thrive, your CRM should be equipped with features such as lead generation, contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, workflow automation as well as collaborative tools -- all of which can be found in Salesforce. Also, the software is cloud-based, meaning that you can access data and files anywhere at anytime via mobile devices.

Best CRM Software for Very Small Businesses: Insightly

Underneath its simple and navigable facade lies a CRM software that is abundant with capabilities, all of which fit the bill for microbusinesses. Aside from the fact that it has the vital components small businesses really look for in CRM software, it’s also highly scalable to accommodate the growth of your company. Furthermore, Insightly is currently one of the more affordable CRM solutions on the market; there’s even a free version if you wish to test the waters. There are also paid plans available at a fraction of the price when compared with other CRM software solutions.

Even with the free version or paid plans that start at $12, Insightly doesn’t compromise utility with affordability. It comes equipped with all the vital CRM capabilities any microbusiness would need. This includes detailed sales reports, opportunity, contact and project management as well. It’s also scalable to meet the needs of your business as it grows. To top it all off, it’s a cloud-based CRM software allowing you to access data anywhere at anytime via Internet-enabled mobile devices.

Best Free CRM Software: Zoho CRM

Not having to pay for Zoho doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t deliver the necessary capabilities required from CRM software. Zoho CRM provides your business with all the core functions it needs. Moreover, it allows you to onboard up ten users for free. Courtesy of Zoho CRM’s mobile app, you’ll be able be access data regardless of time or location. Here are some of the other features that the free version of Zoho CRM has to offer:
  • 360-view - all the vital information is stored and displayed, allowing you to make the best business decisions. This includes contacts, sale cycles, pipelines, and discover trends. It also helps you identify opportunities.
  • Automation - spend less time dealing with mundane tasks by automating tasks such as lead generation, contact management, calendars and even call logs.
  • Collaboration - Zoho CRM doubles as a social media platform integrating with Twitter and Facebook to link contacts to their social media accounts. This allows you to see their updates as well as the interactions you’ve had on social media right from your dashboard.
  • Analytics - you can track sales as well as measure both business and employee performance via a range of reporting capabilities.
  • Security - with Zoho CRM, you are given full control over who can do what with the software. Besides creating individual user profiles, you can assign roles and even restrict access.
Unlike farms, the main component to a company's growth isn’t fertilizer and sunshine. Instead, it’s competent CRM software that allows your business to reach its full potential. If you have any questions on customer relationship management software, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to not only provide answers but also be part of your success.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
August 24th, 2016

2016August24_Virtualization_BMicrosoft’s Azure and Citrix’s XenApp have done a lot to move virtualization services into the mainstream over the years. So, with the announcement that the two companies will work together to combine their platforms into a new cloud-based application delivery system, it’s understandable why there is so much excitement within the industry. Let’s dig deeper into this new service and what it means for your business.

What Citrix’s XenApp already does is deliver applications to users via a variety of methods and pathways other than local installations. The process starts with the creation of server-stored software containers that allow the services an application provides to be delivered to your staff members from a centralized server. XenApp enables you to set rules and procedures for when and how these features can be accessed, and it creates a multitude of versions of the software that can be delivered to different operating systems, devices, and locations.

In a press release back in May, Citrix made a bombshell announcement that it would create cloud-based versions of all its virtualization packages using Microsoft’s Azure as the foundation. While the two companies have been closely aligned for decades, this is an enormous boost to both their reputations. Fast forward to today, and we’re seeing the first rays of sunshine from this new team-up.

And much more than simply lending Citrix the foundation, Microsoft will be directly involved in the development and release of the new cloud-based version of XenApp. The two companies have promised to work together to combine the simplicity and scalability of Azure with the administration and performance improvements of XenApp, thereby creating the most comprehensive software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider on the market.

Because Microsoft’s RemoteApp already acts as an Azure SaaS platform, the potential for conflict means it will be wound down to its eventual sunset in August 2017. But fear not; for faithful users of this service, Microsoft has promised a clear transition plan to reduce the possibility of growing pains.

Cloud-based XenApp is just the first of many improved services to be born out of the partnership between these two titans of tech. Rumors are swirling that XenDesktop will get the same treatment and a release won’t be far behind. Regardless, the tech industry is moving ahead with the virtualization of everything it can get its hands on, and it's time to jump on the bandwagon. When you’re ready to make the leap, our experts are ready to pull you aboard. Contact us today for answers to all of your virtualization questions.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 19th, 2016

2016August19__MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_BSmartphones aren’t even ten years old, and they’re already one of the most essential pieces of our daily routines.In many ways they’ve actually surpassed desktop computers in their ability to keep us connected 24 hours a day. But they’re still a separate device, and that means awkward transitions when you get notifications while working on your PC. Those annoying interruptions were the impetus for Microsoft to introduce a new method for syncing Android notifications to your Windows 10 machine. Sound interesting? Here is how to make it happen.

The first thing you need to do is to wirelessly pair your Android phone with your Microsoft desktop. From the Google Play store, download and install the Cortana app and sign into the Microsoft account you use on your computer. Once you’ve signed in, select the Menu button in the upper-left-hand corner and select Settings. After that, select the option for ‘sync notifications’ and toggle which you would like to see on your desktop.

Notifications are broken down into four categories: calls, texts, battery alerts, and third-party apps. Although an option to answer the phone from your computer hasn’t been added yet, you can read and respond to text messages. When deciding on third-party app settings, remember the goal is to manage your interactions, not create more. Make sure to disable any notifications that will create annoying redundancies like doubled-up Facebook alerts between your Android pairing and previously-enabled desktop notifications.

And just like that, you’re all set. As long as you have Cortana enabled on your desktop, all your Android alerts will automatically display in your Windows 10 Action Center. There is no need to interact with the app on your mobile device, and we recommend removing the shortcuts from the clutter of your homescreen. Gone are the days of needlessly checking your phone every time it vibrates, just to find out it’s another telemarketer or unimportant Instagram notification.

As technology reaches the hands of more and more people, and hardware and software options increase exponentially, there are few problems that can’t be fixed with a little ingenuity. Our staff has that ingenuity, and they’re waiting to impart it on you and your business. Call us from your phone or text us from your desktop. Regardless of how you reach us, don’t wait for more problems to sneak up on you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic windows
August 18th, 2016

2016August18_Security_BAs the spectacle and competitive atmosphere of the Rio Olympic Games have drawn the world’s attention, hackers who use social engineering are inching closer to our private information. Although our systems may be prepared for the likes of malware and worms, social engineering is a different beast of its own. If used effectively, hackers can manipulate people into disclosing personal information, rendering security systems useless. So how exactly do they go about doing this? Below are five of the most utilized social engineering tactics you should be aware of.

Phishing Phishing scams are perhaps the most common type of social engineering attack. Usually seen as links embedded in email messages, these scams lead potential victims into seemingly trustworthy web pages, where they are prompted to fill in their name, address, login information, social security number, and credit card number.

Phishing emails often appear to come from reputable sources, which makes the embedded link even more compelling to click on. Sometimes phishing emails masquerade as government agencies urging you to fill up a personal survey, and other times phishing scams pose as false banking sites. In fact earlier this year, fraudulent Olympics-themed emails redirected potential victims to fake ticketing services, where they would eventually input their personal and financial information. This led to several cases of stolen identities.

Tailgating

What’s the best way to infiltrate your business? Through your office’s front door, of course! Scam artists can simply befriend an employee near the entrance of the building and ask them to hold the door, thereby gaining access into a restricted area. From here, they can steal valuable company secrets and wreak havoc on your IT infrastructure. Though larger enterprises with sophisticated surveillance systems are prepared for these attacks, small- to mid-sized companies are less so.

Quid pro quo

Similar to phishing, quid pro quo attacks offer appealing services or goods in exchange for highly sensitive information. For example, an attacker may offer potential targets free tickets to attend the Olympic games in exchange for their login credentials. Chances are if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Pretexting

Pretexting is another form of social engineering whereby an attacker fabricates a scenario to convince a potential victim into providing access to sensitive data and systems. These types of attacks involve scammers who request personal information from their targets in order to verify their identity. Attackers will usually impersonate co-workers, police, tax authorities, or IT auditors in order to gain their targets’ trust and trick them into divulging company secrets.

The unfortunate reality is that fraudsters and their social engineering tactics are becoming more sophisticated. And with the Olympics underway, individuals and businesses alike should prepare for the oncoming wave of social engineering attacks that threaten our sensitive information. Nevertheless, the best way to avoid these scams is knowing what they are and being critical of every email, pop-up ad, and embedded link that you encounter in the internet.

To find out how you can further protect your business from social engineering attacks, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
August 12th, 2016

2016August12_Productivity_BTheoretically, scheduling meetings should be virtually hassle-free. But in reality, simply agreeing on a mutually compatible time is often an impossible task. On top of hectic schedules, you have different departments that have their own time constraints. What if there was a tool that could take care of all that for you? That’s where Microsoft FindTime comes in. Find out what this tool can do for your next meeting.

Before any meetings take place, you’ll need to download Microsoft FindTime first. Fear not, because this Microsoft Outlook add-in is easily downloadable and is 100 percent free. FindTime was developed to help you and your guests do just that -- find time! Coordinating all attendees’ schedules, FindTime will iron out a time that works for everyone.

Just the thought of having to organize a meeting across your organization can stir up anxiety and elicit a huge sigh... Sigh! Why? On top of handling your own hectic schedule, you’re expected to juggle your attendees’ schedules as well. This would be the moment when telephone calls start to flood in and emails start to go back and forth, rarely heading toward a unified decision.

Bid adieu to all of that with Microsoft FindTime. Simply compose a new email or reply to an existing one and click the New Messaging Poll at the upper right hand corner. From there, choose the attendees, propose a couple tentative meeting times, and let the voting begin! Once a consensus is reached, a confirmation email is automatically sent to everyone attending.

What makes it even easier is that attendees can take a look at the visual summary that tallies all the votes, and who voted for what times. This lets you see what times the majority of people have chosen, giving you a chance to rework your schedule in advance if and when necessary.

Another plus is that to receive a Microsoft FindTime invitation, your friends and family don’t need an email address or even an Internet connection! Participants aren’t required to have Office 365 either; only the organizers need to access Office 365. This means that you can reach out to your friends, loved ones, and colleagues to organize your meetings, set up playdates, and even plan surprise birthday parties -- the possibilities are endless.

For more info about Microsoft FindTime, feel free to send us an email or give us a call! Our experts will gladly answer your questions. We believe that time is money, and money is the last thing you’d want to jeopardize. Allow us to help safeguard your assets by ensuring that all the time you spend on the clock doesn’t go to waste. Every minute counts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
August 10th, 2016

2016August10_Virtualization_BAs difficult as virtualization may be to understand, it continues to march toward widespread adoption. Up until now, the service was mostly limited to making hardware and software resources better allocated based on needs. However, corporate bigwigs AT&T and Verizon are jumping into the game by adding the option to virtualize network services. We’ve broken down the key elements of this service to help you decide whether your SMB could benefit from it.

The overarching theme of virtualization is combining hardware and software resources into one large, communal pool where individual servers and workstations can pull as much as they need, rather than allocating them inefficient individual puddles that either go dry, or unused. In a workstation model, this is realized in the form of minimally equipped endpoints that access much more powerful software and hardware resource pools via web browser.

When it comes to network virtualization, it’s quite similar to virtual private networks, or VPNs. Developments in cloud and software functionalities allow administrators to eliminate time-consuming and micromanaged VPNs while achieving the same swift and secure connections between servers, workstations, and other network-enabled devices residing in physically separate networks. VPNs are like pumps between each of your network ‘puddles,’ individual pieces that require individual maintenance. Network virtualization is like installing one pump with on/off switches on each outbound pipe.

This means that setting up a VPN for the addition of a satellite office is as simple as inputting a few simple pieces of information to gain a world of seemingly local network possibilities. In another example, rather than recabling your office when one department becomes too cumbersome to fit on one switch or hub, connections and protocols can be expanded and redefined by a software client.

With the increasing popularity of any service with the word ‘virtualized’ in it, telecom carriers Verizon and AT&T have begun offering this service to clients. Whether it's because your business has a growing list of locations, or because your local network needs the flexibility to grow swiftly without waiting for costly hardware and software expansions, these services have you covered.

Both Verizon and AT&T will offer three ways to manage your virtualized network: locally, from the cloud, or a hybrid combination of the two. Once you’ve decided on a framework and deployment strategy, make sure to take time with the transition. Established networks are complex and messy ordeals, and it’s better to start migrating those puddles over time rather than all at once. Instead, move them one-by-one so any problems that arise can also be dealt with one-by-one.

Although consumer-level companies like AT&T and Verizon are offering this service, not just anyone can hop on and start getting the most out of a virtualized network. It takes expert configuration, deployment, and most importantly maintenance. With 24/7 coverage of your network, we eat, sleep, and breathe cutting-edge technology. Call us today and we’ll bring your SMB into the age of virtualization.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 8th, 2016

2016August8_SocialMedia_BConsidering the most recent stats of Facebook’s daily usage -- an astounding 1 billion daily mobile users, to be exact -- it’s time to take another look at your company’s page. Even if you’re actively managing your page, changes and updates are so frequent at the social media colossus that there’s likely a feature or opportunity you’ve missed. Let’s explore six of our favorite ways to better engage with prospective customers through Facebook.

Use video whenever possible

Recently, Mr. Zuckerberg himself was caught opining about the value of video in social media. And while there hasn’t yet been any news about newsfeed algorithms giving preference to video, it’s definitely a safe bet when compared to texts and graphics. Facebook Live is an excellent way to engage your subscribers, and there are several ways to leverage it for increased profitability. Whether it’s an Ask Me Anything segment or a promotional announcement, hit that record button more often for more engagement.

Facebook only promos

While we’re on the topic of promotions, make sure you’re creating some that are only available through Facebook. If you’re simply reposting those from your website or e-commerce store, it’s harder for followers to justify maintaining any interest in your page. Use Facebook Live or a pre-recorded video to introduce a better-than-usual discount on your products or services. The key here is getting customers to actually visit your page, so make sure it’s not a coupon code or a link they can just pass on to friends. Ask the first 100 viewers to post their email address in the comments section of the video. If their increased dwelling time doesn’t make a lasting impression on them, it probably will make an impression on their Facebook newsfeed algorithm.

Facebook CTAs: use them and update them

Unbeknownst to most, the ‘call to action’ button on your business page can be edited to display more than a dozen different messages. Experiment with the different messages and where they link to. You’ve probably stared at the CTAs on your .com page for hours, hoping to come up with a hard-hitting sell -- why wouldn’t you do the same on Facebook?

Don’t just link to yourself

The most insightful page will always be the most valuable one. If someone has already liked your page, they know you exist and they have a decent idea of what you sell. Make sure to take a break from posting links to your site, and include relevant news and information that relates to your field. If your merchandise is videogames, inventory updates aren’t going to provide much value to your followers. Post third-party reviews of items you stock or industry news that readers will find interesting.

Pin to top function

When you find the post that keeps followers coming back for more, why bury it beneath more recent and less popular posts? Click the arrow in the upper-right corner of the post and select Pin to Top. This will keep it above everything else and impossible to miss for anyone visiting your page. It could be anything we’ve already discussed in this article: promotions, videos, popular third-party content -- anything timely and relevant.

Be personal

Lastly, use your company’s Facebook page as a place where followers can engage you on a personal level. There are countless opportunities for stiff, formal business language and attitudes, but social media isn’t the place for that. Post fun, behind-the-scenes photos of your business, respond to comments in a conversational tone, make jokes -- anything that sets your page apart from your customer service accounts.

Facebook may be free, but that doesn’t mean a profitable page is a walk in the park. For all the latest tips, trends, and features, you’ll need an expert. Exploiting social media for your bottom line is a slippery game, but it’s one we play every day. For a partner who can turn your ‘Likes’ into dollars, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
August 3rd, 2016

2016August3__MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_BAlthough Windows 10 comes with many exciting new features, accompanying them are complaints from the users: from shrinking storage space to the absence of the System Restore function. But fret not, we have listed the solutions for the most frequent Windows 10 problems.

1. Decreased storage space

You might not be aware that after the upgrade to Windows 10, the old version of Windows isn’t deleted but is kept in the C:/ drive by the name of windows.old, which eats up a huge chunk of your disk space. Microsoft makes it this way just in case you change your mind and want to go back to your previous version. However, if you’re sure you want to permanently delete it, just follow these steps:

Click the Windows Start button and search for the Disk Cleanup app by typing cleanup. The drive selection box will appear, choose the drive your OS is installed on (the default drive is C:/drive), then wait for Windows to scan your system. Afterward, a box will pop up.

At this point, the system might present you with a list of files to delete, but if that’s not visible, select the Clean up system files option on the bottom left of the window. Windows will then present you with another box with the option to delete Previous Windows Installation(s). Tick the option and click OK, then click Delete Files to confirm your decision.

2. Updates that don’t work

First off, check if you’ve upgraded to the Windows 10 Fall update. If the problems still occur, download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter, then restart the system and try to update again.

If that still doesn’t work, check that System Restore is configured (see number 3 below) and create a restore point. Type Window+X and select Command Prompt (Admin), type net stop wuauserv and hit Enter, then type net stop bits and Enter. Then open Explorer, go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and delete its contents including any sub-folders. Restart your PC, open Windows Update and click Check for updates.

3. System Restore isn’t enabled

In Windows 10, the System Restore isn't enabled by default. To turn it on, go to the Start Menu and search for Create a restore point. The System Properties box will appear. From there, choose the system drive and click the Configure button, then select Turn on system protection. Use the slider to set an appropriate amount of maximum disk space (about 5GB should be enough). Note that the update to Windows 10 version 10586 turns this off again so make sure to turn it back on after you update.

4. Privacy violations

Windows 10 faces a lot of criticism over its data-sharing defaults. We recommend you review them from time to time. To change the privacy settings, go to the Start Menu and go to Settings, open the app and select Privacy. At this point, you’ll see on the left-hand side a list of data such as your computer's camera, microphone, account information and so on. Turn off the ones that you don’t want Windows to have access to.

If you use Windows Defender, click the back arrow, select Update & Security, then select Windows Defender, see if you’re ok with the default setting that enables Cloud-based detection and Automatic sample submission.

Another privacy issue is Window Wi-Fi Sense, which is initially designed to get you connected to wireless networks more quickly. But if you’re not comfortable with the idea of sharing your network's wireless credentials among devices you can’t control, you can go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet, then click Manage Wi-Fi settings in the right of the window, tick all of the boxes under For networks I select, share them with my to disable Wi-Fi sense.

5. Windows 10 uses up all the 4G data

Windows 10 uses your internet bandwidth in the background. Follow these steps to stop it from consuming all your cellular data without you knowing: go to Settings and then Network & Internet, select Wi-Fi and then Advanced Options, turn on Set as metered connection. Note that this tip won’t work if your PC connects to the internet via Ethernet.

6. There’s no DVD player app

Strangely, Windows 10 was launched without a DVD player app, which means you can’t watch films on your PC. However, if you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 with Windows Media Center or Windows 8.1 with Windows Media Center, you’ll find a late released DVD app from Microsoft in Window Store for free download. But if you’re not one of the lucky users mentioned above, we recommend you to download VLC Media Player instead. It’s free!

We hope these 6 fixes will help smoothen your experience with Windows 10. But while there are some issues you can cover by yourself, others are more complicated and would better be handled by IT experts. Why not call us today? Our staff is here to eliminate your Windows 10 headaches.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic windows
August 1st, 2016

2016August1_Security_BA simple Google search of “ransomware” returns just over 9 million results. So, too, does a search for “Three Mile Island,” the location of the late-70’s Pennsylvania nuclear meltdown. And while we don’t mean to equate the near catastrophe of the latter to having your company’s data hijacked by computer hackers, ransomware can in many cases end in disaster for your business.

The way in which these nefarious operators commandeer your information and deny you access usually involves some fairly sophisticated stuff. The ransomware they install on your system is essentially a virus that “locks up” your data, and it can’t be unlocked unless you pay them for the keys.

Some of these data-encrypting viruses are strong, such as the CryptXXX strain. It has been infecting businesses for the past few months, and its latest mutation can’t be quelled by decryption programs found for free on the internet.

Two relatively new types of ransomware aren’t quite as virulent as CryptXXX, but we’d like to bring you up-to-date on them nonetheless. Here’s a look at what they’re called, what they do, and how you can defeat them should your business be impacted.

PowerWare

The first of these recent ransomware varieties is called PowerWare, which also goes by the name PoshCoder. It imitates a more complex ransomware program called Locky, although with less effectiveness.

This spring, PowerWare was discovered attacking healthcare organizations through Windows PowerShell, a scripting application used for systems administration. Fortunately, programmers at hi-tech security firm Palo Alto Researchers were able to quickly create a decryption tool named “powerware_decrypt.py” that unlocks ransomed data with relative ease.

Implementing the fix, however, does call for a bit of technical know-how, so if your IT department is experienced in this area it shouldn’t be a problem. The code that can cure you from PowerWare is published online and is free.

BART

The second new ransomware breed that we should address is called BART. Instead of employing intricate information-encrypting algorithms to take command of your data, BART will stash away your files inside password-protected ZIP folders… and you have to pay for the password.

These infections aren’t hard to identify as the imprisoned files will appear with “.bart.zip” added to their original name (for example, “spreadsheet.xlsx.bart.zip”). Thankfully, not only are they easy to detect, but for antivirus firm AVG, they are easy to decode.

Applying the remedy that AVG has produced requires an unaffected copy of one of the files that’s been locked up. And if you can’t locate one somewhere on your network, a good IT services firm will be able to. The BART decryption tool is also available online at no cost.

The fact is, there are some shady, technologically savvy characters out there who are willing to do us harm. Keeping them at bay takes vigilance. So if your business doesn’t have the resources to stay safe and secure from threats like ransomware - or, in the event that you’ve been hit, you’re not sure how to recover your data without paying the ransom - call us today to talk things over.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
July 26th, 2016

2016July25_BusinessValue_BHave you seen folks wandering around downtown, staring at their phone like it was a map pointing them to a pot of gold? Or ordering pizza over a Facebook chat conversation with an awkward cashier? With some creative marketing and structuring, your SMB could be on the other side of those people’s phones. Tech fads, even if they don’t last long, are a treasure trove of cheap new customers -- if you know how to cheaply capitalize on these trends. Here are our five tips on how to achieve that.

Get in early

One of the biggest indicators of how successful your SMB will be in making big gains off of a new trend is how early you get in. Fads, especially in the tech world, can come and go in no time. Be careful not to invest in resources with a long-term commitment like new logos or graphics, but instead in low-cost workarounds like special promotions and social media campaigns that put you front and center immediately. Once the popular kids have moved onto a fresh fixation, you’ll be ready to move forward without skipping a beat.

Use existing tools

How can you get up to speed quickly without investing too much in permanent resources? The trick is to hijack existing opportunities and strategies for your own message. For example, John Deere has been selling farming equipment for over 150 years, with no signs of slowing down. But with a creative combination of existing GPS technology and mobile devices, they quickly jumped to the forefront of the “Internet of Things” craze by connecting their vehicles to crop planning practices.

Participate in the narrative

So you’ve identified a trend you want to cash in on and you’ve commandeered existing tools to help sell your product. How else can you gain momentum? Social media is everywhere nowadays, and it doesn’t seem to be a dying trend. However, it’s no panacea; simply posting “We’ve got a promotion on all seasonal products #inserttechfadhere” won’t bring obsessed customers to your doorstep. Take a minute to understand the mechanics of what pulls everyone away from work, friends, and family, and show participants you’re one of them. Is it competitive? Polarizing? Take a stand or pick a team and invite customers who are “on your side” to get a discount.

Merge the fad with your business model

With a little creative brainstorming, most business models can actually integrate their product or service with a passing trend. Chatbots have been shoring up the “deep learning” revolution, and clothing retailers have come up with a really creative way to employ them to drive sales. By simply providing their chatbots with a fashion tree, the bots can ask basic questions which whittle down clothing recommendations to those that align with customers’ tastes.

Address difficulties presented by the fad

What if you can’t find a way for your products or services to directly interact with the blazing new trend? The next best thing is to provide solutions to problems presented by it. Does interacting with the popular app or activity eat up a lot of mobile device battery? Remind passersby your outlets are available for customers, or that you sell mobile battery packs. Does it require driving all over town? Remind customers of your latest car rental promotion. Sometimes just associating yourself with the trend is enough.

Not sure how to integrate your business with the latest fads? We’re the experts on all things technology related, from the most recent to the ancient. As a small- to medium-sized business owner, getting the most value out of your technology investments is crucial to getting your foot in the door and working your way toward bigger profits. From machine learning to Pokémon GO, no question is too trivial -- ask us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business