Thursday, July 25, 2013

Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Industry

Being known as a thought leader within your industry is probably one of the highest, if not highest, compliments that you or your business can achieve, which is most likely what it's one of the hardest monikers to have bestowed upon you. It’s not enough to be good at what you do; a thought leader is meant to be the greatest form of praise, geared towards someone who is on the absolute cutting edge of their industry or making big enough moves to warrant the distinction.

This all then boils down to the question - why in fact is important to become a thought leader? While there are multiple answers to this question, here are some of the more important ones:

  • Grow your business. In general, people like to do business with organizations that have an established name. Think about RC Cola versus Coca-Cola; while many people would find that the two taste very similar, most people would rather buy from Coca-Cola.

    What does this have to do with being a thought leader? Everything! Becoming a thought leader turns your business into a trusted name allowing you to get more leads and closing more business.
  • Higher profits. People who buy well-known brands are willing to spend more for that assurance. By being seen as a leader in your field, your business will be able to charge a premium for its services and products.
  • Good for morale: Employees will like that they work for a company that is seen as a leader.

Do you want your company to be seen as a thought leader in your industry? Here are a few steps that you can take:
Create an Online Presence
Blogs are a great way to show your knowledge and it's good for ranking in search engines (assuming that you're releasing good content) as search engines prize sites that release frequent streams of fresh content. Aside from posting on your own company blog, you'll want to look into opportunities to guest blog on other people's blogs that are in the same niche as your business so that you can bring in additional viewership as well as make friends with other bloggers to create a virtuous, networked circle.
Listen, Engage and Share
It's good to have your eyes and ears everywhere; you don't want to miss out on an opportunity for a relevant convention or networking event. By listening, you can see what the latest trends are and listen to your customers to make sure that they are satisfied with your business. Engage with them, to get them to bonded to your brand. And share your findings and take care to magnanimously elevate those around you.
Be Consistent
Finally, make sure that you're consistent. Whether it's social media or posting on your blog, stick to a schedule and make sure to consistently release new content for your followers to read and engage.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Benefits of a Virtual Office

Much of today's business happens in traditional offices. A physical building houses workspaces to which employees commute every work day. However, with so many new technologies, one of the main benefits emerging is the ability to set up a virtual office. Having a virtual office space allows both small businesses and large organizations to reduce costs, increase efficiency which leads to increased profits. 

With a virtual office, instead of paying high costs of renting an office space, you can instead focus on using funds for hiring and retaining top tier talent. No longer do you need to worry about logistics of moving people to headquarters; no longer is there a need to worry about state lines or country borders. You don't even have to buy technology or cell phones anymore.

Eliminating all that overhead that you'd be paying per square foot, you can compete with some of the larger firms within your industry. 
A virtual office will allow you to reduce client fees while being able to increase profitability. Employees see it as a huge benefit and it allows you to compete at a different level focusing on what’s really important and how to achieve results.
Getting yourself a virtual office space will create an opportunity to conduct business in a professional manner with their clients and develop a great impression while networking. 

Take a more detailed look here at three reasons why you may want to take a look at allowing telecommuting for your small to medium-sized business.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Boosting Company Productivity

No matter what niche your company is in or what it does, being able to improve the productivity of your employees and streamline your workflow can improve your bottom line. The ability to do more with less resources is a fact of life in today's competitive business environment, and that dynamic is not likely to change anytime soon. 


Adding computer technology to your small business is an excellent way to boost the productivity of your company and help each worker get more done in less time. When evaluating your business and your need for computer technology, examine the manual processes your firm uses and think about how those time-consuming manual processes can be automated with the right computer technology.

Use Communication Tools

Workers in today's modern environment are fairly comfortable and adept at using all types of communication tools, from faster paced tools such as text messaging and social networks (Twitter, Google+, etc.) to older style formats like email. By providing employees with the proper tools your organization can improve productivity by enhancing how workers communicate. For example, an in-house IM application can help employees to communicate with one another without the need to visit on another's desk thereby reducing wasted time.


Due to the interactive nature of mobile technology, sharing information through this medium allows businesses to get immediate feedback on products and services from customers. This speed and accessibility have led to faster research and development for companies, an important part of staying ahead of the competition. It has also led to product upgrades moving at a faster rate. 

In addition, the use of mobile technology Mobile technology can improve the services you offer your customers.  For example, when meeting with customers you can access your firm's customer relationship management system - over the internet - allowing you to update customer details while away from the office. Alternatively, you can enable customers to pay for services or goods without having to write a check or swipe a credit or use cash. More powerful solutions can link you directly into the office network while working off-site to access such resources as your database or accounting systems. For example, you could:

  • set up a new customer's account
  • check prices and stock availability
  • place an order online
Mobile technology leads to great flexibility in working - for example, enabling home working, or working while travelling. The growth of cloud computing has also impacted positively on the use of mobile devices, supporting more flexible working practices by providing services over the internet. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

WordPress Security

A few of the more obvious steps that you can do to make your WordPress site more secure includes the following:
  • Make sure that you have the most up to date WordPress installation as well as having all your plugins updated.
  • Delete the admin username. By keeping the admin username, you're making it that much easier for hackers to gain access to your website as you're saving giving them half of the information needed to gain access to your blog, saving them time on hacking your site as now all they'll need to do is figure out the password. 
  • Choose a password that's difficult to crack The password that you choose should be at least each characters and comprised of upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and specials characters. 
  • Protect your WordPress using .htaccess which is a configuration file allowing you to override your server's global settings for the directory that it's installed in. Here's a great article with a few suggestions on snippets of code that you can add to your .htacess file.
Take a look at the infographic below from WordPress Templates, that shows statistics of how many WordPress sites have been hacked over the past few years as well as some steps you can take (in addition to what was mentioned above) about protecting your site. Additionally, you should make sure to regularly backup your database, that way you have peace of mind in case anything does ever happen to your website.
Safety and Security of WordPress Blog

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Iconic Mind Launches Time Tracking Software

Ever wonder where your day goes? Do you hire consultants to work for your business? With a time tracking application, you can figure out how your work day is split up, or manage time for billing purposes, or analyze individual employee effectiveness as well as organizational productivity.

It's with that in mind that Iconic Mind has launched Iconic Time which is the latest application in our business productivity suite. 

Iconic Time is a cloud based application that is accessible via your smart phone, tablet or through a web browser and helps businesses keep track of billable time. With Iconic Time, you'll be able to manage time of your employees in a more efficient manner ensuring effective business management. The application will give you visibility into their actions, helping managers get better insight into what percentage of time an employee spends on a specific task, whether they're working on the right tasks, and which tasks they might be stuck with. With this information at hand, managers will be able to correctly distribute work loads and provide guidance helping contribute to increased productivity. 

In addition, customers who utilize Iconic Time will appreciate the ease of use as well as the assurance of full support from Iconic Mind. From decreasing dropped and lost charges to streamlining billing and accounting functions, this cloud based application is the perfect internal business tool to boost productivity.

To learn more about Iconic Time you can check out our press release or go to our website. Connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook if you have any questions.

Monday, July 1, 2013

How Social Media Can Grow Your Business

The number of people using social media sites is astronomical and continues to grow. According to which tries to keep up with the latest statistics, there are 1.11 billion members on Facebook, 500 million overall Twitter users (with about 200 million of those accounts being active), 343 million active Google+ users,  225 million LinkedIn members and nearly 50 million Pinterest users.

With all these people using social media, it should be fairly evident that developing an effective social media marketing strategy can allow businesses to increase their reach, allowing them to boost traffic, improve brand loyalty, and win over potential customers. Below are just a few ways that using the various social media networks can help your business grow.

  1. Build brand awareness and loyalty. People choose to follow brands on social media networks which gives your organization that ability to turn these visitors into customers by sharing valuable content to your followers which they can then reshare among their network. The better the content that you share, the more likely that these followers will 'like' or 'tweet' the message, which gives you even more reach as you'll be not only spreading your message to your fans, but to your fans' network.

    In addition, social media allows your business to deliver top notch customer service which will keep your customers loyal to your brand as well as engage customers on a more personal level and give incentives, all of which grows brand awareness and loyalty.

  2. Builds and helps monitor your brand’s reputation. The use of social media helps businesses to interact and engage with their customers, which helps with building awareness and loyalty (as mentioned above). Not only that, but social media allows you to take control of your brand's message before someone else does giving you control of how you want your business positioned. And while you can't control what's being said about you, with the various online reputation management services available to you, you can find conversations about your business and engage, helping you prevent any potential disasters in case of a negative feedback.
  3. Discover opportunities. Reputation management tools are not only for monitoring when something negative about your brand is being said. They can also be used in helping you to convert prospective customers that are researching your brand. By learning how to listen on the various social networks, you can position your organization to find opportunities on the social web.
  4. Test ideas and get feedback. Social networks give you the perfect place to ask your followers to give feedback on the services and products you're currently offering as well as new ones that you might plan to offer. You can also use the feedback you get to capture testimonials which further helps to build your brand's reputation and helps with solidifying brand loyalty.
  5. Incentives. You can send out discounts or promotions to help increase website traffic, boost sales and have people spread the word about your brand. Offer a discount to Twitter followers who tweet your message or Facebook followers who like your page. 

Social media is not a fad; it's here to stay which is why businesses, especially small and medium sized organization can no longer avoid building a social media marketing strategy. Social media offers an affordable way to reach a large number of people on a very personal level. Remember to be active on these social channels and to engage with your followers to continue cementing relationships which will help to grow your business.
Do you have any additional tips or first hand experience on how social media has helped your business?