Posts Tagged ‘RedBoard Biz’

For Richmond’s 505 JUNK, relying on social and mobile proved worthwhile

505JUNK-truckdecThis post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.

Finding hidden treasures, dropping off goods for charity, and providing award-winning service is all in a days work for Barry Hartman and Scott Foran, but its the sharing of such experiences through social media that allows their small Richmond-based business, 505 JUNK, to compete in a highly saturated industry.

“We use social media to not only build our brand awareness but to share our story so clients can have an inside view of our company,” said Hartman. “It allows us to connect with people that maybe we wouldn’t have been able to connect with before because of the cost of advertising.”

According to Hartman, the junk removal business can be very competitive, largely because anyone with a pickup truck and a free online ad can enter the market. Social media has provided 505-JUNK with an edge over the competition by allowing them to build an online audience without requiring additional costs or resources.

“It does cost money to purchase eyeballs,” said Hartman. “But on social media, as long as your putting out good content, you’re doing the right thing and you’re a transparent business, people are going to be motivated to share it. You don’t need a huge budget.”

In its brief three year history 505-JUNK has grown from a home office to a downtown location, more than 90 per cent of which was furnished with recycled materials. In that time Hartman and Foran have been nominated for the 30 Under 30 award by the South Delta Leader, won the 2013 Rising Star award by the Delta Chamber of Commerce, and were nominated for the Best Community Impact Award by Small Business BC, among others.

“I don’t think we would have been nominated or won awards (without social media), because nobody would have heard of us,” he added.

Hartman says his and Foran’s five-person team depend on their smart phones for instant communication, but also use their devices to share real time stories with their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram audiences. “It’s important that we have that connection, because it’s essential to the business,” he said. “We make sure all of our employees are connected through the Rogers LTE network, either through tablets or smart phones, and it allows us to stay connected and share our stories online.”

Hartman adds that Rogers has literally helped since day one, when they assisted in securing one of the last phone numbers in the area ending in 5865, or “JUNK.” Today, their Rogers devices remain among the most essential they bring to job sites.

“We’ve never had an issue with dropped phone calls or the LTE network going down, which is really important when we’re doing mobile payment processing with the tablet,” said Hartman.

With a new office, a growing fleet of trucks and an expanding staff, Hartman and Foran are excited to continue sharing the stories of their friendly, charitable, social-media loving company. “We’re taking more of an organic approach, and we’re confident that as long as we’re out there doing the right thing and sharing quality content with people, they’re going to like, comment and chat about it,” said Hartman.

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Managing the total cost of connectivity

WebinarIt’s a fact that information and communications technology (ICT) costs are increasing. IDC predicts that annual ICT spend will grow from $99.3 billion in 2014 to $106 .1 billion in 2016. But where exactly are these costs being incurred? How can ICT spend be most effectively allocated? Is the spend worth the business value gained?

Mobility is a growing part of that total ICT spend, but the total cost of mobility isn’t simply about the device and usage costs incurred by individuals or groups. The costs associated with everyday IT management are rising. More time and resources are being spent managing increasingly diverse and complex environments, and IT departments are faced with new challenges like security solutions and policies, BYOD and enterprise applications. The big picture of your mobility spend is reflected in how your business works.

Work styles are changing rapidly, as more and more employees expect remote work to be a real option. Investments in mobility that enable remote and flexible work can actually help businesses reduce spending in other areas.

The webinar addressed three key aspects of the total cost of connectivity puzzle, including how businesses can:

  • Gain a more complete understanding of their total cost of mobility
  • Implement solutions designed to offset connectivity costs
  • Optimize the ROI on mobility investments

You can also watch the webinar here.

How are you managing your business’s total cost of mobility?

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Three ways to make mobile device policies more effective

MobileDevicePolicyDesign_BannerWho’s really controlling how mobility is adopted in your business—IT or end users? If you’re not sure, how can you be certain your corporate data is secure?

Two recent articles—one at Baseline Mag, the other at ZDnet—highlight how much enterprises still need to do to effectively manage their employees’ mobile device usage.

In “Organizations Lack Formal Mobility Policies,” Dennis McCafferty discusses recent research from CompTIA. Only 30 per cent of companies have a formal mobility plan in place, even though over “half of large companies allow for at least partial BYOD [Bring Your Own Device], and more than three out of five midsize firms do.”

The research cited by ZDnet (done by Ovum) is just as startling: 62 per cent of employees surveyed revealed that they use their own devices at work without any corporate IT policies in place to manage their behaviour.

Expanding enterprise mobility has its benefits, but without clear policies it can expose your business to unacceptable risk. Here are three ways to curtail rogue device usage, enhance security and improve employee satisfaction:

  1. Define acceptable usage. Rules are key to the successful integration of workplace technologies such as desktop computers, so it seems strange that mobile devices aren’t subject to the same regulation; while they’re known as “smartphones,” they’re really small computers with telephony functions.It’s crucial to clarify that similar rules of engagement for laptops and desktops apply to smartphones. But this is just the first step.
  1. Write clear policy—collaboratively. Make policy-building collaborative. Employees will be happier with how it turns out, which means they’ll be much more likely to comply. Survey employees from all levels of the organization and with widely varying work styles and needs to try to reach consensus.Have frank discussions with all stakeholders about what is and is not acceptable use—from financial (e.g., who pays for roaming, and under what circumstances?), security (e.g., what sites are blocked, what apps approved?), legal (are you exposing the business or individuals to risk or liability?), and any other parameters specific to your day-to-day operations.Further, make sure the policy reflects your company’s culture and is clearly written; leave as little open to interpretation as possible.
  1. Apply the policy consistently. Ensure everyone involved signs on to your new mobile policy. You may choose paper contracts or online agreements; what’s most important is that they’re treated with the same importance as any other contract. Alongside communicating and receiving formal acceptance of your policy, regular training will make sure everyone is up-to-date and comfortable with the rules defining acceptable usage. Finally, make sure your policy can be easily accessed anytime, and communicate any changes and updates.

Treat mobile policy development as an opportunity not only to protect your business, but also to regroup at all levels and for everyone’s best interests.

Does your organization have a formal mobility policy in place?

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Six ways to make your workplace more environmentally friendly

greenofficeThis post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.

Environmental consciousness is good for business. Not only are consumers becoming more likely to buy products from companies with less environmental impact, but businesses themselves also stand to save money and even boost morale by going green.

Here are a few ways that small businesses can do their part to help the environment:

Take it to the Cloud Cloud computing has not only allowed businesses to become more streamlined, collaborative and efficient, but they also make them greener too. Consider, for example, how much paper and ink is saved when files are saved, shared and disseminated digitally. Applications like Mobile Work Folder and Microsoft’s Office 365 that allow employees in different office locations to collaborate more efficiently and access documents from anywhere with no travel required.

Reduce Paper Waste There are also ways to reduce waste for those documents that absolutely must be printed. Printing double-sided pages, using post-consumer waste paper, eliminating unnecessary fax-cover sheets, printing documents in less-bold fonts and ensuring that used paper ends up in the recycling bin are just a few ways to reduce the carbon footprint made by paper products.

Travel Via Teleconference Businesses are now able to save on travel time and expenses by taking advantage of teleconferencing and video conferencing technologies. Employees that have access to Internet Plans and Mobile Internet solutions, combined with the right devices and collaboration software can save money, spend less time on the road, and decrease commuting and carbon emissions.

Bring Nature To Work The office environment itself can be an opportunity for business owners to reduce their carbon footprint while saving money, and even boost office morale. Introducing little changes like taking advantage of natural lighting, using open windows instead of air conditioning and bringing in a few potted plants instead of more wasteful office decor can make a big impact on how employees view their company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, while freshening the air they breathe everyday.

Recycle Beyond the Bin Throwing empty pop cans or used paper into the recycling bin is a good start, but there are a number of ways for businesses to take recycling to the next level. At many organizations, used smartphones end up in a drawer, closet or storage room collecting dust and taking up space. These units contain both valuable materials and hazardous substances and should be properly recycled so they don’t end up in landfill. Rogers Business Trade-Up – a safe and simple buyback program that accepts phones from any carrier – is one way businesses can safely dispose of company-owned devices and get value in return.

Be Vigilant Taking these steps is a great way to start your company on the road to a greener future, but the range of environmentally conscious solutions and products is growing everyday. Those who are serious about reducing their carbon footprint should stay on top of these solutions as they become more cost effective and more widely available in Canada.

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Machine-to-machine technology helps small businesses succeed

CISRBBEvery time you sign a cour­ier’s electronic keypad to receive a shipment, or ac­cept an emailed client pay­ment by an Interac e-transfer, you’re experiencing one of the wonders of machine-to-ma­chine (M2M) communication.

M2M is a powerful tool for businesses needing to sell, de­liver and track inventory – and doing all this in real time.

CIS Group (www.cis-group.com) in Saint-Jérôme, Que., provides M2M mobile solu­tions connected by Rogers’ broadband wireless for busi­nesses large and small. These mobile solutions allow busi­ness owners to know how their delivery and field sales teams are doing at any mo­ment. It sends their field-col­lected data directly into the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software sys­tem as soon as it is created.

A case in point is CIS Group’s Companion Route product. This allows business­es to track their direct deliv­eries to stores as they happen, thanks to drivers equipped with handheld devices en­abled with Rogers’ wireless connections.
This attracted The Kawartha Dairy to adopt CIS Group’s Companion Route. Since the 1950s, the Crowe family’s dairy located in Bobcaygeon, Ont., has made all-natural ice cream that has become a regional legend.

Beginning in March, the Kawartha Dairy’s drivers were being equipped with CIS Group-enabled mobile computers to keep their head office fully apprised of which of its eight retail outlets needed more Moose Tracks, for instance, and how much.

“With our expanding reach to new customers in Ontario for our complete lines of famous ice cream and dairy products, we needed to automate our delivery and ordering processes for increased efficiencies and control,” says Mike Crowe, the Kawartha Dairy’s director of operations. “The CIS Companion suite will deliver this.”

The success of field sales reps is also a big concern for businesses of all sizes. It’s not just a matter of how much product they are selling on the road. Head office needs to know if retailers are stocking the shelves properly, in line with the ‘planograms’ that define where and how specific goods are to be placed on store shelves. If the products aren’t where shoppers can see them, they can’t be bought.

CIS Group’s Companion REP is a sales force automation software solution for field sales representatives and merchandisers. It helps salespeople in the field keep an eye on retailer compliance with planograms, by allowing them to compare what they see in stores with what’s on record at head office via Rogers-connected smartphones, tablets and laptop computers.

“For our business clients, this is a tremendously useful real-time solution, and it wouldn’t be possible without our connections to the Rogers wireless network,” Tessier says. “Rogers provides the high-speed data transfer, the reliable service, and the national coverage that our clients need; not just in cities, but rural and remote areas too.

“We couldn’t deliver the value we do without Rogers.”

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Start small and end big: Four easy strategies to get your small business online buzz

betakitThis post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.

Social media has changed the way small businesses engage with customers, promote their products and increase brand awareness, but many Canadian small businesses still shy away from an online presence.

Canadian consumers have indicated that they are devoted to small businesses, but they want around the clock access to their local businesses through online channels and connected technology. A recent study conducted by Harris Decima and commissioned by Rogers found that Canadians are loyal supporters of small business today, but 60 per cent of consumers believe that small businesses should operate an ecommerce site, and are not currently active enough online.

Here are a few quick and easy strategies to get your small businesses some buzz and even sales online:

Start Small

The same Harris Decima study also found that over half of Generation Y consumers want small businesses to have a strong social media presence. Building an online presence takes time, and while it might seem like a daunting task, the sooner you get started the easier it will be. “Every business needs some kind of web presence, whether it’s a website, a blog, a Facebook page or all of the above,” says Carrie Shaw, head of marketing for OutRank by Rogers, an online marketing solution for small businesses.

Boost Your Online Presence

Once your small business is up and running on a few social platforms the next challenge is attracting web traffic. While blogs and social media accounts will help customers who are already familiar with the brand engage and connect with it more easily, when it comes to finding new customers, “none of these will do a business any good if there is no traffic directed to them,” adds Shaw. “The two most common strategies to do so are paid search and SEO, and I would recommend both.”

Engage With Your Online Community

Now that your business has traffic on its social media channels it’s important that the messaging is consistent and aligned with the company’s values, culture and brand identity. Social media is a great reputation management tool, allowing brands to keep an eye on what other users say about their business. When customers ask a question or leave comments, be sure to answer in a timely manner. If consumers leave complaints, address them politely, thank users for their input and consider their opinion moving forward.

Turn Followers into Customers

Building a strong online following is important for branding and promotion, but in order to really get the most out of social media small businesses need to turn those fans into active customers. The best way to do that within the digital realm is through an ecommerce store. Online stores give consumers a way to quickly and easily move from a social media page to an online checkout page. It also allows companies to make sales 24/7, even outside of the office environment. Having a mobile ecommerce store will even allow consumers to shop on the go, which has become increasingly important with Generation Y consumers.

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Discover the Connected Enterprise

websiteOur customers want to be connected—to their customers, to the world, to the Internet of Things and to the evolving technologies what will transform their business. We want to help them get there.

Connected solutions are already shaping mobile work styles, flexible workplace policies, real-time analytics and deep customer engagement. At Rogers, we believe the future is the Connected Enterprise—an enterprise that links people, assets, networks and infrastructure to deliver anywhere, anytime communication, collaboration, insight and productivity.

Our customers are telling us that harnessing the possibilities of technology can be difficult, especially when they have less time and fewer resources to contend with all the complexity.

With this in mind, we’ve redesigned our website so that our enterprise customers can easily explore how connected technology can intersect with their business objectives. The new Rogers.com/enterprise offers our customers a better way to discover and learn on their own terms. It’s also easy to navigate from any of the devices our customers use today.

Take a look around and discover solutions for Workforce Enablement , Asset Management , Customer Engagement , Network Infrastructure  and Supporting Infrastructure; find out how businesses in a variety of industries are succeeding with the new realities surrounding mobility and the Internet of Things; and learn how Rogers can help you quickly and easily bring your emerging devices to market .

Let us know what you think!

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Moving beyond fire-fighting: Innovation and IT spending

redfire

ZDNet recently published an article, “Forget strategy, IT managers are too busy fighting fires,” that describes what day-to-day life is like for IT managers. Author Colin Barker writes that rather than focusing on innovation, embracing new technology, or growing their businesses, IT leaders spend most of their time fighting fires.

Fire-fighting, keeping the lights on, bailing water out of the boat—the metaphors matter much less than what they point to: the loss of the spirit of innovation that gave birth to IT in the first place. Almost half of those surveyed identified supporting their company’s basic IT operations as their primary job activity. Barker also notes that 33 per cent list cutting costs/cost management as central to their jobs.

These two startling facts give rise to a question: How is effective cost management that supports business growth even possible if your daily tech focus is to keep things running? This kind of cost management just isn’t likely to break that fire-fighting trend. So how can IT leaders extract themselves from this dilemma?

1. Think about IT spend long-term and strategically—the same way you think about business goals. Realizing the goals laid out in your three- or five-year strategic plan will become easier if you have the technology infrastructure and services in place to do more than simply manage the day-to-day. Invest in infrastructure and services that will support your strategic goals instead of inhibiting them.

2. Perform an IT/telecom spend audit. A formal audit, done either in-house or outsourced to specialists, will help you get a clear and detailed picture of where and how your organization currently spends its money. You’ll likely find that unnecessary costs have been growing due to unused services, outdated infrastructure, and inefficient and duplicate processes. Discovering where you can legitimately cut costs without undermining still valuable infrastructure and programs will open up possibilities for smart investments elsewhere.

3. Spend the money you save to build your future. An audit can form the basis for a technology spend overhaul that will move you away from fire-fighting and towards business innovation. The effective IT leaders of both the near and longer terms will be those who find the opportunities for advancing their business goals through optimizing their IT spend.

Re-evaluating how you invest in technology today can lead to more strategic IT investments tomorrow. And this can help make sure that your talented IT team isn’t just putting out fires, but is also using their invaluable skills to drive innovation and productivity.

How else might you begin moving away from IT damage control to get back to innovating?

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Are you one of Canada’s most social-savvy small businesses?

Small businessThe majority of Gen-Y Canadians think it’s important for small businesses to have a strong social media presence, according to research we reported last month.

Recognizing this trend,  and in honour of Small Business Month, we’re on the hunt for Canada’s top social media-savvy small businesses. If you’re part of a small business with a passion for social media, you can be eligible for an awesome opportunity from Rogers,  including recognition of your skills, media opportunities with some of Canada’s top broadcasters and publications, and a feature right here on RedBoard Biz.

We’re looking for businesses who are active on a few social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or a blog, and are passionate about engaging with their customers in the social space. If you meet these criteria, we want to hear from you! Simply comment on this blog post by letting us know how we can reach you online, and telling us: What makes your business social savvy?

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A brand new way for small businesses to Share Everything!

Share Everything for businessFrom the real estate firm with 20 brokers sending clients directions and photos via mobile devices to the design firm with mobile account managers sharing files on-the-go, managing wireless data costs and consumption across your business is a bottom line necessity.

Earlier this month, we announced Share Everything to simplify the data management process for businesses and consumers. Today we are expanding that plan to offer even more value and flexibility for small business with up to 25 devices. Share Everything for Business is a flexible plan that lets businesses share voice, long distance, features and wireless data between multiple employees and devices.

Share Everything for Business plans can accommodate the changing needs of a team.  Pick the data bucket that works for your business – from 3GB to 30GB – and share it on any combination of smartphones, tablets, the Rocket™ stick, hub and mobile hotspots. You can share across up to twenty-four devices in addition to the first smartphone line.

It is also easy to manage the billing. Consolidated billing for the whole team streamlines operations, eliminating the time-consuming task of managing multiple wireless bills for employees. If you have employees who bring their own device, Share Everything for Business is a great solution to help extend applications from your laptops or desktops through the cloud to tablets.

So, whether your employees are on tablets, smartphones or both, Share Everything for Business keeps them connected while making sure the costs to your business are under control, and all on one bill.

To learn more about Share Everything for Business plans, visit www.rogers.com/shareforbiz. For more information about small business offerings from Rogers, or to find a Rogers Small Business Specialist in your region, visit www.rogers.com/smallbusiness.

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