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Top 10 Small Business Owner Apps

The world has gone mobile, and so has business management. As a business owner, I am always on the go and I rely on my mobile devices not only to communicate with my team and our clients, but also to manage my business. I can’t be tied to a desk all day so finding tools to help me be productive while I’m out of the office is an important part of my success.

Here are my Top 10 Small Business Owner Mobile Apps*

*I’m an Android advocate. All of these apps work for Android.

OfficeSuite 7

Face it, business runs on Microsoft Office. Excel, Powerpoint, and Word are daily resources and you need to be able to open, view and edit documents while on the go. I still use QuickOffice but it’s no longer bundled for download so you can use the Google Docs, Sheets, Slides apps for the same resources if you don’t like OfficeSuite7.

There’s a great satisfaction of being able to open a spreadsheet and edit it to send back to the team that gives me the independence to unchain myself to the desk!

Google Drive

With documents flying back and forth, I like to have the “cloud” at my disposal. You may also use Dropbox (I do, for larger files and to send documents to clients for download) to keep your data in one place for everyone to have the same version. It seems like a lifetime ago I was worried about who had the latest version of a media plan!

 

Google My Business

Your business listing on Google is an important tool for customers to find you in search results. Use this app to manage your business listing, address and how you appear in search. You can also post and manage your Google+ Page (I know, but you have to have one). The app also gives you a quick insight into how many people are seeing you listing and if they took any action.

 

Adwords Express

We, naturally, use adwords for clients with large paid search campaigns, but this “lite” version is great to update our map listing and to add in a quick search campaign to drive phone calls or visits. I tend to use this app when I’m at the airport and think to myself, “I should do a little paid search today” and it’s a very easy tool to use. I also like the interface to show the campaign results.

 

Google Analytics

Needless to say, we need to know how people are viewing our site. This is a great tool to check in on site performance and engagement. Take the mystery out of who’s on your site and when while on the go. I will caution you to not obsess over daily visits…it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

 

 

Quickbooks from Intuit

If your business relies on Quickbooks, this tool is important to manage your finances and understand your profit and loss. If you’re anything like me the A/R Aging Report is a daily review to see who hasn’t paid their bills on time. Since I have it on my phone I can just drive right over and take a payment, kthanksbye!

 

 

Upvise CRM

Just about every business can use a good Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) tool. Large business and sales organizations run on SalesForce, but for the small business owner those tools are cost prohibitive. A good CRM helps you keep track of contacts, leads, where a pitch is in the funnel and manage your schedule. Keeping all of my business development and client management in one location is great for me across devices. If you are not using a CRM today, consider one like Upvise.

 

Microsoft RD (Remote Desktop)

Even though I rely on the cloud, there are some things I just need to access through my desktop back in the office. I’ve tried apps like Splashtop and GoToMyPC, but this tool is best for my needs to free me from my desk. I can use this app to access tools that may not render on my phone or tablet. This app has also freed me from traveling with a laptop. I can use my tablet and a bluetooth keyboard to do all my work while I’m supposed to be on vacation.

 

Google Hangouts/Skype

When I’m out of the office my team can reach me by chat much more easily than text or phone. We rely on this tool in the office to share links and folders as well as information much more easily than email. In addition to chat, the hangout can provide a robust video conference tool that comes in handy when we are spread out across multiple locations. Google has taken the video conference to a new level with the ability to share desktops between users and auto maximize the screen of the person talking. If you just need a video conferencing tool and are tired of me talking about Google, use Skype!

 

Broad Street Co. Media Proposal App

You didn’t think I was going to put this list together and not tell you about how you need Broad Street Co. close at hand, did you? We built a quick app to show a client just how easy it can be done and it’s available in the Google Play Store. Our app allows new clients and existing clients to shoot us a proposal request or media plan request right from their phone or table. It’s so easy to work with us, why aren’t you already?

By | August 29th, 2014|General Business|0 Comments

Congratulations, Charleston. We love you 3 ways!

Gold List 2013_PlatinumCircle.jpgOur home city, Charleston, South Carolina, has been named for the third year in a row a Top City by Conde Nast Traveler. We couldn’t agree more!  Charleston is a beautiful city known for its history, food, hospitality and beautiful shoreline. We also know Charleston as home to the Charleston Digital Corridor, an incubator for tech startups that hosted our very own startup years ago.

If you’re looking for a destination city, forget Paris or Venice and head to the lowcountry of South Carolina. You can’t get a better biscuit anywhere!  Congratulations, Charleston. We love you!

Charleston SC – Named Top City in The US for the 3rd time in a row from Jewell&Ginnie on Vimeo.

 

 

 

By | October 16th, 2013|General Business, Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Right Creative Makes the Difference: Print vs. Online

Traditional media agencies have been placing print advertising campaigns for decades, but many have failed to catch up to the new standards for online advertising (or keep up with the ever-changing online market). As a “niche” digital media agency, it’s our job to stay on top of not only new technology, but also to work with our clients on online advertising strategies-and how they differ from print media.

Recent data from eMarketer shows just how quickly the print industry is losing its audience.  In 2010, people spent 9% less time reading newspapers and magazines as compared to 2009, while in 2009 they already spent 12% less than in 2008. The average American spends only 30 minutes reading newspapers and 20 minutes reading magazines per day, significantly less compared to more than four hours of TV and video consumption and more than two and a half hours that people spend online.

The only two mediums that are taking more of people’s time are mobile and internet.  In 2010, time spent on mobile increased by 28.2% and is now 50 minutes on average per day, while time spent online grew by 6.2% to 2:35 hours.  It seems that mobile and internet are crowding out the print industry. This is where audience becomes important-and where we start throwing around words like “engagement” and “actionable” when it comes to creative display advertising online.

This shift in how people consume media is why it is very important to have creative that appeals to the audiences where they are. Print creative and online creative are vastly different. Not just in specifications, but in content and messaging. It is important to choose a creative team that can build compelling creative in the digital space…and get it right the first time.

We often have to send creative back to the client because it doesn’t meet the specs required for online ads or the messaging simply doesn’t work for the online audience. Invariably, it is because the creative person is not primarily focused on digital and may not create the ads the right pixel size or file size or with the click tags inserted correctly. This wastes time and money. We love good creative, but as agency and clients know…creative is an expense and expensive. It’s important that it not get caught up in a loop of changes.

It is important to consider the creative for the campaign when developing a strategy for online advertising. The creative is so important to a successful campaign.

A comScore study last year found that the creative is 4x more important than the media plan for campaign success. First, as a media planner…ouch…we take a lot of pride in our strategic planning, but secondly we get it. We’ve seen some creative that made us whince we try to figure out how we’re going to deliver results based on mediocre creative.

Standard print specs and print ads don’t translate online. As a supporter of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), our agency is part of an industry-wide group that helps set standards for online ad sizes and creative collateral in the digital space. So many traditional agencies overlook the opportunities that online advertising offers: video pre-roll, flash, calls to action, and other design elements that make an online ad campaign “clickable.” The creative should have a call to action, offer something to the end user (in print media, the “reader”), and create an opportunity for that user to take the action immediately.

Print is not dead and creative in print is beautiful, but just as I wouldn’t go to a podiatrist about my sore throat clients–shouldn’t rely on a print creative to build their online campaign.

By | June 28th, 2011|General Business, Uncategorized|0 Comments

BSI Is Thankful

While we are busy trying to put the last touches on a few media plans and flight creative before we head over the hill and through the woods to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving, we thought we would take a moment to reflect on what we are thankful for here at Broad Street. So, in no particular order:

  • Family & Friends. Wow, we are blessed to be surrounded by love and support.
  • Our clients. What did you expect? For us to leave them out? They challenge us and keep us on our toes.
  • Our publishers & vendors. We are so thankful for the great relationships we have that allow us to get such great pricing for our clients!
  • Skype. LOVE! So many great meetings and we don’t have to get a groping from the TSA to travel for an in-person meeting. Not that aren’t thankful for the occasional grope.
  • Smartphones. The ability to use our phone as a portable office allows us the freedom to not be tied to a desk all day waiting on a client to send creative!
  • PMA. Positive Mental Attitude! We love you Dale Carnegie!!
  • Business. We love business, and not in a dirty way. We love talking with our clients about how our efforts help them increase sales, put butts in seats and get people in the door…in measurable and affordable ways.
  • Free parking at our office
  • Veuve Clicquot. D’uh. You think we could be this creative without champagne?

I think most of all, we’re thankful that in an economy when people are tightening their belts and budgets our good work keeps us busy.  We are thankful for another year of great campaigns and good relationships.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

By | November 23rd, 2010|General Business, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Go Red for the AIDS Walk Austin

Broad Street Interactive is proud to announce our support of Austin’s 23rd Annual AIDS Walk. This year’s walk is October 17 and you can sign up to create a team here or donate directly to the cause here.

Broad Street Interactive has turned our blog “Red” for the remaining days until the walk. We have donated creative services for the online ads and donated ad space on our site as well as providing nearly 1 million online ad impressions on various media web sites in Austin through October 17 to help raise money for this worthy cause.

Would you like to turn your site red? Join us in our effort and We have multiple ad sizes and can get these ads running on your site right away. If you are an Austin web site and would like to help out the 23rd Annual AIDS Walk Austin by spreading awareness and generating support for this cause, you can get started by emailing us at mediaATbroadstreetinteractiveDOTcom or calling us at 512.275.6227 to obtain the code package to insert into your site.

Go ahead, turn your site red for a good cause!

Miss America will join us in Austin for the walk. Find out why she walks and why you should, too.

By | September 14th, 2010|broad street interactive, General Business, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Shift_Happens. Embrace Change.

One of my favorite presentations about emerging technology and the rapid rate of change it creates in business and our world was recently updated and set to music. It’s a compelling story that I use to open the conversation about what it all means and how is your business embracing the change while at the same time sifting through the clutter to make sound business decisions.

Just because it’s flashy and new, doesn’t mean it will generate ROI for your business. For all of the change and fast pace of new media, sound business decisions and strong business acumen are at the root of successful companies.

That being said, watch the show.

Print Media & Auto Industry

What do these two industries have in common? They ignored emerging technology, what consumers wanted from their product and how they use their products. Now both of these industries are struggling to remain relevant and are playing “catch up” to get in front of the consumer again.

Both of these industries are in the news with closings, lay-offs, bankruptcies and a painfull, slow march to the end of an era. We cannot wax nostalgic about “American-made cars” and “the feel of a newspaper in your hand” anymore. People have changed, the industry has changed and the technology has changed. Looking at business through a Vaseline coated lense will only make it more difficult to see the cliff you are about to walk right over.

While the current business models may be in peril, it is important to remember the people are still consuming news and information and people are still buying automobiles.

Since I’m not an auto-industry analyst, let’s focus on media. Those in media that ignored emerging technology completely missed out on the trends in how people were consuming media. We have moved from a “one-to-many” conversation to a “many-to-many” conversation.

We have to get in front of the consumer again and be responsive and deliver a product in the way they want to receive the product. This is a sea-change from the old business model. Marketers used to create products and tell the consumer how they should feel about them. With the emergence of new media, the customer is king.

By | March 31st, 2009|General Business, Management, Marketing|0 Comments

2009 Outlook: Dismal but oh, the potential!

Like every  business owner, we are taking a hard look at 2009 projections and taking a pessimistic view of the economy until Q4 2009. We are having conversations with our clients on how to manage the downtown so that they are poised for a strong recovery as the economy stabilizes and we start to pull out of the recession.

Economists have long taught us that those companies that continue to strategically advertise and market their brands will see a market share grow as the economy rebounds. My grandmother would have put it more simply, she would have said, “Out of sight; out of mind.” Great axioms to remember as we discuss media planning for 2009.

We are encouraging clients (as well as our own business planning) to concentrate on building efficiencies, reducing costs where appropriate and strengthening their core business. These strategies can help companies weather the economic storm. Yes, cuts are on the horizon and most companies will not be spared sacrifices. Cuts are inevitable, but I believe they help make businesses stronger when executed appropriately. Cutting staff as a way to save money is short-sighted and the lazy man’s way to save money. Let’s be smarter than that. Sadly, some people will have to go. But, their departure is because we found a better way to do something not because we can save a salary line.

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By | December 28th, 2008|General Business, Interactive Media, Marketing|0 Comments

Please underestimate me!

A friend of mine recently interviewed with one of my competitors and kindly reported back to me tons of information about them. My favorite part was their arrogance. They flat out said that they don’t watch their competitors and don’t even consider us a competitor.  I was so glad to hear that! I love the old way of doing business!!

Meanwhile, this company is currently on the auction block because of their loss of market share. They are seeing stagnant growth at best while I’ve seen double digit increases in traffic month over month! My growth is exponential while theirs is in a flatline.

Here’s the lesson: Never underestimate your competition. The only way you will keep growing and maintain your position is to keep your eyes laser focused on what trends are emerging in the industry and how others are exploiting them. Do a SWOT analysis and make competitive analysis a part of your marketing plan all the time.

The interactive media industry is changing every day. To sit in a bloated office and laugh off the competition is the best news I’ve heard all year. So, nobody tell them that while I may be in their rearview mirror right now…I’m doing about 180 mph and will be letting them eat my dust soon!

By | September 11th, 2008|General Business, Interactive Media, Marketing|0 Comments

Living outside my comfort zone

I like to consider myself an evangelist for change. I don’t get along well with people that are resistant to new ideas and ways of doing things. It’s part of my world every day in what I do.  The business world is constantly changing and evolving and we have to keep up.

That’s all well and good until I have to do something wildly different that’s outside my area of expertise. It’s a whole different story then. But, as a true believer in “rolling with the punches” I usually step right in and get through it somehow.

What got me to thinking about this is that lately I was asked to do some things on television. I have no broadcast training or experience, but hey, “Why not?” I thought. I’m used to public speaking, I do have a lot to say and it can’t be that hard. I mean, have you met some of these on-air people in person?

Wrong. It’s very different than public speaking. I have dived right in and am enjoying watching how unbelievably uncomfortable I am and laughing at my mistakes on air. I usually come out of the studio with a serious nervous twitch. But, I continue to go back and do it every week.

As I do, I’m getting more comfortable and learning new things. I don’t think I’ll ever consider a career on-air anywhere, but it is interesting to learn something new.

So, when asked to do something outside of your comfort zone don’t look at it with fear. Look at it as an opportunity to learn something new. Even if you mess it up, at least you learn something…and after all…learning is about adapting and change, and I love change.

By | August 9th, 2008|General Business|0 Comments