Business Services Blog
The New York Times has been making their own news lately, but they've also been working on some interesting things to help small business owners. Recently, they began asking struggling small business owners to send in videos for their new "How I Saved My Business" section.
The first video features Yuki Mark Lim, who owns a business that furnishes and decorates apartments for short-term renters in Manhattan. He talks about what he did to reduce expenses (including moving his office into his living room) and how these steps helped him keep his business afloat.
Do you have your own story of how you kept your local Arlington Heights business afloat during these tough times? Let us know and we'll post it on our blog right here! Email us at email@example.com.
Harper College's Career Center hosts two job fairs every year and their next one is this Friday, April 1 from 11am-3pm. This event is free, open to the public, and will be held in the lower level of the Wellness and Sports Complex.
If you're planning to attend, or even if you can't attend but are interested in connecting with potential employers, be sure to check out their list of employers (pdf) expected to attend. Their job fair webpage also has some great tips to prepare for the job fair.
According to the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll (via Mashable), roughly 1/3 of small business owners reported that they couldn't make it without the use of their mobile apps. I'm not sure I buy the percentage, but I do believe that an increasing number of business owners and professionals are using their smart phones, iPads, and other mobile devices to help run their business operations and daily lives.
There are plenty of books out there that can help you maximize your mobile device. Here are just a few that you can find in the library:
For more recommendations on mobile apps, check out these articles on Mashable.
Earlier this week, we hosted the second of our Business Bytes sessions, "Create a Facebook Page for Your Business." We discussed the difference between Facebook "profiles" (for individuals) and "pages" (for businesses and organizations), the value in extending your brand and connecting with your customers through Facebook, and did a brief walk-through of the setup process. If you missed the session, you can view the slide presentation below (if the slides below don't work, try this link). If you have any questions, please contact Bill Pardue.
The next session is "Know What People Say about Your Business Online," on Monday, April 11 & Tuesday, April 12. Sign up now!
In case you missed it yesterday, Apple (i.e., Steve Jobs) announced the 2nd generation iPad with a whole new set of features and a slimmer, lighter design. We use an iPad here at the Answer Center to help people while moving around the library, but I can definitely see iPads being useful to small business owners. So, here are some features that might come in handy for someone running their own business:
- Connectivity: A lot of small business owners are constantly on the move and the iPad can help you stay connected through your email accounts, calendar, and contacts for clients and partners.
- Information: Since the iPad allows you to access the Internet via WiFi or a 3G connection, you can use it to quickly look up a piece of information you need to answer a client's question or do some research for yourself.
- Productivity: You can also use the iPad to write documents, create spreadsheets, edit movies, record sounds and voices, and put together a stylish slide presentation.
- Communication: One of the biggest additions to the new iPad is the presence of not one, but two cameras. With the FaceTime app, you can hold face-to-face meetings virtually wherever you are. You can also record in HD video and edit a movie on the fly.
- Sharing: Perhaps my favorite addition to the new iPad is the ability to connect to an external monitor via HDMI and display to others anything and everything you're doing on the iPad. This is a great way to share information and demonstrate something to others during a presentation.
If you missed the announcement, you can check it out in its entirety online or check out the following clip below.
By the way, one thing that got overshadowed by the news of the iPad2 is Apple's creation of a program, or a package of services, specifically designed for businesses. It's called Joint Venture and you can read more about it online.
Our first program for the new Business Bytes series was held last week. We introduced local business owners to Google Places and explained why it makes sense to verify your business' listing. If you missed the class, take a look at the slide presentation below and let us know if you have any questions. We'd be happy to meet with you one-on-one to help you set up your business on Google Places.
And don't forget to register for the next in this series on creating Facebook pages for businesses!
If you're a die-hard Bears fan like me, you probably weren't all that interested in watching the Super Bowl this year, especially after the Packers jumped out to an early lead. For many, though, watching the Super Bowl is more about the new ads than the actual game itself. It's a challenge to catch every ad between food and restroom breaks, but the good news is that you can view all the ads on YouTube's adblitz channel or Hulu's AdZone.
One of my favorites this year was Volkswagen's "Black Beetle" commercial. Great ad, if you ask me! But it shouldn't be a surprise; Volkswagen has shown some creativity in the past!
But this one might be my favorite:
Starting in February, we'll be offering a new series of programs called "Business Bytes." The idea is to help local business owners and professionals learn more about emerging technologies and social media. We'll be covering topics such as Google Places, Facebook pages, and Yelp. For those interested in a preview of this new series, stop by our redesigned Business Center (look for the gigantic flat screen TV!) on January 22 between 1:30-3:00pm. Talk to our experts on staff and find out if this series is for you!
Register for future "Business Bytes" now!
Claim Your Business Listing on Google
Create a Facebook Page for Your Business
Know What People Say about Your Business Online
At a recent workshop about Maximizing Social Security Benefits given at the Senior Center, Karen Chan from the University of Illinois Extension discussed a strategy known as File and Withdraw. Karen pointed out certain risks or issues with that strategy including the fact that the rules might change. As she predicted, these rules did change and she was thoughtful enough to get in touch with me again about these changes. If this is a strategy that you have used, these rule changes could be very important to you. For a more detailed explanation of these changes, follow this link to Karen's blog.
2010 will be remembered for many things, but one thing that struck me this year was the increased awareness of social media marketing tools. Businesses like my favorite sushi restaurant created Facebook pages to connect with new and old customers. Other local businesses started using Twitter to plug into the online conversations happening in their cities.
In this day and age, businesses can't afford to ignore the importance of social media. If you're interested in learning more about social media and planning how you'll use these tools in the new year, you might want to check out some of our books on this topic. Here are two recent books that would provide a good starting point:
- The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success by Lon Safko (2nd edition)
- How to Make Money with Social Media by Jamie Turner and Reshma Shah