Would Database Design be an Asset for...

by VENDIREX on 10/28/2015 - 12:09 pm |

Tag: Maintenance Management

Most business owners and managers are more than familiar with Excel spreadsheets and Google documents, and sharing them across staff that are given email permissions. Sure, they are user-friendly, but when it comes to integrating billions of pieces of information in a meaningful way, the term falling short doesn’t even come close.

Database design, on the other hand, is capable of merging and managing all of your strategic information, allowing custom reports to be pulled together from various sets of data. Effectively, the right design will improve your company’s ability to get things done quickly and more efficiently (while eliminating the duplication of effort).  

You can opt to modify and improve upon your existing database, or create a brand new one. In order to select the most appropriate design and provider, first consider some features and tips for creating the best design to suit your individual business.

Which of the following do I need to accomplish?

Create a list of prospects

Maintain and manage client data

Track my company’s inventory

Power the web applications I use

Which factors will determine the type of database I need?

The amount of information there is to store

The functionality among users that I need to have

The level of customer service I need and want

What different kinds of databases can be designed for me?

Desktop databases - These programs have a builtā€in interface, allowing the developer to create a custom application for you, by using just the software.

Enterprise­-level databases - These systems are capable of supporting multi-users, are especially secure and can process billions of pieces of data. Pricing starts in the thousands of dollars, unless you use the alternative MySQL, a free open-source database (you will still need to pay for support of the product).  

Website Hosting for Your Business

by VENDIREX on 10/28/2015 - 12:06 pm |

Tags: Internet Marketing, Maintenance Management

The next choice to make after buying your domain name is to figure out where it will be hosted. The domain registrars (of course) are going to vie for that business from you, as website hosting commands a continuing monthly fee. In fact they count on it, which is why domain names are so cheap to purchase. However, you’ll first want to check with the person building your site, so you don’t end up duplicating efforts and then just having to have the records moved anyway.

Whether you are going with a freelance web designer, or a full blown business host that offers site management, they will all have a favorite host they prefer you use. They may even have their own server. Costs will be substantially higher for private hosting, so make sure to ask why they think it is necessary to host your site themselves.

Also, as a precaution, be sure you have access any logins, and have the name registered in your name (not the designer’s). Sometimes you will want to move your site, change your host or site manager, and if you don’t want a cumbersome process (or even issues with who owns what) down the road, insist that everything’s in your name from the onset.

If you use a database or development platform, your hosting will be more complex and priced higher as well. E-commerce is another add-on cost, but you should thoroughly research this avenue. If you have the time and a bit of computer savvy, some of the simpler sites can be handled on your own.

That said, when you need an expert, find one. Don’t try to delve into coding and Java scripts and attempt to sell online with a lesser known service just because they are cheaper. Good people and good products cost money, and if you try to circumvent and get into too much DIY, you could lose a lot more than a few prospective clients.

What’s Important for a Business Host to Offer?

Reliability - consisting of percentage of available time people can reach your site, minus your host’s scheduled maintenance downtimes (which are normal and necessary). Uptime is the second element here to look for, and is the total amount of time your host is online, outside of potential network outages.

Site Security - will you need Extranet (for customers and suppliers to pay and receive money on your site), or Intranet (security only needed within your own company)?

Colocation hosting - this is where you own your server, but it is housed and maintained at the host’s physical site. They may offer updates, but it’s more common for your own IT professional to handle this on your behalf.

Cloud hosting - a very scalable option, it is based upon the power used to run your site. Because your data is not centralized (it is virtually shared with other computers, which gives it less chance of downtime), it might be a privacy concern - depending on the type of field you are in.

Why Trade Shows are Great for Business

by VENDIREX on 10/28/2015 - 12:03 pm |

Tag: Trade Shows

Many towns have them, and most everyone has attended one or more conventions at for work or pleasure. Mixing it up with other attendees is fun, and speaker events are invaluable for catching up with all the latest industry information. Trade show displays are set up throughout the venue, giving companies a wealth of opportunities to engage with potential customers.

Be aware that it is considered poor form to hand out anything but a business card as you meander through the crowds (in fact, it may get you bounced out of the event altogether). And so, if you plan to bring promotional items (such as videos, CDs, etc.) with you, make sure that you reserve a booth.

Exhibiting Has Its Advantages

Becoming an Exhibitor may cost you a little more, but it comes with several bonuses; for one, you get a few entry passes for every day of the convention, and usually free access to speaker events and networking tables. The convention promoter will provide and set up certain table configurations, depending on the size of the booth you rent.  

You’ll want to utilize all available marketing techniques - such as social media, email alerts, radio spots - to get the word out beforehand. It’s all about exposure, so make sure you don’t try to save money on this aspect. Sure, the promoter is promoting the convention, but anything you can do to bring people to YOUR TABLE is going to increase your returns substantially.

A Few Tips for Success!

Get the room layout before you book your space. It should include the already booked exhibiting companies - this is invaluable information.

Don’t think you have to opt for the center aisle - it’s the most crowded space, with higher prices (read: there will be highest grade competitors along this aisle).

Look for spots located near traffic flow coming out of events, corner booths are worth the extra money as you will catch attention from more directions; also ‘inside corner’ booths fronting intersecting aisles are a good choice.

Order more supplies than you think you will use; you certainly don’t want to run out, and any overflow will be useful for future marketing. In fact, leftover keychains, pens, and other promotional products are always great to have handy for visiting clients.

Have a printing service near the convention location handle your flyers, brochures and even collated soft cover books; they can deliver right to your hotel concierge desk. And, if the show is at the same hotel, the service will take your items straight to your booth for you. This can save you on shipping heavy materials to the event, or having to bring them with you by plane/car/taxi. So, cost savings plus convenience, you can’t beat that.

Signage is a must - one of your best bets to purchase a retractable banner. Not only will it stand above the crowd, but when retracted, it can be carried onboard with you. If you plan out the banner verbiage with s ...

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Why Promotional Products are a Great ...

by VENDIREX on 10/28/2015 - 11:58 am |

Tag: Trade Shows

Whether you’re planning to exhibit at an upcoming convention, or meet with clients often, it’s always a good thing to be able to leave something with them other than a business card. Promotional products chosen wisely can end up staying with the recipient for days or even months on end. Not a bad investment for anything from a few dollars, to less than the price of a few Venti Cappuccinos at Starbucks, right?

When Opportunity Knocks

How many times do you see people searching for a pen to write with? Keep your company branded ones in your purse or coat pocket, and bring them out. Not only will that person appreciate your gesture, but they will notice your business name, and remember it. Keep your eye out for any opening to place your brand into someone’s hand.  

Think of how much you spend for advertising - either online or in print - month after month, with not much more than a 5% return. Email campaigns, mailed postcards, or neighborhood newspaper ads that land in the driveway (and get run over and thrown in the garbage) cost a lot more than a pen or refrigerator magnet. The point is to keep your name out front and center, for as long as possible.

Promo Items for Conventions

Trade show attendees expect to get lots of ‘freebies’ and like to fill the plastic bags they are given as they enter. Though of value, this is probably not the place to hand out magnetic business cards or keychains. You’re more likely to be noticed - and remembered - if you offer a water bottle, coffee mug, t-shirts or caps, even hand sanitizer. Imagine a Vegas trade show with someone wearing your baseball cap in the casino at a card game at the day’s end!

Consider the source - who is the target audience at the convention? Geeks are going to be drawn to mouse pads and headphones; business owners will appreciate calculators and letter openers, and pens of course. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine what would catch your attention. You certainly don’t want to end up at the bottom of a swag bag, tossed in the trash at the end of the day.

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