Small Business, Voip, Voipo, Startup

The Best Cities to Start a Business In for 2016 (Part One)

If you are thinking of starting a new business and have the luxury of choosing your startup location this list is for you.  These are the first few cities in our series of top cities to start a small business in 2016.

  1. Nashville, TN

    Nashville is known to many as ‘The Home of Country Music’ but it is also one of the best places to consider for your next venture.  The state of Tennessee does not have a general state income tax and Fitch Ratings stated that they also have the lowest debt ratio of any state in the US.  Nashville itself is home to a metro population of 1.5 million people and nearly 1/3 of these residents hold some sort of secondary education degree.  That comes at no surprise when you Nashville, Small Business, Voipconsider that Nashville is home to top Universities including Vanderbilt and Tennessee State University.  That means that finding potential new employees for your business won’t be hard.  Nashville is also home to some very well established businesses including Nissan North America, HCA Holdings, INC, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc, GM, UPS and Amazon.  It’s not all about work either.  The Home of Country Music has more than 120 live music venues and a major sports presence that goes year-round.

  2. Austin, TX

    If your small business is looking for a tech hotbed the Texas State capital may be your best bet.  Austin has seen a massive influx of high-tech companies and small businesses prompting residents to dub the city ‘The Silicon Hills.’  The tech boom can be in part attributed to an easily accessible workforce of young and talented graduates from nearby universities.  The University of Texas and St. Edward’s University lie within the city limits.  Baylor and Texas State University are both a short drive from the city as well.  Austin is also famously home to the South by South West Conference which saw more than 84,000 registered guests in 2015.  The city is also a haven for creatives and the perfect place to network and grow your business.  Austin has seen massive growth in the last decade with some estimating 110 new residents moving in each day.  The metropolitan area is now home to more than 2 million residents.  Although the cost of living is on the rise, the pros of starting your small business off in Austin may outweigh the rising costs.

  3. Raleigh, NC

    Raleigh, North Carolina ranked No. 2 on Forbes Best Places for Business and Careers in 2013 & 2015 and has consistently been in the top ten locations for the last decade.  The metropolitan area has 1.2 million residents.  According to Forbes, 42% of the adult population holds a college degree.  Population growth is also on the rise with more people moving into the metro area to take advantage of a below average cost of living and access to an economy which produced $61.3 billion in gross metro product in 2012.  Starting a new business is easy as the city was ranked 3rd in 2014 for regulatory efficiency by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  Your new business can reap the rewards of some awesome tax benefits as well as access to Research Triangle Park which is hailed as the largest research park in the United States.

Don’t see your city on the list?  Leave us a comment and maybe we will review your city in the next edition.

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tools, apps, application, software, small business

4 Great Apps for your Small Business

Technology has done a lot to make our lives easier.  With so many options at our disposal deciding which programs to use may seem daunting.  When it comes to small business, selecting the best tools to fit your needs is a top priority.  We are here to help.  These are some of the most popular applications used by small and large businesses alike.

Finance & Accouting:

Wave is your go-to cloud accounting and invoicing tool if you are on a tight budget.  They’ve been featured all over INC., The New York Times and Forbes and have served more than 1.5 million customers.  So here’s the deal, Wave is mostly free to use.  You get to use a whole gambit of awesome tools including accounting and invoicing reports, recurring invoices, receipt tracking, and mobile invoicing for free.  The only catch is that you will have to put up with some sponsored offers within the software.   If you want to add features like payroll or premium customer support you are looking at less than $20 a month.  This is a small price to pay considering the rest is 100% free.

FreshBooks is a great paid alternative for your small business.  You gain a multitude of additional features without the disruption of offers from sponsored companies, however it will cost you.  Plans start at $12 and go up to $40.

Communication:

Slack has blown up in the last year as a fully integrated messaging application for your business.  Slack launched in 2013 and the company is now valued at $3.8 billion dollars. So why?  Integrate your entire small business on one platform with tons of different features for an extremely reasonable price.  Slack allows you to create “channels,” direct message and private message individuals, share documents by dragging and dropping them directly in the platform, and even integrates with your third-party apps like DropBox and Soundcloud.   This may just be the email killer that your small business needs to become more effective.  Slack is free to use with limited features for small businesses or “teams” and less than $7 a month per active user to get just about all the features.

Organization:

Saying the Evernote is an extension of your brain may seem like a bit of a boast, but the more you use it the more it becomes just that.  Evernote is an amazing cloud-based note-taking application.  It allows you to create notes and notebooks from just about any device.  You can add tags, upload images and files, and even create shared notebooks with other Evernote users.  It’s also great for creating checklists.

If you need to message someone you have a shared notebook with, you can do it seamlessly in the application with their messaging feature.  The Google Chrome extension also allows you to clip simplified versions of web articles, posts and pictures directly into your Evernote.  You can also record voice files and attach them to notes which sync automatically allowing you to access them from anywhere.  Evernote is Free for the basics (which suits most individuals) and they also have plans ranging from $35 – $60 annually for additional features, devices and memory.

 

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telemarketers, nomorobo, telemarketing, telemarketer, voip, voipo, phone

Best Tool for Stopping Automated Telemarketers

In this modern age of notifications, telemarketers are finding new ways to reach us no matter where we are.  Did you know that there are more than 200,000 employed telemarketers and 250,000 known robocallers out there? Probability says that you have probably been a victim of at least a few of their calls.

In 2003 the FTC implemented the Do Not Call List Registry in an effort to fight telemarketers off.  While that helped to stymie the number of unwanted sales calls, it also prompted telemarketing companies to search for new ways to reach people.

Today telemarketing remains a massive industry reporting nearly $500 billion a year in business.  That amount of money makes automated calling services aimed at selling you products even more valuable.  According to Private Citizen, more than 148 million telemarketing phone calls are made per day.  Many of these calls are dialed by robocallers which use computerized systems to call you with pre-recorded messages.  Fortunately, technology has also created services to help protect you from these unwanted disturbances.

The Only Tool You Need

Nomorobo, is the tool you need.  It uses a growing list of more than 250,000 known robocallers to screen your calls.  The FTC even chose them as the winner of the FTC Robocall Challenge which challenged entrepreneurs to find a way to prevent automated telemarketing systems for a cash prize.

The best part about Nomorobo: it’s free to use on your home phone as long as your service provider offers it!  They recently released an extension service to protect your mobile phone as well.

Check out their website HERE.

P.S. If you are already a VOIPo customer, it is easy to activate Nomorobo on your device.  Contact us today!

Sources:

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softphone, voip, voipo, small business

Benefits of Using Your VoIP Service On Your Smartphone

VoIP is a great way to keep more money in your wallet while getting an awesome phone service.  Technology has helped drastically drop telecommunications costs without sacrificing features.  Now you can even carry your VoIP service with you by using a softphone application on a compatible mobile phone.  A softphone is simply a term used to describe software that allows you to make and receive phone calls using a device with an internet connection like your smartphone.  This allows you to easily enable VoIP services on the go.  While every VoIP provider is a bit different, you will generally be able to access a wide array of features on your mobile softphone. The VOIPo softphone app is free and exclusive to VOIPo customers and offers some amazing features like:
  • Caller ID
  • 3 Way Calling
  • Caller waiting
  • Voicemail to email
  • Custom contact lists
  • Quick dial
Softphones are ideal for:
  • Travelers and heavy commuters
  • Telecommuters
  • Small businesses with remote employees
  • Anyone looking to utilize VoIP on their smart phone
  • Someone who plans on making frequent long-distance calls
In order to use VoIP on your device all you need is a softphone client.  For VOIPo users, it is extremely easy to setup your VoIP soft phone for free on your iPhone or Android device.  All you need to do is go to your respective mobile application store and search for the “VOIPo” app.  Once downloaded simply log into your Vpanel from another device.  Click on the tab labeled “Beta” and then click “Mobile Softphone.”  You will be prompted to enable “Softphone/ BYOD.” Once done simply capture the QR code by using your smartphone device and voila.
Check out a full list of our VoIP features here.

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3 Ways to Save Money for Your Small Business in 2016

Being a small business owner means you have a lot of tough decisions to make.  When it comes to choosing where to allocate your money, you don’t always have to make big sacrifices to keep your business running smoothly. Here are three great ways to reduce business costs while continuing to grow your small business:

  1. Hire Interns:
          Are you understaffed and looking for some extra hands on deck? Adding a new full time employee can be costly.  Let’s say you decide to bring on a full-time hire and pay them $15 an hour. That’s a $2400 paycheck you are cutting them each month.  That doesn’t include insurance costs, taxes, benefits, not to mention training and overhead costs. On top of that you also have to consider how long it will take for that employee to get up to speed and the associated opportunity costs of bringing that individual on.  If you are
a small, cash-strapped business hiring a full-time employee may not be the best solution for your growing pains.  A great alternative is to start an internship program. Believe it or not many public and private universities require or strongly recommend that students get an internship at some point during their college tenure. Some course curriculums even require one or multiple internships in order for their students to qualify for graduation or in return for school credits.  With more than 2,500 accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States, it shouldn’t be hard for you to find a few eager students to temporarily join your ranks.
          Bringing on interns can have a number of big benefits for your business.  They can offer new perspectives and help you and your employees with projects that you have been overlooking in lieu of more important tasks.  Having a temporary intern is also the perfect way to find future employees and learn what works and what doesn’t in your organization.  By bringing interns into your business you are also continuing to get your business name known and you create a self-fulfilling recruitment cycle. As a business owner, you are always looking for new ways to bring valuable new people into your organization without having to hire a recruiting company.  Internship programs provide you with driven, low-cost workers who don’t expect much in pay.  And guess what, if things don’t quite work out with you and your new intern, you can part ways after a few months with some new perspective of your own. Not to mention supporting local students is a great move for your business.
  1. Take Advantage of Free Advertising and Marketing:
          Okay this one is huge! And we mean HUGE.  Traditional marketing and advertising can cost your business an arm and a leg.  Nowadays with the internet there are ample ways to run an extremely successful marketing and advertising campaign for an extremely low budget.  We aren’t talking about just setting up a few social media accounts.  This is still going to take some time and attention but the potential outcomes are huge.  Companies today are turning to online discussion forums, email lists, and inbound marketing to find potential customers by leveraging their expertise. Here’s how it works: You provide free value or advice related to your industry which potential customers find you through organic searches, online forums and discussion boards.  As you provide more and more free value to people, your perceived expertise increases along with your familiarity among potential clients.  If you are the industry expert in a given field, you are the clear choice next time someone enters the buying stage.  Here are a few examples of how you can start doing just this. You could start answering questions that people post in pre-existing online communities.  You could start a YouTube channel dedicated to educating people about something related to your business or service.  You could start an email newsletter offering people valuable tips, information or even case studies.  These are just a few ways to market your business on a low budget.
          And hey, maybe you aren’t about the internet or don’t want to deal with email lists or discussion boards, no problem.  You can take the same principles we have discussed here and take them offline.  Get involved in your industry or local area and offer free seminars or meet ups where you are able to offer valuable information or training to people who are interested in what you do!
  1. Outsource:
          For small business owners, the word “outsourcing” may seem like the downfall of their homegrown operation, but outsourcing today can be a lot more valuable and cost-effective for your business than you may think.  And no we do not mean moving all of your production and customer service operations overseas.  You can outsource just about anything to people domestically or internationally for much less than it would cost you to do it in house.  Do you need research done on your competition? Or maybe you need someone to cook up some hot new graphics for your monthly newsletter?  How about that marketing proposal that needs to get finished by next week?  Well guess what, there are thousands of individuals who are excited and willing to do all of those things for less than you think.  Sites like Upwork and Fiverr allow you to connect with individuals who can do just about any task for you.  Describe the project you have in mind, use their networks to get thousands of eyes on your project, get other people to bid on your project and choose the winner to complete the task on a budget that works for you.  And if you thought that these kind of sites only lead to unskilled workers you may want to think twice.  Today, it is not uncommon to find individuals with degrees and a running track record to base your decision upon.
We just wanted to lead you to the rabbit hole, but now it’s up to you to go down it.  If you are willing to get creative and spend a little extra time looking for ways to leverage your available resources, you will surely find ways to keep your business on top.

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