Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Host : Marv DornerBeBizzy Consulting

On Episode 59 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast, we talk about the passing of another geriatric internet property, Compuserve, a renewal of the browser wars with Firefox Quantum, and why your technology is good enough.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Tech News

  • Compuserve Forums
    • Joins Microsoft Paint and AIM as old tech services being shut down in 2017.
    • Compuserve was the first major online service provider before AOL took over
    • The Forums were the last service of the once-proud ISP to remain functional
    • The service will be terminated on December 15, 2017 and odds are if no one would have said anything, you never would have known.
  •  Firefox Quantum
    • New browser from Mozilla that promises to be faster, and use less memory.
    • Some extensions may not work, so beware

Your current tech is good enough

  • FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
  • There’s always a faster, shinier, and more “feature rich” device
  • And while there’s something to be gained with tech that works better and faster, your current technology might be already good enough, or could be made so with a few minor tweaks or upgrades.

Smartphones

There’s really no big leaps forward in phone features

  • Sure there’s cosmetic upgrades like smaller bezels, larger and brighter screens, somewhat better battery
  • Most smartphone issues can be solved by doing a few easy things
    • Replacing the battery, if possible, or carry an external battery or recharging device.
    • Clear up memory by deleting apps, using streaming audio and video services, and uploading photos to free cloud services like Google Photos, them deleting the local files.
    • Run Updates – Make sure you’re running the most recent operating system and app updates. Having everything updated makes it easier to troubleshoot and work together.
    • Factory Reset – Things still running slow? Sometimes it’s just best to flush the system and start over with a new operating system install. Keep in mind you will lost all of your data on the phone, so back up and connect to cloud services.

Computers

Talk about no huge leaps forward, computers have remained pretty constant for many years

  • Improvements like the Microsoft Surface, Chromebooks and even iPad Pros are blurring the lines between computers and mobile, but even they “promise” to be able to do what you can already do with a computer, just smaller and lighter.
  • Both “major” operating systems, Windows and iOS have promised no major upgrades anymore, just incremental updates.
  • Hard Drives have become so large it’s hard for a vast majority of users to come close to filling it up.
  • You can increase the life of your computer by doing some very easy, cost effective things like :
    • Add RAM – Memory is cheap, and of all the things to replace requires the least amount of technical know-how and time. RAM is easily accessible in desktops by removing the case, and most laptops have a cover to remove to get at the RAM and maybe the HDD. Major products like Crucial have scanners and selectors to make sure you’re getting the right memory to upgrade your device.
    • HDD – Have an old or small hard drive? There’s a real good chance that your HDD is a spinning disc, and believe it or not, it’s WHEN it will fail, not IF. Check out Seagate or Western Digital to find a suitable replacement. You can also migrate less often or large files to an external drive for a small price and they easily connect to your current computer via USB.
    • To the Cloud! – Get your photos and other important files uploaded to a cloud service like Dropbox to ensure ease of access & transfer, and also security in the event of a hardware failure or catastrophic office event.

Websites

I know, it seems weird that a web development company would tell you that your website is good enough. There ARE times when it’s best to update the website like when you need :

  • Responsive Design – Have a site that is old and doesn’t work on a smartphone or smaller screen? Might be time to update to a responsive website.
  • CMS like WordPress – Maybe it’s time to take over the management of your own website. WordPress allows you to post your own pages, a blog, and more.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Maybe you’re site is all set up an running as you need, but you’re just not getting found on the internet. By optimizing your SEO and your Local Business Listing you increase the chances of being found by potential customers.
  • Social Media Marketing & Training  – Like SEO, your website might not be the problem, maybe it’s just getting the word out. Social Media offers an easy way to engage your fans and followers and market to new clients.

Other Items

We are constantly hit with marketing messages on stuff you “NEED” to ensure you have the most current technology or your life will be horrible. Vehicle enhancements like rear hatches that open with your foot, lane change chimes, and others are safety features, but really just being a better driver will fix that. 4K and 3D TV’s are wonderful, but there is little programming that takes advantage of the technology. VR goggles are fun toys, but again, there’s very little cool, productive programming for them. And voice controlled devices like Google Home or Alexa are neat, and have a utility to them, but often you have a device in your hands or pocket that can do the same thing.

I LOVE technology, and our economy relies on constant updating of computers, furniture, cars, homes and just about everything else. But sometimes saving that money for something else is your best bet.

Have any questions or suggestions on using current technology instead of buying new gear? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Overcoming WordPress Objections – BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 58

Overcoming WordPress Objections – BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 58

In this episode we talk about how overcoming WordPress objections, the iPhone X, Skype and an update on my Pixel 2 XL phone.

BBP : Episode 58 – Overcoming WordPress Objections

Happy Birthday to us! Today is BeBizzy Consulting’s 9th anniversary. Happy to be around and serving our clients in website design, hosting, marketing and search engine optimization for many years and looking foward to the future!

Have you already overcame WordPress objections in your organization? Contact BeBizzy Consulting today and let’s get you on the web!

Tech News

  • The iPhone X, 10, whatever hits the streets on November 3rd, so buckle up!
    • 10th anniversary iPhone
    • Face ID unlocking feature
    • Near bezel-less design – OLED
    • No home button – swipe up/down to move through screens
    • New anemoji’s… yay…
    • 12MP rear camera. Image stabilization
    • Listening to a review from TechRadar the reviewer claimed he had “cinematic” sound from the dual speakers. I’m gonna call B.S. on that one. Tinny smartphone speakers will never sound cinematic.
  • Week 2 with my Google Pixel 2 XL
    • Not seeing any performance issues, screen burn-in, or anything else.
    • This phone is FAST, has a great signal, good (not cinematic) sound, and Android Oreo is stable and easy to use.
  • Another update on my office…
    • Been using Skype as my primary office phone for several weeks, and I couldn’t be happier. I have an external microphone and use my computer speakers as the “phone.”
    • I don’t think this will work in a typical office setting, but in an enclosed office or home office it works great.

Main Topic – Overcoming WordPress Objections

  • How this topic emerged was I was listening to podcasts, as I usually do while I work, and was listening to “Adam Ruins Everything,” a podcast that accompanies a TV show of the same name on TruTV. It’s hosted by Adam Conover and in the podcast they conduct more in depth interviews on a particular topic than the TV show allows.
    • In this episode, Adam spoke with Professor Stephan Lewandowsky about once a person gets entrenched in a belief and assembles with those who also believe the same thing, it can be impossible to move them off that belief even when presented with overwhelming evidence. This is called the “Backfire Effect”
  • One of the tech “Backfire Effects” is WordPress is simply an insecure blogging platform.
  • While at an advertising agency, I was brought in to argue “against” WordPress because we sold a custom-made CRM. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, and is frankly one of the reasons I chose not to work for that company any longer.
  • Here are some of the usual arguments against WordPresss
    • Security – There’s a ton of holes and it’s a highly visible platform that many people have found ways in.
    • SPAM – WordPress is a blogging platform so spam-bots target the code to run mailing systems
    • Plugins – These are not vetted so you could be installing complete garbage code on the site with tons of security holes
    • Limitations – Every WordPress site looks the same.
    • Buggy Code – The code is managed by the community, so who knows if it’s well written or efficient.
    • Search Engines – SEO is impossible on the WordPress platform. Out of the box it doesn’t allow you to format the code and meta information in such a way that Google and other search engines and index the site properly.
    • Hosting – Most of the hosts that allow WordPress are old, Linux-Apache based systems that run slow and
    • You get what you pay for ( in the case of the ad agency… 10’s of thousands compared to thousands )
  • Let’s address these one at a time…
    • Security – I’ve addressed this on several podcasts and blog posts, but here it is… nothing is safe
    • SPAM – Keep your code updated and use good plugins
    • Plugins – Use quality, high-ranked plugins that have been updated and work with your version of WordPress.
    • Limitations – Probably the biggest challenges to overcoming WordPress objections are themes. There are tons of customizable themes to use to give your WordPress site a unique look.
    • Buggy Code – There are millions of users looking for and submitting bug fixes, so normally they are found and repaired before penetrating the real world if the code is properly updated.
    • Search Engines – Yoast and other SEO plugins are much more efficient in formatting and presenting content for the search engines. So overcoming this WordPress objections is reallly easy.
    • Hosting – There are now dedicated hosts for WordPress sites which allow one-click installs, install updates, speed enhancements, and more.
    • You CAN get what you pay for, but you can also be paying for that fancy office, over-hyped software and computers, desks, food, etc. Sometimes you’re just paying more because they’re charging more.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

In this episode we talk about managing your passwords and updating technology to stay secure.

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

Tech News

Yahoo Email Hack – Now up to 3 Billion accounts, apparently every yahoo account. – announced by the new owner, Verizon

  • No credit card information in the breach, but
  • Suspect part is that the new intelligence was just recently obtained AFTER the deal closed to buy Yahoo.

Equifax update – there’s a good chance the company will have to pay penalties to affected consumers going north of $1B.

  • For the record, $1B comes to just over $7 per possible affected user.

Cortana is now rollout out into Skype. You should start seeing it appear in private and group chats to offer assistance for scheduling and other items.

  • Will also appear in the Android and iOS versions soon.
  • Still not sold on voice systems like Google, Amazon or Siri, but I hope to become more reliant on it when the new Pixel 2 phone arrives
  • Microsoft claims 141 million “monthly” users of Cortana. I use it only when I accidentally click the button on my desktop toolbar, so that probably counts at least once a month.
  • Siri – 41.4 monthly, 19% daily.
  • Google claims 20% of mobile searches are voice searches – couldn’t find a published #
  • Becoming more popular
  • Would love to discuss voice searches and voice control on a future episode, so if you’re an “expert” please contact me.

Today’s topic – You are Responsible for Updating Your Technology

  • In the last month, I’ve had to do the following:
    • Rescued three websites from obvious hacking
      • Two were hijacked by an out-of-date WordPress plugin and dozens of fake blog posts linking to a casino were placed on the sites.
      • One was using a password created several years ago and the FTP was compromised, with THOUSANDS (over 50k) web pages were created, uploaded and indexed by google.
        • The new index.php page and all the rest were the only ones showing up in Google searches because of the dominance.
    • About six months ago I got a call that a WordPress site built over five years ago had NEVER been updated, and now stopped working.
      • That required updating WP, finding out what, if any of the existing plugins would still work with the new WP, and we had to find alternate solutions for outdated, un-updatable, or costly upgrades to certain plugins.
    • Two months ago I worked on a computer that was full of malware. The client was still running Windows XP and didn’t want to update. Windows XP was abandoned by Microsoft in April 2014, meaning there was no further development on the operating system and it would be exposed as insecure.
    • In all cases, there was a massive cleanup, one new install of WP, and a complete forced re-indexing of the website by Google and other search engines.

ALL of these could have been avoided if the core functions would have been maintained. By following just a few steps, your computer, phones and other devices can stay up to date and minimize the danger of being compromised.

Remember, criminals will most always take the low-hanging fruit, like the computer not updated in over 5 years, the WordPress site with outdated plugins, or the FTP password that hasn’t changed in half a decade.

A word of warning… updates can sometimes fail, and even cause larger issues. BACK UP YOUR DATA before running updates, or just in general. However, the risk of something bad happening during an update is nothing compared to the possible issues that can happen by running an out-of-date system.

  • WordPress and Other Websites
  1. Back up everything on a regular basis – Always have a way to reset if something bad happens, even if you lose some data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates for plugins and incremental WordPress updates.
  3. Use a service to update multiple sites if needed.
  4. Turn on notifications for major WordPress or theme releases, and run them after you back up, update plugins and prepare for possible downtime.
  5. Also change your FTP and Cpanel passwords on a regular basis, or when someone leaves the organization.
  • Windows Computers
  1. Back up on a regular basis. Services like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and others offer cheap, or even free secure cloud services that will back up your data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates in the control panel. This will run in the background, and prompt to reboot when larger updates appear.
  3. If you can update your operating system to at least Windows 8.2 you will at least be receiving regular security updates. There was a time you could have updated to Windows 10 for free, but you most likely missed that if you’re still running an older version.
  4. Keep your software like browsers, office software and other major applications like Photoshop and others up to date by regularly checking, or selecting auto-updates if prompted.
  • Mobile Devices
  1. Back up on a regular basis (notice a theme here?). Most carriers have this available, but you can keep your music in the cloud, photos backed up to Google Photos for free, contacts saved to Gmail or Gsuite, again for free, and other data can use Dropbox, Carbonite and other services.
  2. Go into the Play Store or Updates on your mobile device and click Update All on a regular basis.
  3. Always accept operating system updates when prompted, your device is properly charged or connected to a power source, and you have the necessary allotted time to accomplish the update. Do a full reboot once in a while to clear the device and also to re-engage auto-updates when the phone reaches back out to the carrier or app store.

Updates are an easy way to keep your site and devices secure. Criminals are looking for the easy targets when you’re dealing with electronic crime, so stay on top of your systems and update regularly.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Planning & Budgeting Your New Website – BBP EP 53

Planning & Budgeting Your New Website – BBP EP 53

In this episode we talk with Scott Wild from NISC about the budget and organizational steps in planning and developing a new website, the upcoming iPhone, and Twitter Night Mode

BBP : Episode 53 – Scott Wild Talks About Planning a New Website

Scott Wild, the Onboarding & Employee Engagment specialist at NISC and owner of the Wild Trivia Tour, joins the podcast to talk about planning and budgeting for a new website. Scott and I have done several podcasts and other projects together in the past, including working for the same advertising agency in the same role a few years apart, so there’s no one I trust more when it comes to planning and pulling out the steps for a new site.

Let’s Start with the Basics

Websites are now the storefront of most businesses. It used to be billboards, newspapers and then television ads, but now many consumers find you online. So it’s important to have a user-friendly site that funnels potential clients through the buying experience. It’s not unlike how grocery and department stores are set up in that you walk through the store to get essentials, then back through everything again before being shown the “add-ons” at the checkout. You should find  out what your visitors want, get them there quickly, then take them through the desired path while still serving their needs.

  • Planning Meetings : planning up front will decrease development time (and therefore cost) and get you the site you want.
    • Who is the audience(s)?
    • For each audience, “where do they itch?” Or what do they want/need to find on your site?
    • What do you want them to do right now? What’s the call to action?
  • Development
    • What CRM? WordPress? Drupal? A specialized CRM that’s built for your industry? Custom build? What’s the best fit for your business or organization?
  • Hosting
    • There are many criteria for hosts including cost, operating systems, server specs, bandwidth speed and limitations, and many, many more.
    • Choosing a good host can be a determining factor when Google and other search engines rank your site.
  • Domains
    • Pick a domain that matches your business name for the primary domain, then you can select “vanity” domains for landing pages
      • For example, my DJ business is BeLoudEntertainment.com, but I also own BismarckWeddingDJ.com.
    • OWN YOUR DOMAIN! This can be important when you want to move the website, or just to make sure the domain is handled correctly for updating.
    • Your domain name is just like your business name. Keep it safe!
  • SSL’s

Some Advanced Planning Tips

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    • Can be expensive
    • Can take a fair amount of time
    • Can be very punitive if “black hat” methods are employed, even to the effect of getting the domain shot WAY down the list
    • Is affected by proper titles, descriptions, keywords, page content, page layout, links (inbound, outbound and internal), page load speed, server response speed, and more.
  • Digital Marketing
    • Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are critical in sending good traffic back into your website. Use them correctly and often.
    • PPC – We didn’t really talk about this on the podcast, but a good Google AdWords or LinkedIn campaign can be a great way to generate leads
    • If you really want to make a splash, there are large volume marketing pieces like Spotify or other campaigns that can be fired up, but most have a minimum spend.
  • Security
    • Make sure the site is backed up and has some security apps or plugins monitoring the site. This is critical when, not if, something bad happens.

There were so many other items to discuss on this podcast, but in many cases it’s better to discuss in person or over the phone. If you have questions on developing a new website, or would like to discuss in more detail, please call 701-214-6271 or contact BeBizzy Consulting and let’s find out how we can drive more customers to your website.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 52 – Insecure Website Warnings & Dropbox Paper Updates

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 52 – Insecure Website Warnings & Dropbox Paper Updates

In this episode we talk about upcoming Google Chrome warnings that will be displayed for website forms not protected by SSLs and a little about Dropbox Paper.

  • Dropbox Paper has released some updates
    • Users can now preview Dropbox Paper docuemnts before opening them. Very helpful for admins or project managers.
    • Usera can also now create folders on mobile devives and move Paper documents to them. Great for those of us who work on phones or tablets a good portion of the time.
    • And finally, users can now delete files on their mobile devices. A little less useful for many of us IT guys and creatives who NEVER delete anything, just archive it.
  • Google Chrome will now start displaying a “Not Secure” warning on webpages not protected by an SSL and including a form asking for passwords or credit card information.
    • This means that if your site requires or requests any of this, the warnings will be shown to potential clients and other visitors.
    • I believe this is an incremental step towards Chrome requiring all sites to have SSLs in the very near future, with the next step probably being that ANY form will need to be protected by an SSL.
  • This is a great time for you to get ahead of the inbound wave by activating an SSL on your site as soon as possible to take advantage of the extra search weight assigned by Google for sites with SSLs.
  • It’s also a great chance to take a look at current forms on your website and maybe change them to ask additional questions you may have ommitted due to not having and SSL in the past.
  • Keep in mind there are some obstacles beyond cost to purchasing and installing an SSL. More to come on that in a future episode.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

WEBSITE LAUNCH – North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association

WEBSITE LAUNCH – North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association

BeBizzy Consulting is proud to announce the launch of our latest website, NDRPA.com!

The North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association supports park and rec organizations in communities across North Dakota by providing education opportunities, resource material and recognition.

Visit the site at http://ndrpa.com.

Ready to redesign and launch a website for your business or organiztion?

Contact BeBizzy Consulting to talk about how a responsive WordPress site hosted and backed up in our server environment can help you get noticed by your customers. 

Change Your Passwords… Again : BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 50

Change Your Passwords… Again : BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 50

EPISODE 50!! AND, it’s our one year anniversary. So all around a big day for the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

In this episode we talk about what NIST has recommended for a new password strategy.

BBP : Episode 50 – Change Your Passwords… Again

First of all, congratulations to Dana and her team at the North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association on their new website. We launched http://NDRPA.com earlier this week. It’s a WordPress site with a calendar, subpage navigation and more. Check it out!

Also, I rescued two websites earlier this week from hacking. I’ll use this as my weekly reminder for all of your to back everything up. Websites, databases, financial information, personal photos… everything. Better to put a little bit of prevention and spend a little bit of money now than pay a bunch of money to possibly recover (or worse, possibly NOT recover) lost data.

Passwords

Back in 2003, Bill Burr (not the comedian) was a mid-level manager at NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They recommend standards on all sorts of things like official weight calibration, timing, and even technology guidelines like passwords. In 2003, Burr published NIST Special Publication 800-63 Appendix A, which spelled out the proper guidelines for creating and managing secure passwords on websites and networks. Those guidelines are still followed today.

The standards included a long password (8-12 characters), upper and lower case alphabet charcters, numbers, special characters and random. Sounds like every website you sign up for, doesn’t it?

But now, Mr. Burr has stated that in regards to this document and policy, “Much of what I did I now regret.” That’s an unfair statement by Bill. Back in 2003, we didn’t have much history of what computer network security was, and we definately didn’t have the case studies of how criminals and mischief-makers would do to gain access to computer networks. All of his recommendations sounded solid, and while possibly flawed, are still in use today.

What NIST and computer analysts are finding though is humans always find an easy way to get around something tough, and frankly secure. The requirements would allow a user to create a seemingly random password like “Pa5sW0rD”. You and I both know that says “PaSsWOrD”, but the computer sees it matches Burr’s recommendations.

So, when it comes time to update the password becasue of time requirements placed by the system adminstrators, or a data break. instead of creating a new, secure passwords, often we add something simple to it. “Pa5sW0rD” becomes “Pa5sW0rD1”, the “5” and “s” switch places, or something simple like that to remember but still meeting Burr’s recommendations.

Well the computer hackers have also figured out our shortcuts and have added some smarts into their password cracking to test out some of these easy switches. And it’s working.

In June 2017, NIST has published a new version of NIST Publication 800-63, which outlines a very different recommended password architecture. What started out as a project to simply review and slightly revise Burr’s policy recommendations became an eye-opening look into how users and criminals were using passwords. And results came back with a HUGE change in password policy.

Instead of a hard-to-remember, cryptic password, it was instead recommending four or five easy to remember words all pressed together. This is easy for the user to remember, change and use, and tough for the computer hackers to crack due to the length and randomness of the password.

A cartoon on XKCD.com drawn by Randall Munroe estimated that a password created using Burr’s methods, “Tr0ub4dor&3” would take only three days to crack using current methods. A password of four words all mixed together would take 550 years. That password was “correcthorsebatterystaple.” Which one do you think is easier to remember, and change? And if you DO need to change the password, which is now only recommended in the event of a data breach or similar event, you can swap out an entire word instead of just adding a “1” or “!” to the password.

It will be interesting to see how this is adapted and implemented across websites and networks. Most rules won’t allow passwords regardless of length, to not contain numbers, special charactes and upper/lower case, so there’s a lot of things that have to change for these guidelines to become common, but it makes sense.

Do you have thoughts on this or anything else technology related? Let me know on Twitter or at BeBizzy.com!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

#NetNeutrality Day of Action : BeBizzy Break Podcast EP:46

#NetNeutrality Day of Action : BeBizzy Break Podcast EP:46

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 46 – #NetNeutrality Day of Action

Hosted by : Marv Dorner, owner of BeBizzy Consulting

Today’s episode is a quick view of #NetNeutrality.

If you’re unfamiliar with Net Neutrality, it’s simply the call to ensure the same speed, access and availability for all websites… basically what we have now.

Many companies, and of course some internet providers, would love to have priority access to the web, making their sites run at full speed, and throttling the rest of the websites.

Many people and companies are speaking out in defense of net neutrality, including Tim Berners-Lee, the man many credit with inventing the internet.

Join in the discussion and defend Net Neutrality by getting involved on Twitter using the #NetNeutrality hashtag, communicating with friends, family and elected officials, and supporting the companies listed on this article from the Verge.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Own Your Digital Data – BBP EP 45

Own Your Digital Data – BBP EP 45

Own Your Digital Data.

You own your business name, your equipment, maybe you even own your building.

But I bet many of you don’t own your digital business presence.

I’m talking about  your domain names, your social media pages, Analytics and more.

Here’s some tips on owning your digtal data

  • Google Business Listing – Make sure you use an email address owned by the company to create and manage the business listing. By not doing this, I’ve seen the process become very involved just to change the hours of operation.
  • Google Analytics – Same as above… use an email address belonging to the business to create this account. We’ve had an issue where we could not move an account to a client and therefore couldn’t use the existing account to manage everything without creating a new Analytics account.
  • Social Media – Picture this… you fire the employee in charge of social media. They created YOUR page with THEIR account, and therefore “own” it. Now, in order to make sure that previous employee doesn’t post negative information, or simply for you to continue to post as your business, you have to go to them and have them transfer ownership. Awkward! Create your own social media pages/accounts, and invite others to contribue. Then you can manage who gets access.
  • Domain Names and SSL’s – Your domain name is one of the first things potential customers can see. If you don’t technically “own” it, then moving it can be a long, and sometimes impossible process. Lease your own domain names, and SSL certificates to make sure you know when they are up for renewal, and can easilyl change everything in the event you move or change hosting.

If you’ currenty don’t own your digital business presence or properties, my suggestion is to get them as soon as you can. You never know when your current vendor will be leaving the business space, you lose critical employees, or even if YOU are planning on selling and need to transfer ownership.

Need some help getting this handled? Contact BeBizzy Consulting at 701.214.6271 or at BeBizzy.com and I’ll be happy to help you out!

Have any questions or suggestions for future podcasts? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

I HATE Printing : BBP EP 44

I HATE Printing : BBP EP 44

I hate printing.

PC Load Letter…?

More than most anything else in running my own businesses, paper drives me nuts.

Now I know this makes me a bit out of the ordinary. Most people still default to notepads, post-it notes, or random pieces of paper to keep short reminders, meeting notes, and ideas, but maybe it’s time for you to buckle down and think about using your technology to do this job, and de-clutter your life and business.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Things You Probably Need To Print

There are some things in business that you might need to print, unfortunately.

  • Contracts
  • Invoices for Clients
  • Meeting Agendas

Print these if you must, but try to use tools like Docusign for contracts, email invoices from your accounting software for invoicing, and email or other electronic means for meeting agendas if possible.

Why Digital Instead of Print?

Like most controversial subjects, humans are looking for justification on why to do this process instead of just doing it like we’ve “always done it.” Need a few reasons to use digital instead of print? Here you go !

  • Offsite Backups – Fire, water, carelessness, etc can ruin your print documents. Digital files can be secured and backed up in several locations in case there’s a catastrophic event.
  • Searchable – Ever tried searching for a term or keyword in piles of paper? How about searching on the internet? Way easier to just type in what you want and have a few documents presented to you, isn’t it?
  • Accessible By Multiple Devices – Get to a document with your laptop, phone, tablet, or really anyone else’s device, all protected by login credentials.
  • Share or Limit Access to Files – Pretty much anyone can get into a general access filing cabinet. So that means you need MORE cabinets saved in secure areas like the accounting office, C-level suite, or possibly even another room. Digital files can be locked down to a single user, keeping access as secure as possible. On the flip side, if you need to share with multiple users a document can be shared across the network with anyone you wish.

Avoid the Day-To-Day Paper Mess

Ok, so it’s apparent that moving to paperless is a great method to clean up the office and become more efficient. How about some tools that will help you do this?

  • Storage – The first thing you need to do is determine how you are going to store and share the documents. If you want to keep everything contained in your network, you can use your internal server to do this. But if you want the advantages of outside accessibility you might consider using a cloud storage.
  • Backup/Security – Of course a big concern is security and backups of the data. Most of the cloud services have automatic backups and recovery systems. Also, most of them have encryption either natively active or available as an add-on.
    • Versioning – In some cases having multiple versions of the same document is desired. This works great on marketing documents, meeting agendas, policies, or other items that require several revisions. Cloud services like Box.com have a great way of tracking versions and accessing them as needed.
  • Receipts – One of the biggest sources of paper for many small businesses are receipts or bills. Get them digitized and out of your filing cabinets and make them easy to sort and report. All of the tools below make it easy to scan, photograph or submit a PDF of your receipts or bills.
  • Track Mileage and Travel Expenses – Eventually we all have to travel for business and tracking vehicle mileage, gas, food and other expenses can be tricky, or just a pain in the butt. Luckily there are many mobile apps and computer programs to help you with keeping track of these easily.
    • Milebug
    • MileIQ
    • Quickbooks
  • Notes – The staple of business life, right? We all take notes… lots of them. And most of the time they are on legal pads or composition notebooks that contain pages and pages of random notes and meeting results. Using electronic note systems keeps these loose notes organized, searchable, and shareable. And, if you use an tablet or some smartphones some of these applications also will allow the saving of handwritten notes.
    • Evernote
    • OneNote
  • Project and Task Management – Need to keep you and your team on task? You could use a whiteboard, random post-it notes, or just your brain to do this, or you could find a technology solution that meets the needs of your tasks and projects.
    • Scribblepost – My favorite task management application. Usable across all my devices.
    • Basecamp
    • Outlook, Gmail and GSuite all have excellent task management tools built in.

More Tips on Avoiding Printing

Reasons digital is better than paper… check. Tools to keep me from printing… check. Now, you just need a few more tips on how to avoid using paper during the work day.

  • Print to PDF – Every time you would normally print a document to be placed in a filing cabinet, select Print to PDF and file it in your digital storage system.
  • Don’t Print Emails – I can’t think of a single reason, short of saving something offsite to maintain your innocence or proof of someone else’s guilt that you would print an email. It’s in your email, leave it there and use your other tools to
  • Maps – Remember the frustration and pain of using (and folding) paper maps? Heck, most people can’t even find north! Paper maps are close to obsolete the second they are printed. Use your GPS or smartphone to get where you need to go.
  • Faxes – If you need to fax something, first of all, yell at the company you are faxing information to. Then, after your meltdown, use a service like E-Fax to send electronic documents to their system. Odds are they have a digital service and don’t realize that the rest of us beat up our fax machines in an Office Space-like rampage.
  • Web Pages – Printing webpages was a pretty useful service several years ago, but now it’s just extra pieces of paper lying around. Send URLs via email, messaging systems, or share websites using apps like Pocket.
  • Bills – Did a bill arrive in the mail? Open it, scan it, save it in your storage location and accounting system, then put it in the shredder or trash bin… where it belongs.

Existing Paper

Finally, what should you do with the existing paper products you have in the office? You may have years of old documents, invoices, meeting notes just sitting in filing cabinets waiting patiently to be shredded when you’re ready to move or need more space. The easy solution would be to drag them out the parking lot, gather everything up, and set it on fire. But safety, and the law, make that impractical. So your options are really down to two. Store existing paper and remove it as it becomes unneeded or obsolete. Or, scan existing paper into your new digital system.

Scanning existing can be an expensive solution. However, do some math on what processes could be optimized by having the old documents digitized. Could more workforce work from home or remote locations more effectively? Could you share some information with partners, vendors or other resources to make things quicker? Could you make more money, or possibly spend less by buying less equipment or renting less space by getting rid of clutter? Is having your documents in a secure, emergency-proof location attractive to you as a business owner?

Scanning services are in nearly every town. They roll up to an office with a truck to keep documents in-house for the most part, and can even provide some solutions or guidance on how to set up your digital files. And if it’s something easy like receipts, Shoeboxed offers a service where you send in your receipts, then scan and organize them all, and you’re all set.

Stop Printing!

A paperless office might be right for you and your business. Maybe it’s time to get rid of those printing costs like paper, printer leases, toner, ink, storage and more by going all-digital. And, think of all that time you’ll save by not standing around the printer/copier waiting for you document to print!

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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