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TechShortcut's blog on technology for the small business manager

USA Today Article says “Small Business Owners Might Need Outside Help with Tech”

October 4th, 2010 by Jeff Keihl

us

  • A new survey from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) states that 43% of business owners spend more than two hours a week on technology problems.
  • About one-quarter of small-business owners handle tech support for the entire company themselves.
  • Consider seeking professional help

http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/2010-10-04-technology04_ST_N.htm

My 2 cents…

As a small business owner you need to know the basics of the technology that powers your business but who wants to spend a lot of time in the tech details?  I hope TechShortcut.com can help you find a new tech resource in your town to become your trusted tech partner.  The trick is finding the right resource for the job.

Does Your Business Need a “Tech Day”? Small Business Technology Tour 2010

October 3rd, 2010 by Jeff Keihl

logo-2Do you need to take a “tech day” to do some dreaming about improving your business with technology?  A small business technology event “Small Business Technology Tour 2010″ put on by Smallbiztechnology.com is touring several U.S. cities.  It is a fun and informative event to learn about some of the latest trends in small business technology and network with other small business owners and technology experts.

More information at: http://www.smallbiztechtour.com/

I attended the Small Business Technology Tour in Mountain View, CA last week.  It was an idea packed day filled with speakers from technology companies AT&T, Elance, Intuit, Marchex, Mindflash, Hware, Fanminder, Google Apps, Zoho & Brightcove.  Also presenting were Rachael King of Bloomberg Business Week, Patrick Schwerdtfeger – author of “Webify Your Business” and Jennifer Shaheen of The Technology Therapy Group.  There was also a discussion with business owner Raj Prasad of WDFA Marketing about his firms use and view of technology to drive his business.

Ramon Ray (Editor/Evangelist) and Laura Leites (Managing Editor) of Smallbiztechnology.com know how to put on a fun and well run event.

Here are the upcoming dates for Small Business Technology Tour 2010.  For more information http://www.smallbiztechtour.com/

Oct. 14 – Salt Lake City, UT

Oct. 25 – Boston, MA

Nov. 5 – Washington DC

Nov. 9 – Atlanta, GA

74 Percent of Workplace PCs Still on XP!

September 1st, 2010 by Jeff Keihl

xpI was a little surprised to read that 74% of workplace PCs are still running Windows XP. I guessed the number would be closer to 50% and declining fast. But, you can’t blame businesses, there are a lot of reasons to stay on your trusted operating system (OS) like the following:

  • If it isn’t broken, why fix it?
  • Many businesses can be run entirely within a web browser these days which limits the demands on the OS.
  • Will the new OS features really help your bottom line?
  • An OS upgrade may force you to upgrade your hardware if you can’t find new device drivers.

But, it is important to realize that upgrading to a new OS will usually give you improved security.

Be aware that if you want to keep getting support updates you will need to upgrade to XP3.

You can find the article here
XP is Dead. Long Live XP Support

Free E-Waste Disposal at BestBuy!

April 17th, 2010 by Jeff Keihl

bestbuyDo you know that BestBuy accepts nearly any e-waste at BestBuy locations for disposal or recycling.  Simply bring your e-waste to the customer service desk and drop it off. So far I have turned in two laptops, a scanner and a radio. Today I will bring another computer and a monitor. My office is much cleaner. Thanks BestBuy!

More info from BestBuy – http://www.bestbuy.com/recycling/

Free Software Part 1 – Office Suite/Productivity Applications

December 8th, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

free office

Here are three free office suite/productivity applications for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

Locally Installed Applications
Robust functionality similar to Microsoft Office applications.
OpenOffice.org

Web-based Applications
The functionality is not the same in some areas compared to locally installed office applications but you will be able to access your documents from anywhere you have an Internet connection and collaborate with others.

Solution Overview
Office Suite/Productivity Solution Overview

More Information
Research Helper – Free Office Suite Productivity

How Much Do Certifications Matter When Evaluating Tech Professionals?

November 20th, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

certificateI don’t think anyone would argue that work experience and customer success stories are more important indicators of technical competence than certifications.  But how much weight should you give to certifications when evaluating tech professionals to help your business?
Read More…

Press Release for Tech Service Providers

October 30th, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

press_releaseWe issued our first press release this week. It was designed to reach out to U.S. tech service providers. We are always looking for dedicated tech service businesses that help small businesses. If you know any great local tech helpers, please send them to TechShortcut.com for some free visibility.

You can read our press release here:
TechShortcut Provides Free Advertising for Tech Service Providers that Help Small Businesses

If you would like to refer a tech service business to us you can use our referral form:
Refer a Tech Business

How to Run Your Software? In-House vs. Online vs. Outsourced

October 20th, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

implementationSolution options have virtually doubled thanks to Internet-based applications for virtually every type of traditional/in-house solution. For example, you can run Microsoft Word in-house or use Google Docs online. You can run Quickbooks locally or you can use NetSuite online.

While all the choices can be difficult to navigate, these options allow businesses more flexibility than ever before to meet business needs. But which option should a business choose?
Read More…

Can You Beat 99.9% Uptime For The Price?

October 5th, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

uptimeGoogle’s email service “Gmail” recently experienced an outage that lasted for about 100 minutes. Should you reconsider using online applications in your business?

As Google’s Gmail blog pointed out, the Gmail service still adhered to being operational 99.9% of the time.  Do you think you can do better in-house for the price?
Read More…

Do You Think You are Safe on Public Wi-Fi Internet Hotspots?

September 15th, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

windows_firewallYou should have some fear when you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. When you access a network you become a member of that network and that can mean that others can access your computer.

A friend of mine connected to a business owner’s Wi-Fi network a few weeks ago and was startled see his computer and shared folders listed in the business owner’s “My Network Places” view in Windows Explorer while he was helping him do some configuration. He usually switches off “file and printer sharing” but he obviously forgot to do that before connecting to the hotspot.

Read More…

Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared of the Term “Cloud”

September 16th, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

cloudAs a small business manager you don’t need to know all the in’s and out’s of cloud computing.

You were probably just getting used to terms like application service provider (ASP), hosted application, on-line application and software as a service (SaaS) when along comes the term “cloud.”

A picture of a “cloud” to represent the Internet has been used in diagrams for years and is akin to the term “black box.” The underlying concept is the same for all the above termsyour application processing and/or data reside outside of your company.

Read More…

Stimulus for Small Businesses?

September 22nd, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

money symbolsLegislation called the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, ” or simply the Recovery Act, was passed in February 2009 to help stimulate the economy. Much was made in the press about the money the bill would generate for states and government projects.

What are the benefits for small business and technology?  Here are some links that should help clarify the legislation’s intentions. The jury is still out on how many small businesses will benefit.

Read More…

One-Stop Search Tool for Small Business Tech Info

September 23rd, 2009 by Jeff Keihl

res helper 1Do you feel like you aren’t getting the results you need from your current search engine?  Have you heard about technology for your business but you can’t find good information about it? Do you want to save time? TechShortcut makes things easier and faster for you by providing a one-stop search tool called “Research Helper” where you can find the best search results for small business technology.
Read More…

Update on Stimulus for Small Business

January 30th, 2010 by Jeff Keihl

dollarsFour months ago I wrote a post about federal stimulus for small businesses. Here is an update.

The prior stimulus bill focused on trying to make it easier for small businesses to secure credit and added a few tax breaks. Business owners I talked to were not in a position to consider more funding for two reasons.

  1. They were wary about adding debt to expand given the current economy.
  2. They were already in such a tough position that they would not be able to qualify for more funding.

Read More…

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