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Archive for December, 2013

Ready, set, procrastinate

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"I'll find a picture later..."

A Wall Street Journal article described a lesson from a high-priced workshop as “Structured Procrastination.”

“The idea is that if you’re going to procrastinate, you might as well procrastinate by doing something that works toward another goal—for example, procrastinate on starting a work project by watching a TED talk you’ve been meaning to catch or starting a book you’ve wanted to read,” wrote Angela Chen.

As a goal this year, we will add Structured Procrastination to our Friday Library Day.

(Here’s a TED talk so you can start procrastinating…)

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Written by Brent Miller

December 31st, 2013 at 2:47 pm

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“Plan Ahead”: Why Charles Schwab paid $25,000 for this advice

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"Plan ahead, Chuck."

Almost a century ago, Charles Schwab owned the Bethlehem Steel Company, which was struggling with inefficiencies. Consultant Ivy Lee agreed to assist. Schwab would pay Lee whatever he felt the advice was worth after three months.

His advice? (Drum roll, please.)

At the end of the day, each member of the management team was to write a to-do list of the six most important tasks for the next day, then prioritize them. The next day, they were to work on those tasks one at a time, starting from top to bottom. They could not start the next task until the previous one was finished. Any left over at the end of the day would be added to the top of the next day’s list. Then they would round out that list with additions to keep it to six.

After three months, efficiency had increased so much that Schwab paid Lee $25,000 for this advice. (A century ago!) We think it’s still pretty valuable advice.

Written by Brent Miller

December 30th, 2013 at 11:47 am

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How to set up your new tablet to work with Relenta

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Whilst setting up Relenta may not be your first priority...

Ah, yes. You have a new toy. Be it iPad Mini, Nexus 10, or a Windows 8 hybrid, here’s our guide to setting up your tablet to work with Relenta.

  1. Tablets work almost the same as computers. You’ll be able to access Relenta through whatever browser your device normally uses. The biggest difference is mouse clicks become screen taps.
  2. Don’t get stuck on the lack of a keyboard. If your tablet doesn’t come with one and you are a speed typist, seriously consider a Bluetooth keyboard. Even if you’re satisfied with on-screen typing, consider upgrading to a better keyboard like Swype on iOS or Swiftkey on Android OS. Also, feel free to try your tablet’s text-to-speech capabilities.
  3. Wi-Fi or mobile data is required for tablets to access and work with Relenta.
  4. Consider enabling the Dropbox function for your Relenta account. Drop us a line — pun intended —  and we’ll switch it on for you. With the Dropbox feature, you’ll be able to compose offline messages with your tablet’s email app and BCC your yourcompany@relenta.net address. (Particularly handy if you happen to be working offline.) These sent messages will automatically be added to your recipients’ Relenta timelines.

So have fun fiddling with your new toy! Email support if you require more detailed instructions.

Written by Brent Miller

December 27th, 2013 at 11:45 am

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Local manufacturing coming to a garage near you

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Tired of shoe shopping? Design and print your own.

Now that 3D printing equipment has become less pricey, small businesses are finding new ways to innovate. For instance, Dell Tech reported today about Biorep Technologies, a medical device manufacturer in Miami that’s been 3D printing devices for over a decade now.

“We’ll meet with surgeons; they’ll tell us their ideas. Then we’ll throw it up into the computer, and then we can quickly 3D print the prototype,” he says. “We’ll check the fit and function, and at that point, we can start making functional prototypes in the machine shop.”

Badabing, badaboom, they’re done.

Now imagine you’re an engineer or tinkerer with a great idea for a device. You handcraft your prototype and it starts selling. The quantities don’t merit full-scale factory manufacturing with all the associated hassle and coordination. But 3D printing could kick-start a business by taking over the task of producing the product, leaving the business owner with more time to run the business end of the equation. (Kinda like what Relenta does for small business communication.)

This manufacturing model has other benefits. It keeps the business completely local, reduces the carbon footprint (think less transportation), and allows a company to guard its trade secrets.

So today  it’s 3D printing #FTW.

Written by Brent Miller

December 26th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

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Do tweets turn into customers? Data says, “Meh.”

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Half empty or half full? Depends.

The Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of customers acquired through Twitter is 23% lower than average, reports analytics company Custora. This may be due to a combination of factors like out-of-context content and an overemphasis on links to discounts.

Organic search and email, however, combine to deliver over 20% of new customers. The CLV for these customers is also consistently above average.
“Customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last 4 years. Email marketing has been a growing trend in e-commerce, with an increasing number of retailers building communities and collecting email addresses, then converting those “members” into customers. This may be attributed to the frequency of discounts offered withing tweets. Organic search [also] continues to grow as a reliable channel accounting for nearly 16% of customers acquired.”
The take-away? Make sure you look beyond where your customers are coming from and look at their value across channels, platforms, and geographies. This way you’ll have a better idea where to flex your marketing muscle and dollars. Always go for the lowest hanging fruit first.
Read the full report here.

Written by Brent Miller

December 23rd, 2013 at 3:19 pm

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Announcing our newest integration: Fetchflow

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Fetchflow announces Relenta integration with a 3-month Free Trial

If you’re like us, invoicing clients, checking to make sure they’ve paid, and adding up all those business expenses for tax season is a necessary evil. As you know, we love to get around necessary evils with services that streamline operations.

Enter Fetchflow, a new professional online invoicing and billing system designed for small businesses and freelancers. So what’s the fuss about?

Our developers got together with their developers and developed a way for Relenta contacts to be automatically synced with Fetchflow clients. (That’s alotta developing.)

So no more re-typing when you’re ready to start billing. And when you update contacts in Relenta, the changes are automatically sent over to Fetchflow. Read more about how the integration works.

One of the most attractive things about Fetchflow is the price. Its annual plans range from $0 to $5 per month, an amount that will make any accountant smile. And right now, they are offering three free months of their Ultimate package to Relenta customers. Their knowledgeable staff are ready to help you make sure you get your accounts connected properly. Click here to get your three month trial. Happy accounting!

Written by Brent Miller

December 19th, 2013 at 11:45 am

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Case Study: Ruling 10,000 email contacts with one address

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"One email to rule them all." Mwahahaha.

Ok. We’ve had some amazing customers, but Lokad tops the cake for innovation. Can you imagine only having one email address for your clients? We couldn’t.

Joannes Vermorel, owner of big-data software company Lokad, had a big-time CRM problem. 10,000 client emails would funnel through a dozen or so email addresses – some email (and clients) getting lost in the process. Dedicated clients started emailing three addresses just to ensure a quicker response.

How did Joannes and the team at Lokad solve the dilemma? They started using one email address, contact (@) lokad.com, and funneling all communication through Relenta. Lokad managers pick up emails from the inbox, nothing gets ignored, and their clients have never been happier.

How’s that for productivity? Read the complete case study and blog post about Lokad’s one-email-to-rule-them-all solution. #amazingcx at its best!

Written by Brent Miller

December 17th, 2013 at 10:32 am

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