Jennah Mitchell's Musings

A compendium of thoughts, ideas, projects, and more

Archive for the category “Derrick Mitchell Design”

Shayla Smith is the Bomb.com!

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Top 5 Ways a Smartphone Can Benefit Your Company

For many people, a smartphone seems like a toy; many use it to play games and download music, apps, and more, all at the touch of a button. But have you ever wondered how using a smartphone can actually benefit your company and your business? Smartphones are not only reliable devices for phone calls and text messaging; they can also help you stay in touch via email, organize your time, share documents with your associates, and much more. Read below to find out the top 5 ways a smartphone can benefit your company:

  1. Boost your productivity. Who doesn’t want that? As a small business owner, the manager of large company, or the CEO of an international corporation, you probably dream of being more productive and able to fit more into your work hours. A smartphone can help you do that by allowing you access to your office files from your phone, enabling you to send emails on the go, or even by functioning as a payment portal (Square Up, anyone?).
  2. Share information with your employees and clients easily. With old cell phones and even today’s regular flip phones, it is not always easy to share pictures, documents, or large files  – even when using email on your phone. With a smartphone such as a Blackberry, iPhone or Android, you can now share larger files, connect with others, and trade information quickly and easily.
  3. The World Wide Web is at your fingertips. With a smartphone, you can access Internet quickly and without the hassles that come with using an old cell phones without smartphone capabilities. This again allows you to stay connected no matter where you may be. From the airport, from home, from the hotel, or even from the beach – your ability to work away from the office is dramatically expanded thanks to the mobile Internet platforms available on any smartphone.
  4. Stay organized. Write yourself notes or record voice messages, import your email and phone contacts from your computer to your phone, make lists, set alerts and reminders, and so much more. Your smartphone is full of tools to help you stay on top of things and stay organized without carrying a large and clumsy planner or laptop computer wherever you go.
  5. Use Apps to your advantage. Think of the Apple store; when you come in, a representative enters your name on her or his iPhone and then all of a sudden any customer service agent in the store has your name on the waitlist and can help you right away once they are done with their previous customer. AT&T is using a similar system at their retail locations. You can use smartphones to optimize your customer service solutions or simply discover thousands of apps designed specifically with business men and women in mind.

To find out what smartphone is right for you, check out this article on About.com – it is a basic questionnaire to help you narrow down your smartphone options and help you decide what one may be a good fit for your personal and business needs. While it is not a smartphone specific process, it is a good jumping-off point for anyone looking to branch out into the new realm of phone technology.

What We Can Learn From the Recent Netflix Fiasco

My husband and I are avid Netflix users – we love the streaming service they offer, and we also receive DVDs in the mail from them as well. As many people know, Netflix recently announced that they would be splitting their company into two separate divisions. Netflix would remain the locale for their streaming service, and their DVD rental service would be housed under the name Qwikster. Needless to say, this (in conjunction with recent price hikes) caused an uproar among many loyal Netfilx users – so much so that Netflix began a series of hasty backtracking steps in an attempt to win back the favor of their customers. One such step was an email sent out by Reed Hastings, the Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix; the email opened with the words,

“I messed up. I owe you an explanation.”

At least he cut straight to the chase here, although the email’s blunt and open approach should have come much earlier, before customers felt used and betrayed. The email went on to say,

“We realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.”

The company’s blog post regarding this situation, (http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html?lnktrk=EMP&g=62C94008A575B649F771017D7C3381B30AC0315E&lkid=netflixBlog) is fraught with angry and pointed comments, many of which bring to light valid questions and insights. Undoubtedly, this open hostility led to the email Netflix subscribers received today: NETFLIX IS ABANDONING THE CHANGES!

Kudos to them for listening to their customers, but as recent blog comments show, it may have come too late for many people who are fed up with the company’s lack of poise, customer service, and research. Fortunately, we can learn a lot from the whole debacle, and – hopefully – avoid making their unnecessary mistakes ourselves.

1. Market research is vital. Had Netflix taken the time to see how even a small pool of customers responded to their idea of splitting off the company into two sectors, they would have saved themselves many scathing comments and a lot of negative public feedback – something I am sure any business would be glad to do: to take the “pain now” for the “gain later.” Had Netflix done this, they would have saved time, resources, and a large portion of their customer base – instead, they put out a ton of effort, time, and money, only to end up scrapping the whole thing and ending up not back where they started, but several huge steps behind.

2. Good leadership is the next step. If the captain of the ship is not assertive, knowledgeable, and open to continued course correction, chances are that the ship will get into trouble in open waters. Additionally, those following that leader will be more tempted to jump ship when the going gets rough than they would if they believe in the course and in the underlying mission and purpose of the company. Where there is no clear vision, “the people will perish,” and the original vision along with them.

3. Consistent, meaningful communication is the final piece of the puzzle. When my husband and I were taking a pre-marriage class, our pastor said something we never have forgotten:” Would you tell your wife or husband I love you on the day you get married and then never say it again, expecting them to know that nothing has changed?” The answer is, obviously, NO! A loving and committed couple would absolutely tell one another consistently that they love and appreciate them. The same is true of a company that wants to keep moving forward with integrity and excellence: communication must be present! From the top to the bottom, CEOs, employees, and secretaries alike have to be willing to talk through day-to-day business happenings as well as big business moves and adjustments in order to stay on top of their game.

4. If it’s not broke…well, you know what that means. If you have a product  or service people love, at a price point that is mutually beneficial, DO NOT STOP OFFERING IT! Improve it and make it more efficient and user-friendly, yes – but do not change the heading of the ship if you are on a direct course for continued success.

Thank you Netflix, for this valuable lesson in business management and customer relations – hopefully it is one that we all take to heart and never forget.

Andrew McMillen – An Article For Freelancers

Andrew McMillen, an Australia-based freelance journalist, recently wrote an excellent article about what it takes to be a successful freelance writer. I love what he says about the inquisitive nature of human beings, and the fact that – as he puts it – “Curiosity is currency.” It is an insightful, unique, and very true way of looking at life…especially life as a writer, or as someone who depends on new ideas and fresh insights to keep their career or hobby alive.

I also really appreciated his thoughts on the importance of defining the line between work and the personal aspects of life. As a freelance writer myself, and also as a mom to two little girls and a wife of a small business owner, I fall prey too often to the demands of a busy schedule and to the burden that goes along with being available to my clients and to my work 24/7. McMillen says,”You need to respect boundaries, both for yourself and for those closest to you…” What a valuable reminder to us all!

The link to his article is http://www.therenegadewriter.com/2011/10/06/what-one-freelancer-has-learned-great-insights-from-a-successful-writer/ – I hope you enjoy!

Social Media Boot Camp

Unfortunately, I am completely illiterate and uneducated when it comes to the language of social media and the understanding of how it all works. Fortunately, I have a proverbial “arrow in my quiver” in this area: Social Nectar. Connie Cermak, the head “social hummingbird” of Social Nectar, will be working with me to increase my knowledge base and help get me on the right track. We met today for the first time and my head is still swimming from the great insights she had for my business and the extensive knowledge that poured out of her like…well…sweet nectar 🙂 I am fortunate to have her at my side, and would encourage anyone looking to branch out into the world of social media to give her a call; it will definitely be money well spent!

Cheers!

JP

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