Engage your Clients with Great Content

Used with permission from Microsoft US Small and Midsize Business Blog

A few years ago, a startup called Groove that makes helpdesk software found itself just months from running out of money. The founders did something unusual for businesspeople in that situation: They devoted themselves to rethinking their content marketing strategy. Then they took the radical step of telling the story of their company on their blog with complete transparency, including revealing their actual numbers. The result of this daring move? They now have more than 6,000 customers and annual recurring revenue of $10 million.

Interested? That’s because you’ve been hooked by a story:

  • Use the power of storytelling. Narrative is fundamental to the way the human mind works. It’s how we construct meaning and make sense of the world—just think of the power of myths in shaping societies and belief systems. We tell ourselves stories about our own lives to discover who we are. Tests of blogs with identical content—where one is straight bullet points and the other first sets up the real meat of the matter with a story—show that people spend more time on the narrative version and engage more strongly with it. So tell your customers a story.


Online Collaboration Tools

Collaboration - Many people say that there's not enough of it, between people, in business, or in life. Some say we should collaborate more in-person, but sometimes, that's just not possible. There are dozens of collaboration tools available; nearly every major software manufacturer has one. Here's good review of some online collaboration tools that can help you business or organization be more productive.

Is your team having a communications breakdown? Or maybe just leaning too heavily on endless email threads? From workflow management apps to all-in-one collaboration tools, here are some of the many services available to help your colleagues cut down on email (yay!), get work done more efficiently, and—here’s the best part—have more fun.

Group messaging

  • Slack: is so popular that there’s a good chance your office is already using it. If not, this cloud-based tool should be the first one you look into. Its themed channels for teams, customizable alert settings, archiving, and search capabilities make it a robust tool for both real-time messaging and storing old conversations for easy reference. Many people are also using Slack channels for personal use outside of work, so your team will probably adapt to it easily.


A Guide to Better Virtual Meetings


Thanks to advancements in conferencing technology, your business can connect with customers, employees, and contractors all over the world. Successful collaboration with dispersed teams requires virtual meetings that run smoothly and enable easy communication—something that is not always easy to achieve.

We've all experienced virtual meetings plagued by technical difficulties, sound problems, and gaffes. Follow these six steps to make sure your next conference call or video chat goes off without a hitch.


There's more to Microsoft than Office 365

With all the bad news out there regarding Internet security, scams, and hacking, some of the "good stuff" gets left behind. This month, we're highlighting several of the "other" Microsoft products and services available through The Computing Center.

Most of us know about Windows 10 and Office 365, and rely on them daily.

But I’m here to tell you there’s a lot more going on at Microsoft.

Packed inside of Windows 10, packaged up with other offerings or simply available as standalone products, there’s a ton of business productivity just waiting to be unleashed on your business.

Recently I visited the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond for a tour with its crew of Small Business Ambassadors (I’m one of them). I discovered that Microsoft is innovating all over the place. Here are 10 highly useful Microsoft products and features that if you are not aware of, I suggest you explore:


Snow Days - Working from Home

It's been many years since the Tompkins County roads were closed due to snow. But it did happen this March. Like many businesses, we needed to quickly execute our plan to make sure our people were safe, but still be able to serve clients. Although a bit stressful, we were able to operate through the storm and the road closings reasonably well:

  • Most of our deliveries were delayed because our clients who had ordered printer consumables, had regular repair pickups and deliveries, etc. were closed as well. That kept our pickup and delivery people off the roads - a good thing considering the weather.
  • Service calls that required on-site vists were also delayed for much the same reasons as deliveries and pickups.
  • A few of our clients who were planning on-site upgrades and updates actually kept to their schedules prior to and directly after the road closures. It turned out that our work was actually easier to accomplish because it disrupted fewer people. All it took was engineers with good driving skills and 4WD vehicles.


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