“Go” For It! 5 Money Saving Tips for Your Small Business



As gas prices continue to skyrocket — approaching $5.00 per gallon nationwide in some areas — what business owner isn’t looking for ways to cut costs?

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the consumer price index continues to creep up, meaning the costs of goods and services — including those essential to running your business — are eating into profits.

With tax season at hand, it’s a good time to put the microscope on your monthly expenses to see where you can cut costs.

When done rationally, and with thoughtful planning, cost cutting can not only save you money, it can be less painful than you might think.

Here, in no certain order, are 5 relatively pain-free money saving tips for your small business

1. Go Online
Cutting traditional advertising in favor of lower cost online alternatives is a popular and effective way some successful small business owners are saving money without sacrificing results. Take a close look at your current marketing initiatives and consider adding low cost in-bound marketing tactics such as blogs, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and social media.

2. Go Green
“Going green” has transitioned from being a trendy, and sometimes more costly business strategy, to a necessary and smart approach to saving money. There are lots of ways to go green. Here are a few: reduce the amount of driving (and cost of gas) by setting up conference calls with clients and other stakeholders; keep equipment on a power strip and turn it off when not in use; replace your existing printer with one that prints on both sides of the paper; and, set electronics to go into sleep mode after a period of inactivity.

3. Go Up
Up to the cloud, that is. Switching to cloud-based services, such as a phone system, can help eliminate the costs — and headaches — associated with expensive hardware  A cloud-based phone service is a great way to lower the cost of doing business, particularly if you make a lot of calls. And, with features such as Auto-AttendantBusiness Call Forwarding and Voicemail-to-Text, making the switch will not only save you money, but also provide you with a big business image.

4. Go Out
A smart alternative to increasing productivity while keeping costs down is to outsource services to a freelancer. Highly qualified freelancers can be typically brought on board — for a particular project or for a certain amount of time — at a fraction of the price you would pay for a full time employee. Accountants, attorneys, bookkeepers, IT professionals, marketers, and copywriters are a few examples of outsourced services that can all be found for hire on freelancing sites like Guru.

5. Go In
It might not be possible for all small businesses but when it is, telecommuting — also known as working “virtually” — can be a huge money saver.  A virtual office approach  allows a small business to lower costs by cutting expenses such as office space rental and operating costs.  And, with a cloud based service such as eVoice, you can maintain a professional image no matter where you are, even if you’re working from home in your pajamas!

For more helpful money-saving tips, go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

Do you have any additional money saving tips to share?  Let us know by leaving a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

Learn more about how call forwarding services and other j2.com cloud services can be of great value to your business at the j2.com website.  In addition to virtual phone number services, j2 also provides many other valuable tools for small businesses, including online fax, email marketing, hosted email and online backup.

How to Make Cheap International Calls When You Travel Abroad!


worldHi guys this is Alex from Smile and Mobile and I am in Costa Rica right now and today I’m going to show you how to make cheap international calls to the United States from Costa Rica or any other international location for free using Global Call Connect.

First thing’s first, let me prove I am where I say I am. Where am I? All right let’s use this little app over here which will access our location so I can see right here I am in San Jose, Costa Rica, and I am going to make a call to the United States in San Jose, Costa Rica for free using Global Call Connect.

First, you have to get your Global Call Connect number, and I’m sure many of you have already used this to make a call within the United States. You’ve probably used your browser. You come to your browser, your Gmail account, you click on this little icon over here and then you can come to this pad and type in any number you want, you’ll be able to make the calls.

So this we already know. But now we want to be able to make those same calls from our cellphone using the Global Call Connect app. Okay so what you’re going to need to do is you’re going to need to download the Global Call Connect app from the Android store, which we have already done, you could see it right here. First, let’s show you what happens when we try to call the United States from Costa Rica. We have a number in here, let’s click call.

The Global Call Connect App is installed. It gives you two choices, call with Global Call Connect, and call without. Let’s try calling without. No registered network. So now, let’s try it again, this time we’ll call with Global Call Connect.  No registered network. So you can see, Global Call Connect, is not allowing you to make calls through WiFi on your phone. For that, we are going to need another application and let’s talk about that right now.

Let’s quickly recap, we’re in Costa Rica, we are trying to make calls but we couldn’t get through. We are out of network. Why? Because in Costa Rica people like T-Mobile, Verizon are not really here. So, we tried to use our Global Call Connect app and it didn’t go through either. Why is that? Because Global Call Connect does not let you make calls over WiFi yet.

Talkatone – Call Through Your Cellphone

You can call through your browser, of course, which we showed you. But if you want to use your cellphone, you’re going to need some extra apps and one of those extra apps is Talkatone. So now that you downloaded Talkatone, as soon as you open it you will get this message right here: Log In with Google. Talkatone uses Global Call Connect to make free calls within the US and Canada without using your cell minutes. So you need to be logged in to your Google account to make calls.

Would you like to log in now? And we will, of course, say yes, we would like to log in now.

Okay, now you are in your Talkatone app and as you can see, the interface is pretty much like any other dial interface you have in your phone. Everything that you have in your phone is downloaded into the Talkatone app, you have your contact information, you can actually chat through your Google Chat over here and you can receive calls over here.

So we are going to try that call again from Costa Rica to see if it goes through.

 [Phone Rings]

Voice Machine: –to 1-800-flowers.com. If you’re calling to place an order, please press 1. To check the status of an existing order, please press 2.

Smiley: So there you go. We are in Costa Rica. We weren’t able to make calls with our phone because, of course, we’re out of network. We downloaded Talkatone and we also have Google Talk, and with the wireless in Costa Rica we are able to make calls to The United States for free using Google Talk and Talkatone.

Thanks for reading and remember you can follow us on Twitter.

Get a Virtual Phone Number for Better Time Management


watch-for-time-300x225Proper time management is integral to business success. In small businesses, the importance of managing your time effectively is particularly magnified, as the entire company runs on your schedule.

For this reason, it is imperative that small business owners work as efficiently as possible, focusing on the correct tasks. Small businesses often utilize tools and technologies that take care of certain tasks so that the company can allocate their attention elsewhere. These technologies, therefore, play an understandably large role in maintaining the efficiency of a small business and ensure that it remains profitable.

A tool that can help save every small business owner more time is a voicemail system that uses a virtual number. Two ways that a virtual phone number can help with time management are:

  • It doesn’t keep you tied to the office– The ability to be truly mobile is a tremendous advantage when you have to meet with various clients, or take care of a variety of tasks on the go. With a virtual number, you can set up call forwarding to your cell phone to make sure that you receive every call made to your company number no matter where you are.
  • Voicemails get sent as text and email– Voicemail transcription allows you to quickly receive valuable information — even if you can’t use your phone to listen to the message. The ability to rapidly read voicemail converted to text also lets you immediately know the subject of the message so you can decide how quickly you need to call back.

Time management is an aspect of business that requires careful attention and certain tools. Use a voicemail number to better manage your time and boost productivity.

Virtual numbers can help with customers’ perception



First impressions are extremely important to a small business, particularly considering the fact that potential and/or new customers are developing preferences and affinities in split seconds, often based on personal preferences and perceptions.

For this reason, smaller companies can often be at a disadvantage when trying to build the business, especially when just starting out, and before a clear brand strategy or company image has been established.

Small businesses start ups rarely have the reputation, experience and manpower that larger corporations have. Yet by employing a virtual phone number, a small business can build the professional, established image it needs to gain credibility, while reinforcing the impression that the business is bigger than it actually is.

Research by Consumer-Rankings, a product analysis group, shows that consumers look for an accountable, reliable professional company, and a virtual phone number can help ensure that clients or customers of a smaller business gain that exact impression.

The source also suggested that leveraging a virtual phone number could support a growing business’ intention to appear experienced and confident. A virtual phone system like eVoice, with features like auto-attendant, call forwarding service, conference calling, voice to text, to name a few, enables a small business to create that crucial strong first impression.

The Importance of Vanity Toll Free Numbers



What’s up, everyone? JD here with another great post and today we’re kind of extending our topic of marketing and most importantly, phone numbers, right?

Marketing people got to get a hold of you, right? And the best way people get a hold of each other now is though phone numbers, right? So we’re standing in front of our cash van and I talked in a previous post about what the cash van is.

What is a Vanity Toll Free Number?

Today we’re just going to talk about a phone number, so we really call it our main office line and that’s our vanity toll free number. So talking about a vanity toll free number, it’s an easy number to remember and our vanity toll free number is CT Homes in California, 619-888-7777, pretty easy number to remember, right? Your best numbers are going to be some sort of area code, obviously, and then a combination of the first three numbers being the same and the last four numbers being the same. Ideally you’d have all the same numbers, but I guarantee you that’s going to be a really hard number if not impossible to get. So combinations of three and four make it really easy and let’s talk about how you get a number like that because a lot of these good numbers are already taken. Well, this is an interesting point and a very good point that everyone should write down.

You calling as the investor, a big real estate investor wanting their main number for their website and all their marketing, when you call a number like this, you’re going to get a lower response from that person. Let me make that a little clearer. This number wasn’t available when we got it. Someone else had it, right? So if we call the CT Homes saying that we were looking for our phone number here, flipped this house, fortunebuilders.com, the response we’re going to get from that person is a dollar sign to be able to make money on that phone number. So we didn’t do that. We actually had one of our interns call, they said that they were starting their business and they were looking for their first phone number to help get their business off the ground, they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on the number and basically created a hardship for themselves and got us this number for a lot less money than if I called asking for the same phone number. Very easy way for someone who had this number that wasn’t using it to maximize any sort of lead generation, they put some money in their pocket, we paid $1,500 for this number. Is it worth it? Every single penny. Every single penny and twice on Sunday, I think that’s a saying, I’m not sure. I can go on and on about phone numbers but that’s an easy way to get a good vanity toll free number and a good vanity toll free number is easy to remember.

Having an Easy to Remember Vanity Toll Free Number is Important

When people are driving by this van or when they’re looking at one of our Bennett signs posted on a telephone pole and you should go out and get one if you don’t have one yet. Having a number 619-826-1567, I just said the number and I couldn’t say it again if I tried, right? So having an easy number is important.

Numbers Matter

Real Estate Case Example

And our last segment is of course our quote of the week, our thought of the week. And this week’s thought of the week is pretty simple because we’re talking about it: numbers matter. Numbers matter in all different areas of real estate. Real estate is a numbers’ game. They’re science and there’s art and science to real estate. The science side is like the numbers and the artistic side is the intangibles that go into making those numbers work. Now, we provide both at Fortune Builders. We give you the tools and the systems which is a science and then we teach you the intangibles which is the artistic side of real estate. The intangibles here are like using an intern to get that good number for you. The science is actually getting the marketing piece out there and the tools we have for you to do that. So get out there and get it done. Real estate comes down to numbers and then getting a good education and systems for those numbers and then using the intellectual tools and the artistic side that we provide you to make a difference. Go out and get your vanity toll free number.

How To Dial International Phone Calls


The question ‘How to dial international phone calls’ might seem redundant, but it actually isn’t. The process for calling from different countries around the world can vary significantly. Also, dialing from a landline is different from dialing from a mobile phone. Usually, there can be quite a difference in cost.

Calls To Cell Phones Abroad Are Expensive

When making an international call it’s probably best to connect with a landline. Mobile phone charges can be very expensive. Especially if you yourself are calling from a cell phone. Cell phone area code numbers vary largely from country to country and getting the wrong area code can prove to be a bill that is far too daunting to feel completely comfortable paying. So if you are calling from mobile phone to mobile phone make sure you have the correct area code and number.

Ensure You’re Dialing The Correct Country Code

There are several sites on the internet which will help you find the correct country and area code to put into your phone. This is a good one – https://www.uwtcallback.com/international-call-prefixes.html – as it covers all major countries around the world. From choosing a few drop down options I can see that there are some differences between calling within North America and calling abroad. For the most part, however, international calls when calling from the USA usually entail dialing 3 digits for the country code and 3 digits for the area code.

Use the + Key To Make Mobile International Calls

Contrary to a landline phone, the + key must be used when dialing an international call from a mobile phone. The call will not be connected otherwise. If you call the international number on a regular basis it’s best to save it to your phone book with the + included at the beginning of the number.

Find The Best And Cheapest Carriers When Calling Abroad

As mentioned up top, calling overseas can be very expensive. Especially when dialing from one mobile unit to another. The key to saving money on your international calls is by finding the right carrier. The way most carriers work is they charge more for calling some countries than others. So it’s important to research carriers in order to find out what it will cost you to call a particular region of the planet. So, in essence, if you call more than one country outside of your own country you may need to be connected with more than one carrier.

Carriers can be found on the internet by doing a search. It’s best to do your own research on carriers in order to ensure you find what you’re looking for. Be careful of hidden fees and make sure any contracts are explained to you honestly and clearly so you don’t get any surprise bills in the mail.

The alternative to finding a carrier yourself is to go through your phone provider. Which is recommended. They have a better knowledge of cost efficient carriers at their disposal. The step below covers how to go through your provider.

How To Dial International Calls Going Through A Carrier

When dialing an international call by utilizing a carrier, you must punch in the unique access number your provider has given you and hang up. They will then call you back within a few minutes, ask for the PIN number and the number you are trying to reach. The provider then finds a carrier which will offer you the best rate possible for your international call and connects you through. Obviously, it’s a good thing to make sure you have a phone provider which offers this service and has access to as many carriers as possible so that you don’t pay too much for your long distance calls. Most North American phone providers offer this service and keep an updated database of carriers available for their clients’ convenience.

Using this method to place international phone calls can save you as much as 80% in fees. So while this may seem like an inconvenient step toward placing your call, it really is worth it in the long run. How many of us have looked at our monthly phone bill – mobile or otherwise – only to find outrageous fees incurred? I think most of us have experienced that and it isn’t enjoyable.

The steps above will help show you how to dial international phone calls. It’s important to follow them and while this article covers most things, it might entail doing even more research on the topic before placing your international calls. Be careful of expensive providers and carriers and don’t make international calls on a whim.

For Marketing Professionals, Image is Everything


businessprofessionalIs bigger better?

When it comes to your business image, the answer is a resounding “YES!”

Today, mobile marketing professionals, such as graphic artists, website designers, and consultants, have a greater need than ever before to connect and engage with clients on the go.

This trend is fueling a demand for mobile professionals to remain accessible to clients anytime, anywhere.

The need to be available when the client calls will increase as demand for marketing services, and competition for those services, increases. And recent research shows this trend is reaching a tipping point.

A recent PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) study showed that total communications spending for marketing, advertising and communications is expected to grow 5.6 percent in the near future.

While this expense level may be absorb-able for established companies, small businesses who are dealing with already tight budgets may not be able to increase spending on average with the market.

This is where a tool like a virtual phone service can be a lifesaver — particularly in light of the growing need to remain accessible to clients.

A virtual phone service enables a small business owner to have a dedicated business phone number — instead of relying on a personal cell phone or home number — that rings wherever desired.

For example, if you’re a  website designer who often works from a client’s office, calls to your business line — your eVoice number, for example — would still ring your cell phone. The benefit? Clients could still reach you on your cell phone, but wouldn’t have your personal mobile number. This means that you keep your personal life private, while your business life doesn’t suffer!

And, if you’re not available when a client calls, a virtual phone service that offers an auto attendant feature would answer the call in a professional manner (ie a professionally recorded greeting), and instruct the caller to leave a message. The message would then be transcribed and converted to a text or email message and sent to you.

Here’s the bottom line: Creating, and maintaining a professional image is paramount for marketing professionals in today’s mobile business environment. A virtual phone number won’t ensure business success, but it can go a long way in helping start you in the right direction.

To learn more about the benefits of a virtual phone service, visit j2 Global (NASDAQ:JCOM).