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Are You Aware Of This Brand-New Way To Make Money On Facebook?

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

Did you know that Facebook users watch 100 million hours of video every day? It’s true. My household accounts for about 30 percent of that number. We like watching kittens, OK?

There are more than a billion people using Facebook every day, and video has exploded on the social media platform over the past year. If you’re running a business, it’s time for you to take notice. Facebook has launched a new program that will enable you to make money from your Facebook videos.

According to this report from Recode, the social media giant will soon start testing a “mid-roll” advertising service where you can insert an ad into a video that users can see after they’ve watched for 20 seconds. Facebook will sell the ads for you and take 45 percent of the revenues.

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A Stupid 3-Word Phrase That Instantly Ruins Your Credibility

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

I’ve just met you. You’re looking to buy a product or a service that I sell. I can see that you have the need. You ask questions. I answer them. Things are moving along. I think you’ll be a good customer. But then you say three words. And now I can’t trust you as much. Your credibility has been ruined.

“Money’s no object,” you say.

Money’s no object? The three stupidest words anyone can say in a negotiation. I hear people say these words to me all the time. “I need this new software for my business…and money’s no object.”

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These 8 Business Apps Are Going to Crush It In 2017

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

Of course, there are a ton of cool, slick, fun and potentially great applications for businesses. But this list is about a select few that are ready to explode this coming year. In a very good way. They’ve all been around for a while. They all have a strong customer base and growing communities. And they’re all positioned for huge growth, particular among small- and medium-sized companies.

Your company should look at these seriously, if only because so many others are already doing so. Full disclosure: some of these applications are made by companies that are clients of The Marks Group. How can they not be?

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A New Scanner from Panasonic Is About to Change Retail Forever

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

Going shopping sucks, doesn’t it? Think of all the time and energy that’s wasted. You walk down the aisle. You pick out a box of Mallomars because they’re unbelievably delicious and only available during certain times of the year. You put the box of those delicious Mallomars in your cart along with other stupid items like lettuce and cheese. You stand in line. You take the Mallomars out of the cart and put it on the cashier’s belt. You then take the Mallomars off the belt after the cashier has scanned them and put them in a bag. You put the bag in the cart. You pay. Then you bring it home, carry the bags inside, take the Mallomars out of the bag and eat the entire box in one sitting with a big glass of cold milk.

What a process we have to go through for a box of Mallomars! But finally, there’s a better way. No, it’s not from Amazon. It’s from Panasonic. And it’s going to change how people shop, and merchants operate…forever.

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Cut Any Expense You Want, But Don’t Dare Take the Coffee Away!

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

I had a lunch the other day with a friend of mine who was just elected to be the managing partner of a mid-sized engineering firm. Being the good manager that he is, he’s been reviewing the firm’s books to familiarize himself with how things operate. One thing took him by surprise.

“Coffee,” he said to me, shaking his head. “Can you believe that last year our firm spent close to $100,000 on coffee?”

I believed it, and I told him a hundred thousand dollars seems like a lot! But I also gave him some advice: for God’s sake, don’t take it away.

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How to Really Thank Your Employees

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

At this time of the year — every year — we’re told to be thankful. And, of course, we should. We should be thankful for the bounty we have, for the great country we live in, for our family, for our health, for Netflix and for free delivery, assuming you’re an Amazon Prime customer. These are the things that make our lives better. We are truly, truly thankful for them.

And, of course, as business owners, we’re thankful for our employees. We’re officially in the holiday season, so that must mean that we give employees bonuses and days off. We hold holiday parties with fun activities for the family and organize “secret Santa” gift-givings. We love our employees, and this is the time of year to really show how much we appreciate them.

Or is it? Should we be thanking our employees at the holidays? I’m not so sure.

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These Are 3 Reasons Not to Use Microsoft’s New Outlook CRM Offering

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

My ten-person company is a Microsoft Partner and a fan of Microsoft. We specialize in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). We sell their recently re-branded Dynamics CRM product line. We sell and implement three other great customer relationship management applications, too — Salesforce.com, ZohoCRM and GoldMine.

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a new product called Outlook Customer Manager, which is a lighter CRM product that will be included at no extra charge in the Office 365 Business Edition. It looks like a great product, particularly for small businesses. Your team will be able to track — on pretty much any device — customer interactions, emails, activities, notes, deals and other information right from within Outlook.

Seems like a no-brainer for any Office user, right? Well, hold your horses.

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