Tools for business

It seems there is a new piece of technology or innovative idea released every day. Some are good and a few hold real potential for business.  We keep track of the best and most timely in these “Tools for Business” resource pages in the hope you learn of them and put to good use quickly and economically.

  • Business strategy tools
  • Team management
  • Managing multi-shore teams
  • Project management
  • Web content
  • Video production
Quick screening check list for “New Venture” investors

Ever wondered how a VC or Angel investor would view your business?

Many use a quick screening process which will helps with the evaluation of the opportunities attractiveness with its Industry / Market, economical, potential harvest, competitive advantages, strategic differentiation, management team and personal fit characteristics. This spreadsheet is typically used by investors to short list attractive businesses that would then be considered in more detail.  Download your copy.

Scrum Reference Card

When on boarding new team members or just encouraging members to be better collaborators, this scrum reference card is handy reminder. Pin it to a wall or place in a highly visible location.  Download your copy.

UX Design – How / why to institutionalize

The effectiveness of your website will greatly diminished if the user interfaces are designed poorly. The visual presentation and flow of user interaction through the site impacts visitor stickiness and information retention. Specialist UX Designers can help you get the best cognitive and heuristic results for your user community. Its then important to preserve and reuse this UX design capability in future projects and content changes by institutionalizing the UX principles as a core business capability. Institutionalizing that preserves and improves this know how across changes in staff, business strategy and technology.

By adopting UX design practices as a continuous improvement principle a business can adapt to environmental changes and enjoying a greater ROI from their digital strategy.

An example of the UX project structure is available here for  Download.

Introduction

If you are planning or intend to use multi-shore teams, you will need to modify your procedures and expectations to make it cost effective. Off shore teams especially those where English is the second language can be a great asset.

Time recording and messaging

There are some great tools to help you manage the team, the tip is to have the processes established and well thought through before you start recruiting. If you start without process then best of luck trying to get your freelancers to change their habits!

Some of the tools we have looked at are:

  • https://buddy.works/
  • https://slack.com
  • http://slimtimer.com/
  • https://www.timedoctor.com/
  • http://www.skype.com
  • http://www.yammer.com
  • http://www.trello.com
  • http://www.quip.com
Proof of concept projects

This document is an organizational template for PM Office procedures used in the selection of innovation projects and subsequent Proof of concept’s. The name or organization and the policies should be inserted in each section as is required.

This document is an organizational template for PM Office procedures used for developing a proof of concept and Pilot within the Proof of Concept program (PoCP).  The name or organisation and the policies should be inserted in each section as is required.

Superimpose your screenshot into a picture

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

  • Pricing: Free service
  • Usage: Creating images for blog, email, newsletter, social media or web content
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Generate recommendations for headlines for email, blog and web pages

One of the most important aspects of any blog, social post, email or newsletter is the subject or headline. Within a few seconds of viewing it the person will decide to read on or abandon. The email subject is often cut off so the choice of words in the first 45 characters is very important. Headlines also effect the search engine ranking, but there are now tools available to help you make better choices and the co-schedule headline analyzer is a very effective tool.

coSchedule01

You can access the tool at http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer. To use it you insert your subject line and follow the suggestions provided to improve its ranking.

  • Pricing: Free service
  • Usage: Creating images for blog, email, newsletter, social media or web content
Why is video so important

Video in email can boost open rates by 20% and increase click-through rates 2-3X

As inboxes are continuously flooded with email marketing messages, it’s more important than ever for marketers to find ways to stand out from the pile. Video is the perfect medium to do just that.  Replace those busy, text-heavy emails with a simple introduction accompanied by a video to communicate the rest of the message.  Video in the body of an email can catch the attention of a casual inbox pursuer, and increase the likelihood that they will engage with the content in the email. Not only are retention rates higher for video compared to text content, video gives marketers greater insight into exactly how much of their content was viewed – something that’s difficult (if not impossible) to glean from traditional email communications.

Using the word “video in email subject lines boosts open rates 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26%

Video has become such a powerful communication medium that just using the word video in an email subject line can have a positive impact on the success of a campaign. With an increasing number of communications demanding viewers’ time and attention on any given day, video’s reputation as an efficient way to communicate important information succinctly inspires more viewers to prioritize emails that contain video over those that do not. More statistics on using video.

Why not host videos on YouTube

YouTube is a great service, its free, it provides great statistics on usage, engagement that leverages Google Analytic’s. You can put as many videos onto you tube as you wish, why would you consider using a paid service?

There are three main reasons to consider a paid service:

  1. There are no advertisements popping up during the video playback
  2. Google could recommend videos from other companies, and even competitors when your viewer finishes your video, which detracts viewer away from your topic
  3. Accurate usage tracking
  4. The ability to prompt user for information (such as email) before during and after a video is played.

Leaving the obvious  disadvantages of 1 and 2 aside, the accurate usage tracking is important. Imagine you have created a video on your new product, usage tracking allows you to view statistics on what parts of the video viewers, stopped, rewound and played again, skipped over and the like. This helps you measure the parts of the video that were most important, and the parts of the video you need to improve.

The ability to entice the user to part with some information as the video advances is an important too for the digital marketer. If the benefits of a paid service increase your conversation rates, the additional cost of the paid service will be well justified.

Some examples if paid services are:

  • www.wistia.com
  • www.vimo.com
  • https://sproutvideo.com/
  • www,vidyard.com
  • www.kaltura.com

Create high quality video with your smart phone

The picture quality for most mobile phones is today more than adequate to use for recording short videos to use in blogs, social and websites.

But what about the audio, mobile phones wont always give you the best audio.

The solution is a great little snap on noise cancelling microphone for any mobile. The device is small enough to carry with you, fast to attach and easy to use. Its directional features helps you record videos with clear crisp audio anywhere.

Watch the demo video on Youtube.