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A SoftwareCEO Blog By Curt Finch

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Tips & Tricks from Software CEO Curt Finch


Why the Demo Isn't Dead

I’m a firm believer in a tailored product demo that speaks to a potential customer’s exact requirements. You can talk with prospects on the phone all day but when it comes down to it, a great product will absolutely speak for itself – so do less talking and more presenting. Product demos are the best way to show off your product to clients and win their business. But a poorly executed product demo, whether it’s boring, long-winded and generic or - worst of all – the “show up and throw up”, will kill your chances of moving forward.

Here are some tried and true tips on creating and presenting a perfect demo.

Understanding a Prospect’s Needs

There is no one-size-fits-all product demo. Different clients are going to have different reasons for using your product and it’s your job to figure out what they want before you present the demo. The best way to prepare for a demo is to conduct a thorough needs analysis call (NAC) prior to the demo. The

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Go Mobile with Your Own Business App

Everything is going mobile these days, including businesses. A report by AppDirect found that companies are increasingly creating mobile apps as a way to reach and expand their customer base. Currently 64 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 88 percent of Fortune 100 companies offer a downloadable mobile app. But mobile apps aren’t just for large corporations. With the many app development options available, going mobile is a viable choice for small businesses too.

And all evidence points to it being a smart business decision. Building a local following has always been one of the surest ways for a small business to thrive, and according to Forbes, 49 percent of smartphone users use apps to find local information. Building an app can help you reach this mobile user audience and stay connected with your existing customers. And apps are also an easy way to jumpstart PR initiatives.

But it

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How to Pick the Right Tech For Your Company

In a 2013 survey from the National Small Business Association, it was discovered that 70% of small business owners say that keeping up with new technology is very important to the success of their business. But technology is a significant financial investment, even for established small businesses, and the number of options can be overwhelming.

In fact, according to another survey by Brother International, 63% of small business owners often feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which new technologies to adopt.

"Our survey shows that while small business owners understand the value of new technologies, they struggle with choosing the right products, as well as the right time to adopt them to have the greatest impact on their business," said John Wandishin, Vice President of Marketing at Brother International.

In order to help you navigate what’s what in the new technological landscape, we’ve put together the following tips to assist you in

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What a Scattered Office Means For Your Company Culture

Telecommuting is increasingly becoming a way of business life.  According to the United States Census Bureau, an estimated 20 to 30 million people work at home at least one day a week. Worldwide, the numbers are even more impressive. The Citrix Workplace of the Future survey found that 24% of global companies allow their employees to work at times and locations of their choosing.

What are the benefits of this approach? For employees, telecommuting eliminates commuting costs and provides a better life/work balance. For companies, it lowers employee-related and real estate costs, which can be a major boon to small businesses that may lack the capital and infrastructure to maintain a traditional office environment. Additionally, this work arrangement allows businesses to hire from a wider pool of applicants, including disabled and geographically removed workers.

However, working from home also presents a number of unique challenges for both employees and employers. Recently, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer revoked her company

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3 IT Tools that CEO's Can't Live Without

Though our economy continues to improve, it remains critical for business owners to make intelligent decisions about technology. We shouldn’t let our optimism get in the way of our better judgment. Hopefully we can all take a lesson from our slowly fading recession and remain cognizant of cash flow, making sure that our purchases are worth their value and can really aid companies in increasing ROI.

Mobile ToolsSince my induction into the technology industry in the 80’s I’ve sat by only to witness a constant river of technology “one hit wonders” arrive and disappear with nothing but a whimper. On the flip side, there have also been those which have become truly integrated and vital to my business operation; think Twitter, Alexa, Moz, Pardot. More often than not, these tools fall into the vital categories of efficiency, security, and convenience. The following three time-tested software tools have been critical to my company for some time, and represent the most helpful and long-lasting tools that I have encountered to date.

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The Busy Boss' Guide to Easy Project Risk Management

Let me ask you a question. How can you spot profitability leaks and cost overruns in technology projects before your peers – and then fix them?

You really have two options to choose from, and it’s the easiest choice you’ll make all year. You can do it the hard way or the easy way. The path you choose depends to some degree on the consequences of failure and your budget.

The Hard Way

Standard risk assessment methodology requires you to first identify threats – human, operational, “reputational,” financial, technical, political, etc. Then, you have to come up with an estimate of likelihood for all those different threats and invent early warning systems that will notify you to launch your backup plans for each one.

That sounds really hard, especially for small businesses with constrained resources.

Most of the projects I’ve been involved with would have been finished before we could have identified, estimated and planned for all of those risks. If your project is extremely large and complicated, that kind of planning probably makes sense. If, however, you

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How Genius Is Your IT?

I have written in the past (repeatedly, actually) about the value that the "Bring Your Own Device" trend can have for businesses. Let’s assume you agree and want to implement BYOD activities into your corporate architecture. How do you do so in a way that makes sense for both your business and your employees? How, in the end, do you keep all those devices running happily and to the benefit of your company?

Some businesses have turned to what many consider the source of the BYOD trend: Apple. Their “Genius Bar” customer service system has proven both popular and effective and therefore many businesses are structuring their internal shops to mirror that success. When employees need help with technology, the idea is for companies to develop their own version of the Genius Bar staffed by corporate IT professionals. But what exactly makes the Genius Bar so great, and how can you capture that in your business?

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Why Smart Project Management Data Will Never Go Away

Over the last 10 years, a trend has become apparent in the use of timesheet software   among companies of all sizes. More and more, corporate executives are seeking to understand their project accounting costs. If they know their project costs – and many don’t – they can discover financial problems with projects early on and fix them. This can potentially save you millions.

According to a study by McKinsey and Company, research shows that "on average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted." Sometimes, companies can do something about that – like cancel the project, put different resources on it, or change the scope – but sometimes they don’t discover the problem until it is too late to save the project. This means that many projects may fail for reasons that could have been discovered and fixed!

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The Anatomy of a Great Social CEO

We all know just how effective of a tool social media can be when used to help establish and promote a brand, as well as enable interactions with a company. The question that businesses must answer is: who should act as the communiqué for a company? While higher-ups within a company might be tempted to delegate all corporate social media interactions to other staffers, a recent 2014 study from BrandFog determined that 75% of respondents agree that social media engagement makes CEO's better leaders.

Of course, before a company turns anyone loose on social media, there needs to be a corporate strategy and set of best practices in place. It does very little good to simply prop a business leader in front of a Twitter profile and tell him to go at it. In that same vein, Joshua Stiemle, of Forbes, notes "if you’re merely going to set up social media profiles and then do nothing with them, that

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Crunching Numbers in the Cloud

Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, dismisses cloud computing as merely the latest fashion in the computer industry. I suppose he also dismisses that more than one-in-five IT decision makers have deployed over half of their total applications to the cloud, according to the Cisco Global Cloud Networking Survey. Regardless of any debate, cloud computing adoption rates are on the rise. According CDW LLC’s 2013 State of the Cloud Report, 39% of organizations either already utilize cloud computing solutions or are currently implementing them. This number is up from 28% in 2011.

Maybe somewhat surprisingly, cloud computing is a very attractive option for business accounting software. Accounting software takes up a significant amount of hard drive space, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Cloud computing solves this problem by putting the majority of files and data on a separate server. This frees up hard drive space for individual desktop computers and saves money that might have been spent on additional storage equipment.

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