[Free Task Management Tool] & a Bonus Tip

I’ve started using a slick online task tool called TeuxDeux.com.

What I appreciate is its simplicity and elegant design.  Many online tools these days try to do too much and end up too complicated for the average user to consistently engage.

TeuxDeux allows for simple task management, short and long term task planning and could not be more easy to use.  Below is a screenshot of the TeuxDeux dashboard.  You can see how simple it it.  The navigation is intuitive and they have some rather humorous videos that walk you though the tool.

One draw back is that it does not currently offer reminders or notifications (at least in the free version),but in a way, that’s part of the simple functionality that I enjoy. 

How I use TeuxDeux

All browsers now allow you to set your opening tab structure for multiple tabs.

Because I use Google for most of my functions, here is a screen shot of my browser tabs as they appear when I open Chrome:

Far left is Google for search and general browsing, middle left is Gmail which is always open, Middle right is Hootesuite.com for managing my social media and the far right is TeuxDeux.com for daily and weekly tasks.

I like this tab order because everything is at my fingertips from the moment I open my web browser.  The only tab that really changes throughout my day is the search and browsing tab to the far left.

There’s really two great tips in this post:
1)  Make the best use of tab orders in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or whatever you use.

2)  Give TeuxDeux.com a try and let me know what you think.
>>> I hope this helps!

Note: I also use a dual monitor set up with Chrome open on one monitor and Firefox on the other monitor which gives me extra functionality through Firefox plugins and more.  I use the Firefox for web development and WordPress functions.

Social Media Defined: 101 Social Media Terms

Whether you’ve just jumped in to marketing on the internet or you’re a seasoned veteran, the rapid pace of change in the world of social media is daunting to the say the least.

I for one have to set aside time to make sure I’m up to speed on a weekly basis with the latest trends and opportunities that emerge online.

Hubspot.com is a great resource for all things social media and they’ve put together a strong list of current social media (and all things online) terms that is definitely bookmarkable.

Keep this little dictionary of love at the tips of your keyboard and you’ll never be stumped by social media lingo again… enjoy!

Link To 101 Social Media Terms http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6126/The-Ultimate-Glossary-101-Social-Media-Marketing-Terms-Explained.aspx?source=Blog_Email_[The+Ultimate+Glossar]

Having a Company Voice

Dick Costello is the CEO of Feedburner.  I recently landed on a post of his that I found intriguing. I especially love his reference to scoring 100 on the dehumanizer and something called the Algernon effect, which I must now research.

His article is powerful because he’s coming from a high level corporate CEO angle but speaks the same language that I often blurt out on this blog.

Check out the article and let me know what you think…


What is RSS & Why should I care?

These days, many folks are carefully trying their hand at web 2.0 marketing strategies such as social – from Facebook and Twitter,  all the way to the wonderful world of blogging.

This new world of marketing also brings a new world of terms and concepts that are not easily grasped by the average business owner or salesperson.  Not because they are complicated, rather because they are new

One big term and concept that I get asked about is RSS.

=> What’s the bid deal with RSS anyway?

=> Well, it’s not a big deal.  It’s HUGE!

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication but don’t let the name fool ya, it’s not all that simple, even to most smart folks.  Here’s the quick glimpse into the mighty power of RSS.

The blog has truly revolutionized the web.  One of the main reasons is that blogs are updated so often with new content.  The web loves new content so that’s part of what makes them so popular with surfers and search engines alike.  Fresh content on the web is like fresh water to a thirsty farmer.

Because blogs are updated so often, it became necessary for viewers to visit these sites more often so as not to miss the great fresh content.

=> Enter RSS

RSS is a tool that allows for visitors who enjoy your site to essentially bookmark your site.. only better.  Instead of having to visit your site on a regular basis, RSS will send any updated content right to your subscribers – the moment it is posted.

The RSS feed as it’s called, sends the information to special RSS Reader that can neatly organize and display all of the subscribers chosen feeds (yours & others).  The most popular of these (and my RSS Reader of choice) is Google Reader.  It’s free and like everything Google, it integrates with other Google tools as well.

The big deal…

The golden ticket for all small businesses and sales pros is to gain the trust of our target market.  This is why we blog, it builds massive trust fast.  RSS allows for your content to be followed and read quickly, keeping you in front of your audience every time you post with no extra effort on their part.  As long as you are delivering valuable content, this will translate to sales for your business.

Another big benefit…

As a blog owner you are constantly looking for fresh content that will dazzle your target market.  Personally using RSS to bring the best content to you will offer a constant flow of great ideas.  Now.. use these ideas to springboard fresh and useful content that will make your subscribers and viewers love you like a high school sweetheart.

RSS is a critical blogging tool, both for syndicating your voice to the world and aggregating ideas that inspire you and bring value to those you want to please the most.

The best place to start using RSS is to subscribe to this blog by clicking the RSS or Follow Me links.

Friendship on Facebook – How to conquer the 3 P’s for you and your business: Step One

Productivity, popularity, or problematic. The kinds of friends you have determines what they do, and ultimately what they can be, for you and your business.

I’m not talking about character and personality of the people you have befriended, I’m talking about if their friendship benefits you.

That may seem selfish, but really if it doesn’t benefit you it’s not doing either of you any good. So think about it, the 3 P’s they can be for you and your business can be answered by asking 3 questions, first on a majority basis and then on an individual basis: do they encourage your productivity, give you popularity, both, or are they simply problematic?

The good news is that no matter what kinds of friends you have, you can maximize what they do and can be for you by recognizing their role in your friendship and taking the appropriate action.

So, the first step you have to take is figuring out the kinds of friends you have. Breaking down the words productivity, popularity, and problematic can help you determine your friend base, and then what to do to maximize them.

Your Productive friends:
A productive base of friends encourage your productivity because they are valuable to your business, in other words they will be within your target market for clientele.

If you made a single post about a success your business or industry has just had, or a new house, car, dog, or toilet for sale, besides your family who just wants to see you happy, how many of your friends would really care, or better yet, benefit from knowing that? If the numbers are slim, and you are seriously trying to use Facebook as business tool, chances are you need to revamp your friend base.

Having a productive friend base does great things for you and your business. When people visit your page and interact with you, the conversations, even when they are not about business, will be stronger and more targeted because they are coming from a similar group of people – your target market. You will find that common topics will surface among you, your friends, and their friends and soon you will be seen as solid connection and common ground that people turn to when they need your service or product.

This type of friend also helps you to be more productive because your time spent for marketing on facebook is so efficient. You are only speaking to people who you know have something to lose from not engaging with you, because your friends are all in your target market.

Your Popularity friends:
If you have a high number of friends, but they are not people you know personally or are part of your productive base then they are there simply making you look popular.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s not a good thing either because you miss out on common threads that tie you, your friends, and their friends together. You become just another random friend that makes them look popular too, and there is no mutual connection, common ground, or benefit.

It’s great to be friends with people of all walks of life, but if you’re a wild horse whisperer and only 1 in every 100 of your friends has or cares about horses, then any time you spend marketing on facebook is a waste of time. Why bother telling all those people about the latest psychological development between horses and people, or that they just made a movie about how great you are, if they aren’t ever going to need your services?

A base of these friends makes your facebook for business weak. It fills it with holes and randomness, makes you forgettable, and diminishes the value of your presence and posts on facebook. There are rules that need to be followed about the ratio of personal vs. business posts, but when you do post about business to a base of popularity friends…. no one will care.

You also want friends that are going to interact with you, participate in your questions, discussions, and groups, and show interest when you make both personal and business posts. If all your friends do is make you look popular, then they probably don’t care anymore about your babies taking their first steps than they do about your work. Who wants friends that don’t care?

Your Problematic friends:
Hopefully you wont have mass numbers of these types of friends. Chances are if they are annoying they are problematic and you have already gotten rid of them. There is no real formula to what makes a problematic friend, and most of the time you can rely on common sense but below are a few guidelines.

It is easy to assume that if all a friend does is make you look popular, that they are also problematic. However, just because someone doesn’t know you, isn’t in your productive base, and doesn’t engage with you doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them.

A person can become problematic when they make so many posts a day that it fills up your wall, or when they bombard your wall with spam-like posts selling everything from suntan lotion to urns. Remember that when someone is your friend they can see your wall and everyone’s statuses and comments on threads that they’ve posted to.

If you’re in this for business, it’s probably a good idea to remain tasteful with the types of friends and posts you allow, after all, it takes years to build a reputation but only seconds to ruin one.

Ask yourself if specific friends are hindering your efforts to build your relationship and reputation with your productive base and your target market. If they are actually specifically ruining it, then they are probably problematic.

You can have multiple types of friends in your base. Now that you’ve analyzed your friends as whole, do it again on a smaller scale – individually.

To be continued –
Find out how to maximize what your friends can be for you and your business

Friendship on Facebook – How to conquer the 3 P’s for you and your business: Step Two

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

Get In The Free Loop with Crossloop!

One of my favorite free tools online is Crossloop.com.  I have been using Crossloop for over a year now with very few issues and best of all… it’s FREE.

I know that most free stuff online can be cumbersome and rather finicky to operate but Crossloop really is quite simple and easy.

What does it do?

Good question.  Quite simply, it allows you to share your screen with someone else or they can share their screen with you.  That’s it.

Other services that are out there charge for this service but Crossloop has an ad based free account.  At least right now, I see no reason why I would ever get the pro version which is something Crossloop will need to work on if it’s going to stick around, but for now at least, it’s a great free tool.

How to get it.

Go to www.Crossloop.com and click on the Get Free link in the center of the page.  You’ll need to download their little software utility to your computer which is no big deal and easy to do.  Fill out the short form and you are set to go.

Each time you want to share your screen, you will click on the Crossloop icon on your desktop and the software will give you an access code.  Once your meeting partner has downloaded Crossloop to his/her computer, you send them your access code and then everyone hits “connect.”

Have your meeting and when you are finished you can simply hit “disconnect” to end it.

Who should use this?

Really anyone but it is especially valuable for sales professionals who need to walk clients through documents or show a presentation to a prospect.  Small businesses can use it to view collaboration documents and make changes in real time.  I personally use it for training others on various different marketing systems for video or blogging.  My trainee can see me do what I’m teaching them to do.  You can even give them control of your mouse so they can learn by doing.

Give Crossloop a try and let me know what you think.  If there are other tools you would like to suggest that are free and online, I’d love to hear about them.

Evernote The Forget Me Not

Evernote, the solution for me and all of us athazagoraphobics out there. We just don’t want to forget so we to try to remember everything.

If it could possibly be important or I could reference it at a later time, I save it; write it on a post-it, napkin, business card, wrapper, or hand; I take a picture of it; think of a mnemonic; repeat it my head at least seven times; eat a peppermint at the same time; or whatever else I can think of just so I don’t forget. I’m even fearful of forgetting the things I’ve already forgotten, but I don’t know what because I forgot.

The problem comes in the gathering of clutter. Suddenly I have post-its all over my walls; wrappers scattered about with phone numbers, emails, different trigger words, and shorthand that I can’t decipher; photos galore; I find peppermints in my hair; and I have a head full of made up songs that would turn quite a profit as jingles.

It’s gets incredibly chaotic, and in the end I never remember. So, I either gruelingly search for the information through my hoards of pathetic memory cues, or I inefficiently redo all of my research.

There just has never been a good way to store and capture all the things that I want to remember. Until Evernote. I can use it on my computer, the internet, and my phone, and it all goes into the same account. I can take a photos, upload videos, take screen shots of ideas and stuff I like on the internet all while recording the source of the information. I can type a simple text or sing one of my songs and upload it right to my Evernote account, and that’s just the start of what I can do.

In fact just the other day I finished taking photos of all of my business cards and recording extraneous information about the person, organized them all into categories and lists, synced it to my Evernote account and tossed the hard copies! I got rid of SO much clutter.

The organization and search capabilities of Evernote are what makes it a true forget-me-not tool, and they are what sets it apart from every other method I’ve tried in my fight to remember everything.

For me, the icing on the cake of this tool is that I can use it with my mobile phone. Since I have my phone with me almost everywhere I go, every time I think of or see something I record, organize, and store it on the spot!

I must say that when I first tried Evernote, I couldn’t get it to work with my iphone and almost abandoned it after the problem was deemed probably unsolvable. I just figured it was another program that was great in theory but not in reality. However, one day it just magically started working and it’s been clear sailing ever since! I have no idea why or how it started working, but now that I can use it, I love it! It’s definitely worth a shot!

Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel

Convert anything to PDF – easy & free

I have been using the CutePDF writer for many years now and I honestly could not function without it. 

I know that others will scoff at me for not investing massive ching on Adobe Acrobat (okay… $100) but why pay anything at all when you can do it for FREE. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. You go to www.cutepdf.com and download the tiny piece of software to your computer
  2. Open the software and it will install quickly
  3. Open any document at all
  4. Act as if you are going to print the document to your printer by selecting File>Print
  5. Choose the CutePDF writer as your printer and hit go
  6. Choose a location on your computer where you want your new PDF to be stored
  7. Hit the print button

Shazam! You’ve got your self a pdf file that can now be sent out without fear of content hijacking.  (they can modify your text like they can with a word processor document) 

It’s a great tool and I know that you will be forever thankful that you read it here :-)

what would i even do with a free conference call service?

I’ve probably used FreeConferenceCall.com about two dozen times in the last year.  It’s a great tool because there’s no cost other then the cost of long distance for those who participate.  Because most people have long distance built into their cell phone packages these days, it really is a free service.

Other than the free part, the best part of FreeConferenceCall.com is the fact that you can record your call and download it to your computer in mp3 format.

I love that feature!

The reason I love it so much is because it’s really a way to create instant products that can be sold or given away to attract more prospects.

I wholeheartedly subscribe to the idea that in order to get prospects in today’s age, you need to be giving away some of your best information.

What makes FreeConferenceCall.com so powerful is that you can record an interview, get instant access to the mp3 file and either burn it onto a cd to give away or post it to an online service like StreaMedic so that they can simply play it online or download it to their computer.

FreeConferenceCall.com does all of this for free.  They also allow for up to 96 callers to be on the call at one time so this is a great mass communication tool as well.

Check it out at www.FreeConferenceCall.com

I’d love to get your comments on this or any other great free web tools to help folks to build their business to success.