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So you’ve decided you’re ready to make the cloud part of your offerings to your customers.
But what’s your next step to make sure you ready for this new phase of your IT business?
“I usually tell people, ‘Start with the self-assessment to know where you are to help you decide where you want to be in the cloud business,” says Vedullapalli. “It’s very important to know where you are in terms of cloud readiness before you decide what needs to be done so you can go out and get the help you need.”
Among the things you should determine are how you’re going to integrate cloud services into your other offerings? The business model has already been discussed. You’ve already taken into consideration the ways in which the new business can make you money. Now what are the steps you need to take to offer these services?
Here are some further things to consider:6 Areas that Distinguish Cloud Readiness
According to Vedullapalli, six distinct areas encompass the various aspects of cloud readiness:
The shift from traditional, on-premise infrastructure to cloud-based solutions is seismic, bringing dramatic changes that touch each of the core areas mentioned above.
For example, licensing is no longer based on annual renewals but on pay-as-you-go subscriptions that provide recurring revenue. Software releases used to only take place bi-annually. Now, they occur quarterly or even monthly. In the old days, the time to adoption could take six months to a year. Now, it requires just hours or even minutes. With all the changes, it’s no wonder that IT providers have difficulty keeping up!7 Steps to Becoming a Cloud Ready Business
Without a doubt, the invention of the cloud has disrupted the traditional IT business model and practice. And while IT companies know why they need to become cloud ready, what they don’t know is how.
That’s where Vedullapalli’s company, Meylah, can help. Meylah offers providers a 7-step roadmap to becoming a cloud-ready business. Companies that have adopted these steps have seen success in helping existing customers and attracting new ones.
According to Stana Steen, Founder of High Standards, a cloud ready company that has implemented the seven step roadmap “Cloud coaching is just what I needed to push my Microsoft Cloud business forward. I have been selling some Office 365 but the cloud coaching has enabled me to truly define the Microsoft offerings to be able to present them in a way to clients where they are not overwhelmed and they can really see the value in the products. You added accountability, which has forced me to focus on what I needed to do to move forward instead of letting my other responsibility push this planning to the back burner. My clients and future clients will benefit from my coaching as when I am well informed and understand our business model they receive better information, faster adoption, and better service.”
The steps are as follows:
“Going through the process of profitability planning, determining your readiness, building a business model, identifying the customer segment you want to reach and the products you will sell, will give you clear picture of how to make yours a cloud-ready business,” Vedullapalli said. “Follow through with building out a go-to-market strategy and customer service plan and your chances of success will improve greatly.”
To learn more about how to becoming a cloud-ready business, take the FREE Microsoft cloud readiness assessment at iamreadycloud. Those who take the assessment will also receive a free report detailing the cloud-ready journey.
Cloud Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "I’m Ready to Make Cloud Part of My Offerings To Customers, What Do I Do Next?" was first published on Small Business Trends
The biggest fast food restaurants in Stoke-on-Trent are rumoured to offer creations that you won't find on any menu. While staff might give you a quizzical look, plenty of people are convinced they've managed to get something a little different by knowing what to ask for.
The name Google Apps for Work was a mouthful. So was Google Apps for Your Domain.
With an energized marketing campaign, the company is trying a third time …
Meet G Suite.
No, it’s not a 90s corporate rap group.
It’s the same package of apps and cloud space small businesses can get for as low as $5 per month per user: Gmail, Drive, Docs, Hangouts, Slides, Sheets and Calendar. A premium version of G Suite is $10 per month per user.
Well, they’re the same apps, just a little smarter and more intuitive.
Kelly Campbell, senior director of G Suite marketing and Google Cloud, hints on the Google Cloud Official Blog that more is on the way for business users.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is implementing more machine learning into G Suite. This machine learning will analyze your actions within all the connected suite apps and begin to work in the background.
The company’s vice president of apps and Google Cloud, Prabhakar Raghavan, says in the post that the aim of this endeavor is to make G Suite more a part of your team, helping manage the repetitive machine-like tasks that eat up a lot of your team’s time.
Google has already been implementing learning technology into its apps with tools like auto translation — recognizing a foreign language and already having the text translated for you — and Smart Reply — ready-made short email replies to messages that need only that.Machine Learning in Google G Suite
Here are some of the latest machine learning tasks that Google will be implementing across the newly-branded G Suite:Quick Access
Start the timer when you go to look for a file in Drive. You just had it open but closed it and need it again. Tick, tick, tick.
Applying machine learning to Drive, Android devices will know which files you’re looking for and have them front-and-center.A Smart Calendar
Google has already been implementing learning into the Calendar app. You might notice directions to a usual haunt appearing on your Android phone at a particular time each week.
Smarter calendars working with your small business team will let you know when everyone’s available to meet or even where a meeting can be held based on your previous activity.Data from Your Spreadsheets
In order to spot trends and get analysis via charts made from all your data, you’d ordinarily have to be able to write a code to build that chart.
Well, Google Sheets with machine learning understands the files you’ve created and makes charts based on them on its own.Google Docs with a Virtual Team Member
Machine learning applied to the Google Docs platform provides suggested search topics and sites that may add substance to the documents you’re creating. Hitting ‘Explore’ will open this function in Google Docs.Formatted Presentations
Usually a great slide presentation is only great after about a day of formatting all the slides so they play perfectly.
Google is applying machine learning to Slides to help format slides automatically. The ‘Explore’ feature in Slides provides the same function it does in Docs and Sheets, too.
This article, "Gee Whiz! G Suite is a Smarter Version of Google Apps for Work" was first published on Small Business Trends
Religion is big business. In fact, a recent report suggests that the faith based economy brings in about $1.2 trillion a year. An industry this large, of course, has plenty of room for growth. Here are some business ideas for entrepreneurs seeking to get into the faith based economy.Faith Based Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs Religious Gift Shop Operator
You can open a store with little trinkets or gifts that are religious in nature, including decorative items, personalized Bibles or other written works.Kosher or Halal Caterer
For those religions that have certain restrictions or guidelines in terms of food, you could start a specialty catering company that offers dishes with those specific guidelines in mind.Kosher or Halal Food Stand Operator
Or if you are more interested in a smaller food operation, you could start a small food stand or truck that offers Kosher or Halal options.Wedding Officiant
Weddings are often observed as religious events. So getting ordained or registered as a wedding officiant can afford you the opportunity to start a business performing wedding services.Religious Dating Website Operator
If you’re looking to start a business that’s mostly based online, you can start a dating website aimed at helping people of a certain faith group find matches that share their values.Author
There are plenty of opportunities out there for authors and writers to build businesses around their words. You can even build a business as an author that writes about religious topics.Religious Blogger
Or you can blog about faith to share your writings with the world online.Christian Bookstore Owner
Christian bookstores sell Bibles and other religious texts aimed at Christian consumers.Meditation Coach
Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions practice meditation as a way of connecting with their spirituality. So you can help others of your faith practice meditation as a coach.Seller of Meditation Items
There are also beads, incense and other supplies that you can use as part of a meditation practice. So if you make any of these items, you can build a business selling them to others who practice religious meditation.Kosher or Halal Daycare Operator
For those who have Kosher or Halal diets, finding childcare that caters to them can be a challenge. So if you offer day care services that include food options aligning with these diets, you could attract a significant religious client base.Religious Tutor
For those students who attend religious schools, you can offer tutoring services to help them learn about religious topics.Bible Verse Sign Maker
There are plenty of different ways you can use art to showcase religion or spirituality. You can get creative with lettering and draw or paint Bible verses or other religious sayings onto canvas, wood or other surfaces and then sell them online or at craft shows.Greeting Card Publisher
You can also showcase your design skills by creating greeting cards for things like holidays, weddings, baptisms and other faith based occasions.Gospel Musician
If you’re more musically inclined, you can start a band or work as a solo artist playing gospel or religious inspired music.Wedding Band Leader
You can also offer your services to couples getting married, either working at the ceremonies or receptions.Holiday Décor Shop Owner
There are plenty of religious holidays throughout the year. So you can sell décor and other celebratory items related to those different holidays.Holiday Food Shop Operator
You can also start a business intended to sell food items for holiday dinners or other special occasions.Religious Publisher
If you want to spread the word about your faith or tell stories related to your religion, you could start a publication like a magazine or physical newsletter and sell or offer ad space.Marriage Counselor
For people who want to work on their marriages in a faith based setting, you could offer relationship counseling services.Online Newsletter Publisher
You could also start an online newsletter with information about your faith to circulate to a community online.Religious Clothing Store Owner
You can set up a shop, either in your local community or online, where you sell clothing items with religious sayings or images on them.Custom Embroiderer
Or you could offer to embroider personalized messages, including those with faith based messages on them, onto customers’ clothing or other personal items.Wedding Dress Seller
Another wedding focused business you could start would be creating and selling wedding dresses, either traditional white gowns or those aimed at other types of religious ceremonies.Wedding Dress Alterations Provider
You could also offer your services altering gowns for weddings.Tuxedo Rental Service Operator
Tuxedos are also a big part of many people’s wedding day. So you could start a tuxedo rental service for grooms and groomsmen.Specialty Florist
In addition, you can start a florist business to help people design beautiful floral arrangements for weddings, funerals and other occasions.Wedding Planner
You can also offer your services as a wedding planner to help people plan their religious services and other important details of their wedding days.Religious Jewelry Store Owner
Jewelers and handmade artisans, you can start a jewelry business centered around pieces that have special religious meaning, ranging from cross necklaces to Buddhist beaded jewelry.Family Friendly Video Game Creator
There are a lot of video games out there, but not many that offer family friendly themes and faith based messages.Family Friendly Movie Creator
Likewise, you can build a business by producing family friendly movies or videos that offer faith based messages or lessons for kids and families.Children’s Book Author
There are also plenty of opportunities for you to create children’s books with religious themes and lessons.Religious Illustrator
You could also offer services as an illustrator to depict images in children’s books or in other religious materials.Handmade Seller
There are plenty of other opportunities for you to get creative and make handmade items with religious themes to sell online or at craft fairs.Religious Influencer
You can also build an online business based around new media. Become an online influencer by posting about religious topics on social media or elsewhere. And then you can potentially work with other religious businesses or organizations to spread the word about various programs.Religious Podcaster
Or you can get a little more specific and start a podcast aimed at talking about topics related to faith and religion.Travel Agency Operator for Religious Groups
There are plenty of missions, youth groups and other religious groups that travel to other parts of the world together. So you can build a business as a travel agent that specializes in planning those trips.Spiritual Artist
If you’re an artistically inclined entrepreneur, you can sell paintings inspired by religious stories or even teach art classes with a spiritual twist.Religious Life Coach
For those who want to help others manage various aspects of life, you can offer life coaching services and emphasize faith as a strong part of your coaching program.Cooking Class Instructor
If you enjoy cooking and want to teach others about it, you can offer cooking classes in your local area that focus on Kosher or Halal options.Kosher or Halal Recipe Blogger
Or you can start a blog to create and post some Kosher or Halal recipes with an online audience.Family Therapist
For those trained in counseling and therapy, you can offer counseling services to families or couples with a strong emphasis on faith and spirituality.Religious Candle Maker
Candles are a big part of many religious services and traditions. So you can make and sell prayer candles or those meant to go in menorahs or used in other religious events.Faith Based Thrift Store Operator
Thrift stores have become popular business models for faith based organizations. You can open a thrift store and accept donations from people in the community and then donate some of your profits or any unused items to religious charities.Gift Basket Arranger
Gift baskets are popular for a lot of holidays and religious celebrations. So you can make and sell specialty gift baskets to customers looking to honor those special occasions.Yoga Instructor
You might know yoga as a popular type of exercise. But it’s actually an important spiritual practice in Hinduism, Buddhism and with a few other religious groups.Christmas Tree Farmer
Christmas is a busy time for many businesses. But Christmas tree farmers do pretty much all of their business around the holiday season.Ethical Business Coach
There are tons of business coaches out there. But you can create a unique niche for yourself by offering your services as an ethical business coach that works primarily with other religious or spiritual business owners.Non-Profit Fundraiser
Fundraising is an important skill for many entrepreneurs. And if you are able to help non-profits and other faith based organizations raise money, you can build a successful business doing that.Socially Conscious Business Owner
Even if you have a business idea that’s totally different than what’s on the list, you can add a charitable component to any business where you donate money or products to religious groups or faith based causes.
This article, "50 Small Business Ideas for the Faith Based Economy" was first published on Small Business Trends
It sounds impossible, but it's real: Start, the healthy fast food and drive-thru alternative, has created a veggie burger that bests its own beef cheeseburger. It's not magic.
Unless you run a huge corporation with locations in multiple countries, and your products and services are available globally, it’s more likely that you want to reach a certain area with your advertising. If you run a bakery in Chicago, then you want to reach people who are actually in the Chicago area that can come to your bakery. You have no need to advertise to people in France, who will most likely never buy your cookies or cupcakes.
This is where local PPC comes in. Local PPC, also known as geo-targeting, gives you the ability in AdWords to target your ads to people who are only in the area that you specify. Like we said earlier, you don’t want to be wasting your ad budget on those who are not in your target area. This is essential for location-based companies to make the most of their budget. Not only does it make more sense, but you should also see an increase in your ROAS due to an increased chance of the audience being able to use your services or products.Local PPC Tips Mobile Preference
Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has stated that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries.” This momentum toward mobile has a ton of implications for retailers, especially those who want to run local PPC to get people into their store front. Like we said earlier, people search when they are on the go. If they are out and about, and decide they want to do a little shopping, they are going to search something like “retail stores around me.”
In order to reach people like this, you need to make sure that your website and ads are ready for mobile use. It is critical that your website be mobile responsive. Mobile phones aren’t going anywhere. You need to be able to serve those audience members. You also want to make sure that your campaigns target all devices. You want to make sure that your ads are being served to mobile devices. You can also have a mobile preferred ad. Make sure, with a mobile preferred ad, that your ad copy has a shorter headline in order to cater to how ads are displayed on mobile phones.Location Extensions
The first thing that you want to do when you are working on a local PPC campaign is to make sure that you utilize location extensions in your ads. Location extensions are a feature that allow you to show your address, phone number, hours and other information on your ad. For mobile ads, you also have the option to include a button that gives customers the ability to call you directly or get directions to your location.
This extension is important because it encourages searchers to visit your business in person, instead of just scrolling past your ad. One thing to keep in mind: Location extensions are based off of your Google My Business profile, and you have to link at least one business location to your AdWords account for these extensions to work. Therefore, you want to make sure that your Google My Business account is up to date and accurate for all of your locations.Call Extensions
In addition to location extensions, you also want to make sure that you are utilizing call extensions, which shows your phone number on your ad. This displays a clickable call button on the ad, which encourages searchers to call your business, especially people who are on the go.
Call extensions have a lot of different features that you can play around with. You can set them up to show only when your business can take calls. You can give preference to mobile phones, which makes it less likely that it will show up on a laptop or desktop. You also have the ability to use either your phone number or a Google Forwarding number. By using a Google Forwarding number, you get more insights into the performance of the call extensions, which allows you to count phone calls as conversions. And, for all of this, clicks for your phone number also cost the same as headline clicks.Geo-Targeting
Geo-targeting can be another great technique to help out with local PPC. Google gives you a lot of room to play with, as to where you want to target your PPC ads geographically. If you only serve the Chicago area, then you can set your ad up to only serve people in that geographical area. If you serve the entire state of Illinois, then you can target that state individually. If you serve multiple locations or states, then you can set your ads up to only target the locations that you serve.
In addition to being able to target people in certain geographical locations, you can also exclude areas. If you set up your ads, and then notice that you are getting impressions and clicks from areas that you don’t serve — for instance, France — then you can add them to your excluded area.Keywords with Geo-Locations
While geo-targeting can be a great tool for local businesses, it doesn’t always work. It is dependent on how people are searching for your business. For some local businesses, it would be more appropriate to limit targeting not by the location, but by keyword only.
For example, let’s say you are a cable company in Charleston. In this situation, you might want to create separate campaigns to target people searching for “cable companies Charleston,” rather than only using geo-targeting. Most people know that cable services are limited to an area, so they might be more likely to include a geo-modifier in their query. The cable company can then pick up more traffic and even use this as a competitive strategy.
Pay Per Click Photo via Shutterstock
Sometimes the hardest part of writing a caption is writing a sufficiently blasé name. Names in cartoons need to be unique but generic at the same time. It can take a while.
Here’s some names I rejected for this cartoon and why:
John Johnson (Vague, but repetitive)
John Thompson (Too rhyme-y)
Tom Wilson (Name of Ziggy cartoonist)
Will Jones (Sounds like a question)
William Jones (Generic but formal)
Don Jones (Remembered I knew someone by that name in college)
Tom Jones (Seriously?)
Joan Thompson (Good, but would have to redraw as female)
Bruce Kent (Combination of Batman’s and Superman’s secret identity)
Ignor of the Treelands, the Wise & Terrible (Note to self: repurpose in future cartoon)
See how hard it is? Thank goodness for Phil Goodwin.
The fast food giant's lease runs out in December and agents have been instructed to find a new tenant. "It's a high quality, landmark building and it would be nice to have something more appropriate than a Burger King in it," he said.
Many of us writers are pretty particular when it comes to how we piece together our writing samples, especially when it comes to digital rhetoric. Content creation is something that becomes routinized, but getting too stuck in the same groove can lead to writer’s block, low motivation, and an inability to produce the quantity of content needed.
In my experience, one of the best ways to avoid such issues is by trying out new content creation processes that make you more aware of each step. Every few months when I burn myself out on writing things the same way over and over, I try and change the writing process to hit the refresh button. Check out my current streamlined writing process and give it a try if you’re in a writing rut.Writing Process Steps Discover It
Step one is to find something to write about, and Reddit is one of my favorite resources to use for this. Users ask questions, share ideas, and comment on trends for all industries in a very organic way. This facilitates actual discovery of topics at a base level really easily and gives a range of angles on various topics you can cover.
Regardless of where you do your discovering, make sure you carve out time for it. Having the freedom to poke around and lose yourself in topic exploration is an important part of lighting that writer’s fire.Research It
Once I settle on a topic, I research it to see how many times it’s been covered. This is an important part of the process, because you should really focus on creating content that is unique and entirely your own. If a topic is over-saturated on the internet, the chances that it’ll pick up much traffic are starting pretty low.
Research is also important because it gives your writing some substance. Referencing studies, surveys and other information in your own writing piece can reinforce the point you’re trying to get across while also making you an authority on the matter.Format It
Before I write a single word on a content piece, I decide what the format is going to be: lists, bullet points, infographics, surveys, checklists, whatever. This helps me firstly because it gives me some direction on how to approach the topic while I’m writing it. I wouldn’t write a think piece the same way I’d put together a tutorial. It also keeps me focused on utility, because I’m actively transforming what I’m focused on into a usable piece of content that others will actually be able to use.Outline It
For me, the single most important step in my writing process is creating an outline. I always do it. It always ends up being snippets of writing organized in the order they’ll be in when the piece is complete. Getting those key arguments, ideas and steps out saves me a lot of time because later on all I have to do is connect the ideas together.
To create an outline, put your main points on paper and try and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. Break each chunk of text down, see what you have and figure out what you need to fill in the blanks.Put It All Together
Finally, go back to that outline and fill in the blanks with writing that’s been reinforced by your research. Connecting your ideas and bringing them to life is the fun part, because your content piece will shift from blocks of writing to a comprehensive content piece. After you put it all together, go back over it to make sure it’s polished and communicating exactly what it is you want to say.
Republished by permission. Original here.
This article, "Take These 5 Steps Toward Refining Your Writing Process" was first published on Small Business Trends
A new study by Psychtests.com reveals that a lack of autonomy and job control at work can be a contributing risk factor for burnout.
(PRWeb September 24, 2016)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13701380.htm
Additional Shredding Truck on the Way for the Growing South NJ Franchise
(PRWeb September 23, 2016)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13709264.htm
SignResource more than doubles its manufacturing and warehousing capacity.
(PRWeb September 23, 2016)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13705917.htm
2000th Customer Served at PROSHRED Indianapolis. Number Marks a Milestone for One of Indianapolis’ Top Shredding Companies
(PRWeb September 22, 2016)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/08/prweb13642971.htm
10 Best PR recently released a monthly award that ranks the best Boston public relations company based on a number of metrics, and the winners for September have been decided and announced. The top...
(PRWeb September 22, 2016)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/best-public-relations/leading-boston-pr/prweb13700290.htm
Stratus Building Solutions Regional Master Franchise Owners Shauna Sharpsteen, Jared and Emily Thomas of Salt Lake City, Utah were Presented IFA's Annual Franchisee of the Year Award in...
(PRWeb September 22, 2016)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13700454.htm