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Do you value your time?

Time is money

As a business owner, do you really know how much your time is worth?

Doing some things yourself can be a money saver but doing things you aren’t accustomed to doing can cause a lot of problems. Let’s look at the cost/benefit of a task.

  • You’ll spend your valuable time learning how to do this task.
  • You’ll spend your valuable time implementing this task
  • You’ll spend valuable time maintaining this task.
  • You’ll be unsatisfied with it because it doesn’t look like or work like it was done by a professional.
  • You’ll lose business because the task you’ve attempted looks “cheap”. A common public perception about looking cheap is your products or services are subpar.

The best way to avoid this and recognize the value in hiring professionals is to understand what it really costs when you go the “cheap route”.

Do yourself and your business a favor and hire a professional. It’s been good advice for hundreds of years.

Sage advice from Benjamin Franklin:

[July 21, 1748]

Advice to a young Tradesman, written by an old One. 2

To my Friend A. B.

As you have desired it of me, I write the following Hints, which have been of Service to me, and may, if observed, be so to you.

Remember that Time is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or rather thrown away Five Shillings besides.

Remember that Credit is Money. If a Man lets his Money lie in my Hands after it is due, he gives me the Interest, or so much as I can make of it during that Time. This amounts to a considerable Sum where a Man has good and large Credit, and makes good Use of it.

Remember that Money is of a prolific generating Nature. Money can beget Money, and its Offspring can beget more, and so on. Five Shillings turn’d, is Six: Turn’d again, ’tis Seven and Three Pence; and so on ’til it becomes an Hundred Pound. The more there is of it, the more it produces every Turning, so that the Profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding Sow, destroys all her Offspring to the thousandth Generation. He that murders a Crown, destroys all it might have produc’d, even Scores of Pounds.

Remember that Six Pounds a Year is but a Groat a Day. For this little Sum (which may be daily wasted either in Time or Expence unperceiv’d) a Man of Credit may on his own Security have the constant Possession and Use of an Hundred Pounds. So much in Stock briskly turn’d by an industrious Man, produces great Advantage.

Remember this Saying, That the good Paymaster is Lord of another Man’s Purse. He that is known to pay punctually and exactly to the Time he promises, may at any Time, and on any Occasion, raise all the Money his Friends can spare. This is sometimes of great Use: Therefore never keep borrow’d Money an Hour beyond the Time you promis’d, lest a Disappointment shuts up your Friends Purse forever.

The most trifling Actions that affect a Man’s Credit, are to be regarded. The Sound of your Hammer at Five in the Morning or Nine at Night, heard by a Creditor, makes him easy Six Months longer. But if he sees you at a Billiard Table, or hears your Voice in a Tavern, when you should be at Work, he sends for his Money the next Day. Finer Cloaths than he or his Wife wears, or greater Expence in any particular than he affords himself, shocks his Pride, and he duns you to humble you. Creditors are a kind of People, that have the sharpest Eyes and Ears, as well as the best Memories of any in the World.

Good-natur’d Creditors (and such one would always chuse to3 deal with if one could) feel Pain when they are oblig’d to ask for Money. Spare ’em that Pain, and they will love you. When you receive a Sum of Money, divide it among ’em in Proportion to your Debts. Don’t be asham’d of paying a small Sum because you owe a greater. Money, more or less, is always welcome; and your Creditor had rather be at the Trouble of receiving Ten Pounds voluntarily brought him, tho’ at ten different Times or Payments, than be oblig’d to go ten Times to demand it before he can receive it in a Lump. It shews, besides, that you are mindful of what you owe; it makes you appear a careful as well as an honest Man; and that still encreases your Credit.

Beware of thinking all your own that you possess, and of living accordingly. ’Tis a Mistake that many People who have Credit fall into. To prevent this, keep an exact Account for some Time of both your Expences and your Incomes. If you take the Pains at first to mention Particulars, it will have this good Effect; you will discover how wonderfully small trifling Expences mount up to large Sums, and will discern what might have been, and may for the future be saved, without occasioning any great Inconvenience.

In short, the Way to Wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the Way to Market. It depends chiefly on two Words, Industry and Frugality; i.e. Waste neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both.4 He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary Expences excepted) will certainly become Rich; If that Being who governs the World, to whom all should look for a Blessing on their honest Endeavours, doth not in his wise Providence otherwise determine.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5. Little is known of the author. His name appears on an arithmetic of which there was a fifth edition in 1740, and the many editions of Cocker’s Arithmetic between 1725 and 1767 were “carefully corrected and amended” by him. Fisher was not, as has been suggested, the pseudonym of Mrs. Thomas Slack (née Anne Fisher), author of several elementary educational works and wife of a Newcastle printer who was himself the author of several books of mathematical character. Ambrose Heal, The English Writing-Masters and their Copy-Books, 1570–1800 (Cambridge, 1931), pp. 50–1; Louis C. Karpinski, “The Elusive George Fisher ‘Accomptant’—Writer or Editor of Three Popular Arithmetics,” Scripta Mathematica, iii (1935), 337–9; William E. Lingelbach, “Franklin’s American Instructor: Early Americanism in the Art of Writing,” APS Proc., xcvi (1952), 375–81; H. R. Plomer and others, A Dictionary of the Printers and Booksellers … in England … 1726 to 1775 (Oxford, 1932), p. 230.

6. This work first appeared in 1681; a fifteenth edition appeared in 1737, with four plates illustrating the round and Italian hands.

7. With unimportant differences the English preface was reprinted in the Philadelphia edition, but a final paragraph was added: “In the British Edition of this Book, there were many Things of little or no Use in these Parts of the World: In this Edition those Things are omitted, and in their Room many other Matters inserted, more immediately useful to us Americans. And many Errors in the Arithmetical Part are here carefully corrected.” The American preface ended: “Vale & Fruere.”

8. See above, ii, 155.

9. The round hand illustrated in one of these plates has been thought to be a creation of bf, but was not. Ray Nash, American Writing Masters and Copybooks(Boston, 1959), pp. ii, 23.

1. This is the earliest known printing. The Advice was reprinted by Benjamin Mecom in New England Mag., No. 3 (1759), 27–8, with minor variations and the addition of one sentence. Mecom’s version was followed in a broadside printed by Daniel Humphreys about 1785 (Evans 19011). Worthington C. Ford, “Franklin’s Advice to a Young Tradesman. Two Unique Impressions,” The Bibliographer, I (1902), 89–96. None of bf’s principal editors—Duane, Temple Franklin, Sparks, Bigelow, or Smyth—included the paragraph beginning: “Good-natur’d Creditors.”

2. In subsequent printings the title was generally omitted, and the Advice was given a signature, “An old Tradesman.”

3. Mecom, Humphreys, and later printings omit “chuse to.”

4. Mecom, Humphreys, and later printings add a sentence at this point: “Without Industry and Frugality nothing will do, and with them everything.”

Can you live without Windows 7?

Windows7 EOL

Happy with archaic Windows 7, but worried about the road ahead?

What am I headed for?

— N. Hamilton

A: I understand your frustration. It’s not just Microsoft. At some point, program developers discontinue support for older programs. When that program is an operating system like Windows that means security patches will no longer be developed and made available. That means if you keep using the old operating system you will be more vulnerable to hackers and malware than if you upgrade to a currently supported operating system.

Microsoft did offer free upgrades to Windows 10. That program officially ended in 2016, but you can still achieve the workaround by following directions you’ll find here.

And you can find details about the life cycles of each version of Windows here.


Special to The Seattle Times

Trademarks or Service Marks?

Background concept wordcloud illustration of trademark glowing light

Trademarks or Service Marks

A trademark or service mark is important to a business that is trying to protect a name, design, slogan or any combination thereof. It is used to identify and distinguish a party’s goods or services from any other’s providing or rendering the same goods or services in the marketplace. They can be considered one of the most important assets of a business since they are readily associated with a business’s reputation and goodwill.

“Trademark” is the term used to identify a mark which is being used in connection with a tangible product (i.e., shoes, soda, apparel, etc.).

A “service mark” is the term used to identify a mark that is being used in connection with a service (i.e., carpet cleaning, plumbing, auto repair, etc.).

Not all names, designs or slogans can be marked, however. The proposed mark must be unique and must contain some distinguishing feature or component that separates it from all the other names, designs or slogans currently being used by other individuals and/or businesses who are producing or selling the same product or rendering the same type of service. Florida trademark and service mark registrations are filed with the Florida Department of State and must follow all the statutory filing provisions of Chapter 495, Florida Statutes.

The owner of a mark may be an individual or a legally recognized business, so long as the business entity maintains an active registration on file with the Division of Corporations. A mark must be in use before it can be registered. In the case of a trademark, the good(s) or product(s) must be on sale in the marketplace. For a service mark, the applicant must actually be rendering the service for which a service mark is applied. The mere advertising of goods or services does not constitute use of a trade or service mark.

Section 495.021(1)(f), F.S., prohibits the Division from registering a mark if it consists of a mark previously used in Florida and not abandoned. The section also prohibits the Division from denying a mark registration based solely on the registration of a corporate name or fictitious name. It is the responsibility of the registering party, not the Department of State, to investigate the availability of a proposed mark, determine that the mark does not constitute an infringement upon the mark of another, and defend it against infringement.

Specimens, Facsimiles, Examples
The purpose of specimens or facsimiles (examples) is to illustrate the manner in which the mark is actually affixed to or displayed in connection with the goods or services. Three specimens or facsimiles for each class of mark must be included with the application. Specimens or facsimiles must depict the mark as it is actually used. Do not submit typed or handwritten specimens or facsimiles unless the mark is actually depicted in that manner on the goods or products or in the case of a service mark, in advertising or promotional materials.

To apply for a trademark, submit specimens or facsimiles that are affixed to the good(s) or product(s). Some acceptable trademark specimens or facsimiles are labels, decals, tags, wrappers, boxes and containers. If your mark is a service mark, submit specimens or facsimiles that reflect the type of service(s) being provided. Some acceptable service mark specimens or facsimiles are business cards, brochures, fliers and newspaper advertisements. If your mark is both a trade and service mark, you must submit three appropriate trademark specimens or facsimiles and three appropriate service mark specimens or facsimiles. Three of the same item or three different items are acceptable. Be sure to send three specimens or facsimiles for each class for which application is made.

Do not submit camera-ready copies, letterhead stationery, envelopes, invoices or matchbooks. Photographs of bulky specimens are acceptable if the mark to be registered and the good(s) or product(s) are clearly legible. Specimens or facsimiles that are difficult to view or have been altered or defaced in any way are not acceptable.

Classes/Fees
Each product or service falls within one of 45 specific classes for registration. For information on classes and fees, visit Sunbiz.org.

To apply for a Florida trademark or service mark, mail one original and one photocopy of an Application for the Registration of a Trademark or Service Mark, three specimens or facsimiles (examples) of the mark and a check payable to the Florida Department of State for the appropriate amount.

TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK
The application must contain:

  • The name and business address of the applicant and state whether the applicant is an individual, a corporation, a limited partnership, a general partnership or other business entity. If the applicant is a business entity, include the entity’s domicile state, the Florida registration number and federal Employer Identification Number.
  • If filing a service mark application, list the services for which the mark is used in connection. For example restaurant services, real estate sales, insurance sales, etc.
  • If filing a trademark application, list the goods or products for which the mark is used in connection. For example window cleaner, furniture polish, shoes, etc.
  • List how the mark is being used. If a trademark, tell how the mark is applied to the goods or products. For example: as a label, decal, or by engraving or imprinting on the goods. If a service mark, tell how the mark is used in advertising. For example newspaper advertisements, brochures, business cards, etc.
  • List the applicable class(es).
  • The date the mark was first used anywhere and the date the mark was first used in Florida.
  • The mark to be registered. If the mark includes a design, include a brief description. If a mark includes a word or design that must be disclaimed, applicants must include a disclaimer statement. All geographical terms and representations of cities, states or countries must be disclaimed (i.e., Miami, Orlando, Florida, the design of the state of Florida, the design of the United States of America, etc.). Commonly used words, including corporate suffixes, must also be disclaimed. If your mark includes a word or a design that is commonly used by others, the state of Florida cannot grant you the exclusive right to use the word or design and will require you to complete a disclaimer statement.
  • The dated and notarized signature of the applicant or person authorized to sign and the signer’s title.

 

Federal Registration Tips

Trademark or service mark registrations filed with the Florida Department of State are state government level registrations. They do not replace registrations with the federal government. Florida registrations are good for five years beginning with the date of registration.

To obtain information about federal registration, contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., (571) 272-1000, or on the web at uspto.gov. For information regarding copyrights, contact the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress, (202) 707-3000, or on the web at copyright.gov.

Reprinted from Florida Small Business

Why Live Chat Is So Important Now

The benefits of Jivo Live Chat software

CSR’s tied up? No problem.

In today’s world of smartphones and multitasking, your website needs live chat. Spearhead Multimedia recommends Jivo Chat.

JivoChat is a professional, all-in-one business messenger that your teams use to talk to customers everywhere via live chat, phone, email, and social.

The powerful JivoChat agent app will turn your team into customer care superstars. The JivoChat widget allows you to chat with multiple visitors at the same time, which is impossible to do by phone. It’s live chat on steroids utilizing not only live chat but phone and social as well. The app’s features aim to boost your team’s efficiency and communication opportunities. Our clients have seen substantial increases in visitor engagement and overall sales and a reduction in customer service phone calls. People don’t want to or many times cannot talk on the phone. It’s much easier to live chat while at work or in situations where a voice conversation would be difficult. Jivo Chat solves those issues and more. Click here to receive your free trial today. We’re here to assist you set up the widgets on your site and help coordinate your chat agents.


Still not convinced? Here’s a great article by Steven MacDonald that should help you decide if you need live chat today….or yesterday.

9 Reasons Why Every Business Needs Live Chat Software

The benefits of Jivo Live Chat software

Post Summary:

  • Customer expectations are growing
  • What is live chat software and why do I need it?
  • 9 live chat software benefits for your business

by Steven MacDonald

In a digital world, speed is king.

From overnight shipping to instant access to your product or service, your customers want things now – and they usually get it.

However, this is not the case when it comes to customer service.

Research shows that the average response time for customer service requests on social media is 10 hours.

Worse still, email response times take longer than 12 hours!

This is not acceptable. And delays like this will lose you customers.

But, how can you respond quickly to your customers?

It’s simple – use live chat.

Live chat software enables you to have real-time conversations with your customers while they’re on your website. It’s quick, convenient and customers love it because it’s 100x faster than any other digital service channel.

Customer service response times by digital channel

Companies from major banks to small e-commerce stores now use live chat software to better serve their customers and improve response times. So, it’s no surprise that 33% of consumers now expect to see live chat offered on every website.

But, there’s a lot more to live chat software than providing quick customer support. That’s why we’ve rounded up 9 live chat software benefits to show you how chat can positively impact your business.

Let’s get started!

1. Increase sales and conversions

The first major benefit of using live chat on your website is the potential to increase sales.

The American Marketing Association found that B2B companies who used live chat see, on average, a 20% increase in conversions!

While browsing your website, prospects and customers will have questions about your product or service. With live chat, you can answer them immediately – and while the buyer is still on your website.

This is what makes live chat so powerful.

Live chat gives you the chance to hold your buyers’ by the hand, help them overcome objections and reach a buying decision. It’s like having a sales assistant on standby, live on your website.

Furthermore, a report by eMarketer looked into the impact live chat has on consumers. The report found that 35% more people made a purchase online after using live chat.

2. Reduce support costs

It’s no secret that customer support can be expensive.

In traditional call centers, a customer service agent will handle both phone and email requests. But, only one at a time (can you imagine trying to answer two calls at once?).

The benefit of live chat software is that it changes all of that.

According to research by Telus Internationalcustomer service agents can engage in as many as six (!) simultaneous chats, depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

Being able to handle several customer chats at once means you’ll need a substantially smaller team to handle customer service requests – cutting your support costs as a result.

If that’s not enough to persuade you, live chat is more than 50% cheaper than handling phone calls.

Approx. cost per contact for phone and live chat request handling

Within months of launching live chat on their website, WP Engine was able to solve more than 90% of all questions and issues immediately – reducing their customer support costs almost overnight.

3. Build trust with buyers’

When you walk into a physical store, the retailer gets the chance to build a rapport with you during the sales process. This helps them establish trust and make the sale. But online, you can’t do that.

Consumers’ are naturally skeptical of buying things from people they don’t know. It’s human nature. But, with live chat, you can have a direct conversation with your buyer that allows you to build trust and close the gap between online and offline purchases.

Trust is extremely important in the business world. If a buyer doesn’t trust you, they won’t provide their contact information or share their personal details.

A study from ATG (now acquired by Oracle) into Global Consumer Trends found that 90% of customers said the “Live Chat” button gives them confidence that they can get help if they need it. Without live chat, you’re going to have to work a lot harder to build trust with your website visitors.

4. Gain a competitive advantage

Offering live chat to your customers presents you with a great opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals.

A study into live chat by Telus International found that many businesses are still not benefiting from the power of using live chat on their websites. In fact, our own live chat study of 1,000 websites found that only 9% of websites use live chat to provide real-time support to their customers.

Josh Ledgard, the founder of Kick Off Labs, is a firm believer in using live chat support as a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. In one example, Josh shared a story about how he used the live chat software itself as a way to earn a new customer.

Josh Ledgard on live chat software as competitive advantage

So, the next time a buyer asks you how you are different to your competitors, you can respond by using live chat.

5. Increase average order value

Live chat doesn’t just help you increase sales – it also helps you increase the value of a sale too!

By using live chat to talk with the buyer and understand their needs, you can recommend similar products and services by up-selling and cross-selling to increase the average order value.

For example, if a buyer is looking to purchase a new laptop, a chat agent can respond by recommending a laptop that meets their needs. But, an agent can also increase the average order value by recommending a laptop case, a bag, and any laptop related accessories.

Internet Retailer found that Virgin Airlines used live chat to transform their business. Using live chat software, they up-sold customers with additional products and converted them 3.5x more often and saw a 15% overall increase in average order value as a result.

6. Satisfy your customers

Live chat is a great opportunity to improve customer support and provide a memorable customer experience on your website. That’s why customers prefer using live chat.

According to eDigital’s customer service benchmarklive chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.

Live chat software ranks top in customer satisfaction ratings

The reason for live chat’s high satisfaction levels are due to “the efficiency and immediacy of the experience”, says Kirk Parsons, a Senior Director at Market Research company, J.D. Power.

Sure, you can offer traditional ways for people to contact you, but why not communicate with your customers in a channel that they prefer? By doing so, you will retain more customers.

7. Keep in contact with visitors

Unfortunately, not everyone who visits your website will buy from you straight away.

So, what happens when a visitor leaves the site? Do you sit back and hope that they come back at some point in the future, or do you do something about it?

For people that use live chat, you can collect information about them – and turn them into leads.

Before a live chat session begins, ask the user for their contact information. Not only does this help in identifying an existing customer, but by asking for their name you can provide a more personalized customer experience.

If the chat user isn’t a customer, you now know who they are. Use this to your advantage and ask them if they would like to receive news and promotional material as part of your email marketing strategy. They may not buy from you today, but by having their contact information you can convince over time that your product is the right fit for them.

Another benefit of using live chat is that even if you’re unable to collect contact information the first time around, 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. So, rather than communicating with anonymous visitors, you will be speaking with engaged prospects instead.

8. Improve website experience

With live chat, your customers no longer have to stop what they’re doing and pick up the phone or send an email when they have a question. Instead, they can have their questions answered immediately by a live person.

This is important – especially when it comes to purchasing or subscribing to products online.

Forrester Research found that 57% of customers abandon their purchase if they can’t get their question answered quickly.

In addition, the same study found that 44% of online consumers rate having their questions answered by a live person while in the middle of a purchase as one of the most important features a website can offer.

While improving the website experience helps customers, the business benefit here is that customers that use live chat on a website are 3 times more likely to make a purchase – making a positive impact on your bottom line.

Live chat is typically found on the home page and product pages, but another way to use live chat to improve the website experience is by placing chat in unusual places, such as 404 pages or pages that have been deleted. When your customers’ arrive on a 404 page, they usually leave. Now, a live chat agent can help them navigate and find what they are looking for.

Adding live chat to 404 pages to improve website experience

9. Understand your customer needs better

A key part of any marketing campaign or sales process is to understand your buyers’ needs and then provide the right solution to them. Not only does live chat software give you the opportunity to close a sale right there and then, but it also gives you access to their mindset by gathering what is known as “Voice of Customer Data”.

Voice of Customer (VOC) data is a market research tool that can help you see your business from a customer’s perspective. By collecting VOC data you can understand their thoughts, opinions and behavior, which can then be used to shape product development, marketing and the way you grow your business.

One way to collect VOC data through live chat is to review chat transcripts. You and your team can review valuable information such as words, phrases, and questions that buyer’s use, which you can then use to optimize your marketing copy to eliminate fears and doubts.

According to Aberdeen Research, companies that collect VOC data enjoy a 10-times-greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue compared to all others.

Conclusion

If you want to succeed in business today, you can no longer ignore live chat software.

Your customers want access to fast and immediate support that helps them along in their purchase process. The good news for you is that very few companies use live chat, making it far easier to stand out from the competition.

Using live chat, you can communicate with your customers in a channel they prefer and use that to provide an unforgettable experience. If that’s not enough to convince you of the benefits of live chat, you will also decrease support costs and increase average order value and overall sales.

There’s no denying that the live chat software benefits for your business are huge.

It’s not a question of if you will use live chat for your business, but rather a question of when.

So, how long will it be before you start using live chat software? Comment below and let us know.

A customer initiates a Jivo Chat:

Here is what the agent is seeing on their side of Jivo Chat:

Stop tying up your phones and handling customers one-at-a-time. Try Jivo Chat today.