Latest and Greatest Small Business Technology: Vol. 2

Elizabeth Larkin, Michael Kelly, and Eric Dollinger

In episode 53, hosts Elizabeth Larkin and Gene Marks dive into the latest and greatest tech that all small business owners should know about.

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Elizabeth: We’re back. It’s the Small Biz Ahead Podcast and it’s our series on the latest and greatest small business technology. This is volume two.

Gene: You’re not going to ask me what I had for lunch today are you?

Elizabeth: No.

Gene: I just want to make sure. Okay.

Elizabeth: I ate lunch with you. I know what you had for lunch.

Gene: It was a salad. It was delicious. It was a very good salad.

Elizabeth: Alright, so after we hear from our sponsor, Gene is going to illuminate us on all the small business technology that you can use to make your business more efficient.

TOPIC: Small Business Technology

Gene: Shall we talk tech?

Elizabeth: Let’s talk tech. I’m ready.

Gene: Yep. Recently, this happens every quarter, but recently a company called Sensor Tower puts out their listing of the world’s most downloaded apps, mobile apps, okay? So, let’s talk mobile apps, non-gaming apps, cause we’re not including them. First of all, I want to go through these top 10 apps and let’s see first of all if you can pick out something in common but I also want to point out something about what they all have in common, right?

First of all, of the top five, number one is WhatsApp.

Elizabeth: Okay, so these are apps that…

Gene: For your mobile device.

Elizabeth: That are non-gaming apps.

Gene: Non-gaming.

Elizabeth: And these are the downloaded by business owners? or just…

Gene: Everybody.

Elizabeth: Everybody.

Gene: Totally. But that’s going to be my point in just a minute. So first of all, WhatsApp. Right? What is WhatsApp do?

Elizabeth: It let’s you send text messages.

Gene: What’s so special about WhatsApp? I’m quizzing you now.

Elizabeth: You don’t need to be on your network?

Gene: You don’t. Right. It’s like a web-based messaging service. You can send text messages, files, videos, you can even make calls on What’s App very, very popular in Europe. It’s used all over because there’s people of the different mobile systems so they avoid all that. They just…

Elizabeth: Yeah. They have a lot more mobile systems then they do their network.

Gene: Yeah. So they just, as long as they use Wi-Fi they can use it so… I use WhatsApp all the time in my business not only because we share files and stuff with it among our company but I’ve some clients and contacts who are over in Europe and that’s the way they message. So I’m using this application, so that was number one. Number two most downloaded, Facebook. Okay? Do you use Facebook on your mobile device?

Elizabeth: I don’t have it on my mobile device.

Gene: Okay. I do. We have a pretty active Facebook page. I’m constantly checking it and I’m looking for any comments that were made and I can respond back to them and all that so…

Elizabeth: Angrily or nicely?

Gene: Nicely. Always nicely. But again, this is for my business page. Okay? You’re going to sense a theme here. I use Facebook, my mobile app. Third most popular, most downloaded app in the world is Facebook Messenger.

Elizabeth: Oh, I hate Messenger.

Gene: Well, but a lot of people use it. And we had talked in a previous podcast about the importance of using social media for your customer service. I’ve been getting more and more requests by Messenger of questions about our products or about questions… So, I use Messenger. I respond to clients. If they have a question and they’re a Facebook…

Elizabeth: You personally?

Gene: Sometimes I do. There is only 10 of us in the company. So yeah, of course, if I have a client that has a problem, I’m like, you know…

Elizabeth: What do you do if you get a message about The Marks Group to your personal account? Or does that never happen?

Gene: Oh, no, it rarely happens, but even if it does I’ll still reply to it. So I don’t…

Elizabeth: So you’re not like, “This is my personal account.”

Gene: No. No. Not at all. If it’s a client that needs help we, wherever… However they are finding a way to communicate with me I want to know about it.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Gene: Number four, Instagram.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: Now, you know, you use Instagram and Elizabeth has it as a fan. You have to follow Elizabeth on Instagram. It is, your account is what?

Elizabeth: Ctdaytrips. But I don’t post as much anymore.

Gene: I noticed that, but the stuff you have posted have been very nice. You need to be posting more.

Elizabeth: Oh, okay.

Gene: Instagram is awesome. I would love to make some recommendations of accounts to follow.

Elizabeth: The Kardashians?

Gene: Well, I follow so many inappropriate Instagram accounts that The Hartford police would fire me immediately for mentioning any of them. So I’m not going to go there, okay?

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: However, the Kardashians are one of them and they are also quite good. But Instagram I’m thinking many small businesses are on Instagram. It has become a big advertising platform for a lot of companies…

Elizabeth: And you can now have a business account.

Gene: You can now have a business account on Instagram as well, very good. And because of that, I’m actually thinking of doing that as well sometime in the next year or so. So, Instagram. Number five most downloaded, Snapchat.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: Do you use Snapchat?

Elizabeth: Love Snapchat.

Gene: Love it too. Use it mostly with my family. I have some friends on Snapchat as well. I think it is really awesome and cool to be able to send a photo immediately of something that’s going on real time. It’s cool. I have some clients on Snapchat that I’m just personally friends with as well and we Snapchat things back and forth to each other as well.

Elizabeth: Do you use InstaStories?

Gene: No. I don’t use any InstaStories. Yet, it might be a consideration. But not, it doesn’t really apply to my small business but if your small business is like a blogger or you’re in some type of storytelling mode maybe you can make use of Snapchat because there is a billion users that are on it and they are increasing their advertising platform and looking for small business advertisers. That was number five. Number six, UC Browser.

Elizabeth: I’ve never heard of it.

Gene: Downloaded… UC Browser is a generic browser that you can download to your mobile device. It’s not Chrome and it’s not Safari. It’s just for any, for any… It’s fast, it eats up a lot less battery life. I have it installed on my phone.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: I use it because it’s just quicker. Quicker to connect, quicker to transfer files with. It’s actually quite good. So I’m actually using UC Browser. I also use Chrome as well. But I’m using that as well cause I do for my business, again my business I do a lot of research online.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: Number seven, Uber.

Elizabeth: Of course.

Gene: The seventh most downloaded app in the world. We all use Uber. We all use Uber. I’m a big business user of Uber. Uber is the number one business travel expense now over Starbucks.

Elizabeth: Wow.

Gene: It used to be Starbucks now Uber is number one. And it makes sense cause if you’re a business person traveling it’s like your own sort of concierge car service that you can just call up right from your phone. So Uber is number seven. Number eight, just a few more, YouTube.

Elizabeth: Really?

Gene: Number eight.

Elizabeth: On your phone?

Gene: On your phone because people are watching a lot of YouTube videos. I have YouTube downloaded on my phone as well. This was all before reading this article because I not only check… We have a lot of YouTube videos from my company. We do training and seminars and we do things that we record on YouTube. And then I’m looking at my competitors and I always look at stuff on YouTube for product information. I think it’s a video world so I use YouTube a lot on my mobile device.

Number nine, it’s a product called Sharit. S-H-A-R-I-T.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: It’s for Le… It’s a Lenovo product. Number nine in the world but you don’t have to have Lenovo to do it. What it does is it enables you to share files, photos, documents, among any devices. So if I’ve got Sharit installed on my computer, I’ve got it installed on my mobile device, if you’ve got it installed, if an employee of mine, we share files using Sharit very, very quickly.

Elizabeth: Wait, how does that work?

Gene: You just… As long as you have the ID of the other person or the ID of the device you can then share the files. So it works, it works very good. Finally, number ten is Bitmoji. Do you use Bitmoji?

Elizabeth: No.

Gene: You know what? Very rarely do I use it. I do have it on here. It’s kinda… Sometimes I’ll send a message to somebody. Both professional and personal. It’s kinda fun to put a little Bitmoji image on it as well and people get a kick out of it. And that’s what business is like in 2017. So, here’s my point.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: Of the ten most downloaded applications in the world, I am using all ten of them and I’m using all ten of them for my business.

Elizabeth: Which is the tech business that is B2B.

Gene: Right. And mobile applications… Now it used to be that mobile applications were like games and toys and this and whatever. Now, I’m not alone. When I talk to my clients and other small business owners, many of them are using maybe not all but a great portion of these ten most downloaded applications and for now, the tipping point has been reached. They’re all using this stuff for their businesses. There’s been this, this overlap now. Right? Where it used to be personal game… You know, stuff for fun is now being more messaging each other, we’re using Facebook, we’re using Messenger, we’re using Instagram, we’re using… And they all have business uses. So, I find it interesting these are the ten most popular downloaded apps in the world but they’re also extremely popular for small businesses.

Elizabeth: Cool.

Gene: Yeah.

Elizabeth: Alright. So which one do you think most small business owners are already using?

Gene: Oh, well, of this list that we have on here, I think there are a few of them they are absolutely using. I think most small business owners are using one type of the Facebook apps. Of the top five, four of them are Facebook apps. There’s the number one most downloaded app that we said before was WhatsApp.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: Owned by Facebook.

Elizabeth: Is it? Oh, I didn’t know that.

Gene: It is. Number two, Facebook, owned by Facebook.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: Number three, Facebook Messenger, owned by Facebook. And number four is Instagram.

Elizabeth: Owned by Facebook.

Gene: Owned by Facebook. So the top four are Facebook related apps and I think most small business owners are using at least one of those four.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: Some type of Facebook app in their business.

Elizabeth: Now, what other apps do you have on your phone that are not on that list that you use for your business?

Gene: So I have a CRM app, like we use our CRM application, customer relationship management is Zoho – so I use that for my…

Elizabeth: How’s the interface? Do you like it on mobile?

Gene: Love it. Yeah, it’s great. And I use it for my email. So when I send you an email I’m using Zoho’s email app because every email that you and I are exchanging is going into my CRM database.

Elizabeth: I’m in your CRM?

Gene: Oh, absolutely, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: What?

Gene: You’re there with a star status there and reminders and alerts. You’re like of the upper echelon of the people in my CRM. So, I use my CRM. I use my messaging as well. I use… I’m looking at my phone now. I use Evernote frequently to take notes. I use Maps.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: Twitter. And of course Spotify because, what?

Elizabeth: Use that, oh, cause you use that for business trips.

Gene: Right, I’m on Spotify listening to it all the time.

Elizabeth: I don’t have Spotify.

Gene: Spotify is the best.

Elizabeth: I just use Pandora.

Gene: Pandora. Why? I don’t understand that concept of using Pandora. For Spotify, even the free version, you can listen to any song you want any time.

Elizabeth: Yeah, but the thing I like about Pandora is that I’ve discovered so many songs that I didn’t know…

Gene: Oh, let me tell you, with Spotify…

Elizabeth: Oh.

Gene: You create your own playlists and depending on what you’re listening to, every week they create a custom playlist for me based on the stuff that I’ve been listening to.

Elizabeth: Really?

Gene: Making recommendations for songs. Oh it’s, it’s awesome. And if you hear a song that you like… Say you want to listen to like Rainy Days and Mondays by The Carpenters, right? Which is a fantastic song, right?

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: So, you can’t just… where do you find that? You go on Spotify. You do a quick search, you find it, you’re listening to it in ten seconds.

Elizabeth: I probably am never going to want to listen to that song.

Gene: You want to spend some time together, I’ll educate you.

Elizabeth: That’s awesome.

Gene: So anyway, that’s a very, very popular mobile app that I use.

Elizabeth: Okay. So, can we talk about Evernote for a minute.

Gene: Sure.

Elizabeth: So, I used to use Evernote religiously because… And I’m sure our listeners probably know what Evernote is. Do you think we need to give a little background on that?

Gene: So let’s explain it. It’s a mobile app. You take notes on the mobile app and every note that you’re saving is being saved in the cloud. So you can go to any device and access and update and leave new notes and you’re… It’s all stored in one place. So it’s a fantastic way to keep brilliant thoughts in your mind.

Elizabeth: So, I’m going to tell you how I organize my Evernote and then you tell me how you organize yours.

Gene: Okay.

Elizabeth: So, in Evernote you can have notebooks…

Gene: Right.

Elizabeth: And then in each notebook has a note. So I used to use Evernote to send email reminders to myself. So I would just send an email to Evernote something that I didn’t want to deal with right then but I wanted to deal with at the end of the week.

Gene: Hmm.

Elizabeth: So it would all go into my incoming notebook. And then at the end of the week I would go through my incoming notebook and I would file things in the notebook they need to go to.

Gene: That’s fantastic. No, I think that’s brilliant.

Elizabeth: Gene’s like, “I’m not using it like that.”

Gene: No, but that’s brilliant. I like that a lot.

Elizabeth: So, then, they cut it off if you’re a basic subscriber you can’t send emails to your Evernote anymore.

Gene: Yeah.

Elizabeth: There’s a certain number. So, I just totally stopped using it.

Gene: Ahhh. That’s really a shame.

Elizabeth: But I still have the account and sometimes I’ll go through there and I’m like, “Why did I save that?”

Gene: Yeah.

Elizabeth: But what do you use? How do you use it?

Gene: By the way, just a little bit of advice. You could set up like a Gmail account for yourself.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: And just forward those emails to that Gmail account.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: And you check that one.

Elizabeth: Yeah. That’s actually what I did.

Gene: Yeah. Okay. So that’s funny. So, Evernote I use frequently because I do a lot of writing. So I’m always thinking of column ideas and whatnot. So I have a note, a notebook I guess, in Evernote for column ideas. So I’m just jotting down the ideas there too. I am a huge watcher of television and movies. So, when…

Elizabeth: We know this about you.

Gene: Yes. So I have a notebook devoted towards TV and movies. Inside the notebook I have shows that I watched and shows that I want to watch.

Elizabeth: By the way, did you ever watch Big Little Lies on HBO?

Gene: Coming up, it’s on my list. I have many on my list I’ve gotta get through the rest of Man in the High Castle, and I have a whole season of the Vikings to watch as well. I have a lot to do. I don’t even know why I’m talking to you right now, I have too much TV to watch.

I have a list of that stuff. And then stuff that I did watch because people always say, “Do you have a show to recommend?” and I want to be right on it, I pull out my Evernote and say, “Absolutely, you should watch Mr. Robot, it’s fantastic.” So, I have a… To that. And I have notes for personal use like for restaurants, you know, food ideas. And then I have a notebook for when I do some speaking so I like to keep track… I like ideas for stuff to speak about on it.

Elizabeth: Do you have a notebook for each…

Gene: Yeah. I do.

Elizabeth: Speaking engagement?

Gene: No. No. Just a speaking notebook.

Elizabeth: Oh, okay.

Gene: And I kinda lumped everything in. You know right there. I found having too many notebooks in Evernote is confusing and gets ugly. Now, our team does not use… Companies have… Evernote can be used in teams so employees can be sharing all that stuff. I, myself, we use a CRM system to share our notes and collaborate on information. Some companies use Slack. We’ve talked about Slack a zillion times before. And Microsoft Teams which I think is awesome. So I don’t know if Evernote is really the best. Even Microsoft does something called OneNote.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: Which is the competitor to Evernote for Microsoft users.

Elizabeth: People are really loyal to Evernote.

Gene: They are.

Elizabeth: I think it’s great for organizing yourself.

Gene: Yeah.

Elizabeth: But I don’t know if it’s great for sharing.

Gene: Yeah. And I’d like to hear. I mean, yeah, I don’t know if you’re using, you know, you’re listening to this you use this? Your company is a sharing thing where your employees love…

Elizabeth: Yeah, please leave us a comment.

Gene: I’d love to hear how you’re using Evernote to give me some ideas.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: So right now it’s a personal tool.

Elizabeth: That would be great. Alright. That’s going to wrap it up for our list of latest and greatest small business technology volume two and we’ll be back with our Word of Brilliance.


Elizabeth: Okay, we’re back with Gene’s Word of Brilliance.

Gene: Well, Elizabeth. I write a lot online for different media platforms. But I wrote a piece for…

Elizabeth: But you only read Small Biz Ahead, right?

Gene: That’s right, of course. Cause why else would… right? It’s ridiculous to go anywhere. Small Biz Ahead has everything I want.

Elizabeth: That’s Small Biz Ahead.

Gene: Yeah, and on I wrote a piece called “Why Getting Media Exposure for Your Small Business is Over-Rated”.

Elizabeth: I have to cut you off for a second.

Gene: Go ahead.

Elizabeth: Just jump in… We have writers out there who pitch us stories constantly for Small Biz Ahead and they all want to write about how to get media exposure for your business and I never, I don’t know, I never bite on those stories.

Gene: It’s bologna. So, my Word of Brilliance is media. I think there is this misperception about media exposure for your business. I’m not saying it’s all bad and I’m not saying it doesn’t have some benefit to you but I’m saying to you that if you’re trying really hard to get your business mentioned in somebody’s blog or you know, even if you’re on a morning TV show and you think that’s like a really big… I have been on morning TV shows where it’ll be some small business owner is on a segment before me and they brought their like their PR person with them and they’re getting all like, “Ahhhh,” all freaked out cause they’re going to be demonstrating their product on morning TV. Four people are going to watch this. You know what I mean?

And of the four people that watch it, only one of them might even be paying attention or caring. I mean, people think like, “Oh, we’re going to be appearing on TV and then let’s rush back to the office because my phone is going to be ringing off the hook.” That’s just not going to happen. I mean, who’s going to call you? You know, your spouse is going to call you, like “You should have trimmed your nose hairs before you went on TV.”

You know, maybe some neighbor will call you, “Hey, I saw you on TV this morning, you should have trimmed your nose hairs.”

Elizabeth: They’re not going to call. They’re just going to see you and be like…

Gene: “I saw you on TV and that was boring.”

Gene: On TV exposure it’s very over-rated. Getting your name mentioned in the press it’s… If you think it’s gonna like have some kinda super charged stimulus to your business, it’s not. Now, here is where it does, where it is good, okay?

Elizabeth: Okay.

Gene: Being in the media you want to grab it. So if you’re on TV, you want to make sure you get a recording of that. And you can search online. There are a lot of services that will record any show you want for you and convert it to a DVD. I have a TiVo, I’m probably the only person in America who still has TiVo.

Elizabeth: I loved my TiVo.

Gene: TiVo. We still have… TiVo allows me to record whenever I do something on TV and then it converts its to a video file and I put it on my website. That’s what you need to do.

Elizabeth: Yeah, cause you’re on TV all the time.

Gene: Yeah. So you need to put it on your website, right? And then if you’re, if you are mentioned in an article, great. Make sure you bookmark it or you know, and have that on your website as well. Being in the media is not like it generates sales but it generates credibility.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: So it’s nice. You’re going in, “Oh, I’m going to buy furniture from you because you sell furniture and, oh I see you were featured on Good Day San Antonio, you know, last year.” Psychologically to a customer they’re like, “Oh, okay. Well, they were on there.” You know it’s like a psychological thing. Do you know what I mean? So I just want to make sure, that’s why I was saying in the article that I wrote for Small Biz Ahead, the whole thing about media is, don’t get over-hyped by it.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: It’s not gonna change your business.

Elizabeth: Don’t spend time on it. Like it’s really not something you want to put time into.

Gene: Yeah.

Elizabeth: It’s not gonna do that much for your business. Now the only time, aside from lending credibility to your business…

Gene: Right.

Elizabeth: Is if you do have a website and you’re trying to get more exposure for your website, having it link to from another website is always a good idea.

Gene: This is true. This is true.

Elizabeth: So what I would do if you were getting some media mentions, start a page on your website called press or media mentions or something and just start putting links back to all the places you were mentioned in the media.

Gene: Right.

Elizabeth: But really don’t spend anymore than 30 seconds…

Gene: Yup.

Elizabeth: Thinking about a plan to get media exposure for your business.

Gene: Yep. It’s a credibility thing. You should have your primary marketing plans whatever that might be and then when that customer is about to buy from you, if you think that that customer, they see on your media page that, “Oh, you appeared on MSNBC or something,” then okay that’s good. If that’ll tip them over the scale. But it’s not going to make the sale for you.

Elizabeth: Do you find that your speaking engagements help you?

Gene: Yeah, they do. That’s a whole other topic about speaking for your business. I believe that, you know, as long as you like speaking. Don’t get me wrong, some people… You see survey after survey, some people would prefer death over speaking which is interesting.

Elizabeth: We’ve talked about that before.

Gene: Yeah. People are terrified. But if you like to speak, if you like to get up in front of a group there is no better way to get word out about your business.

Elizabeth: You’re the only person I know that likes to get up and speak.

Gene: That’s amazing. Why? I see other speakers, right? I know a lot of people that like to get up and speak. I love getting up. And the bigger the crowd the better.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Gene: Some people just enjoy doing that. And if you can do that it’s a great way to promote your business. And you should be doing it you know, for free. I mean, again, another topic for another day but there’s a bunch of ways that you can make money off of speaking.

Elizabeth: You know what, we’ll talk about that on the next episode.

Gene: Yeah. It’s a good topic.

Elizabeth: Okay. Thanks for joining… Oh God, I said okay again.

Gene: Ahhh. It’s okay that you said okay. It’s fine.

Elizabeth: At least it’s not um or like.

Gene: You’re okay. I’m okay. We’re okay.

Elizabeth: Okay, business owners. You’re okay. We’re okay. We’ll talk to you in the next episode.

Gene: See ya.