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Planning a Holiday Party or Fundraising Event? Synclio Can Help!

It’s that time of year again when businesses everywhere are starting to think about planning a holiday party for their employees or organizing important fundraising events to help out in their local communities and larger charities. If you’ve ever done either of these things you know why it’s so important to plan ahead. Simply put, getting everything to come together can be a hassle. Synclio can help! Granted, we’re not going to show up and serve hors d'oeuvres (sorry), but we can help you stay organized so the planning goes smoothly.

Unique Number

Fielding regular business calls is enough work as it is. The additional influx of calls that an upcoming event can bring can cause a number of issues. Not only do you have a higher volume of calls to answer, but the increase can interfere with important business related calls. Assigning a unique number to your special event will help keep the event-related calls separate from your regular business communications.

Customized Greeting

Because you can set up your own custom greeting for the unique number you set up for your event, callers will know exactly what to do. Program your IVR so that callers can simply select “1” to RSVP that they are attending or “2” to decline. You can even include important details like date, time, address and directions to answer many of the common questions before anyone even has to answer.

Visual Voicemail

Most events require attendees to RSVP, but keeping track of every call can be tricky – especially those that require follow-up. Visual voicemail makes the process of tracking RSVP’s simple and organized, and lets you easily forward messages that need to be followed up on via email so that they are tended to accordingly.

Professional Voice Studio

With our voice studio option you can tap into professional voice talent to record your greetings and IVR instructions. Just provide us with the script you want us to use. You’ve got enough to worry about with all your event preparations. Let us do some of the work for you!

So, let’s sum it up, shall we? Here are just a few reasons you should use Synclio to help plan your upcoming event:

• Keep business lines free so important calls aren’t missed

• Easily and efficiently track RSVP’s

• Access, organize and address RSVP’s when it’s convenient for you

• Manage messages that require follow up

• No receptionist needed!

Once you’ve utilized all the valuable tools available to you with your Synclio account, you’ll never want to plan another event without us. Cheers!


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 9:03 AM

7 Ways to Market Your Business on a Budget

If you had all the money in the world you’d have no problem getting the word out about your business. But the truth is most small businesses have an even smaller marketing budget so they have to be creative and thoughtful when planning their marketing strategy. Obviously the goal is to get the most bang for your buck, but finding ways to do so isn’t always easy. That’s what we’re here for! Here are 7 cost effective ways to market your business on a tight budget.

Organize a contest or giveaway – Depending on what your business entails this could cost little to nothing out of pocket. For instance, let’s say you own a massage parlor. You could give away a free hour massage and all it really costs is your time. And yes, we know your time is money but the free word of mouth marketing and attention you’ll get, not to mention the potential new business, will be well worth it.

Offer a referral program – There’s no better way to get new customers than through word of mouth from your existing ones. Offering a referral program to your valued customers may give them that added incentive to really tell others about your business and hopefully bring some new faces to your door.

Hone your negotiating skills – Not sure how? Hang out at a used car lot for a day and you’ll see first-hand haggling at its best (or worst). Seriously, most people just take prices at face value. You need business cards, you need web service, you need to take out ads, etc., right? But you don’t necessarily have to pay full price. It never hurts to try and negotiate the cost down to something that’s a little more reasonable for your budget. It doesn’t always work but you’d be surprised at how often it does.

Get active in social media – At this point this suggestion should be followed by a resounding “duh!”, but amazingly enough there are still a huge number of small businesses who have not tapped into this incredible resource. The bottom line is this: it’s free and it’s reach is massive. Enough said.

Participate in local charities – Offer a gift certificate as a donation to an auction for a local charity. It doesn’t cost much and it has a tremendous impact in terms of good will and people will be impressed by your generosity. Win win.

Replace snail mail with email – Sending out mailings can be expensive. Shifting over to email for sending out notices or newsletters can save a ton of dough and as a bonus it helps the environment.

Use the web to the fullest – Sure some marketing online costs money, but there are plenty of other ways to get your business online without spending a dime. For example, there are hundreds if not thousands of free listings where you can add your business information. Writing helpful articles that include links back to your website and submitting them to various free directories is another great option.

Ok – you get the idea. Just putting a few of these suggestions into action can make a tremendous impact on your business. And, of course, there are certainly plenty of other ways to get the word out about your company without blowing your budget but the best advice is this: be creative and think outside the box. Before long you’ll be seeing the results you want and at a budget you’re comfortable with.

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 11:30 AM

Product Tips: Is Your Phone Greeting Professional Enough?

According to our clients, one of the best features of our virtual phone systems is being able to record custom greetings. Businesses love the fact that they can record and use their own voice to greet callers, making every incoming call a more personal experience. But one important thing to consider is whether or not the greeting you have is projecting a professional enough image for your business. In many cases, your telephone greeting is the first interaction potential clients will have with your company. As such, you want that experience to provide the best possible first impression.

Draw on Your Own Experience as a Customer

Surely you’ve had to call other businesses in your lifetime, as both a consumer and maybe even a colleague. Before you record your own greeting try to draw off the experiences you’ve had and avoid the mistakes you’ve encountered on the other end of the line.

Helpful Hints:

When recording a greeting, there are a few simple tips to help make it sound more professional:

Write it Down – Don’t try to remember all the info you want to convey – you may forget something important or stumble over your words.

Consider Your Audience – Always have the end-user in mind when recording a greeting.

Speak Slowly and Clearly – Your callers won’t want to replay your message 3 times to understand it.

Give Specific Information and Clear InstructionsIVR (interactive voice response) is a great tool but it will be ineffective if your callers don’t understand what to press or say at what time.

Smile – It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book but it works.

The Proof is In the Pudding

Before you officially use a recorded greeting, play it back and listen to it objectively. Try to imagine you are a first-time caller and that this greeting is your first impression of the company. How does it make you feel? Was the recording friendly and could you hear and understand everything clearly? Was it short and sweet or did it drag on a bit too long? All of these things can make a difference in how your business is perceived by a caller so be sure to consider every angle and modify wherever necessary until you achieve exactly what you want your greeting to accomplish.

Enlist Help

Maybe you just don’t have the right voice for recording phone greetings. There’s no rule that says you have to be the one who greets your callers. If one of your employees happens to have a particularly golden voice, why not have her handle your greeting? Or, use a professional. Our professional voice studio option gives you access to qualified voice talent for your greetings. You provide the script and we’ll do the work. The bottom line is, if you don’t think you’re right for the job, don’t worry – there are plenty of options available to you.

Having the option of recording the telephone greeting that your callers hear when they dial your business is a very attractive benefit. It can really help you stand out amongst your competition and give your company a larger, more professional appearance. Just make sure the greeting you use projects the right image. When it’s done right, a custom greeting can impress callers and provide a unique personalized experience for your customers. When it’s done wrong, well, what customers?

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:01 AM

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Business Website

We’ve already covered the top 5 reasons your small business needs a website, but as with anything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Obviously there are simple things to consider such as making sure your site is professional and easy to use. That’s a given. But here are a few more do’s and don’ts to help you get on the right track with your web presence.

  • Do create fresh, unique content that will engage your audience.
  • Do establish and communicate a clear and compelling sales message.
  • Do regularly update your content and make sure it’s always current.
  • Do design your site with SEO in mind so that it ranks well in the search engines.
  • Do frequently check your site to ensure that all forms and links are working properly.
  • Do carefully review all content and make sure it is error-free.
  • Do make your contact information clear and easy to find.
  • Do include a blog that contains relevant content that is regularly updated.

Now, let’s consider a few things you DON’T want to do when it comes to your business website:

  • Don’t confuse or overwhelm your audience by putting too much information on one page.
  • Don’t overdo it with graphics or animation – this can cause your site to run too slow and appear cluttered.
  • Don’t let your content become outdated.
  • Don’t use difficult to read fonts or too many bright flashy colors, which can distract and turn off your audience.
  • Don’t make your information difficult to find. (If they have to search for it, they’ll lose interest fast.)
  • Don’t forget to keep your viewers engaged with compelling, relevant and up-to-date content.
  • Don’t violate your users’ privacy – post your privacy policy and stick to it.

Obviously not everyone is capable of designing a website and managing all of its content. Admittedly it’s a huge task that shouldn’t be taken lightly and following all of these do’s and don’ts can seem overwhelming. Relax - it’s perfectly acceptable to delegate these tasks, either to other employees or to an outside source (like a freelancer). Whatever way you choose to do it, just make sure all of these things are kept in mind to ensure that your website fully serves its purpose.


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 10:23 AM

10 Simple Ways to Cut Business Costs

Ask any small business owner what they consider to be the most important component of success and they’ll inevitably answer keeping costs down. The concept is obvious, but actually doing isn’t necessarily so cut and dry because, let’s face it - running a business is expensive. If you’re looking for a few ways to lower expenses and save some cash, we’ve compiled a list of ten simple things you may not have thought of.

  • Conserve Energy – Be aware of your energy consumption and try to cut back wherever possible. Seems simple but monitoring this can help you significantly reduce your monthly utility charges. Using energy efficient equipment can also make a difference in your utility bills and save you money each month.

  • Shop Your Banks – Businesses get walloped with fees associated with bank products and services. If you’re one of them, consider shopping around for other options. Banks are extremely competitive and you might be surprised what types of offers you’ll receive from the competition. (We know switching banks can be a hassle but if you can save a decent amount of money over the long haul it’ll be worth it.)

  • Barter – Not every business deal has to be done in consideration of currency. Be creative and consider proposing a barter deal for goods or services with other businesses. If you both have something the other one needs, it’s the perfect situation for both parties involved and it won’t cost you anything out of pocket. (Just be sure that any such deal is always detailed on paper.)
  • Use a Virtual Phone System – We’re not just sharing this because it’s the service we offer – virtual phone systems can actually save businesses a lot of money. Its web-based nature allows you to eliminate costly software and hardware and help you save on monthly phone usage costs.
  • Pay Invoices Early – Check the fine print on the invoices from your vendors. Many of them offer attractive discounts for early payments and every little bit counts!
  • Outsource – Hiring employees is more than just paying a salary. There are a number of other expenses associated with having an in-house workforce. Outsourcing allows you to tap into talent across the globe without having to pay additional employment expenses. Consider leveraging freelance workers for some of your needs, such as marketing, IT or bookkeeping, and you’ll get the job done while saving money. Sites such as oDesk, Elance and Guru are great for locating quality freelance providers.
  • Buy Used – Buying refurbished office equipment instead of brand new items can save a significant amount of money and as long as you work with a reputable supplier, you’ll find that most of them run just as well as the newer models.
  • Embrace the Remote WorkforceAllowing your employees to work from home part or all of the time can help save money by eliminating the need to rent a large, expensive office space. This is particularly easy to do with your virtual phone system since it allows you and your team to make and receive calls from anywhere.
  • Evaluate Your Marketing – While traditional marketing methods, like print or radio, still serve a purpose, there are also other alternative methods that cost much less and are quite effective. For instance, social media marketing costs almost nothing and can easily generate valuable word-of-mouth leads and referrals.
  • Polish Your Negotiating Skills – You may have vendors that you’ve developed long term relationships with but when’s the last time you evaluated their pricing? Are there other companies that might offer better rates? Perhaps it’s time to do some shopping around and renegotiating. Sometimes just pointing this out to your current suppliers is enough to get an adjustment and start realizing some savings.


    Saving money and cutting expenses is something that is on the mind of every small business owner. Putting a few of these tips to use can help you tighten your budget and realize some significant long-term savings.

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 3:32 PM

What is “Cloud” Technology?

Unless you’ve been hanging out under a rock for the past few years you’ve inevitably heard the term “cloud computing”. Heck, it’s what Synclio bases our entire technology on. But while most small business owners have a basic understanding of the technology, many are still pretty unfamiliar with how it works and the terminology relating to it. Still others have no clue what cloud computing is. So, here’s a quick crash course to clarify and define some of the basics of this rapidly evolving technology.

What is it?

In simplest of terms, cloud computing is an internet technology that utilizes the shared resources of a network – basically virtual servers that are available over the internet. It allows for the delivery of all of your computing resources (applications, software, web services, infrastructure, storage, etc.) wherever and whenever you need them.

What are the benefits?

Cloud computing has removed many of the obstacles small businesses once faced with traditional computing, particularly in terms of cost and space. Because it is internet-based and basically involves the sharing of resources, working in the “cloud” eliminates the need to house large, expensive equipment (and pay the hefty power bill that comes along with it). In addition cloud computing helps small businesses in the following ways:

  • Accessibility – Get access to applications that were once only available to larger enterprises.
  • Mobility – Access and update information from anywhere at any time.
  • Scalability – Scale your storage needs without purchasing extra equipment or software.
  • Security – Keep your important documents and information safe in case of a disaster or catastrophe.
  • Worry-Free Updates – No scheduling or paying for updates to software or hardware.
  • Ease of Use – Implementing cloud services is simple and fast.


Now that you have a grasp of exactly what cloud computing is and why it’s so phenomenal for small businesses, you’ll want to get educated on the common terms that are used in conjuncture with the technology so you can impress your colleagues, friends and family (or at least avoid appearing clueless during a discussion about cloud computing):

Cloud – A global network (i.e. the Internet)

Cloud Operating System – A computer operating system delivered to users over the web

Cloud Provider – A company that offers cloud-based systems, storage, applications, infrastructure or platforms

Cloud-Based Phone System – A hosted virtual phone system through which you can make or receive calls anywhere.

Cloud Storage – A service that enables users to save data via the Internet in an offsite storage system

Cloud Sourcing – Replacing traditional IT services and systems with those in the cloud network

Hosted Application – An Internet-based application that can be accessed with a computer or web-enabled mobile device

IaaS (Ifrastructure as a Service) – Infrastructure services such as servers or network equipment that are delivered over the web

SaaS (Software as a Service) - Cloud-based applications delivered over the Internet that do not have to be installed or run on the end-user’s computer

Mashup – A cloud-based application that obtains functionality or data from more than one source

On-Demand Service – Cloud-based services that can be purchased by customers on an as needed basis

Internal Cloud – A private network (cloud) used within an organization

Private Cloud - Services delivered over a private internal network or to select users over the Internet

Public Cloud –Services offered publicly to anyone who wishes to purchase them

Vertical Cloud – A cloud computing environment designed specifically for use within a designated industry such as healthcare or education


There you have it. Now you’re officially a cloud computing expert. Ok, maybe not. But at least you have a better idea of what the technology is and how it can help your small business as well as some basic terminology that you can use on a rainy day. And, of course, if you’re ready to take the leap and begin utilizing this incredible technology a virtual phone system is a great place to start. Wink, wink.

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 11:38 AM

Using Unlimited Extensions to Create a Unique Personalized Client Experience

We typically point out the benefits of Synclio’s unlimited extensions by showing small business owners how they can create a larger image for their company and give customers more options when they call. It also helps to ensure that calls coming in are directed to the right party. But there are other ways this feature can help your business. For instance, you can flip that concept around and make every call a more personal experience for your valued clients.

It’s simple.

Assign a unique extension to each client.

(Told you it was simple.) Here’s how it works:

Reward Existing Clients

Mary has been a loyal customer of yours for 8 years. You tell Mary that from now on when she dials in, she can use extension 1234. She does so the next time she calls and, voila! She’s addressed with a customized greeting created specifically for her and her business. She is then transferred to the appropriate party that you designate based on her extension. If nobody is there to answer, Mary even gets a personalized voicemail. Suddenly Mary has gone from just another customer to feeling like a VIP!

Impress New Clients

Now imagine you are meeting with a potential new client, Joe. Joe is testing the waters and considering several different companies for what he needs. He’s trying to decide what sets you apart from your competition. You tell Joe that he can count on superior customer support from you and your team and then provide him with his very own extension to use every time he calls. Guess what? You just blew your competition out of the water and landed a new client who is impressed with the incredible personalized service you offer.

An Added Bonus

Not only are you providing amazing personalized service to your customers, but now you have a way to track individual business interactions so you’ll know exactly how much business each client is driving. And the best part is it doesn’t cost anything extra! Why not give it a try today?

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:50 AM

Our New Android Phone Call Tracking App is Now Listed in the Google Analytics Application Gallery!

Last week we excitedly announced the arrival of our brand new Android app; today we’re literally jumping for joy to say that it’s already listed in the Google Analytics Application Gallery!

While we’re not in the Google Market yet, that’s only a step away—and, at this pace, we should be there in no time!

What is this Application Gallery?

The Application Gallery, according to Google, “contains applications that extend Google Analytics in new and exciting ways.” These applications are developed by third party developers (like us!) to offer “solutions that help analysts, marketers, IT teams, and executives get more out of Google Analytics”

Can anyone just opt to add their application to the Application Gallery?

While anyone can submit an application, only those whose application meets both the Google Analytics Developer Gallery Terms of Service and the overall Google Analytics Terms of Service can get accepted.

More specifically (from Google’s Application Gallery Policy), an application:

  • Must not store Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in Google Analytics, nor correlate data from Google Analytics with Personally Identifiable data in 3rd party systems.
  • May not use Google's trade names, trademarks, service marks, logos, domain names, and other distinctive brand features unless you get specific permission.
  • Must provide a page that clearly describes what Google Analytics data your application accesses, how it's used and, who has access to that data.
  • You agree and understand that you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of passwords and Google Analytics data associated with any account you use to access the Services.
  • Must be a professional, polished, application.

You can check out our Google Analytics Data Usage Policy for more information about Synclio's phone call tracking app—don’t worry, it’s a short read!


posted by Maty Grosman @ 8:55 AM

What Can LinkedIn Do for Your Small Business?

By now you’ve probably already been beaten over the head with articles about social media and how important it is for small businesses (it is, by the way). But we’re taking it a step further and examining one of the many avenues of social media that can do wonders for business. Hopefully you’ve already set up an account on LinkedIn (please tell us you’ve heard of it). If you haven’t you are most certainly missing out on some incredible networking opportunities. Here’s why it’s so important and what it can do for your business.

Size Does Matter

That may be a tough pill for some to swallow, but considering the fact that LinkedIn is now listed as the second most popular social networking site on the web, it’s absolutely true. Take it a step further and narrow it down by niche and LinkedIn is the largest in terms of professional networks. There are currently more than 120 million members in over 200 countries and territories. That’s a lot of possible connections. And while Facebook and Twitter certainly have their place, if you want to be at the top of the competitive ladder, get over to LinkedIn. Now.

What Can it Do for YOU?

It’s common to hear small business owners say that they don’t see the point of engaging in social media and networking. Some consider themselves a “local” business that therefore doesn’t need the vast internet to reach people, others feel that they’re already doing well enough; still others just find it completely overwhelming. Whatever the reason, it’s not good enough. Being a part of a network like LinkedIn can benefit your business in a variety of ways. For instance, you can:

  • Make Connections – LinkedIn is like a huge cyber networking event. You can connect with others in your industry and begin building valuable business relationships without ever having to leave your office.
  • Stay Current in Your Industry – The more “in the know” you are, the more successful your business will be. With LinkedIn you can keep track of trends and industry news in one easy place and even engage in discussions with colleagues.
  • Keep in Touch – Running a small business is busy work. Keeping in touch with colleagues and clients can be challenging – heck, sometimes it’s even difficult to pencil in time with your own family. This is where the internet can be so valuable. It allows you to stay in contact with important business connections without having to blow up your already jam-packed schedule.
  • Become an “Expert” – Believe it or not, professionals from all over the world use LinkedIn as a resource when they have questions about a certain industry or business issue. By positioning yourself as an expert you can become a valuable, trusted member of the online community and boost your business at the same time. And who wouldn’t want to turn to an “expert”? (Hint: Check out the Q&A section and try your hand at answering a few questions relating to your industry.)
  • Get More Website Traffic – There can never be too many ways for someone to find you on the internet. Having a presence on LinkedIn is just another way for potential clients to locate you and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. (You do have a website, right???) More traffic = more potential business.

So now that you can see the benefits of LinkedIn for your business it’s time to set up an account. If you need help, take a look at the New User Starter Guide and the Small Business User Guide for some basic tips on how to get started. Take your time, test the water but don’t put it off. The world is using LinkedIn (including your competition). You should be too.

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:16 AM

Call Tracking to Measure ROI – If Google’s Doing it, You Know it’s Good!

Now that Google is letting Adwords users track calls made to their business via‘click-to-call’ ads on mobile devices, there really can’t be any doubt that call tracking is an effective method of measuring ROI; after all—when did Google ever touch something that didn’t turn into gold (well, perhaps except for these few flops)?

And everything Google’s new tracking feature can help you learn about your online ads, our new tracking feature can extend into the offline world—from car bumpers, to radio ads, to billboards. Basically, wherever you can stick a phone number, we can track it!

How does it work?

Just as the folks at Google do with their Adwords ads, we’ll assign a different local or 1-800 number to each of your advertising sources (or every place you’d normally put your phone number). Now, when customers call a given number, we’ll be able to tell in no uncertain terms which ad they saw. Simple? You bet!

But how will I manage all those numbers?

Here’s the beauty. We use something called call transfer, which basically means that calls placed to any of those numbers will be transferred directly to your main business number—instantly. In fact, customers won’t even know the call was transferred in the first place (if you ever switched providers and used the number transferring service, you know just how seamless it is—a call is made to one number, and rings on another. That’s that!)

What information will I get?

At present, you’ll be able to see the date, time, and phone number for each call. That’s more than enough for the purpose of ROI (as you only really need to know the volume of calls per number), but we’ll continue building this service as we receive more feedback to make sure that it includes all the features our customers want and need!


Stop trying to guesstimate the performance of your ad dollars; guesswork is the prerogative of stockbroker and politicians who gamble with other people’s money. You, as a businessman, do not. So call us today and give call tracking a spin; it’s not like it’s going to cost you anything. And remember, if it’s good enough for Google...

Related Articles:

  1. Understanding Call Tracking
  2. How to Use Phone Number and Call Tracking with Google Analytics Integration Video
  3. Know Your Leads: A Look at How Call Stats Can Help Improve Your Marketing Performance
  4. What is Google Analytics, Who is it for, and How Can it Help?
  5. How to add the Google Analytics Tracking Code Snippet to Websites and Blogs?

posted by Maty Grosman @ 7:55 AM

Managing the Small Business Juggling Act – Finding Balance Within all your Roles

The role of small business owner can rarely be individually defined. It’s more a question of which hat you wear on which day. CEO, payroll administrator, human resources, customer service, sales…the list is endless. Striking a balance between each of these important responsibilities is what ultimately makes a small business successful. Of course, you probably already realize that. It’s finding a way to actually make it happen that can be challenging, especially to those just starting out. Here are a few suggestions to help you learn to manage the juggling act.

  1. Identify - The key to mastering all the different roles involved in running a small business is first identifying them. Take a few moments, sit down and write out a list of each responsibility. Then define each one and order the list by level of importance. Now you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
  2. Set Goals – Once you’ve defined all the roles you are responsible for, set individual goals for each one. Knowing exactly what you have to accomplish in each area will help you keep track of all the balls you’ve got hovering in the air. It’ll also help you see the progress you’re making as you work toward each goal.
  3. Create a Schedule – And more importantly, stick to it. With your list of duties and set of goals, create a detailed schedule for yourself that will help you make sure you’re covering all the bases you need to and nothing falls through the cracks. For example, set aside a specific time each week to balance the books or work on your payables. Being organized is the key to a successful small business balancing act.
  4. Delegate – If your budget allows for it, you might want to consider bringing on additional help to cover some of the daily tasks, such as customer service or accounting, so that you can focus on more important business matters. And by the way, that doesn’t necessarily mean hiring full time employees. Think outside the box – there are plenty of simple, cost effective Linkoptions such as outsourcing, which gives you access to experts without the hassle that comes with putting them on the books as an employee.
  5. Be Resourceful – For those who simply can’t afford to hire help, there are plenty of other ways to manage efficiency and stay on track. For instance, using business management software can help keep you focused and organized while a virtual phone system can give you more flexibility and help you be more mobile. Utilizing new and innovative solutions like this will help you better streamline your small business.
  6. Stay the Course – When you’re involved in the day to day operations of your business it’s easy to get bogged down by the little things and lose sight of the big picture. If your business is to be a success it’s important to take a step back from time to time to establish, measure and modify your long-term strategic goals. Otherwise keeping up the juggling act will be futile.

Wearing a dozen hats can be overwhelming but it’s par for the course of managing a successful small business. By focusing on exactly what your roles are, setting defined goals and relying on the different options available to help you maintain your balancing act you’ll be able to keep your business on an even keel and heading in the right direction without burning yourself out in the process.


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 7:17 AM

Is Your Business Prepared for a Natural Disaster?

The past year has brought more than enough weather and natural occurrences, from floods to hurricanes to blizzards and earthquakes. Disasters such as these can wreak havoc on businesses. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to catastrophic events. The costs incurred from damages can easily destroy even the most stable of companies. We thought it timely to provide some tips and suggestions to help better prepare your business to handle a natural disaster or catastrophe.

Think Ahead

Don’t wait until that nor’easter is bearing down on you or the local river is about to overflow to get your business ready. Natural disasters happen all the time, often with little warning so it’s important to map out a plan beforehand so that if and when something happens you’re more than ready to face it. Take some time to sit down and consider every possible variable. For instance, what would you do if a fire broke out in your building? What about a flood? By covering as many scenarios as possible your plan will be comprehensive and more efficient.

Your disaster plan should include:

  • Number of employees and what times they are in the building
  • Evacuation plan (route, points of egress, meeting point, etc.)
  • When and how often you will hold evacuation drills
  • How and where to access any necessary shut-offs (gas, electric, water)
  • Options for moving merchandise if needed
  • Emergency contact information

You really can’t have too much information in your disaster plan, so be thorough. Once the plan is complete, discuss it with your employees so they understand their roles. It may also be a good idea to take the most important points and post them where they can easily be referred to in an emergency.

Finally, put together a catastrophe kit. Include things like fire extinguishers, first aid kits, flashlights and a copy of your emergency evacuation plan. Make sure your employees know where the kit is located.

Protect Your Property

Obviously the most important concern when a disaster strikes is the safety of you and your employees. Then you have to consider the protection and preservation of your business’s property – both electronic and physical. According to a report by SCORE “a company that experiences a power outage lasting more than 10 days will never fully recover financially.” Add to this the cost of damage to your building, equipment and other physical property and you’ll probably want to schedule an EKG (come to think of it, maybe you should add your cardiologist’s number to your emergency contact list).

Safeguard your important business property by doing the following:

  • Back up all computer files and data and store the information at a location at least 100 miles away from your business.
  • Store important paperwork offsite. Documents such as insurance policies, licenses, etc. should all be kept at another location, such as a bank safety deposit box, in case of disaster. Keep copies of the originals onsite for reference.
  • If your business deals with large amounts of cash, invest in a fireproof and water resistant safe.

Call Your Friendly Insurance Agent

"There are worst things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance agent?" ~ Woody Allen

We admit, nobody likes dishing out money for “what if” scenarios that may never even happen. But it’s an absolute necessity if your business is to be prepared for a disaster. There are a ton of different options and policy types for businesses, so shop around until you find the one that’s the best fit for your company’s needs. And don’t forget to assess your policy whenever your business grows or changes to be sure you have adequate coverage.


Natural disasters and other catastrophes occur every day around the world. Small businesses owners that aren’t prepared can quickly find themselves watching their dreams (and their hefty investments) going up in smoke. By putting these tips to use and preparing ahead you can help to protect your business and ensure that it can weather any storm (or fire or flood – well, you get the idea).

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 9:32 AM

Synclio's Brand New Android App is Finally Here!

You’ve been waiting, and waiting—and now, at last, those long days and nights are finally over! Meet our brand new Android app (and your new best friend).

As always, we start with a set of solid core features that will bring you (what we believe is) the most important functionality, and we’ll continue by drawing on user input and experience to make sure we build the app you want.

So what’s the most important functionality in our view?


When your mobile device rings and you can’t take the call, Voicemail becomes your communication bridge with both customers and co-workers. So you need a quick and easy method to manage this feature from you mobile device, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here.

With our Android app, you’ll be able to:

  1. Listen to voicemails right from your mobile phone.
  2. Return calls without leaving the app.
  3. Send voicemail recordings as mp3 attachments, so you can forward them via email.

No more logging into your online dashboard or dealing with a cumbersome web app—all you need to manage your Synclio voicemail is right here at your fingertips, with the ease and speed of a native app!

Can’t wait to get it? Here’s how...

Though the app is not yet available in the Google Market, we wanted to get it out to you as soon as we could and so made it available for direct download. Since your device is set up by default not to download applications from unknown sources (that is, from anywhere outside the Google Market), you’ll first have to authorize this.

Just follow these two simple steps to let your pocket-Android know we’re cool:

  1. Select ‘Settings’ from your phone’s Menu, followed by ‘Applications’.
  2. Under the ‘Applications’ menu, put a check-mark next to ‘Unknown Sources’ (by tapping the box).

Once that’s done, simply pull up this webpage on your mobile device and download the app here. You can go back to settings after the installation is complete and disable the ‘Unknown Sources’ option, just to be on the safe side. Enjoy – and don’t forget to let us know what you think!

Stay Tuned – iPhone App Coming Soon!

To all our iUsers: we know you've been waiting for a mobile app just as eagerly as the Androids, and we thank you for your patience. The app store process is a bit more involved, but we’re happy to say that we’re almost there. So stay tuned, and we promise we'll have an app for you faster than you can say iWant!


posted by Maty Grosman @ 9:35 AM

5 Reasons Every Small Business Needs a Website

The web is a fantastic thing, isn’t it? You can find just about anything here! But the question is can your potential customers find YOU on the web? Does your small business have a website? If you answered no then you’re certainly not alone. In fact, recent surveys show that a whopping 46% of small businesses still do not have their own website. The reasons are many: I don’t have time, I’m not tech savvy, I’m doing fine without one. Unfortunately in today’s day and age, having a web presence is becoming more and more critical to the future success of any business.

Here are five compelling reasons that every small business should have a website.


Sure, some folks still turn to the yellow pages to find a local business. But with more and more people using the web as their preferred search method (at last glance it was a little over 2 to 1), it only stands to reason that if your business isn’t online, it’s not being found and that translates to lost sales.

Expanded Reach

When you open a storefront or place an ad in the local paper or yellow pages, your target audience is limited. With a website, not only can you reach people a few towns or states away, but anyone in the world can find you (they don’t call it the “world wide web” for nothing). What could you do with global reach? We know it’s cliché, but the sky really is the limit.

Professional Image

We’re always touting how a virtual phone system can make a small business appear larger and more professional (it can – trust us!). The same goes for a website. Professionalism instills trust which translates to customer loyalty and repeat business.


Today’s society is all about instant gratification. Having a website provides access to your business 24/7/365. Customers and potential customers can quickly find information like your phone number, hours, address, and even make purchases right online. When people can reach you whenever they want they’ll be much more satisfied customers.

Competitive Edge

We already pointed out that nearly half of small businesses aren’t online yet. This fact alone gives you an opportunity to get a leg up on your competition. And it also lets you compete with those who already do have a web presence.


The small business environment is evolving, whether we like it or not. Nowadays businesses need a website to remain competitive and successful, regardless of industry or size. And with so many inexpensive options available to have a website designed and developed (think outsourcing), there’s simply no excuse. If your small business doesn’t have a website you’re most certainly missing out.

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 8:20 AM

Competing with the Big Dogs – 5 Ways Your Small Business can Land Big Clients

As a small business, competing with larger corporations can be intimidating. Admit it - in your heart and soul, you know that you can satisfy a client just as well, if not better, than your larger competition. But how can you actually accomplish this when your entire budget is the size of the big business’ CEO’s lunch tab? Don’t sweat it! Here are 5 simple ways you can land that big client and show those big dogs who’s boss.

Find a Need and Fill It

Oldest trick in the book, yet so many small business owners overlook it. If you can establish what it is that your competition is lacking most in terms of satisfying their customers and find a way to fix it, you’re in. Take the time to listen to what your target market is saying. Then, while the big boys are sitting in their posh offices unaware of what’s going on in the world of their customers, you’ll be able to step in and offer a solution worth switching to your company for.

Embrace Your Flexibility

As a small business, you have the distinct advantage of being able to adjust your sails when the market shifts. Big businesses are rarely able to carry out significant changes on a whim, but small businesses can! Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and make the necessary adjustments to capitalize.

Keep it Simple, Stupid (KISS)

Another oldie but goodie. Ever visit a big corporation’s website and find it overwhelming? Links to 50 different locations, pages for every product, service, etc.? It’s important to remember that most consumers value simplicity. They are naturally drawn to websites that are easy to navigate and simple to understand. Because your business is smaller in nature you are better able to focus on the end-user and develop interfaces that will impress them and win you more business.

Pay Attention!

The biggest problem most consumers have with big businesses is that they lack the personal touch and attention of smaller brands. When a customer has to email 6 different people to request information or voice a complaint, they’re inevitably going to get frustrated. The beauty of the small business is that it allows for a much higher level of customer care and service. Your customers will accept a smaller selection of products if it means they will be valued and treated with respect. Trust us on this one.

Make Your Presence Known

Just because you run a one man show out of your home doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself just as visible as your larger competition. Ever hear of a little thing called social media? By establishing an online presence and dedicating time and effort to increasing your visibility you can expand your reach exponentially. What was once a mom and pop local operation can easily be transformed into an international supplier. Seriously – with the internet, the sky is the limit.

~ Bonus ~

Of course we had to add that using a virtual phone system can help you compete with larger organizations by helping to create a more professional image for your company. And, coincidentally, we happen to know a great company that can help you with that (hint, hint).

Ok, self-promotion aside, the truth is, when it comes to business bigger isn’t always better. On the contrary, small businesses offer much greater customer support and service and can provide a more personalized experience to their clientele. Be proud of who you are as a small business owner, put these valuable tips to use and start reaping the benefits.


posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 10:09 AM

Understanding Call Tracking

We recently announced our latest feature – Call Tracking through Google Analytics Integration. Sounds great, right? Or maybe it sounds completely confusing and overwhelming. It's not - we promise.

Why Use Call Tracking?

Any business owner knows that being able to effectively measure ROI for marketing campaigns is critical. Otherwise you could be hemorrhaging your marketing spend without even realizing it. With regular Google Analytics we are able to easily track and analyze most online traffic and lead generation to see what’s working and what’s not. Yet capturing the details of what’s going on offline has always been a challenge. It was pretty much left to guesswork.

What about that ad you placed in the newspaper or that radio commercial you launched? How effective were they? How about your website? Do you know exactly which page and keyword are most effective at generating leads? What percentage of phone calls coming in is a direct result of those efforts? If you don’t know then how do you know if you’re wasting your valuable money?

Synclio’s Google Analytics Integration takes the guesswork out of offline marketing by allowing you to designate unique phone numbers to each marketing campaign. You can then accurately measure exactly which methods are producing the best results.

How Does it Work?

It’s really not as complex as you may think. Do you have a Google Analytics account? Can you add a snippet of code to your website? Great! Here’s all you need to do to get started:

  1. Sign up for a paid account at
  2. Select unique toll-free or local phone numbers for each campaign, ad, ad group, keyword or offline ad (i.e. print, radio, etc.) that you would like to track.
  3. Provide Synclio with your Google Analytics account ID and domain name. For more detailed call tracking you also have the option to provide Synclio with the source, campaign, content, term and method that corresponds with each phone number.
  4. Assign a unique phone number to each online source that refers traffic to your website and paste the code on your website.

Painless, no? See - we told you! The best part about it is that with Synclio you won’t have to worry about dishing out an arm and a leg to reap the benefits of this feature – a hurdle that has kept many small businesses from getting on board with call tracking. And don’t worry about all those different phone numbers floating around. When a caller dials the tracking number they will automatically be redirected to your main contact line. The caller will have no idea that they are being redirected – it’s all completely seamless.

Once you’re up and running you will be able to see the number of phone calls you receive within the content section of your Google Analytics account, right alongside the number of page views you’ve received. Voila! You’re now able to gain valuable insight into your marketing efforts that was previously all but unattainable. No more guesswork.

We already posted this but in case you didn't see it, here's a handy dandy video to help you better understand this powerful new feature and how it can benefit your small business.

We’re really excited about this new feature and hope you are too! Let us know what you think!

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 9:59 AM