A romantic evening with…your smartphone?

On March 27, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

You love your smartphone. You constantly check for new e-mail messages. A significant part of your day consists of downloading your favorite TV shows to your device. But how important is technology to your life? Do you consider it more important than sex? If you do, it’s not just you. A new survey by Harris Interactive says that more adults would prefer to do without sex than would prefer to do without their tech .

Tech over sex

The Harris survey gives an interesting look at what U.S. residents consider indispensable today. According to the survey, 73 percent of respondents say they couldn’t live without food. That was the top answer, to no one’s surprise. Coming in second — with 42 percent of adults saying they can’t live without them — are cars. But the third, fourth, fifth and sixth top answers all had to do with technology. Only after citing these tech gadgets did respondents mention sex.

Tech sexier?

The Harris survey found that 20 percent of adults said they could not live without sex. Coming in ahead of this? The survey found that 28 percent of adults couldn’t live without Internet access, 26 percent without their mobile phones, 24 percent without their laptops and 23 percent without television.

What’s it mean?

What do the poll results indicate to you? Is it a sign that technology has become a very important tool in our lives, one that makes our lives easier? Or is it a sign that technology has become too important, seizing our lives rather than complementing them?


Are there too few women in technology?

On March 25, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

It’s a necessary question to ask: Why aren’t more women making their careers in IT and technology? NPR, in its All Tech Considered blog, recently took a look at the question. And the news station found some unsettling numbers all pointing to the same thing: Women still aren’t entering the tech fields in high-enough numbers.

Depressing numbers

In its story, NPR cites a study conducted by the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Based on the study, women only make up 6 percent of the chief executives at the top 100 tech companies in the United States. That’s bad. Then there’s the story by the New York Times stating that women have founded just 8 percent of the country’s venture-backed technology startups.

Not getting better?

The worse news? The NPR story states that these numbers are consistent in high school and elementary school. Girls just aren’t as involved in technology and science as are boys. As NPR says, you simply can’t argue that there’s a shortage of women in tech. What you could debate is why this is happening.


Those who debate that there’s no bias against women in tech say that Silicon Valley has always been a meritocracy. The smartest and the most skilled engineers logically rise to the top. However, NPR pointed to a Reuters story that discovered significant evidence of race, gender and class bias in technology. Exactly what does this mean for small business owners? Maybe it’s time for these owners to look beyond the traditional IT employee — they tend to be white males — and search for skilled engineers who don’t conform to what we typically expect tech specialists to look like.


Running a business? Signing up for stress

On March 20, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

How many people dream of one day running our own business? We dream about being our own boss, about making our own decisions and about growing our businesses on our own terms. But we often don’t think about the very real stresses that are included in running a small business. Few jobs, in reality, demand the long hours and dedication that accompanies building a successful small business. Business Insider recently took a look at the negative impact that the stress of running a business can have on entrepreneurs. It’s a scary story, whether you’re starting up a traditional small business or an online tech-based one.


The Business Insider feature concentrates on the story of Ecomom as a cautionary tale. The business started by entrepreneur Jody Sherman, and it appeared to have found a niche marketing environmentally friendly products for children. Unfortunately, the business eventually started losing money. Sherman ended up shooting himself. Shortly after Sherman’s death, Ecomom shut down. It’s back online again, with a new owner. But did the stress of running this business lead to Sherman’s suicide?


The truth is, owning a small business is a pressure-packed task. The hours are extremely long. The decisions you must make are all big ones. And even you get everything right, there’s no guarantee that your business will be a success. Most small businesses, after all, fail in their first three years.

The roller coaster

Business Insider compares it to a especially frightening roller coaster. Running a small business comes with a series of intense highs and lows. One day your business is bringing in new customers. The next, the crowds have stopped and inventory is sitting quiet on your shelves. It’s no surprise that so many business owners are under so much stress. The message here is that entrepreneurs who dream about opening a small business need to be realistic. They need to be ready for stress. They need to be prepared for the down times. Running a small business is a major challenge. It’s not one well suitable for the bashful.


If you’re a small business owner, you already know that running your company consumes your entire day…and more. Business owners who aren’t organized? Their businesses don’t succeed. Luckily for us, there are plenty of apps for iPhone owners that can help small business owners juggle the numerous tasks associated with keeping a business afloat. Business News Daily recently had a look at these beneficial apps.

A new calendar

The price is right for calendar app Fantastical 2: It costs just $1.99. That’s a bargain given that this calendar app is far superior to the stock iPhone calendar app that is included with all iPhones. The most interesting feature? You can speak into your iPhone — saying something like “Meet Joe for lunch at 1 p.m. on Wednesday — and the app will automatically convert that into a calendar listing. That’s a true time-saving device.

Schedule Planner

The Schedule Planner app is free. That’s good. It’s also simple to use, helping you to quickly plan out your day. As Business News Daily reports, you can even color-code tasks depending on their category. For instance, you can color work activities blue and free-time activities red. The app will then create charts that show you precisely how you’re spending you’re time. You can then make changes to become more efficient.

A higher-tech to-do list

Another free app, Any.do combines a traditional to-do list and adds some functionality that will help you check tasks off your daily to-do list. Using this app, you can add tasks to four different categories: today, tomorrow, this week or someday. You remove tasks by crossing them out as you complete them. As Business News Daily writes, this app helps make planning your busy day, at least, an easy task.


Is the U.S. ready for tech changes?

On March 13, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

Does emerging technology cost some employees their jobs? Yes. Nevertheless new tech also makes the world a better place. This is the dilemma explored by a recent story by the Economist. Their take on it? No country is prepared for the huge changes that technology will provide to the world of work. It’s the job of governments throughout the world to ensure that workers are prepared for the tech evolution.


As the Economist story says, new technology has always caused a loss of jobs. This has been true from the dawn of time. The Economist’s example? A century ago, one in three U.S. workers toiled on a farm. Today? Less than 2 percent of U.S. workers do any work on a farm.

More efficient

This wasn’t a negative, though. New technology has allowed farms to produce even more food today with far less workers. And those workers who once worked on farms? They found other jobs that were produced thanks to technology. That’s the way we all want it to work: Technology eliminates some jobs but creates new ones at the same time.

The key

The worry right now, though — one expressed in the Economist story — is that this isn’t happening. Technology is eliminating lots of jobs. But it’s not creating enough new ones to replace these losses. The Economist says that it’s up to the U.S. government to create new education opportunities for displaced workers so that these workers can nab the creative jobs which will make up the new economy. Will this happen? That’s the big question.


You want your business to soar in 2014. To do this, you must make smart investments in technology. It’s not easy for small businesses to succeed in today’s demanding environment. Tech, though, can provide you with an advantage over other businesses. The right technology will make your employees more productive and efficient. SmallBusinessComputing.com recently took a look at 2014 and what the site thinks are the most important small business tech trends for this year. If you’re thinking about new technology investments in 2014 for your business, the website’s predictions just might help you make the right decisions for your firm.

Betting on the cloud

SmallBusinessComputing.com is predicting that 2014 is the year that a lot more small business owners turn to the cloud to store their company’s data, programs and software. This makes financial sense: Why go to the expense of storing these files on hard drives on your company’s computers? Using the cloud, your business won’t need as much IT help. And you also won’t need to take the time to store programs on each and every computer.

The power of big data

As SmallBusinessComputing.com writes, large companies have long relied on big data to better understand their consumers. Small businesses, though, can take advantage of big data analysis, as well, according to SmallBusinessComputing.com. As the website says, a growing number of small business owners in 2014 will start analyzing large data sets to offer better service to their customers. If you’d like your business to thrive this year, you need to do a better job of analyzing your customers’ spending habits.

No more desktops?

The desktop PC is becoming a less popular tool. You can point to tablets, smart phones and powerful laptops as the reason. As SmallBusinessComputing says, this can directly impact your small business. Why spend the money on pricey desktops when most of your employees can get their work done with smaller, less costly devices?


Download these business apps today

On March 6, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

It’s challenging to run a successful small business today. The competition is fierce. And customers are still hesitant to spend their money. Your small business, then, needs any advantage it can get. Thankfully, there are plenty of apps designed to help you grow and maintain your small business. And the Orlando Business Journal recently ran a feature story highlighting several of the most powerful apps for your small business.

Square Register

Does your business run several kiosks? Perhaps you operate food trucks across your market? Any business that operates mobile locations will benefit from the Square Register app. This app enables you to accept debit-card and credit-card payments from customers just by swiping their cards through a small square device that connects to your smartphone or tablet. It’s required, as the Orlando Business Journal writes, for companies that conduct a lot of their business on the move.

The end of business cards?

The CamCard app helps business people scan business cards directly into their smartphones. The app then automatically places the business card into these owners’ phone contacts. It’s an amazing way to get rid of the clutter of drawers full of business cards. This app isn’t free, but it’s only $2.99.

Keeping your employees on track

You need your employees to know what your small business needs to accomplish in any given day. Fortunately, the Asana Mobile app can help you do this. This app offers you the ability to create a daily schedule for your business that your employees can also access. Once employees read the schedule, they can select which tasks have been assigned and which ones need tackling.


Tech sector remains a profitable one

On March 4, 2014, in Business Technology, by Staff Contributor

What kind of companies are going to have good years in 2014? As reported by a recent story by USA Today, technology companies are positioned to celebrate a big and successful 2014. The article also claims that the tech sector will remain one of the most profitable.

A strong performance

The USA Today story says that in 2014 technology companies that are part of the S&P 500 index should earn a net income that is 9.3 percent higher than it was in 2013. This information emanates from FactSet, a firm that calculates the earnings estimates of Wall Street. This coming year, then, stands to be an improvement from 2013: In that year, tech companies only saw their earnings rise by a wimpy 1.9 percent.

Big profits

And USA Today expects tech companies to remain extremely profitable in the future. The story says that the tech sector annually ranks as one of the most profitable industries in the United States, a thing that the newspaper says won’t change in 2014. According to the USA Today story, the tech sector should see a profit margin of 15 percent to 16 percent this year, a healthy figure.

A tech love affair?

This success shouldn’t be surprising. Today’s consumers are infatuated with their tech gadgets. And this has been a long-time trend. Just look at how popular tablets and smartphones are. Video-game systems remain hot sellers. And tech companies are evolving and updating their offerings on a almost constant basis. Tech is certainly king today.