Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Category: Small Business Series

Congratulations to Our Marketing Team for Their Three Paper Anvil Awards!

 

 

For the third year in a row, we received recognition from the Nebraska chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Three programs were recognized this year and we are very proud of our team!   Our Auto-Pay Contest received an Award of Merit in the integrated communications category. The GPC-TV Sports Contest also received an Award of Merit in the direct mail/direct response category.  Finally, our new Enterprise Sales Folder won an award of merit in the brochure category.  Congrats to our entire team who work very hard getting the Great Plains Communications message out there!

JL Enterprises Testimonial

We’re proud to be partners with many businesses across the state of Nebraska. Check out more testimonials on our YouTube channel at GreatPlainsComm

Don’t lose your business to lost files

It can be shocking how much data goes along with owning and operating a small business. Between accounting documents, contracts with vendors, customer receipts, human resources and so much more, you’re looking at hundreds of files. These files range from simply annoying to recreate to devastatingly irreplaceable should they ever be lost or damaged.

With viruses, hard drive failure, theft and more potentially putting your computer at risk, it’s important to make sure that your valuable files are securely backed up. Since external hard drives are susceptible to the same dangers as your computer, we recommend using an on-line backup system.

Fortunately, there are companies who understand the value of your business and all of the files that go along with it. Let’s explore a few options for backing up your files:

  • Dropbox – This online portal provides you 2GB storage for free with increasing amounts of storage available for a price. You can then access your account anywhere in the world, even from your mobile phone! Or you can use the site as a simple backup site. The only drawback is that dropbox doesn’t offer automatic backup, you literally have to “drop” files into your account.

 

  • Carbonite – This site does provide automatic updates so that you don’t have to worry about a sudden crash taking away your most recent documents. You also enjoy unlimited data storage for about $10 a month with the company’s small business plan. However Dropbox and Carbonite both stop at storage. If you wanted to keep your computer safe from further risk or enjoy 24/7 support, you need to try…

 

  • Online Backup – Online Backup provides unlimited computer installation, 50GB of storage space, 24/7 technical support and automatic backup for half the price of Carbonite. For the same monthly price as Carbonite, you can get everything mentioned above plus virus protection, 24/7 live tech support and the program will even scan for and run all of your Window’s updates!

No matter how you choose to protect your work files, the important thing is that you back them up! The hours of lost productivity, sales, income and possibly even your reputation isn’t worth putting it off.
Do you have a favorite backup program? Let us know in the comments section below.

It’s all about the data

So you read our post on why your small business needs a website (right?) and your company now has on-line presence.  So, it’s time to take the next step and figure out just how your customers are using your website and what you can do to make it even more likely to drive sales, which is the reason you started the site in the first place, right?

That’s where analytics comes in.  Analytics is the scary-sounding new buzzword being thrown around all over the business world but it really just refers to all of the data that is collected about visitors to your site.  This data can provide a wealth of information that can help you provide better services to your customers.

When you have a strong data gathering program you can discover a wealth of information.  For example, you can find out what city they live in, which can let you know where to invest your advertising dollars. It can also let you know what pages are being visited most, which may let you know where to put the most important information and promotions.

E-commerce sites can also track what items are being purchased and also what items are being viewed but passed over.  This data is especially important for companies who conduct actual sales through their website but it can also help businesses who prefer to make sales offline.

While installing tracking software that will collect this data can require knowledge of web coding, it doesn’t have to be that hard.  Here at Great Plains Communications, we offer a full analytics package for every website we host.

Want to find out more about what analytics can do for you?  Ask a question in the comments section or check out our web hosting experts at http://www.gpcom.com/business/web-hosting-and-design.

Don’t Fear the Blue Screen of Death

Things associated with computer failure tend to have ominous names (my personal favorite is the “blue screen of death”) and it’s no surprise why.  When your computer fails, it can be a heart-stopping experience.

While a complete computer meltdown is the worst case scenario, even smaller performance issues can wreak havoc on your productivity.  A slow computer, one that is constantly displaying error messages or that always seems to freeze at the most inopportune times, means hours of lost time and frustration.  If said computer is part of your payment processing system, then you may also be dealing with customers who become frustrated with slow processing.

You may be surprised to find out that Great Plains Communications can help with these problems.  That’s right; we have skilled computer technicians who can help get your computer back in perfect working order.  What’s even better is that we can perform most fixes online so you don’t have to ship your computer and wait for weeks to get it back.  That’s service most manufacturers won’t even attempt.

With so many features included in our computer repair services, it’s impossible to list them all here.  For more information, visit http://www.gpcom.com/residential/internet/online-pc-support.

And remember, if you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment.

Why Nebraska is Great for Small Businesses

Small Business Series


If you are a small business in rural Nebraska, you need to know about Grow Nebraska, a non-profit organization aimed at creating sustainable economic growth by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.

 

Grow Nebraska has a variety of ways to support small businesses across the rural landscape through training for in-store and online sales, awareness campaigns for small businesses and conferences held throughout the state.

Shop Grow

For those who are in the retail business, the organization even offers opportunities to sell products directly through the site.  Given that 70% of all sales from Grow Nebraska’s online sales are from out-of-state purchasers, this can be a substantial extra source of revenue for a company and significantly increase a business’ visibility outside of Nebraska.

Flavors of NE

The Flavors of NE program provides incentives to visit member restaurants, retail shops, hotels, art stores and more across the state.  With its passport program, the more you shop at member locations, the more you save.

Training Opportunities

Hilltop Mall in Kearney, Conestoga Mall in Grand Island, and Downtown Norfolk serve as locations for Grow Nebraska’s retail training centers.  These centers teach retailers how to maximize sales through merchandising, Point-of-Sale displays, customer service and more.

So much more

This blog post could easily be 1,000 words long and we would still be unable to enumerate all of the benefits and programs offered by Grow Nebraska.  However, it has a great website that can provide you with a wealth of information about the organization.

Do you know of another non-profit working for Nebraska businesses or do you have any questions about Grow Nebraska?  Feel free to write us a note in the comment section below!

 

Keeping the Lines of Communications Clear

Small Business Blog

When a small business gets started it is just that; small.  Of course the goal of a small business is to get bigger; increasing revenue and making larger sums of money.

However, as a business grows so does the complexity of managing the communications. While a single phone line may have worked when two employees made up the entire guest list at the company picnic, it may not work as well when there are enough employees to start up that employee softball team you’ve always dreamed of.

Fortunately there are many solutions for small businesses that need to find an easy and efficient way to route phone traffic.  A PBX system is a strong solution and provides myriad tools to aid in your company’s communications.

  • Route calls to individual extensions
  • Create customized “hold” messages
  • Transfer calls around the office

Saving money is also incredibly important for small businesses so for businesses with more than 12 phone lines, you might also think about a T1 line, which offers a reduced rate when working with a PBX system.

If you have any additional questions about PBX systems or other solutions for managing your company’s communications, let us know in the comments section below.  You can also contact our Manager of Business Accounts, Emily Anderson, at eanderson@gpcom.com.

 

Welcome to the Small Business Series

There’s a reason why small businesses are called the backbone of our country.  According to the Department of Labor, small businesses account for 97% of all employment and 51% of sales in America.

As a statewide company that started as in one city, we understand the challenges of owning and operating a small business.  Making sure that you’re spending money in the right areas and, even more importantly, not spending in the wrong ones are constant considerations.

Our small business blog series will be aimed at helping your business thrive by finding the right mix of products and marketing efforts with an emphasis on the rural small business experience.  We’ll also focus on ways to save money including how to reduce operating costs and target your promotions.

We want this series to be highly useful for our business customers so if there’s a topic you want us to write about, let us know in the comments section below.