Archive for the ‘technology’ Category
Here’s a solid round-up of alternatives to Google Reader that you can use after the all-knowing tech company ends the service in July.
If your customers can’t find you, how are they going to hire you?
A couple of weeks ago, Chris Heiler put on a great webinar on how landscape contractors can improve their returns on local search. It’s a great overview of practical tips and a must-see for any company that wants to explore and improve their internet marketing efforts.
To read more about how local search works, read Chris’ article here.
We’ve just released a new app designed to help landscape contractors and lawn care operators better benchmark their companies against their competition.
The Benchmarking Your Business Report and the companion app, both sponsored exclusively by Exmark, draw on extensive data Lawn & Landscape collected throughout the year from its national readership. Taken together, the report and app give contractors powerful tools to guide their business and plan for 2013.
The web app, an extension of the 2012 Benchmarking Your Business Report published in November, allows contractors to quickly see where they stack up against their regional and national colleagues when it comes to purchasing, rates of pay, revenue and overall scale of business.
You can access the app via any web-enabled device – your laptop, tablet or phone – at bit.ly/benchmarkapp.
As reported today in the New York Times, mobile payment service Square has partnered with omnipresent caffeine pusher Starbucks to make it even easier for you to pay for that double-shot every morning.
Square was founded by Jack Dorsey, the same guy who started Twitter, and lets businesses use their mobile devices as on-site cash registers to process credit card payments. I’ve used the service to purchase things, and it’s worked seamlessly every time.
So, apart from the fact that you’ll be able to pay without a wallet (or even taking your phone out of your pocket), this partnership means consumers could get a lot more comfortable with mobile payments.
Though smartphone payments have a long way to go before they replace wallets altogether, Starbucks’s adoption of Square will catapult the start-up’s technology onto street corners nationwide, and is the clearest sign yet that mobile payments could become mainstream.
“Anyone who’s going to break the mobile payments barrier in the U.S. has to overcome the resistance to try anything new when everything we have works really, really well, even cash, which is very convenient,” said Bill Maurer, director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine.
According to our latest research, 36 percent of landscapers use iPhones for both personal and business use, and just slightly less use an Android phone. Twenty-five percent use an iPad. Those numbers are up from 2011, and will continue to rise in the next few years.
So, to review: Increasingly wired customers are getting exposed to a more seamless way to pay on the spot for goods and services, while at the same time contractors are more and more equipped with the tools to run that very technology.
Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Make mine a double.
Lawn Doctor and Scott Frith get a shout-out in this Entrepreneur article about how franchises are using social media.
The nature of franchising — systems, consistency and control — can run counter to the spontaneous spirit of social media. “A franchisor wants to closely manage the brand, but that takes away the point of social media, which is the personal interaction,” says Rich Stark, CEO of Stark Logic, an online marketing agency in Oceanside, Calif.
That attitude is changing, however. Franchise companies are “starting to pay attention because they now realize that social media does impact sales,” Powills says.
It’s got some solid tips for any company considering a jump into social, especially when it comes to letting your employees post and interact on these platforms. You can read the full piece here.
I spent a few days last week at the Green Industry Great Escape, PLANET’s revamped Executive Forum meeting. The idea was to get top industry leaders out of their offices and away at a nice location so they could network and think about the future of their businesses.
By all accounts, it worked. Whether it’s at big events organized by an association, a peer group or just you heading off to be alone for a day or two, any business owner has to spend some of his or her time focused on developing new ideas and planning for the future.
So what does this have to do with index cards? I have three small kids, and I don’t get a lot of time to spend by myself (except on planes), so I have to catch any ideas as they flit through my brain on the go. To do that, I use this low-tech PDA. It’s just index cards and a butterfly clip. It fits in my shirt pocket, and when paired with a pen, it’s the perfect way for me to brainstorm plans, capture a quick to-do list or outline my schedule for the day.
You can do this with anything – a legal pad, your phone or any number of web applications. But the important thing is that you do it. You have to capture these ideas in one place, so you can find them again, think about them and develop them into concrete plans for the future.
Otherwise, you just spent a bunch of money and a few days on the beach to end up in the same place you were last year.