December 18th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
In an effort to create more transparent support, and to just make it easier to answer questions about Merchant’s Mirror, we’ve decided to use Get Satisfaction as our support area. Get Satisfaction puts all of your support needs in an area where the power of the community weighs in. And since there are things coming down the pipeline that have to deal with community… (we won’t get into it here today although we can already here the half-hearted and playful boos), we decided that this was a good shift for us.
When you get right down to it, all small business is people powered, community driven, and the web 2.0 era has re-proven that fact. This allows both the corporate side to show that they’re listening, and not have to be repetitive with question answering which helps users find what they need, (maybe throw in some praise), and move on. The worst that can happen is when we hear about how some business shelled out hundreds if not thousands of dollars on accounting software to find that the company behind it never replies to emails or phone calls.
So if you have questions, comments, or whatever, just head over there and find out what you want to know. If you want to keep it private? There’s a place for that too.
November 14th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
Interestingly enough, there are a few things that you can do to build trust in your small business. One is a time factor. The longer you’ve been around, means that you will probably be around in the future to support your product. This is one of the keys to getting a new product line out there for the world to use. But if you don’t have that? What do you do?
You network. Network, network, network.
As a small business, there are many events you can participate in, and all sorts of groups to participate in. I personally would recommend you take a look at Business Networking International (BNI). There are local chapters internationally and they allow you to not only sell your product to the group, but have the group help sell your product. It’s not for everyone, although I believe that the membership fee is probably one of the most worthwhile ones yet that I have encountered when it comes to bang-for-buck.
Overall, the real key takeaway is that you build trust from facial recognition. Even as a younger company, if your face is shown at multiple events, then it reinforces that you’re out to move and shake for your corporation. And if you’re willing to do that, then you’ll eventually build the trust in your business needed to succeed.
August 24th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
If you’re an Internet based business such as our web based accounting, then you might already be leveraging your social media networks.
There are plenty out there from Twitter to Facebook, and all of them have different types of scenarios that you should be paying attention to since the audiences are actually somewhat different. For example, if you are leveraging Facebook, there’s a good chance that you’re trying to sell a product or service to friends and acquaintances that you’ve met along the ways. However, microblogging sites such as Twitter provide a different type of scenario where the audience is not only the people that are looking to follow you, but also the real-time stream of information going across like a river. If it passes at just the right time, when someone is looking, you’ll have gained more eyes on your marketing.
Now, there’s multiple reasons to do social media networks, and it truly depends on whether or not your segmented market audience happens to use these services. For us, many of our clients happen to be freelancers of all types and are very in-tune with social networks in general which makes it a great area to not only market to those individuals, but communicate and provide customer relations through those channels. I do not believe that all small businesses should use this as a shotgun blast type marketing since it’s way too broad and is very much dependent to whom you are catering. But if you do provide products and services to an Internet market? Leverage your social networks like there’s no tomorrow.
August 6th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
How many times have companies decided to ignore your voice? When you ask a question, it seems to go into a dark void never to be seen or heard from again?
We might be a web based accounting provider, but we do understand customer service and support. With over twenty years of combined experience in support services, we know that it’s tough as a company man to smile through every irate or frustrated call. But that’s what we do. And here, we try to be as transparent as we can and speak to our customer base as much as possible to see that everything is going smoothly. The goal is always to cultivate that trust and loyalty between your customers and your business. Doesn’t matter what type of business, customers put food on your table so you have to appreciate that if nothing else.
Thus, I stand by the Company-Customer Pact. This pact basically speaks of the communication between company and customer where everything is not only in a civil manner, but both sides recognize that we are all trying to make things work correctly and that as a customer, you have rights that many larger corporations do not recognize anymore. It’s good for both company and customer to read that pact since it’s by no means a one-sided deal. Both ends agree that there needs to be something done and we both seek to achieve it.
June 29th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
I often have to answer the question of why you should move to an online accounting system.
There are very simple reasons, but in the end, you’re actually looking at cost effectiveness from a small business owner’s point of view, that alone could be one of your key decisions in going with an online system. Obviously, there is also the disaster recovery, data backups and all of the good things that come with an online accounting package.
From our perspective, it’s actually easier to manage from a customer relations perspective. There isn’t the problem of asking what “version” you’re on, since what you see would be what the support personnel sees. The entire production system is always available to support without having to ask you for version numbers, training the support personnel on all the versions, and determining when to retire support for an offline version. In fact, it’s a tremendous win-win since it allows both parties to concentrate on solving the problem at hand instead of futzing with the details of versioning and inter-version discrepancies.
From an accountant perspective, it’s also better off because you can review the business without limiting the business owner from operations. One of the worst functionalities of offline locking is that the business owner is thrown into a constraint that is limited by their accountant. No longer is that an issue, due to the fact that the accountant can work concurrently with their client.
All-in-all, from our operations view and customer’s, it makes it an absolutely easy choice to make. Savings in both money and time should be the top two considerations of any business. And that’s exactly what we offer.