Tech Thursday (4/12): Six Steps for Improving Revenue Performance in the Year Ahead, ReadyTalk and PR Newswire Partner to Offer Webinar Promotion Services, Wasp Barcode Technologies Launches Barcode Management Software Package, Toshiba Announces Three New Tablets, Multiple Laptops and All-in-One Desktop PCs

Six Steps for Improving Revenue Performance in the Year Ahead


ReadyTalk and PR Newswire Partner to Offer Webinar Promotion Services


Wasp Barcode Technologies Launches Barcode Management Software Package


Toshiba Announces 3 New Tablets, Multiple Laptops  and All-in-One Desktop PCs



The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute Identifies Six Steps For Improving Revenue Performance in the Year Ahead


-Higher Growth Small Businesses Prepare for Contingencies, Use Borrowed Funds Strategically, Have Clear Vision for Their Companies, Among Other Key Traits-

NEW YORK, NY –The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute released a new report today that identifies six steps small business owners can take to improve their revenues in the year ahead.  These steps – planning for contingencies, seeking counsel from professionals, using borrowed funds strategically, developing managerial skills, not obsessing about the company, and having a clear vision of the business – all characterize small business owners who had an increase in revenues in 2011 over the prior two years. 

The Institute’s observations are based on The 2011 Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners, which surveyed nearly 1,100 small business owners in nine size categories, including sole proprietors, 2-9 employees, 10-24 employees, 25-49 employees, 50-99 employees, 100-499 employees, 500+ employees and more than 5,000 employees.  Comparisons were then made between those small business owners who projected higher revenues in 2011 versus the prior two years, and those who projected ‘about the same’ or ‘declining’ 2011 revenues versus the prior two years.

  “Growing revenues during the recession was no small feat,” said John Krubski, research advisor to The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute.  “However, insights from The Institute’s most recent Index provide a fresh understanding of how higher-growth small business owners achieved their success.”

The following six steps are strongly associated with higher-growth small business owners – those who successfully weathered the challenging economic environment of the past several years:

  • Be Prepared for Contingencies. Small business owners who built their revenues over the past two years were far more likely to engage in contingency planning by pre-establishing credit lines and retaining cash reserves, rather than just reacting to business difficulties as they emerged. For example, 47 percent of higher-growth companies in the sample had cash reserves that enabled them to weather tough economic times, whereas only 35 percent of companies that just maintained their revenues were able to rely on such financial resources.
  • Seek Advice from Professionals. Owners of higher-growth small businesses reported that they relied on advice from professionals and informal business support groups at consistently higher rates than did owners of companies that had revenue declines. The respective percentages for higher-growth small business owners versus revenue-declining business owners were as follows: accountants (70 percent vs. 62 percent), financial advisors (68 percent vs. 51 percent) and informal business support groups (61 percent vs. 45 percent).
  • Use Borrowed Funds Strategically.  Some 58 percent of higher-growth small business owners reported that investing borrowed funds in research and development yielded the best return, versus just 38 percent of revenue-flat companies and 16 percent of revenue-declining businesses. Moreover, borrowing to open new offices, build production facilities or add new capabilities / staff was more likely to correlate with a drop rather than an increase in sales.
  • Sharpen Managerial Skills. Developing business management skills and being better at strategic planning and money management consistently correlated with increased revenues. The most compelling area of professional development was an improved understanding of how to hire the right people. Sixty-three percent of higher-growth owners said this skill was important, whereas only 53 percent of revenue-declining businesses cited it as vital.
  • Avoid Obsessing about the Business.  Small business owners who increased revenues during the recent economic downturn tended not to be consumed by the companies they owned and ran. In fact, 75 percent of higher-growth small business owners said their businesses made it possible for them to have more satisfying experiences with their families, compared with 64 percent of revenue-declining company owners.
  • Have a Clear Vision.  Having a clear vision for the business was strongly associated with higher revenues. For example, 58 percent of higher-growth companies had a clear vision of their businesses, whereas only 39 percent of revenue-declining businesses had this farsighted view.

“This research demonstrates the critical importance of strong management, financial and interpersonal skills as tools to driving business growth,” said Patricia G. Greene, Ph.D., MBA, special academic advisor to The Institute and the Paul T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies at Babson College. “The observations and practical steps revealed by The Institute’s research can help guide small business owners looking to grow their business in 2012 and beyond.”

detailed research report that further explains the findings is available on

ReadyTalk and PR Newswire Partner to Offer Webinar Promotion Services


-Partnership enables customers to increase webinar attendance by promoting through iReach-

DENVER – PRNewswire/ — ReadyTalk, a leading provider of audio and web conferencing and webinar services, today announced a partnership that enables ReadyTalk customers to promote webinars using iReach™, the content distribution platform powered by PR Newswire.

iReach, PR Newswire’s self-service, intuitive online platform, allows businesses to cost-effectively distribute their search-engine optimized news to some of the web’s largest news sites and social networks, significantly boosting their online presence.  ReadyTalk customers will have direct access to the branded iReach portal when scheduling a webinar in the ReadyTalk Conference Center.

“This partnership enables marketers to promote webinars to untapped audiences, increase search traffic and drive more qualified leads by utilizing PR Newswire’s far-reaching network,” said Scott King, senior vice president of sales and marketing, ReadyTalk. “Our customers will now have easy and affordable access to the industry’s most trafficked websites and thousands of syndicated sites.”

iReach reaches the most relevant audiences by tagging the press release for the most applicable industries, subjects, and regions, while also making the content easily shareable across various social networks. It also improves search engine optimization (SEO) with back links from authoritative websites. Additionally, PR Newswire releases are hosted forever with a keyword-rich URL, further increasing search optimization.

“Press releases are no longer simply a means to attract media attention, but are now a powerful tool for organizations to drive online visibility and business growth,” said Dan Hennes, vice president, Multimedia Distribution, PR Newswire. “The audience exposure garnered through iReach is especially critical for organizations hosting webinars since every new attendee is a potential prospect or lead.  The partnership with ReadyTalk makes the content distribution process seamless and turnkey.”

ReadyTalk, the only webinar platform that provides an integrated service for promoting upcoming webinars via PR Newswire, offers customers two iReach distribution options:  SearchReach and WebReach.  SearchReach is $129 per press release while press releases sent using WebReach are $299. For a limited time, customers can take advantage of introductory pricing and save up to $50 on each release.  Learn more about the benefits of each option.

For more information about ReadyTalk’s audio and web conferencing offerings, including professional services and support for webinars, please visit, or on Twitter and Facebook.


Wasp Barcode Technologies Launches Barcode Management Software Package 


-WaspLabeler & Barcode Maker for Office – designed to improve efficiency and accuracy for SMBs- 


PLANO, Texas– Wasp Barcode Technologies, a leading provider of small business productivity solutions, today announced the launch of an all-in-one software solution designed to help SMBs seamlessly design, print and integrate barcodes into their business – WaspLabeler & Barcode Maker for Office. WaspLabeler +2D and Wasp Barcode Maker are now available as one package, providing a complete barcode and label creation solution.

WaspLabeler +2D enables users to quickly design and print standard or customized barcodes for use as product barcode labels, inventory labels, product scan sheets or other printed barcode labels. WaspLabeler +2D can also generate barcode scan sheets or shadow books so that barcodes for small or difficult to tag items are easily accessible. Additionally, it can automatically serialize inventory or assettags to simplify tracking.

Wasp Barcode Maker seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Office® applications, allowing users to create barcodes for Microsoft Word® documents or Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets. Barcode Maker can help SMBs reduce data entry errors by adding barcodes to invoices and/or improve efficiency of retail checkout with barcode product lists for small or bulky items. In addition, the barcodes can be linked to data in Microsoft Office for easy updates. 

“Wasp is constantly thinking of new ways to increase efficiency for SMBs,” said Brian Sutter, director of marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies. “We believe that our new combined package of products — WaspLabeler and Barcode Maker for Office — will help businesses eliminate data entry errors, provide easy access to information and collect data quickly and accurately.”

Features of WaspLabeler +2D include:

  • Compatible with QuickBooks® (2008 or later)
  • Import data from Microsoft Access®, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft SQL, ODBC and other external databases
  • Input data using the keyboard at print time
  • Access more than 100 label templates
  • Supports over 30 1D and 2D barcode symbologies 

Features of Wasp Barcode Maker include:

  • Create barcodes in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents using the one-click toolbar
  • Add dynamically updating barcodes to mail merge documents
  • Quickly change data, symbology or size even after barcode is created
  • Easily access Help menu and printable PDFs
  • Supports over 13 1D barcode symbologies 

Wasp’s barcode and label creation solution can be purchased as a complete solution or separately depending on a business’ needs. The complete set can be purchased for $199 or the products can be purchased separately.  WaspLabeler +2D is available for $149 and Wasp Barcode Maker is available for $149.


Toshiba Announces Three New Tablets, Multiple Laptops and All-in-One Desktop PCs

– New Products That Meet Every Budget and Meet Every Computing Need –


IRVINE, Calif.— Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., announced a number of exciting new products, including three new tablets of varying sizes, a number of entry-level, premium and gaming laptops, as well stylish All-in-One desktop PCs. These new computing devices offer something for every budget and meet every computing need. Whether you’re looking for a tablet for on-the-go Web browsing, a high-performance laptop for some intense gaming or an entertainment hub for your family room, Toshiba’s new offerings have you covered.

The new products include:


  • Excite 10: This 10.1-inch tablet is a great choice for Web browsing, reading, games and apps.
  • Excite 13: This large tablet is the ideal coffee table show piece and overall home accessory. Its big, bright HD display makes it perfect for group movie watching, multi-player gaming and video chatting, as well as browsing through recipes in the kitchen.
  • Excite 7.7: This compact tablet features a brilliant AMOLED display that fits the needs of mobile gamers and movie lovers alike.


  • Qosmio X875 and Qosmio X875 3D: These high-performance laptops are designed to meet the intense needs of enthusiast gamers, media creators and advanced users.
  • Satellite P800 Series: These premium laptops incorporate everything needed for an amazing entertainment and powerful multitasking experience, and package it all up in a sleek and stylish package.
  • Satellite S800 Series: These laptops provide users with excellent power at a reasonable price.
  • Satellite L800 Series: These laptops are ideal for families, students and small business owners looking for a solid all-around system at a reasonable price.
  • Satellite C800 Series: These entry-level laptops deliver basic productivity for the value-minded, budget-conscious consumer.

All-in-One Desktops

  • LX815 and LX835: These All-in-One desktop PCs perfectly blend high performance, style and affordable pricing. They act as the perfect entertainment and productivity hubs for the kitchen, family room and dorm room.

Additional details on all of the products listed above can be found here:


About Carolyn Crummey

Carolyn Crummey is a business and technology strategist and the owner of VirTasktic (, an agency dedicated to providing high-level virtual services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. A lover of technology and small business, Carolyn has built a career on the intelligent use of technology to increase business efficiency and productivity, which ultimately leads to greater profitability. Carolyn works closely with her clients to understand their challenges and helps them integrate the best technology solutions into their businesses so they too can enjoy great successes. You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at @CarolynCrummey or @VirTasktic.