Tech Thursday (4/26): Xerox Asks Us To “Rethink Ink”; America Means Business Announces Event Schedule; SMB’s Turning To Mobile Solutions to Fuel Growth; Survey Reveals Cautious Optimism for 2012

“Rethink Ink” with Xerox’s Launch of Fast, Affordable Color Multifunction Printers

 

America Means Business Announces Preliminary Schedule of Events

 

SMBs Turning to Mobile Solutions to Fuel Growth


Third Annual Brother Survey Reveals Cautious Optimism for Small Business Owners


 

“Rethink Ink” with Xerox’s Launch of Fast, Affordable Color Multifunction Printers

WILSONVILLE, Ore. – Small businesses and enterprises share a common set of challenges – finding new customers and staying productive.  Xerox’s (NYSE: XRX) new color multifunction printers (MFPs) can help turn these challenges into opportunities by making it affordable to create colorful marketing materials while managing office functions ranging from printing to scanning with ease. 

Compact enough to fit into any office environment, including on a desk, the Xerox ColorQube® 8700/8900 Color Multifunction Printers use solid ink technology – a cartridge-free, crayon-like ink stick – to produce high-quality prints such as sales brochures, flyers and presentations. With the ColorQube, any size business can create professional-looking, colorful marketing materials and other documents on a range of media, including recycled paper. 

Cost-savings can be gained with Hybrid Color Pricing Plans, allowing businesses to pay only for the amount of color on a given page. This is an important differentiation when using just a little bit of color, such as a company logo on letterhead.

But saving money on color prints doesn’t have to come at the expense of sustainability, functionality or security. Companies can maximize resources and productivity with features that include:

  • Energy-saving methods like Intelligent Ready, which switches to low-power mode during downtimes. Compared to laser MFPs in the same class, the ColorQube 8700/8900 MFPs produce up to 90 percent less printing waste and use 17 percent less life cycle energy.
  • A 7-inch touch screen makes it easy to program jobs, including printing, scanning, distributing and organizing documents.
  • Embedded security features, such as image overwrite and encryption, protect the documents, hard drive and network from vulnerabilities.

“There are roughly six million small and mid-size businesses in the United States and most are focused on growing their business,” said Shell Haffner, manager, Desktop Product Marketing, Xerox. “Xerox’s ColorQube MFPs provide hassle free, fast, quality color printing – a simple and affordable approach to getting real work done.” 

Pricing and Availability

Immediately available worldwide, the ColorQube 8700 has a list price starting at $2,499 and the ColorQube 8900 starts at $4,999. The devices are available through Xerox direct sales, agents, resellers and dealers, by calling 1-866-480-3119 or at http://www.xerox.com/direct.

 

America Means Business Announces Preliminary Schedule of Events

 

Citywide Event on Entrepreneurship in New York City on June 13, 14 and 15;Exhibitor, Event and Speaking Slots Still Available

 

New York, NY – The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the world’s premier business awards, today announced the preliminary schedule of events for America Means Business, a landmark three-day event about entrepreneurship, taking place in New York City on June 13, 14, and 15.

Headquartered at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street, with events taking place there and at other locations throughout New York City, America Means Business will feature informative panel discussions, “How I Did It” case studies, an exposition of products and services that can help aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, and many other events about how to start and grow a business.  Highlights from the current schedule include:

  • How to Get Started and Which Business is Right for You, presented by SCORE
  • Social Media and Email Marketing: How to Leverage the Power, presented by small business marketing experts of  VerticalResponse
  • How to Be a Pro at Hiring, presented by Joanna Shows of ActionCOACH, the world’s top business coaching firm
  • How to Be a Master of Time Management, presented by Tony Signorelli, president and author of New Rules of Self Employment
  • Sales Fundamentals for the New Economy, presented by Julie Thomas, president of ValueSelling Associates
  • Is Network Marketing Right for You?, presented by Barbara McCollough and Deanna Clarance, the entrepreneurs behind the Appreneur Lab
  • 1-to-1 Counseling Lounge providing immediate small business feedback by SCORE’s small business professionals

 For a full calendar of events scheduled thus far, visit: www.AmericaMeansBusiness-NYC.com/calendar.

“Since announcing America Means Business in February, we have received a huge response from entrepreneurs and business experts around the country seeking to participate through speaking, sponsoring, exhibiting, and attending,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “We are very pleased to announce our preliminary schedule, and are looking forward to adding even more events to the program that will benefit and inspire future and current entrepreneurs.”

America Means Business still has openings for those interested in speaking or staging an event related to entrepreneurship and business management. There is no cost to participate and proposals are being accepted online until June 13. Attendee registration for America Means Business is free through May 25, and just $10 thereafter.  Details on creating an event and registration are available at www.AmericaMeansBusiness-NYC.com.

 

SMBs Turning to Mobile Solutions to Fuel Growth

 

Mobile Applications and Mobile Management Poised for Biggest Spending Increases

 

The SMB Group’s latest survey study, 2012 Small and Medium Businesses Mobile Solutions Study reveals that U.S. SMBs small and medium businesses (SMBs) are increasingly turning to mobile solutions to fuel business growth. As a result, SMBs plan to increase spending across the in the next fiscal year across the mobile spectrum.

While mobile voice and data services gobble up the largest percentage of SMB mobile budgets, mobile applications and mobile management are poised to see the biggest spending increases. SMBs expect to increase spending for mobile applications by 36%, and for mobile management solutions by 33%.

“As mobile devices, services and applications proliferate and become integral to business operations, SMBs realize that they need to manage these solutions,” states Laurie McCabe, SMB Group Cofounder and Partner.

In the mobile applications area, trends for deploying customer-facing mobile solutions–including mobile-friendly web sites, applications and mobile payments are particularly strong. “SMBs view customer-facing mobile solutions as key to helping them achieve their top business goals of growing revenue, and attracting and retaining customers,” according to McCabe. For instance:

  • 29% of SMBs have a mobile-friendly web site, and 34% plan to do so in the next 12 months.
  • 26% of SMBs use customer-facing mobile apps, and 30% plan to do so in the next 12 months.
  • 31% of SMBs currently accept some forms of mobile payments.

However, states McCabe, “There is a wide difference in penetration between small and medium businesses, and a lot of industry variation in the kinds of mobile apps SMBs choose to deploy.” For example, the top customer-facing mobile apps that professional services firms currently use are Scheduling Appointments and Social Media Sharing, while the top ones that retail firms use are Buy Products/Services and Social Media Sharing.


These results highlight just a few of the findings in the SMB Group 2012 Small and Medium Businesses Mobile Solutions Study

 

Third Annual Brother Survey Reveals Cautious Optimism for Small Business Owners


59 Percent of Small Business Owners Believe That 2012 Will Be a Better Year Than 2011

 

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. /PRNewswire/ — The third annual “Brother Small Business Survey” revealed a decline in small business owners feeling the need to store away funds in case of another economic downturn.  This year’s survey found that 44 percent of small business owners believe stockpiling cash is the better option than investing in their business now which is down from 54 percent last year and 53 percent in 2010.  In 2010 36 percent of owners were looking to invest in their businesses’ growth, this increased last year to 44 percent but has dropped back to 38 percent in 2012 as owners take a “wait-and-see” approach to their business.(1)

According to the survey, more female business owners (44 percent) are apt to invest in their business now compared to 35 percent of males.  Nearly half of men (48 percent) feel the need to stockpile cash, compared to 36 percent of women.

Brother International Corporation, a leader in small office technology, started conducting the annual “Brother Small Business Survey” in 2010 to better understand the mindset of America’s small business owners.

“We conduct our annual survey to gain insight into the mindset of small business owners so we can better meet their needs,” said John Wandishin, Vice-President, Marketing, Business Machine Group. “This year’s survey was interesting because we saw several examples of cautious optimism despite the economic concerns that are still prevalent today.”

How was 2011?

43 percent of small business owners felt 2011 turned out worse than expected and it showed in their stress levels.  Up three percent from last year’s findings, more than half (55 percent) of owners say  their stress levels are higher than usual due to the current economic climate, and almost a quarter (24 percent) believe their stress is at its highest ever.

What Can We Expect for 2012?

Opinions are mixed on what small business owners expect for 2012.  While 59 percent believe 2012 will be a better year than 2011, 72 percent are not confident that the federal government will be able to adequately improve the economy this year.  Of the small business owners who predict a worse 2012, 21 percent say the overall economy will be worse and 17 percent say continued economic uncertainty makes it hard to make plans.  However, of the 59 percent of small business owners who think 2012 will be better, nearly one-third (30 percent) feel that this is because the overall economy will be better this year.

This uncertainty filters down to consumers as well, more than half (53 percent) of small business owners said if their businesses struggled this year, they would plan to keep prices the same, only 24 percent said they would reduce their prices and offer discounts to increase business.

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About Carolyn Crummey

Carolyn Crummey is a business and technology strategist and the owner of VirTasktic (www.virtasktic.com), 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.