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After months of hard work, we are excited to announce our brand new website! Our goal for this new site is to provide a more in-depth explanation of our services and the benefits they provide. We also wanted a new platform to provide resources to our readers and clients. We hope you love the fresh look and as much as we do. Features CRM Products Not only do we build custom systems from scratch, but we also offer customizable, ready-built CRMs that can be tailored to your business. Think of it as a template starting point – and we build the rest to suit your business. Podio, Shopify, and More You spoke, we listened. We now offer an in-depth explanation of services for both Podio and Shopify, our two highest-rated products. We also provide business and technology consulting – so you can design, strategize, and implement. Web Design We believe that every business, big or small, deserves a great website. We offer affordable websites, complete with images and content. Don’t know where to start? No problem. Contact us to get the ball rolling. Podio Knowledge Base New to Podio? Never heard of it? Our Podio tutorials serve as a great introduction and foundation to learning all about Podio and it’s capabilities. Tips, Tricks, and Tools Subscribe to our blog for the latest technology updates, tricks of the trade, and tools we use. Take a look around and thanks for stopping by!   The post It’s Here: Our New Website! appeared first on DVI360. Read Original Article
A new Google Docs phishing scam is making the rounds and is very well disguised. What is phishing? Phishing is the attempt to gain access to sensitive information through disguised sources. You may see this on Facebook from time to time (my grandmother falls for them hook, line, and sinker). Phishing attempts are usually easy to spot, as they are usually clickable links from people you may not have spoken to in a while. If it seems fishy (pun intended), it probably is. So what about Google Docs? Google is aware of this particular phishing scam and is working at stopping it. The problem is that the email contains an invitation to allow Google Docs (not the real Google Docs, but a third-party app called Google Docs) to access all of your information. Once you click ‘Allow’, all of your email contacts will be emailed with the same link. The seemingly innocent Google Docs invitation is why this particular scam is spreading like wildfire. What do I do to prevent it? In the meantime, don’t accept any Google Docs invitations, especially if it’s from someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Google’s Twitter says that this specific attack should be blocked now, but there may be lingerers. How do I know if it’s already happened to me? Check your app permissions in Google. The real Google Docs has access to your account by default, so if you see an app called Google Docs, you’ve been hit. Tap the label and click ‘Remove’ to prevent any further attacks from your account. We hope this is helpful and prevents you from falling victim to this sophisticated scam. Follow us on Instagram to get updated on the latest developments. Read Original Article
As a Citrix Preferred Partner, we have the advantage of using their products for our clients and our business. Here are three Citrix Products that we can’t live without: Podio It’s no secret that we love Podio. The customizable platform allows companies to build custom software with full system integrations for a fraction of the cost. By providing the interface and building blocks, Podio brings clean looking, functional custom software to any budget. While you can technically DIY Podio, hiring a software architect has it’s advantages. Integrating systems requires coding knowledge and experience. Designing an efficient and successful data flow requires a knowledge of business practices, statistical analysis, and experience with the software. We do this all day, every day, for an array of businesses and industries. ShareFile ShareFile is nice because it combines file storage and sharing–like Dropbox–but adds a level of collaboration and scalability. Developers love ShareFile because it shares all file types. Businesses love ShareFile because you can add levels of security to sensitive data. Add levels of complexity, like choosing where your data is stored: on site, in the cloud, or a hybrid. GoTo Meeting If you’ve ever had to conference call remotely, chances are you’ve probably already used GoToMeeting. With over 16 million users each month, GoToMeeting has reigned as the reliable video conferencing app for years. The key word is reliable. Get HD quality without sacrificing your connection. Businesses love it because you can add Meeting Rooms, so your team can jump on a call at any time with ease. Plus, video conferencing instead of just calling strengthens your connection with your clients and/or coworkers. Read Original Article

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, here are our top three customer loyalty programs. Is there a great one that we missed? Let us know.

hotels.com

There are plenty of hotel sites out there – Priceline, Expedia, Booking, just to name a few. They all have customer loyalty points, but hotels.com is the best that I’ve found because it offers almost 10% back. For every ten nights you book through their app, you get one night free. The cost of the free night is an average based on the amount paid for the other ten nights. I’ve personally never had an issue with their customer service or booking arrangements.

starbucks

If you travel a lot, you know that Starbucks=best free internet. Of course, it’s not actually free; you should buy a drink or two while you hang out. Getting Starbucks Rewards not only makes ordering drinks easier (no more judgy looks when you accidently say ‘large’ instead of ‘venti’), but it also helps rack up free drinks to make your internet usage actually free.

pick an airline

Constantly flying? Rather than searching for the cheapest flight across several airlines, pick an airline and stick to it. Sure, you may occasionally overpay by $50 here or $70 there, but the points you rack up will even it out. Also, you can avoid flying on a particular airline that you dislike (ahem, American). I use Delta SkyMiles, but many of my friends use Southwest and like it just as much. Plus you get access to their airport lounges, which makes any layover infinitely better.

Hope this helps! Let me know any loyalty programs I’m missing out on.

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This past week, Google launched their newest Google Optimize feature, which allows A/B testing and tracking. This new feature is in beta testing and you can sign up for it here. This allows companies to track the success of different components, from call-to-action placement to body copy. It got us thinking, why is A/B testing important? What else can we A/B test?  And, finally, what are some proven A/B testing tactics? We’ll break it down below. What is A/B testing? A/B testing is a common marketing exercise that allows companies to test out two different approaches on a small sample of their audience. After analyzing the results, a winner is chosen and that winner is sent out to the remaining audience. Why is A/B Testing Important? A/B testing does cost more upfront because you’re paying for two different options. However, the amount spent is usually minimal compared to the proven success of the winner. Marketing agencies may shell out thousands to run an ad campaign to a test audience. You can get a similar test results for a fraction of the cost by running an A/B test on a small sample of your actual audience. Because you are experimenting on a portion your real audience, the results are going to be more accurate. As long as you hone in on what element you are testing (and keep it to just one element) the risks are low. What Can be A/B Tested? Remember in grade school when you learned about conducting experiments with a control and a variable? Let’s apply that knowledge here. The majority of your A and B should be the same, or controlled. If you make two completely different options, it may be hard to pinpoint what made the winning option more favorable over the losing one. Variables can be as followed: -where a call-to-action (CTA) leads -CTA location -CTA wording -CTA button color -headlines -tone of copy -content of copy -products featured -colors used -overall tone (casual, formal, etc.) -photographs -product descriptions -price... Read Original Article

Because identity theft can happen to anyone.

Have you had the same password for years? Do you have that one password that you use over and over again? Do your Facebook and bank account share a password? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to rethink your security.

Before you roll your eyes and think, “identity theft wont happen to me,” realize that every victim of identity theft has thought that exact same thing. The solution may be simpler than you think. Having a password manager, such as LastPass, can greatly reduce your chances of getting hacked.

LastPass just released an update that provides more security than ever before. Here are some tips straight from the source on how to make sure your information is secure:

Use the LastPass Vault as a launch pad

Launch sites directly from the LastPass vault. This is the safest way to access your credentials and sites until this vulnerability is resolved.

Two-Factor Authentication

Whenever possible, turn on two-factor authentication with your accounts; many websites now offer this option for added security.

Beware of Phishing Attacks

Always be vigilant to avoid phishing attempts. What is phishing? It’s the act of sending fraudulent emails out from a trusted email. That IRS email that says you’re being sued? Probably phishing. Do not click on links from people you don’t know, or that seem out of character from your trusted contacts and companies.

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We all ask ourselves this question from time to time.

Just yesterday, I spent all day working and being productive, yet only got through half of my to-do list. Sound familiar? Tracking your time can shine a spotlight on how exactly your time and resources are being spent. Don’t just clock in at the beginning of the day and clock out at the end of the day. Clock in and out based on which project or client you are working on. The results may surprise you!

IDENTIFY HIGH MAINTENANCE CLIENTS

A client with a larger budget may seem appealing. But if they are sucking up the majority of your employee’s time, are you really making money? With Podio, we create an automation that allows users to clock in and out directly on the action item or project. You can then see exactly who worked on which project for how long.

WHERE DO MY EMPLOYEES SPEND THEIR TIME?

If your employees are tracking their time based on projects, you can see exactly how long it takes an employee to complete a project. This can be beneficial when scoping out future projects and estimating hours.

NO MORE MANUAL TIME KEEPING

With Podio, all time keeping can be exported to your payroll software, such as Quickbooks. Generate reports to keep on top of your time and resources.

Sounds good, right? We love Podio because of its endless capabilities. If you are looking for software that can be customized to your business’ exact needs, please feel free to contact us.

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Email marketing has stood the test of time. Email marketing is unique because it is not a social media platform in and of itself. It’s a medium free from a company’s control and is ever changing. We as email receivers are constantly on the quest to receive less and less irrelevant emails.  When email was first introduced, it was a form of communication; text messaging and chats have replaced that. Fast forward fifteen years and the majority of the emails in your personal inbox are probably promotional or event-driven. You can easily subscribe and unsubscribe to tailor your experience. This choose-your-own-adventure approach has allowed email marketing to continue to grow. Some of us want to know the latest news, products, or sales. We can be fans of any business we want. So what does this mean for your customers? It means that you can market your emails towards your fans and increase engagement with people who actually want your advertising. MailChimp has reigned as email marketing platform for many years. They recently announced additional features…or at least made existing features way easier to use. Now you can send automatic orders, refunds, shipping confirmations and more. This isn’t exactly ground-breaking, but it definitely makes sending and tracking automatic emails a lot easier. See the details pulled from their press release: Order Confirmation: Sends customers a receipt after they buy something from your store, complete with details about their order Order Invoice: Similar to an order confirmation, an order invoice sends to a customer once their transaction has been successfully processed. If you don’t charge customers when they place an order, consider sending an order invoice instead. Shipping Confirmation: Don’t keep your customers guessing about when to expect their order. This notification will let them know their item on the way as soon as it ships. Refund Confirmation: You might occasionally receive refund requests if a customer doesn’t like a... Read Original Article

Staying organized is key to freeing up your time and keeping you balanced. Here are some quick, easy tips that you can start doing today to help you stay on the productive path.

SET THE TONE FOR THE WEEK
Mondays get a bad rap. They are the end to a relaxing weekend but can be the start to a productive and fulfilling week. While it may be tempting to take it easy on Monday, jumping right in can have long-lasting effects on your productivity throughout the week. Grab a coffee and organize your to-do list. You’ll thank yourself later!

TAKE THE TIME TO PRIORITIZE 
If you feel like you’re running in place, prioritize! List all of your tasks that make up your day and determine which are urgent and not urgent. Urgent tasks include deadlines, pressing problems, and crises. Tackle these tasks first, but schedule time (an hour or two a day) to complete non-urgent tasks. These can include planning, continued education, and anything proactive that is beneficial to your business.

SET DEADLINES 
Holding yourself to deadlines is key to planning and executing your task list. Once you receive a project, we recommend breaking it down into bite-sized, small steps that can be turned into tasks and assigned accordingly. By using your task list in Podio, you can have a birds eye view of what step comes next in all of the projects you are working on. Set deadlines for yourself and hold yourself accountable.

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Last week we talked about ways to identify your personal weakness. Now it’s time to start setting goals to improve yourself AND your business. Whether your weakness is marketing or time management, here are five ways to improve business in 2017. 1. Introduce Offers How many offers did you extend your customers last year? Every good marketing strategy involves user interactment. Entice current customers with exclusive offers to return to your business. Email marketing is a great way to start targeting previous customers. To attract potential customers, offer a money-back guarantee or free consultation. People are more likely to try a new product or service if the financial risk is low. 2. Customer Surveys Surveying customers can be a useful tool for reassessing products, employees, and procedures. Send a follow-up email with a survey and a return offer. Many companies even offer a discount code for completed surveys. Listen to what your customers have to say and implement their opinions into your products or service. Make sure you let them know that their opinion matters! 3. Offer Continued Education With new technology, marketing techniques, and products, there is always room for continued education. Consider an education program for your employees. This can range from subscribing to a website, such as lynda.com to tuition reimbursement. The more an employee feels growth and movement within a company, the higher the chances of retention. 4. Set Goals This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes the day-to-day of every day life gets in the way of planning for the future. Talk with your financial advisor, your employees, and customers to set goals for the future. Getting  employee buy-in is crucial to meeting your business goals. 5. Know Your Limits You can’t do it all. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Some weaknesses can be worked on, while others, such as strategic planning or web development, are best left to the professionals. Make an investment in... Read Original Article
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Business Categories

Synergy Business Connections helps businesses grow through relationship marketing and we follow the exclusive category format with one member per Conejo Chamber of Commerce business sub-category. Your business sub-category appears on your Conejo Chamber profile page, right under your business name, to see if your category is eligible. We welcome you to join us at a meeting as our guest to experience the Synergy network for yourself.

Some messages from our group...

What makes the Conejo Valley special, unique or interesting?

I like to call Thousand Oaks "the biggest little town in the country." Even though its size is well over 100,000 residents, it still has a small town feel. You are liable to see someone you know every time you go out. I also like the fact that it has protected itself from the blight that has ruined so many other communities in Southern California by restricting things such as billboards, building structure and height, paid parking lots, and corner strip malls. 

— Cary Ginell - VC On Stage