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Provide a 360° view of your business by using Podio integrations for marketing. With Podio, you can now run email campaigns, post on social media, and import data all in one place. 1. MailChimp MailChimp allows users to automate email marketing messages, manage campaigns, and generate detailed reports. Integrated with Podio, users can segment lists by categories used in Podio. Run campaigns right in Podio’s interface, saving time and providing a more cohesive project management system. 2. Constant Contact Import completed forms from your website directly into Podio by integrating it with Constant Contact. Send, manage, and track email campaigns directly from your Podio workspace. 3. Cordial Target event-driven automated emails, pull reports, and create personalized messaging automations from your Podio workspace with Cordial. 4. Infusionsoft Infusionsoft is a CRM for small businesses. Manage contacts, collect data, and track engagement from Infusionsoft contacts and import into your Podio workspace. Integrating detailed marketing software into Podio can provide useful metrics and analytics displayed in your dashboard. 5. Salesforce Another CRM software, Salesforce provides products for businesses of all sizes. Track customer, employee, and product data with Salesforce products by integrating it into Podio. 6. Hootsuite Manage your social media accounts directly in Podio by integrating Hootsuite. Hootsuite tracks engagement data, automates postings, and more. If you are interested in customizing your Podio system, or learning how to customize it yourself, please contact us today. Read Original Article
Building or managing your own website? Here are our recommendations for WordPress plugins that are universally helpful, no matter what your industry is. YOAST SEO What it does Yoast’s SEO plugin allows users to easily optimize their webpages. Easily edit meta and title tags, image information, and desired keywords all in one place. Yoast SEO also evaluates content based on word count, passive voice, connector words, and more. Why it’s needed Whether you are just starting to learn SEO or are a seasoned expert, Yoast SEO provides a shortcut to entering in vital SEO information on the page. It also coaches content to be SEO optimized. View all of your pages’ SEO and content all in one place, with indicators to let you know if the page can be optimized even more. EASY GOOGLE FONTS What it does Google Fonts is a type foundry founded by Google to provide free, easy-to-use fonts to the general public. The Easy Google Fonts plugin allows users to change their fonts based on the category (h1, h2, p), or on a specific page. The plugin comes in the form of a widget and does not require coding. Why it’s needed To kick your website up a notch, use fonts other than the basic recognized web fonts. Using Google Fonts correctly can add a level of professionalism and set your website apart. We recommend sticking to font families with several different variations. For example, Google’s Roboto comes in Roboto Condensed, Roboto Slab, and regular Roboto with light, bold, oblique, small caps, and more. SIMPLE SOCIAL ICONS What it does Simple Social Icons displays icons that link users to various social profiles. Customize color, shape, alignment, and more through this widget form. Why it’s needed If you do not have customized social icons, Simple Social Icons is the way to go. Enter all of your social data into one place, then choose where to put all of the icons on the site. Since it’s a functioning widget with an option for shortcode, placement options are endless. BACKUPBUDDY What... Read Original Article
The biggest mistake small businesses make is thinking like a small business. WHAT IS STRATEGIC PLANNING? You may have heard the term floating around, but what exactly does it mean? Strategic planning is making thoughtful, organized decisions that ensure a business’ success at a growing rate. Strategic planning clearly defines a business or organization’s mission, their current internal state, and their state within a competitive marketplace. A business plan may take into account certain goals, most of them financial. Strategic planning takes this one step further. It incorporates business plans, scalable models, workflow restructuring, technology consulting, marketing and more.  THE BENEFITS Strategic planning helps establish a vision between management, investors, employees, and share-holders. It gives all of a business’ decision-makers (CEO, CFO, investors, share-holders, etc) the opportunity to come together and determine the business’ future. They can establish goals, keeping the mission statement in mind, and determine key priorities. Strategic planning takes into account the business as a whole and sees how departments interact. Businesses can also reestablish workflow and provide a starting point for measuring progress. The financial success is determined by how closely a business follows their customized plan. Strategic planning in and of itself is a powerful tool used to make sure everyone is on the same page. WHEN TO PLAN Strategic planning is a must, whether you are a brand-new startup or an established business. If you are starting out with a new business, meet with a strategic planning professional to ensure that your business doesn’t grow too big, too fast. The biggest mistake small businesses make is thinking like a small business. Focus on where you want your business to be five years from now, then make a strategic plan to accomplish your goal. Use planning once every fiscal year to determine financial and long-term goals if your business... Read Original Article
System integrations provide an affordable alternative to purchasing project, product, and employee management software. WHAT IS SYSTEM INTEGRATION? By definition, systems integration is a “process or phase concerned with joining different subsystems or components as one large system.” Sounds pretty self-explanatory, but what does it mean for your business? When creating a customized workflow for your business, you will most likely use several different software to accomplish your goal. For example: let’s say you created a workflow to determine how your retail employees will be paid on commission. Your employees begin by logging into a time-clock software, then tracking their sales and commission on a different software. They submit their time and sales to the accountant, who then uses a different software to manage funds and payroll. Communication throughout this workflow is mostly likely done through email, another disconnected software. HOW CAN IT BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS? What if you could simplify workflow, employee logins, and the amount of software subscriptions paid? Systems integrators connect a variety of software under one umbrella to create a customized workflow structure. A single platform, such as Podio, is chosen to host all interactions and is used as a base to connect other software, such as Quickbooks. With a platform like Podio, users can manage time, products, clients, and communicate all in the same workspace. By bringing all software in under one roof, human error, technical bugs, and learning curve are all minimized. Employees will only have to learn one platform to take their workflow from start to finish. From a management standpoint, managers can view dashboards of employee stats without the aid of complicated spreadsheet software. Managers can see product manufacturing or sales leads from start to finish in one simplified, customizable page. If you are struggling to find the management software that is perfectly tailored for your... Read Original Article
Starting a marketing campaign without defining a business’ target audience can be like sending a boat off without any navigation tools. Your audience can determine the success of your business, so make sure your business is targeting the right people. How do you determine the ‘right’ people? Follow our tips below! 1. REDEFINE You may have already established a target audience during your branding phase, but is it still effective? If your business isn’t currently reaching as many people as you had hoped, it may be time to challenge your research. Start from scratch and question previous decisions. Research demographics and shift your perspective to ensure that you are still marketing to the optimal audience. You may need to make some adjustments; a different age range, income level, or gender. 2. CREATE A PERSONA After defining specific demographics, gain valuable perspective by conducting interviews with your target demographic. Select people who are in need of services or products that your company provides. Ask questions regarding their tasks, needs, wants, ideal situations, and what the market is currently lacking. Once you have interviewed enough people (depending on the size of the company), move on to creating a persona for your ideal audience. Invent 2-3 people by finding a stock photo, choosing a name, occupation, income level, needs, family life, and wants. Compile all information on a sheet and hang it up in your work area. This provides a constant reminder to view marketing campaigns from your audience’s perspective. 3. IDENTIFY Identify your audience’s problems, needs, reputation, and what sets off their bs detector. Are you a trustworthy company? Do you provide a product or service that the industry is lacking? How can others benefit from your product or service? Are you an honest company? Do you site reputable information? Ask yourself questions that define if you are a well-rounded, reliable business. Your business may be able to successfully... Read Original Article
Starting a marketing campaign without defining a business’ target audience can be like sending a boat off without any navigation tools. Your audience can determine the success of your business, so make sure your business is targeting the right people. How do you determine the ‘right’ people? Follow our tips below! 1. REDEFINE You may have already established a target audience during your branding phase, but is it still effective? If your business isn’t currently reaching as many people as you had hoped, it may be time to challenge your research. Start from scratch and question previous decisions. Research demographics and shift your perspective to ensure that you are still marketing to the optimal audience. You may need to make some adjustments; a different age range, income level, or gender. 2. CREATE A PERSONA After defining specific demographics, gain valuable perspective by conducting interviews with your target demographic. Select people who are in need of services or products that your company provides. Ask questions regarding their tasks, needs, wants, ideal situations, and what the market is currently lacking. Once you have interviewed enough people (depending on the size of the company), move on to creating a persona for your ideal audience. Invent 2-3 people by finding a stock photo, choosing a name, occupation, income level, needs, family life, and wants. Compile all information on a sheet and hang it up in your work area. This provides a constant reminder to view marketing campaigns from your audience’s perspective. 3. IDENTIFY Identify your audience’s problems, needs, reputation, and what sets off their bs detector. Are you a trustworthy company? Do you provide a product or service that the industry is lacking? How can others benefit from your product or service? Are you an honest company? Do you site reputable information? Ask yourself questions that define if you are a well-rounded, reliable business. Your business may be able to successfully... Read Original Article
Workflows are all around us; we use them in our businesses and our personal life. Designing quality workflows is essential to achieving maximum efficiency in your business. So what is a workflow? A workflow is a linear, sequential path that outlines steps to a process. It can be anything from employee annual reviews, manufacturing and distribution processes, or how to handle a customer request. Workflows contain detailed steps and accommodate conditions, exceptions, branches, and loops. Many small businesses grow very quickly, which can lead to workflows outgrowing themselves. To prevent restructuring, strategically plan your workflows to grow WITH your company. Creating a band-aid solution to a workflow problem may fix it in the interim, but can ultimately lead to software migration, new procedures, and retraining of staff—costing you time and money. Creating lasting workflows is a skill that requires foresight, experience, and understanding of employer/employee/consumer relations. Because it is an essential tool for standardizing processes and procedures, do not be afraid to reach out if your business is in need of assistance. Getting all of your employees on the same page takes the guess work—and human error—out of the equation. Make your own workflows by using free flow chart software. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a time to talk about your business’ needs, feel free to contact us. Read Original Article
A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. -Henry Ford Foster a sense of community and an attitude of service by participating in volunteer opportunities with your employees. Gain perspective while helping out local families and organizations in need. Even if you are unable to financially contribute to an organization, there are plenty of ways to give back this year. Christmas time is not the only time for charity—-make it a cornerstone of your business. SPONSOR A LOCAL CHARITY EVENT Give back to your local community by sponsoring an event hosted by a local charity. Whether you are able to donate funds or man-power, attending the event will provide a sense of community, service, and help a worthwhile cause. Visit createthegood.org to view volunteer opportunities in your area. VOLUNTEER DAYS Incentivize employees to give back by providing a few volunteer days each year. Employees can volunteer together at events such as the Special Olympics, a local soup kitchen, youth group, and more. Take it one step further by volunteering as an office and make it a team-building exercise. Leading by example is the best way to spread an attitude of service. ADPOT A FAMILY OR A LOCAL CHARITY While family adoption is popular around Christmas, there are families in need of food and clothing year-round. Support a family in distress by reaching out to your local Salvation Army, churches, and children’s hospitals. You can also support a charity every time you order on Amazon with Amazon Smile. Just visit smile.amazon.com and .5% of all purchases will go towards the charity of your choice. HOST DONATION DAYS Again, donation days are popular around Christmas but as we gear up for winter, more and more families are in need of assistance. Donate old winter clothes such as coats, boots, gloves, mittens, etc. to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or a local church. Families with children are also in need of school supplies. Host a donation drive at your office and donate... Read Original Article
1. TAKE A CLASS Learn a new skill that will help improve your business. Websites like Skillshare and Lynda offer a variety of classes ranging from SEO fundamentals to basic accounting to social media marketing. 2. ATTEND A NETWORKING EVENT Whether it’s an event or expo in your industry or a meetup, spreading your feelers can do wonders for your business. Read our tips on networking here. 3. DO THAT ONE THING Have you been putting off a task for days, weeks, or even months? Make yourself feel better by checking off a dreaded task from your to-do list. Having trouble getting motivated? Read our three easy steps to getting yourself out of a productivity rut. 4. SCHEDULE A LUNCH Make plans to meet with a friend, coworker, or acquaintance. Building relationships takes time and personal investment. Make sure you are keeping your social circle well-rounded. You never know who may need your business in the future! 5. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF Setting time aside for yourself is just as important as working on your business. De-stress this weekend by going to a concert, hiking or a bike ride, or just staying home and watching a new movie. More ideas on how to manage your stress here! Read Original Article
The key is finding quality clients that you can build lasting relationships with. If you are in an industry that relies on excellent service, the majority of new business comes from referrals from satisfied clients. How do you turn contacts from LinkedIn, networking events, or other functions into clients? 1. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY When searching for new contacts, keep your target audience in mind. Attending industry-specific networking events, participating in online forums, and reaching out to previous relevant contacts will prove more effective than handing out your business card to everyone you see. When it comes to reeling in contacts, work smarter—not harder. 2. REFERRALS Word of mouth still reigns king of conversion rates. When a friend, coworker, or family member recommends a product or service, the likelihood of business retention skyrockets. Make sure you are reaching out—respectfully—to your current contacts and ask them to keep you in mind when considering your next project. As long as you have a good relationship and great customer service, people will come back for more—and bring their friends. Do not be hesitant to spread out your feelers and rekindle friendships; as long as you are genuine, people will appreciate expanding their network. 3. ASK QUESTIONS When meeting with a prospective client, avoid rushed or transparent sales techniques. Instead, focus on their business needs. Get a feel for their current situation and ask questions about any holes or improvements that are needed. Primary networking meetings should NOT be a sales meeting. Instead, begin to build a relationship that is based on human connection and is genuine. A prospective client will be turned off quickly if they think you are only meeting with them to sell a service. Again, quality over quantity—treat them well and they will tell their friends. 4. FOLLOW UP After your primary meeting, set up a date in a reasonable time frame for your next meeting (about a month after initial... Read Original Article
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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.

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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

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