You're the CFO of a best-in-class audio equipment company, you're at a perfunctory Chamber of Commerce breakfast, and you find yourself seated next to a guy with the answers to all your IT issues. Call it fate or coincidence, depending on your outlook. On a morning in 2010, Audio Research's David Onan spoke with Tech Guru's Micah Thor about the tech environment in David's company (or lack thereof). Who says networking events don't work?
The Lay of the Land
David, who had joined Audio Research in 2009, was ready to implement a more comprehensive technology solution that could carry the company into the next phase of development. Dan Moshe, CEO of Tech Guru, was asked to create an IT analysis of Audio Research to establish the current technology landscape. David says, "It amounted to a minor amount of money spent to identify and document weaknesses, and to make recommendations about things such as security, data protection, and productivity." The analysis also addressed the company's current IT strategy.
The technology at Audio Research was fragile, disconnected, and without competent personnel. Equipment was 5 or more years old. When the need arose for a new computer, the Director or Operations would head to Best Buy and pick up whatever was on sale. Indeed, the findings were bleak.
The IT report read, "A strategic IT plan does not exist. IT is an afterthought... haphazard... and inconsistent." Prior to partnering with Tech Guru, Audio Research's IT department "didn't exist," according to David. They had an employee who was more technologically inclined than the others who did his best to help, but when a problem occurred people were mostly found standing around wondering what to do next. The company was lucky to not have experienced a server or disk failure, David says, because "we weren't equipped to handle that."
Using the Stack
Prospects of Tech Guru love to see The Stack in action. In IT, a stack is a group of essential technology pieces that depend on each other. It's a clear-as-day and personalized presentation of what your office needs to function. Some examples are hardware, business and financial software, voice, email, and backup and disaster recovery. "The key," reminds Dan Moshe, "is that everything has to be working harmoniously. You want the apps to talk to each other, and you want your internet connection to support your apps." Dan likes to call the Tech Stack conversation "Collaborative Quoting." Just as he does with all Tech Guru clients, Dan and David talked about what an ideal stack would be for Audio Research, versus what currently existed, and the financial differences - or "gap analysis" - between the two.
Did Tech Guru find the job too daunting? Did Audio Research opt to keep things the way they were, risks and all? Keep your eyes open for the next part of the Audio Research story.
In the meantime, could your organization use an IT analysis? Schedule one now!
Dan Moshe is the founder and CEO of Tech Guru, a Minneapolis-based IT support company.
Minneapolis IT support company Tech Guru presents the second in a ten-part series called The 10 Tech Commandments of Business.
Tech Guru CEO Dan Moshe has worked with his valued clients for long enough to lay down some rules when it comes to technology and business. Last week Dan covered Tech Commandment #1: Mission First, Technology Second. This week, Dan explains why technology will only solve your company's biggest issues when used correctly.
People with Problems
Unmotivated. Sloppy. Maybe even untrustworthy.
All companies have some employees who set the bar low, but if your organization has employees who pose a threat to its growth, things won't change with a shiny new set of computer monitors. Technology isn't a bandage that will perk employees up or make them like you. Dan suggests looking at your objectives in relation to employees before deciding to make changes to the way you do business.
Is Tech the Answer?
When speaking with clients, Dan listens for what is at the heart of the issue a client is experiencing. Is it a productivity matter, accounts receivable, or other business issue? Upgrading your tech can also mean upgrading your problems, one reason Dan likes to ask, "What does success look like?"
"I want better security so my employees don't steal data."
Dan has had clients who want the freedom to work from anywhere but express fears about moving to the cloud. They believe going to the cloud means employees will gain access to data more easily and share it with others.
Clients have asked if Dan if he can prevent employees from sharing folders, or whether he can lock down computers. The answer is yes, but the only way to keep employees from stealing data is to keep them away from your computers entirely. The deeper question could be, why are you employing people you believe could cause such significant harm to your company?
"I want new CRM software because our sales have been going downhill."
Some technology can be a tool to solve problems as part of a plan. However, throwing tech at a problem is only going to cost you money and not going to make the problem go away. "That's right," says Dan, "I'm a tech person telling you that tech isn't going to solve your problems!"
If sales aren't good, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools aren't going to fix that. Neither is an upgraded version of Quicken. A CRM tool isn't going to be used by unmotivated employees. But if the CRM tool is part of a new and improved compensation system, that CAN help. If the tool helps you measure and tie compensation to number of calls made and number of sales, employees may find that they are eager to once again exceed their quotas.
Tech Doesn't Save, It Merely Helps
"I'm not saying technology is evil or bad," says Dan with a laugh, "but only when it's applied responsibly is when you get a return on your investment. I want people to get technology because it supports their objectives." Need help discerning your people problems from your business problems? Tech Guru is here for that.
Check in next week when we explore "Tech Commandment #3: Bigger Isn't Always Better When It Comes to Tech Costs."
Clients of Tech Guru, Minnesota's most trust tech support company, know they can rely on lightning-fast response to their computer issues when they call for help. One of the most basic tools in Tech Guru's ability to assist you is by viewing a screenshot of your computer - a still picture of exactly what you are viewing on your screen.
If you don't know how to take a screenshot, follow the instructions for your particular operating system (OS) and send it to us before you call for support. There are multiple steps in this process, but we know you can handle them:
Step 1 - Take the screen shot
Step 2 - Email it to us
Windows XP or Windows 7
Press Print Screen (or PRT SCR).
Open a Compose window in your email client, select the body, and paste. Enter in Tech Guru's support email address in the "TO" field, and include an informative subject.
- On an iOS device - iPod touch, iPad and iPhone - simply press and release the home button and the power/sleep button at the same time. The screen should flash white and there should be a camera shutter sound (if the volume is on) to indicate a successful screenshot. Open the Photos app and tap Camera Roll to view the screenshot.
- To attach a photo or video from within the Mail app, tap and hold to bring up the standard Select, Select All, Paste option. Tap the arrow on the right side located next to Paste. Select Insert Photo or Video. You will then see your Camera Roll and Photo Stream, allowing you to select the media you'd like to attach to the e-mail.
It really is that easy. Can you believe you put off trying it for this long?
If you're not yet a Tech Guru client and speedy resolution to your computer problems sounds attractive, we'd be happy to meet for a free technology consultation.
Dan Moshe is CEO of Minneapolis tech support company Tech Guru.
It is with great fanfare, lights, and circus elephants that Tech Guru announces...
The all-new Tech Guru Training Center!
The Training Center is located in the historical Grain Belt Brewery Bottling House. The new center is in the same building and adjacent to Tech Guru's offices. We're excited to host free classes for our clients on subjects such as applications, the cloud, business management, and productivity and finance tools. If you can look away from the breathtaking view of downtown Minneapolis, we think you'll learn a lot to make you more productive and give you the leading edge in business.
Wake Up with Tech Guru
Beginning in June, Tech Guru clients can join us at 7:30a.m. on the second Thursday of the month to dive into interesting tech-related topics while enjoying a light breakfast. You'll get to work armed with new information to make yourself and your colleagues more productive than ever. And best of all, Tech Guru trainings are free for our clients.
Come check-out our new Conference and Training Center and help us celebrate the grand opening by attending our open house & happy hour on May 29th!
At Tech Guru, our clients mean the world to us. This is yet another way we deliver on our promise of caring about our clients and going the extra mile!
Dan Moshe is founder and CEO of Minneapolis tech support company Tech Guru.
Minneapolis IT support company Tech Guru presents the first in a ten-part series called The 10 Tech Commandments of Business.
Tech Guru CEO Dan Moshe has worked with his valued clients for long enough to lay down some rules when it comes to technology and business. In his explanation of the first of 10 Tech Commandments for Business, Dan encourages your business or nonprofit to examine its business mission first and technology second.
What is your business mission?
Take the time to fully understand and document the mission of your organization. Dan Moshe asks clients to, "Define the problem you're trying to solve." Once the problem has been identified, there may be a few different paths to a solution. Ask, "What does success look like?" Your company or nonprofit can consider the technology available, then apply the option that helps you attain your solution.
Why not the other way around?
Tech Guru doesn't believe in technology for the sake of technology. Too often, Dan has seen clients focus on trends in tech, and he believes that is a mistake. Technology that doesn't serve an organization's purpose is unlikely to be adopted or provide a significant return on investment. Like any business investment, your technology should provide some sort of return.
Dan has gotten used to clients going to a conference, seeing some cool technology, and saying, "I heard about this - let's implement it!" Dan encourages the person to step back, and follow his recommended steps. What the client saw at the conference may very well be the solution, but Tech Guru may also be able to provide a better/cheaper/faster solution.
Technology at Work
Dan gives an example of "business mission first, technology second" at work. Imagine a new client has an environment involving both Macs and PCs, and the staff wants better access to email outside the office. What does success look like? Easy: The staff happily accessing email on all devices, regardless of what devices are used. The solutions might be cloud hosted exchange, Google apps, or Microsoft Office 365. Of the options available, Dan and the client could determine which one would most successfully achieve the client's objective.
Let Tech Guru Be Part of the Solution
If your organization has technology problems or questions for Tech Guru, we hope you'll contact us. We'll talk it through!
Check in next week when we explore "Tech Commandment #2: Technology Doesn't Solve People Problems, It Exacerbates Them."
You are invited to join Tech Guru as we celebrate nine fantastic years serving Minnesota businesses and non-profits with our caring approach to business & technology!
Wednesday May 29th 5 PM to 7 PM
The Historic Grain Belt Brewery Bottling House
79 13th Ave. NE, Suite 208, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Grain Belt Belt beer and appetizers to be served!
Tech Guru keeps tech in check in Minneapolis, and CEO Dan Moshe is often a sounding board when clients are ready to upgrade their phones. Here are Dan’s suggestions on how to get the most out of your next phone purchase.
1. Know Your Selection
Windows phones generally offer a small app selection, but they work well with Microsoft environments.
Apple devices are famously easy to use. Apple offers a strong app store and a wide availability of free classes in the brick-and-mortar Apple store.
Google phones feature a strong app store and wide array of device sizes and types.
* A Note on Google Phones
Ensure the device you are getting is running a modern version of Google's Android OS, currently at 4.2, to ensure you'll get to take advantage of the latest features. Some carriers don't update their devices (Verizon, especially). Another option is to buy an unlocked device directly from Google and activate on a carrier of your choice that supports GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.).
What do we use?
We like the Google phones because they integrate well with Google Apps (which we use at Tech Guru), and love the turn-by-turn navigation (just recently available on iPhone).
2. Stay on Your Digital Path
Think about your digital life. If you are already heavily invested in Apple or Google, it's likely best to continue down that path to avoid having to re-purchase songs and apps.
Are the apps you want to use avaialble on your device? As a general rule of thumb, it costs companies more to develop for the Google platform than for the Apple platform because there are so many different sizes and types of Google Devices. Be sure the apps you want are available from the Google Play store or the iTunes store.
3. Make Your Carrier Work for You
Phone carriers, such as Verizon, AT&T, or T-mobile, can be the deciding factor on what phone you ultimately choose. A few minutes with a customer representative may save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Stretch Your Dollar
Ask the question, "Am I currently on the most cost-effective plan?" New plans come out all the time, and your carrier is unlikely to call to tell you that you are spending too much money. Todays plans benefit multiple lines, so it might make more sense to put multiple devices on the same carrier than it used to. Compare your carrier's best monthly price plan to other carriers' prices if you are considering switching.
Hear Me Now
Just as important is to confirm with a carrier that you have good coverage where you want to be. Check with coworkers to see if they get reception with their carriers in your building, or ask the customer rep what areas of your city may have weak coverage.
Another Satisfied Customer
Try it, and try it again! Once you have your new phone, test it out in all use cases within the return period to make sure that it works in your car, your home, with your blueteooth headset, etc.
Have a Little Fun
Looking for an addictive word game? Check out Ruzzle! We're hooked! Play Dan – his username is techguru.
When you're ready to get down to business and hook up to your work email, let us know!
Dan Moshe is founder and CEO of Minneapolis tech support company Tech Guru.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is hugely important for any small business. Managing your company's interactions with current and future customers is essential to your success. That's certainly true at Tech Guru. The thing is (and we're guessing this is the same for a lot of you), we're not salespeople per se. We're techies who need to — and frankly love to — interact with clients and prospects as part of our everyday business dealings. So anything that helps us strengthen our CRM is a boon to our business.
That's why we love Nutshell, a super-smart and intuitive web-based CRM system. And by intuitive, we mean that Nutshell is seriously easy to implement. "I used to use an Excel spreadsheet to track leads and contracts," says Tech Guru CEO Dan Moshe. "I've never seen anything like Nutshell. It helps our company to be much more productive, especially as we plan to add more sales people in the coming year."
With Nutshell you can quickly and easily:
- Stay on top of leads and deals
- Report on sales (and everything else)
- Manage your team's activities
- Use the iPhone app on the go
- Integrate with Google Apps
- Keep sales analytics at your fingertips
"Nutshell has helped us create a defined sales process and given us consistency, so we know we're hitting each step along the way. It forces us to check things off as we get them done," Moshe says. "The reporting is phenomenal and super easy. And the mobile app is very rich, clean, and beautiful. The icing on the cake is that when you call Nutshell's tech support, you immediately talk to a live person who can help you with any issue. I'm confident Nutshell will be a tool that will help us grow our company."
To learn more about Nutshell and other tried-and-true systems and applications that Tech Guru can help set up for your business, contact us today!
At Tech Guru, our core values aren't just business buzzwords; they truly guide what we do each and every day. So we're walking through our core values — how each evolved and what it means for you, our valued clients. This week we're taking a look at our second core value, "We Collaborate."
Tech Guru Core Values
- We Care
- We Collaborate
- We Persist
- We Are Accountable
Why "We Collaborate"
At Tech Guru, we always put our clients first. Always. Part of that means that we'll never let our clients get stuck in the position of middle man, ironing out conflicts between their different vendors. "It's about saving our clients time, money, and headaches," Tech Guru CEO Dan Moshe explains. "We understand that there's an ecosystem of providers helping our clients. We're never the only company involved. There's a software vendor, an Internet service provider, a payroll company, a CPA… Once we're authorized to communicate with the members of our client's ecosystem, we'll work directly with them. We'll build a communication plan, track progress, and create an accountability loop. This always results in better outcomes."
Examples of "We Collaborate" in Action
- Problem Solving: Recently a client had an Internet connection problem. We worked directly with their Internet service provider, geek-to-geek, to convey the technical data. Instead of triangulating the process, we dealt with the ISP directly and solved the problem.
- Consulting: When a client needed a better voice solution for their call center, we didn't dismissively say, "Sorry, we don't do that kind of work." Instead, we tapped our network to provide our client with three reputable companies who could help them. We provided IT insights that helped them select the right company, and immediately worked with that company to integrate the new protocol into the existing IT environment.
- Project Management: Moving to a new server can be a big deal — so when a client of ours had to make the leap, we project managed the entire thing. We worked with the database guy, the software people, and several contacts within their own organization to plan the change, communicate the process, and lead the switchover to completion with minimal pain.
What "We Collaborate" Means for You
As a Tech Guru client, you will never be caught in the middle between two different vendors pointing fingers at each other. Tech Guru is committed to taking ownership of and responsibility for your desired end result. We want to be held accountable. You'll always be kept in the loop, but we'll do the heavy lifting. You'll see better communication and better results. This is simply how we believe business should be done.
Tech Guru may be the most trusted name in Minneapolis IT support, but the company had to experiment a bit before finding the best and most efficient way to spread its message. Since CEO Dan Moshe signed up with Hubspot all-in-one marketing software, traffic to his company’s website has increased by over 80%. See if your company could “create marketing people love” with superstar software from Hubspot.
1. Hubspot is the only marketing software you need
Hubspot’s philosophy is that email marketing should be one place to publish content on several platforms. While you currently might use Wordpress for blogging, Mail Chimp for email marketing, and various social media sites, Hubspot allows you to login and manage everything in one spot.
2. Hubspot provides latest and greatest marketing training
Hubspot probably pays for itself in the ample training it provides business owners through Hubspot Academy. Users can watch webinars on topics such as content marketing, keyword use, and email list management to maximize their opportunities to increase website traffic and generate leads. Dan Moshe finds the training especially useful because these are skills you don’t learn in school and the marketing landscape is rapidly changing all the time.
3. Hubspot gives you your time back
Hubspot's training and tools focus on turning businesses' leads into customers. Even the basic edition of Hubspot will free up more time for members of your sales and marketing team to do just that. For busy business owners without a team, Hubspot software streamlines the marketing process and enables them to be better, faster, and seeing more results than ever, while still allowing them to focus on the needs of their business.
4. Hubspot offers top-notch support
Dan Moshe is continuously surprised at the quality of help he receives with Hubspot. “Considering how rapidly Hubspot is growing, they’re doing a great job with customer support,” he days. Hubspot has raised the bar for companies of this type, and it’s apparent that they care about their users. Hubspot understands that to retain customers they have to get them to implement the services Hubspot offers.
5. Hubspot’s analytics are off the charts
Charts, graphs, and real time data are all part of the Hubspot packages at every level. Dan Moshe is able to see, at a glance, if what he’s doing is making a difference. Numerous statistics are measured and comparing page data is easy.
Hubspot gets its users to “make love, not spam” by allowing them to stop worrying about coordination of marketing and focus more on content and results. As fellow Masters of Streamlining, if Tech Guru can help you smooth out your tech services we hope you’ll contact us soon.
Still want to know more about Hubspot? Check out their introductory video.
Dan Moshe is CEO and founder of Minneapolis tech support company Tech Guru.