ipad

#ProjectBanana: Launching this Fall

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So I have a secret to tell:  I’ve been working on a side project with a few crazy friends this past summer.  Correction: a few of my friends have been working on a project for quite some time. I’m just fortunate to have been involved recently more as a mentor and guide than anything else.

The good news is, things are getting close to completion. Which means launch date is creeping close.

What’s getting ready to launch? Well, I’ll let their PR machine take the lead on that. However, here’s the problem the team is looking to solve:

children's education

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s my son playing on the iPad. By himself. Learning…maybe. I hope.

So, keep your eye’s peeled here and on my Twitter feed. Things are about to get real. 

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9 Tools of the Trade

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There are many reasons why a business owner and entrepreneur succeed: education, family, money, street smarts, friends, etc. There are also many tools of the trade that make success a little easier to come by. And they all can be accessed regardless of any of the above. Below are nine tools that I use on a constant basis that enable me to focus more on business and less on the struggle of building a successful company:

OrangeYYZ/Network Orange

Location. Location. Location. Having a place to call home is important when building a business. It promotes stability and allows you to focus on meeting prospects and getting things done rather than having to worry about where you will work that day. When we started our social media agency we used to work out of coffee shops and libraries. Although we are still small we have had our own office for more than a year now. Thanks to ING Direct’s community/coworking space at the corner of Yonge and Shuter in the heart of downtown Toronto. I have tweeted and written about OrangeYYZ/Network Orange numerous times.

As a location that allows me access to business tools (desk, scanner/fax, wifi, coffee and kitchen services, amazing staff!), meeting rooms and a prime location to hold meetings, OrangeYYZ and Network Orange have been a blessing to me and our business.

MacBook Air

I can’t believe I went a lifetime without a MacBook. Previously I was using generic laptops and notebooks. The speed and efficiency of my Mac Air has literally given me untold hours of life back.

iPad

I never realized how impressed people are when I conduct a meeting with a tablet computer rather than a laptop or paper and pen. In my line of business, first impressions count. And if I leave an impression that shows I am up to date with the latest technology and trends, then my clients and potential clients feel secure in working with me.

The plethora of great business apps also help too!

Smartphone

You’re not in business without a smartphone. IMHO.

Google Apps: Gmail, Calendar, YouTube, Drive

Where would many of us be without the “cloud”? Our ability to have our email, documents, and calendars accessible from any device, anywhere in the world is astounding. So much so that today, it’s a given and we don’t think of it as mind bending. I conduct a lot of business with Google apps.

HootSuite

The best social media dashboard hands down. This web-based product allows me to manage both my social media personal and business lives on one screen. From monitoring and moderating to creating content, HootSuite is my must-have social media tool.

Trello

As we grew our business there became a glaring need to use a project management tool to keep everyone updated and accountable. To the rescue came Trello. Trello is a simple, lightweight, yet powerful PM tool for teams as small as one and as large as you want. While Trello does have mobile versions, their web-based platform is the best.

Evernote

Evernote helps me remember. Everything. It is my go to notebook on the go. I can input notes into my tablet, smartphone or computer and then access it from any of these devices. And because Evernote helps me remember, it makes me look smart!

HighRise

Need to manage contacts and leads and don’t want to spend lots on a customer management tool? Want something simple, east and effective. Try using HighRise to keep you on the right track to closing those sales leads. I’ve been using it for the better part of 3 years and I must say that it is the most important business tool I use.  Without a pipeline (and a tool to manage this pipeline) any business will eventually dry up.

These are my 9 favourite business “tools”. what are some of yours?

Top 5 Business Apps for the iPad

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I haven’t used my iPad for too long. In fact, I’ve had it for under a year. When I first received it I didn’t think much of it. It had some cool apps but I was using it more for consuming entertainment than anything else. However, a business meeting I had a couple of months ago changed everything.

The person we went to see was impressed that we all had iPads at the meeting rather than mini sized laptops. Really? Impressed with iPads? Hey, he was in charge of the Canadian arm of a billion dollar brand. So who was I to argue. Since that meeting I have taken my iPad to every meeting. And in so doing, I’ve tried to use my iPad more and more for business.

Today, I present to you my 5 favourite business apps for the iPad. In no particular order:

Trello – We’ve been using this collaboration tool at our social media agency for the better part of a year now. Besides all the great features of the app, the iPad version comes with push notifications and multi-touch dragging.

Evernote – I’m sure everyone already knows about this app. Just in case you “forget”, go here.

LinkedIn – The go to app for staying connected to professionals in your network is available for you to use on the iPad.

HootSuite – I recently wrote about HootSuite. I’ve actually written a lot about HootSuite over the years so you know I’m a fan. Personally, HootSuite is my go to app for managing conversations for multiple brands across multiple social media platforms.

Dropbox – I’m not the biggest fan or user of Dropbox (I’m a heavy Google Apps user) but it has come in handy for me. It’s the best thing I’ve found to help me share presentations with clients and prospects.

What are your favourite iPad business apps?

Decisions, decisions

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I recently entered a contest that was promoted by Toronto-based My City Lives and sponsored by ING Direct Cafe.  It was a contest that asked people to create a video that talked about a place they use to “save money in the city of Toronto.”  I made a couple of videos.  The one that I was hoping would win was my piece on The Work Republic.  (See video below.)

Last week it was announced that my submission was one of the winners.  First off, congratulations to all the other winners as well.  There are some cool videos and suggestions of places that I will definitely be keeping in mind.

Second, thanks to everyone who watched and voted for my video.

Now things get a little complicated.  I have two choices of prizing that I can choose from.  The first choice is a brand new iPad. I would REALLY like a brand new tablet as I’ve been having challenges with my Android tablet. The second choice is to pick a charity for the ING Direct Cafe to donate $2500 to.

So the choice I’m left with is do I take the iPad or do I enable a worthy cause?

If I “donate” the $2500, the charity gets awareness and the money to help them continue their work and programming.  I also win by being the “nice guy”  who gave up the cool iPad to help out a worthy cause. However,  some people might say I did this to increase my likeability.

If I choose the iPad I lose.  Yes I get the iPad but I also will become known as the douche who chose to NOT give money to a charity.

If no one was aware of my choice maybe this wouldn’t be such an interesting decision.  But it is public.

What would your choice be?