Join Webinars from your iPad

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I had to share some exciting news from Citrix with all of you that have an iPad or that are thinking about getting an iPad. I attended a webinar yesterday via my iPad ~ WOW! All I did was click on the webinar link in my email and I instantly began to connect. I wasn't even prompted to enter my name and email, my iPad did that automatically. The audio and video worked perfectly with no lag time. Love the ability to zoom by tapping and pinching. I connected to the webinar via our office WiFi; using a 3G connection will use too much of your 3G plan. Just one more reason to think about getting an iPad.

Citrix (GoToMeeting) announced this week that you can now join webinars on your iPad. Download the free app from the Apple App Store and join meetings on your iPad in seconds. This exciting addition to GoToMeeting, built specifically for the iPad, makes online meetings more accessible than ever. Use your iPad to attend online meetings on the go - at a café, in a hotel, wherever you happen to be.

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Using GoToMeeting on an iPad, you can:
  • Attend online meetings wherever you are - at no charge.
  • Join meetings in seconds by tapping a link in an email or enter the meeting ID in GTM App
  • View presentations, mockups and reports - whatever the presenter shares on-screen.
  • Connect to audio through your iPad or over the phone.
  • Pinch to zoom meeting content.
  • Switch between portrait and landscape.
  • Increase the viewer size with a double tap of the finger.
Using GoToMeeting on an iPad, you can't:
  • Ask questions (Citrix is working on adding this functionality)
  • Raise your hand
NOTE: To enjoy webinars without internet interruption, I recommend you join a webinar only when using a WiFi connection.

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I recently purchased an stand for my iPad. A stand is a perfect solution when I need hands-free viewing for webinars or when I'm cooking. Did I mention I love allrecipes.com?


Do you feel the need for speed?

Have you ever checked your internet speed? Occasionally, everyone should check their internet speed to confirm they're actually getting the speed they're paying for. There are several speed tests that will clock your download & upload speed. The download speed will be the most important test, since 95% of the time you're surfing the internet, viewing videos or downloading files and images. You would only use the upload speed when you're uploading a file to a forum or sending an email with an attachment.

Do you feel the need for speed? Check out your internet speed by clicking on one of the links below. Check your speed multiple times as your speed will vary based on the time of day.

Below are the speed test results from a few of the Minutes Matter team:

  • Minutes Matter Office ~ Comcast Business Class Internet 22Mbps ($99 per month) our download speed ranges between 16 - 24 Mbps. (see screenshot above)
  • Anna, Studio's Tech Support ~ Comcast personal ($52 per month) her download speed ranges between 9 - 12 Mbps.
  • Vickie, QuickBooks Tech Support ~ Hughes Network (she lives in a rural area and paid one upfront fee) her download speed ranges between 5.79 - 5.82 Mbps.
  • Merlyn, Studio's Coach ~ Comcast personal ($55 per month) her download speed ranges between 15 - 32 Mbps. (Merlyn, you're kicking with that 32 Mbps)
Do you have to wait several seconds for a website to load or 15 - 30 minutes to download a software program like Studio? If so, you're experiencing a slower internet connection. The normal time to download our Studio software should be 2 - 7 minutes. More than likely your IP (internet provider) offers multiple speed levels of course a higher price tag comes with the higher speed. Contact your IP and find out if you're actually receiving the speed you're paying for. If you're paying for the lowest speed you might consider increasing your speed to the next level. In this day and time none of us like to wait. We all want instant results. Today, so much of our design research is done on the internet; business owners need a fast connection to reduce wait times. DSL connections are typically a little slower than cable speeds. Mobile Broadbands or Aircards are slower than DSL with speeds ranging from 1 - 3 Mbps. Hardwiring your computer to your router will increase your internet speed. The further away your laptop is from your router the slower the connection. When possible, try to download large files and watch videos when you're hardwired.


Four Great Ways to Use Twitter for Your Design Business

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Have you signed up for an account with Twitter? If not, you should sign now and secure your company name and your personal name. I know what you're thinking, I don't care what people are eating for dinner or when they are going to sleep. And you're right most people don't care about that type of chatter. Twitter is much more than when people are eating or when they are sleeping. I use Twitter for multiple reasons and I keep finding more ways all the time.
My top four reasons to use Twitter:
  • Search a topic: Twitter is a great vehicle to search a what people are saying on a specific topic or product. Almost EVERY business has a Twitter handle. (That's definitely a reason you should sign up for a Twitter account today, if you haven't already.)
  • Your website: For those of you that have new and updated website, you can add your Twitter feed on the homepage of your website. Your homepage will always feel fresh and up to date. You never know when a visitor might see a Tweet that peaks their interest. It might prompt them to pick up the phone an make an appointment. Best of all Tweeting is free! Your clients will begin to know, like and trust you through Tweeting. See screenshot of our new Minutes Matter website. Casey is working hard again!
  • What's happening at a conference? Hashtags are another great way to use Twitter. Attending a seminar, market, convention or trade show? Search to see if the event has created a hashtag. Using a hashtag is totally different than following someone on Twitter. Here's how they work. Say that you were attending an event and the event promoted the hashtag #hpfall (High Point Fall Market) every Tweet that includes #hpfall will be organized and listed into that specific search. Say you're at a conference and the presenter has some great tips or inspiring ideas; you could Tweet what you think; don't forget to include the hashtag. Everyone that searches the hashtag can see all those Tweets. When lots of people are Tweeting during a conference using the same hashtag, people that aren't able to attend the conference could get a glimpse of what's happening at the conference and what they are missing. The next conference Minutes Matter is attending will be the WCAA Inspire 2011 conference. Hopefully, they are reading this ezine and will create the hashtag #wcaainspire hint, hint!! We have created a hashtag for our monthly webinars. If you didn't receive your webinar confirmation or have a question or comment during the webinar you can Tweet using the #mmwebinar hashtag. We'll be monitoring the hashtag during every webinar as well as one hour prior to the webinar. Here's an example of a Tweet using a hashtag: I'm trying to join the Studio Live webinar today, HELP! #mmwebinar
  • Vendor Help! Tweet a question to a vendor, post a concern (be nice), or better yet give a testimonial. Recently, I was having trouble with my Comcast Business internet. I Tweeted: "@comcast My internet has been intermittent for two weeks. Hard to do business!" A tech had already come and gone trying to correct the issue, but couldn't find the problem. After my Tweet, I received a reply within 30 minutes, asking me to email them with more details. I emailed them the details, my area Comcast supervisor called me personally and dispatched three techs to come out the next day. I now have the supervisor's cell phone number. Love that! I am happy to report my internet issues seems to be a thing of the past. Of course, I also Tweeted about their great customer service.

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Minutes Matter's new website ~ Coming Soon!

I usually try to Tweet one - three times a day. Of course, you'll want to keep your Tweets short and sweet because you're only allowed 140 characters per Tweet. I love using Seesmic, I can view most of my social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all in one place.

If you would like to follow me on Twitter search @minutesmatter. Have a question or comment about Studio or need to get activated? Tweet us!


My Dogs Ate My Rendering!

Below is an email Merlyn received after today's Studio Live webinar. Merlyn copied me on the email and I laughed out loud when I read it. Susann gladly gave us permission to post her email. It is really funny when things like this aren't happening to you.


"Hi Merlyn, Great webinar today (as usual!). I have to tell you about how Studio saved me a trip recently... I have two dogs that I rescued 5 years ago. They were holy terrors when I first got them and have come a long way since then, but they still have a few "quirks" that drive me crazy. I had just heard from a client that she wanted to go with one of my renderings for her MBR, and she asked me to send her a quote. I said sure, got her folder out and went to another room to get my calculator. By the time I got back to my desk, her folder had been ripped to shreds and partially eaten by one (or both, who knows?) of the dogs. (Yeah, two years ago they did that to my taxes just as I was going to deliver them to my accountant). Anyway, as I sifted through the shards of paper, I found my initial measurements showing all but the length of the window being quoted. I wanted to get that quote in the mail that day and not have to wait a few days to go out to measure yet again. Then it dawned on me...when I did the rendering for that window, I did it on a photo and used the set scale tool. So, I checked the rendering and had the measurement that was close enough to do the quote! Bet you haven't heard that one before!! I told the client (who also has dogs) who got a big kick out of the story (as did my accountant two years ago)...I'm so glad everyone else thinks it's so funny!
Susann S.
Pittsburgh, PA"

Susann, I know your dogs aren't as bad as the dog in the photo, but I thought the photo added a bit more humor to your story. Thanks for sharing!

Do you have a story you would like to share regarding how you have used Studio?


How to Build Year-end Momentum and Profit for Your Interior Design Business

I read a great book in June that said that your revenue and profits are a lagging indicator of the quality and quantity of your relationships. Boom! That one statement was worth reading the entire book.

How well are you doing on a scale of 1 – 10 for relationship building? Be honest with yourself. Your numbers are the symptom of the problem.

Every relationship is important, yet some are more important than others. Your relationship with your current and past clients is the fastest way you can get more business. What are you doing to nurture those relationships? Are you keeping in touch frequently and more than just for job reasons?

What about past clients? Do you have a nurturing program to keep them informed? Do you have a monthly newsletter that you send either physically or digitally?

What about your referral partners? Are you constantly seeking to build relationships with the top advisors who serve prospects you prefer to work with?

Here are seven tips to transform your results:

  1. Start a 12-touch program prospects, clients and referral partners. Plan this in advance and have an intern, virtual assistant or junior designer manage the process.
  2. Invest in lots of cards – thank you, sympathy, congratulations, birthday, anniversary, new house, etc. Have note cards printed with your branding and carry them in your car with stamps and a pen. Literally write a thank you note after you meet someone new. Add their name to your database immediately (delegate), and follow up frequently with offers of connections for them.
  3. Ask your current clients about other projects they’ve considered and make an offer for a new service. (50% is the typical close rate)
  4. Contact your past clients to “check in” and see how they are doing. Let them know you’re doing a short survey to improve your services, and would like their feedback. Ask for a testimonial if you haven’t gotten one from them in the past, and of course, ask for referrals if they are happy and not interested in a new project. It’s a perfect time to remind them that they can get projects done by the holidays if you start now. Give them an incentive to do so. (33% is typical close rate)
  5. Have a “Client Appreciation” party and have them invite a friend they think might be interested in your services. Create a memorable event, and even invite a local celebrity. It can be less expensive than you think.
  6. Make a list of the most connected and influential advisors in your city, and reach out to them to meet. Ask them if you could get their advice about how they grew their businesses so successfully. Keep the interview short. Find out what their biggest challenge is in their business and ask how you would know someone who would be an ideal client for them. Always send a thank you note. Maintain your contacts frequently.
  7. High visibility creates implied credibility. Get published frequently in magazines and newspapers, get interviewed on TV or radio, send out press releases online and offline, get involved in one major charity that you are interested in, and speak locally and nationally. You can even write an eBook that you can publish on Amazon.

What’s your favorite way to build your business?

Gail Doby, ASID is an author, speaker, writer, interior designer, and Chief Vision Officer of Design Success University, your shortcut to a more profitable and passion-filled design business. Click here for your complimentary copy of the Interior Design Fee and Salary Survey eBook. ($79 Value) You’ll also receive our complimentary weekly newsletter, New IDEAS.


Is it easy to do business with your company? WiseStamp can help!

What's in your signature? Okay, I played on the Capital One credit card slogan What's in your wallet? Have you given thought to the fact that your email signature could be marketing for you? Your email signature can be an effective way to give clients a glimpse of who you are and what you're doing. The same concept applies to emails to your family and friends.

All of us at Minutes Matter use the WiseStamp App for our email signatures. WiseStamp is a downloadable add-on for Firefox, Chrome and Safari and can be used with Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail. Last week, I decided I wanted to make my life even easier and upgraded to the Pro version of WiseStamp. For years I used the free version, but lately I began to visualize more possibilities if I were to upgrade. When you upgrade you can create unlimited signatures, assign email accounts to a specific signatures, remove the WiseStamp promo link and more. When I send an email, I feel compelled to include a signature that is appropriate to the recipient(s), therefore, I would spend time editing signatures. Think about the emails you receive with and without out customized signatures. How do they make you feel? Are more emotions triggered with a carefully crafted signature?

Have you ever received an email and wanted to know a little more about that person or company? What if your email signature sparked an interest in you or your company. When you include your Twitter feed and post on Twitter once a day, not only will you begin to increase your web presence you'll begin to let your customer know, like, and trust you. Tweets can definitely begin to create a buzz. Since the Twitter feed displays your latest tweet your content will always be current.

You can add other social links like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Calendar, Plancast, favorite quotes, blogs and so much more. With the Pro version you can even add a custom banner with your company logo. Below are a couple examples of my signatures.

Minutes Matter signature ~ I include all my social links that pertain to Minutes Matter or Debbie Green. Anytime I send an email on behalf of debbie@minutesmatter.com my Minutes Matter signature automatically displays.

Also, note the three circles in the screenshot below; the circles highlight ways you can access WiseStamp. Simply click on the WiseStamp icon and click Edit Wisestamp.

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Dandelion Interiors signature ~ In my Dandelion Interiors signature I include all social links that pertain to Dandelion Interiors and Debbie Green. Of course, some like Facebook, LinkedIn, Plancast and About.me are the same for both of my businesses. Anytime I send an email on behalf of debbie@dandelioninteriors.com my Dandelion Interiors signature automatically displays.

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My Family signature ~ This signature is very informal with a casual photo, however, I included my social links since my family loves to know what I am up to and where I am going.

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My Mom signature ~ I decided to create a mom signature when I email my two sons, it seemed to give be more of the sentiment I want to convey. I even included one of my favorite scriptures about not worrying about tomorrow and being happy today. Since I have unlimited signatures I can create, why not? When my two granddaughters get old enough to email me I'll create a grandmother/DG (DG is the name my granddaughters call me) signature. It will include a casual photo of me and the two girls.

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I also created a friends/church signature which is very similar to my family signature. The closing and my signature are the only two differences.

Time Saver: WiseStamp allows you to save and backup all signatures to the WiseStamp server. Which, in turn allows you to download the signatures to all of your computers. Setup signatures once and you're done! When you make any changes to your signatures make sure you go into the WiseStamp Settings and Save & Backup.

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