Stop Spam by Routing Your Email Through an Anonymous Gmail Filter

imageThe anti-spam fortress for my small business consists of several defense mechanisms, of which routing all my email through an “anonymous” Gmail account is my knight in shining armor.

The general strategy here is not to use Gmail as your main business email account, but rather as an effective spam filter for your regular business email address.

The tactic involves routing all you email through Gmail prior to receiving the email in your primary email address and client, such as MS Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.

This is the first article in my series Five Tips on How to Stop Spam Effectively

Read more


Automate Repetitive Keystrokes with Macros to Save Time

imageIf you find yourself writing repetitive phrases in emails or blog comments, and want to save lots of time, you may be interested in trying out Texter by Adam Pash, an editor at Lifehacker.com.

Texter is substitution application based on the popular AutoHotKey macros module, and will save you countless keystrokes by replacing abbreviations with commonly used phrases you define. As real bonus, Texter is free and can be installed with just a quick visit to Lifehacker.com, a blog well worth visiting in and of itself for its time-saving tips.

I respond to tons of technical inquiries for my two small businesses each week. Since starting Texter, I think I’ve already cut my email time in half!

Read more


How to Choose a Name for Your Small Business

imageThe first task we tend to do when creating a new startup idea is to decide upon its company name.  With a name, you feel the business is real and that you can finally start talking about it.

Choosing the right name can help potential customers find you, identify with you, and thus buy from you.

On the flip side of the coin, starting with the wrong name can cost you in the long term. Choosing the wrong name can mean the loss of previously attained page rank status on search engines, confusion among yours suppliers, and ultimately the loss of customers.

Read more


Use a Mailbox Service to Free Your Business for Growth

imageWhat do UPS Stores, Mail Boxes Etc., and other mailbox services have in common? They can be an invaluable backend partner for your small or home business, especially during crunch time.

A couple years ago, I decided to set up a mailbox at a UPS Store for my business. Today, I still think it was one of the best cheap investments I’ve ever made, and I constantly wonder how I could have gone without it earlier. 

Read more


What’s the Life Expectancy of Your Service Provider?

imageWhether or not your small business uses Vonage, dim news of the troubled internet phone company is a wake up call for all of us to reexamine the stability of all our service providers, especially those based on the ever-changing internet.

In case you haven’t heard, Vonage is sinking fast, after losing its second patent infringement lawsuit in a single year. If you’re a Vonage customer, it may be time to jump ship because your business phone number may not float for long.

If you’re not a Vonage customer, it still doesn’t mean your off the hook just yet.

Read more


Choosing a corporate structure

image
There are a number of different structures to choose in incorporating your start-up, e.g. sole proprietorship, LLC, C-Corp.  You can find good books to learn their tax implications.  But not many books discuss them from business perspectives. There are a few business characteristics that should drive your decision on the incorporation, 1) possibility of product and service liability, 2) relationship with your team, 3) need for upfront capital and time, and 4) aspiration for a corporate merger or IPO.  What structure works best?

Read more