The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Businesses Need to Use Automation to Adapt

Businesses Need to Use Automation to Adapt

Let’s be real. For most small businesses during this period, it’s been extremely difficult.  If you were somehow able to sustain operations during this time, you most likely had to make some serious alterations to the way that you normally do things. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the technologies that you probably already have, and how you can change the way you use them to benefit your business as concerns spike over COVID-19. 

0 Comments
Continue reading

What Are the Most Important IT Solutions for an SMB?

What Are the Most Important IT Solutions for an SMB?

While all a business’ technology solutions are important, some are bound to take priority over the others, especially when certain ones become an industry-wide focus. A recent survey evaluated the top concerns of small-to-medium-sized businesses for the coming year. The results of the survey identified a few telling trends regarding the priorities that SMBs hold now, and for good reason.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Presence Right Now

Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Presence Right Now

Businesses around the world now find themselves in a situation unlike what most have ever seen. With so many trying to keep their distance from one another, many workplaces have deemed it necessary to close down for the time being or to operate remotely in order to reduce the risk they present to their clients and customers… but it isn’t as though these clients and customers are going to expect radio silence from these businesses.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Cutting Costs Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Support

Cutting Costs Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Support

If you’re trying to minimize your operating costs to improve your budget, it is important to keep in mind that sacrifice isn’t your only option. Instead, you also have the option of streamlining and minimizing some of your larger expenses by enlisting a managed services provider and the more sustainable business model we adhere to.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Your Business Processes Are Everything

Your Business Processes Are Everything

The word “procedure” can easily be perceived in a negative light nowadays. It just sounds so… rote… compared to the exciting and dynamic buzzwords that so many “thought-leading, influencing, social media innovators” today toss around. Now, we don’t mean to disparage these personalities - we just want to emphasize that these innovations rely on a foundation to support them, and these foundations are based on business procedures and processes.


Let’s look at why even the most innovative businesses depend on their procedures to operate - and how a procedure can be properly created as well.

Why Processes and Procedures Matter to Businesses

If you were to list the most important qualities that a business should have, would your list include consistency? It really should. After all, if Client A, B, and C each paid for the same service, doesn’t it stand to reason that all three of them receive the same quality of service? Consistency can go a long way to support your client retention, your productivity, and any of a variety of other internal and external business considerations. Therefore, it only makes sense that establishing processes will work to your business’ benefit. 

There are a variety of ways that they can do so, for that matter. For instance, they can…

  • Help improve your business’ efficiency
  • Optimize internal and external communications
  • Minimize confusion in your operations
  • Secure accountability in your workflows
  • As mentioned above, better ensure consistency in outcomes

… so it only makes sense to invest the time it will take to standardize how your business completes certain tasks. Consider, for a moment, the modern fast food franchise.

Slight cost and menu changes aside, going to a fast food restaurant on one side of the country should be effectively identical to going to one on the other side. This is largely because there are essential processes that take place in the kitchens.

The moment a server starts to put together an order with a customer at the front counter, a screen in the back shows the order being constructed. This allows the team in the back to start putting it together, keeping the communications between the front and back teams effectively seamless. Each person back there has their own task - whether it is to cook the meat, start building the sandwiches, or finish them and send them to the front.

As a result, it isn’t unheard of for a finished sandwich to reach the customer less than a minute after they have placed their order - in fact, that’s the goal - and that is exactly how they expect it to be.

Now, while your business almost certainly has very different goals and services than a chain burger joint, there is no reason that you can’t experience similar benefits to your operations by implementing standardized procedures as well.

What Makes a Good Process

Now, this may feel like we’re getting a little into the weeds here, but not all processes are necessarily created equally. To make sure that your process is worth the time spent to formalize it, it should feature four qualities:

  • It can be repeated - There isn’t much use in a process that only applies to a specific scenario or can’t hypothetically be repeated indefinitely. A good process can apply to a variety of circumstances, and be used more than once

  • It contributes value - Any process you design should have a purpose to each step… there should never be any “busy work” involved in one of the included tasks.

  • It has a clear beginning and an end - Every process you develop should have a defined starting point, where something signifies that the procedure should commence, as well as a conclusion, where no further action needs to be taken. Each step between these points also needs to be easy to differentiate from the others.

  • The process can evolve - Of course, you aren’t going to (or at least, shouldn’t) continue using the same tools and solutions indefinitely, which will at some point impact these processes. Your processes should be able to accept these impacts without your clients seeing any ill effects.

Use Automation to Power Your Processes

If there is any issue that every business is subject to, it’s human error. Regardless of how perfect and refined your procedures are, there is always the risk that the end user will miss a step - like when the fast food worker forgets to put the pickle on your sandwich.

In your business, however, the consequences are probably a little greater than a missing crunch.

That’s why many businesses have embraced the use of automation to enhance their business processes. Not only does automation bring about the benefits we discussed above - the improved efficiency and accountability - it also helps you avoid human error at key points in your processes. Additionally, it frees up your employees to accomplish other things, perhaps related to that same process.

There are many different solutions designed to help with different tasks, and they can all play a role in your automated processes. The Connection, Inc is here to help you determine what is best for your business’ efficiency.

To learn more about how we can help you automate some of your processes, or about the other benefits that we can provide for your organization, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

0 Comments
Continue reading

What Does It Mean to Plan for the Worst?

What Does It Mean to Plan for the Worst?

You don’t need to be repeatedly told just how important risk management is. If you did, you probably wouldn’t have made it this far. One problem you see from business owners today is that while they understand just how many problems there are--and which ones they need to find solutions for first--they want to grow their company so fast that they overlook potential problems and end up hurting their business as a result. This month, we thought we would talk a little bit about contingency planning and how, if it is done right, it can have a marked effect on your business’ ability to carry-on after a problematic event. 

0 Comments
Continue reading

Tip of the Week: Extend Your IT Budget

Tip of the Week: Extend Your IT Budget

Budgeting for your technology can be pretty difficult. You never really know when some problem is going to present itself and cost your business an arm and a leg. Since you can’t always see what’s coming, saving money when you can is important. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can save money on your business’ IT.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Need to Prioritize Data Management

Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Need to Prioritize Data Management

For the small business, being more efficient with resources can make a massive difference. In fact, it can be the difference between organizational sustainability and organizational failure. The bottom line is that, no matter how big or small they are, today’s businesses need to be smarter to compete. As a result, some businesses have begun to utilize data management platforms (DMP) in order to put themselves in a better position to understand their business, their market, and their customers. Let’s take a look at the DMP, and how it works to help businesses like yours be more effective.

0 Comments
Continue reading

How IT Benefits a Small Business’ Growth Potential

How IT Benefits a Small Business’ Growth Potential

When we discuss our service offerings, we understand that it can all seem like a little much, especially to the small business that - up to this point - has never needed all these fancy solutions to operate effectively. However, there are a few considerations that the business this scenario applies to needs to account for. For instance, is it certain that these solutions are unnecessary?


As it happens, probably not. On top of that, these solutions will only make doing business easier for you.

Apart from size and scope, what’s all that different between your operation and that of a large business? Not all that much - which means that you both are going about business in similar ways. At least, you probably should be.

If you still aren’t convinced, we’ve assembled a few common IT-based tools and solutions and reviewed the benefits each can deliver.

Web-Based Payments
Balancing out all of your business-essential tasks, it’s probably safe to say that ‘collecting payments’ ranks pretty high on that list. Any organization that provides goods and/or services needs to be reimbursed for those goods and/or services in some way if they are going to last very long. Accepting payments online can help encourage this by eliminating the need for a patron to visit your place of business to hand over a check, potentially reducing the time that your invoices are left outstanding.

Of course, to implement this intelligently, you will need to make sure that this is implemented securely. Many security solutions integrate this requirement, so we can help advise you on the right platform to use and assist you in managing it.

Communication
Promising something to your business’ audience is one thing. Ensuring that you can pull it off behind-the-scenes is another. The right technology solutions will help your team keep clear communications with each other, whether it’s a project management system, company email account, or an internal chat interface.

You may be surprised to discover how many time-wasting issues can be avoided just through the mitigation of miscommunication, thanks to simpler and more informative referential information. Progress toward goals, potential and imminent complications, and other key milestones are all made much easier to keep track of.

Social Media
While many see social media as an activity that is inappropriate for businesses, it can actually be highly beneficial to your strategy to leverage it in some ways. Not only can it be a highly effective marketing tool, it can give you some improved insight into what your clients or customers are looking for, thereby helping you shape your strategy.

Then there’s its potential to be used as a line of communication with your audience. Someone seeking customer service would find it easy just to send a brief message to your business on social media, as long as someone is keeping an eye on the account and responding to these messages.

Being too quick to discredit social media can have an impact on a business’ success. Leveraging it to assist your operations can as well, but with a much more preferable outcome.

Cloud Computing
There are many applications for cloud computing that businesses of all sizes could benefit from considerably. The ability to securely access data enables a team to access their data and collaborate on it from effectively anywhere, a highly useful prospect for many businesses. Alternatively, the cloud can be used to host a comprehensive business backup as an ace in the hole in case of disaster.

If you’re reconsidering how you implement IT solutions in your business, give us a call at (732) 291-5938. We can help you shape your strategy to fit your precise needs.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Small Businesses Using Emerging Technologies to Get Ahead

Small Businesses Using Emerging Technologies to Get Ahead

If your business uses technology to be more productive and efficient, you know that as soon as you buy a piece of new technology, there is another one right behind it that has more power, or better features. This is true for consumers as well. This constant innovation is what has made technology a viable option for many small businesses. After all, if computers hadn’t been innovated on constantly, they’d still be the size of a room (or wouldn’t exist at all).

0 Comments
Continue reading

Outsourced Project Management: A Good Option for Small Businesses

Outsourced Project Management: A Good Option for Small Businesses

Small businesses often have to rely on different means to achieve the same level of project management as enterprises. This is due to the demands of project management being significantly different in scope, but also the way that your company implements new technology solutions. Instead of worrying about the specifics of project management, you can outsource these responsibilities to a managed service provider.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Small Businesses Face Challenges in 2018

Small Businesses Face Challenges in 2018

The modern small business will face several challenges in 2018. The world is changing, and with it, so is business. For many small businesses, this can either be looked on as the opportunity they’ve been waiting for, or, it can be viewed as the beginning of the end. No matter what situations you are faced with this year, understanding what problems your business faces, and how to solve them is imperative to your small business’ success.


In the technology world, 2018 will be more about utilizing innovations to the technologies that are already available rather than deploying newfangled technologies, as many small businesses focus on revenue generation rather than simply cutting their technology costs. Chances are your organization already takes advantage of many of today’s most cost-prohibitive technology trends. Whether or not you are using them properly will ultimately be the difference in meeting your yearly projections. We take a look at some of the most compelling variables a small business owner needs to consider in order to take their business in the right direction.

Running a Smarter Business
While 2017 was a good year for the small business, many smaller organizations fall into the trap of not focusing on revenue generation; setting their sights on sustainability rather than success. If your business has been around the block a bit, you may be comfortable with the “business as usual” approach. You may be surprised to know that by changing the way you approach certain core strategies, you can initiate greater revenue generation and stop focusing so much of your time and effort on practices that aren’t effective and just hold your business back.

Cost cutting initiatives have been all the rage for the past several years. Many businesses utilize outsourced services such as cloud computing, print services, and staffing agencies to reduce their capital expenses. This strategy is sound--it provides an organization with more upfront capital--allowing for more a targeted approach at projects that can spur on revenue generation. The issue is that by not making ANY true capital investments, you are likely paying more.

One way to improve your business’ position is to consider the value you get from recurring services. A service like the one The Connection, Inc provides, where you can see an immediate return on your recurring investment, is valuable, and rare. There are some services, however, that don’t provide a rapid or sustainable return, and by paying more up front, you could actually mitigate cost that adds up over time. Paying for software you barely use per month may seem affordable if you look at the operational cost, but in true capital, renewing a yearly license for a single copy of the software may actually save you money.

As far as the revenue generation problem goes, there are two solutions that are available to every business that, once implemented, are likely to provide a solid ROI. The first is analysis. Your company generates a lot of data, and much of that data is relevant in the context of making better business decisions. Business intelligence, that is the structured analysis of warehoused data, can provide some very useful answers. Consider that your operational data, data about staff effectiveness, data about your marketing and advertising initiatives all hold in them a small piece of truth about the way your business operates. By gaining a more comprehensive understanding of how your business functions, you can make better strategic and operational decisions.

At The Connection, Inc, we are just starting to understand how to help our clients run smarter businesses. Since profit margins and returns on many goods have shrunk significantly over the years, businesses have looked to services to fill in the gaps when they don’t have the capital to undertake major investments for staff, technology, or otherwise. Today we can set up a data warehouse to store all the relevant data so that you can use automated analytic software to crawl the data to get the truth about how your business functions, and what to do to boost revenue generation.

The second is sometimes looked on as an antiquated strategy; but, in the information age it remains as true today as ever. Invest in your people. It’s simple, the better your people enjoy working for you--the more they see your sacrifice and hard work--the more they have reason to be proud to have their job with your organization--the better your company will function. While we push automation every day to help you get more out of your company, you won’t get anything out of it if you view your employees as a hindrance. Think about it this way, your people are your biggest expense, and as a result, should be your biggest priority.

With the technology that is coming, this tried-and-true method of running a smarter business is going to be tested. Many larger enterprises have begun utilizing automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in an effort to provide higher returns for their investors. It’s only a matter of time before small businesses around the world will be using the same technologies to try to turn a penny into a nickel. While there are some jobs that can be eliminated with these technologies, there will be different jobs created through the use of them. With automation beginning to redefine the job market, independent workers will be in demand to fill in the gaps. So, while these jobs have less definition, the need for hungry, happy workers will be there for as long as goods and services are produced.

To get your staff working the way you need them to work, you have to invest in them. Here are three ways you can run a smarter business by getting more from your staff:

  1. Improve retention - Onboarding new workers is expensive and time-consuming. It puts a strain on almost every part of your business. Small businesses often can’t pay their workers the same rate that a major corporation might, but they can provide them with more value. By investing in training/professional development, benefits, and other courtesies, people will want to work for you and won’t be continuously looking for a way out.
  2. Improve morale - If your workers are stressed out, you can see it immediately. How do your workers interact? Is there a buzz in your place of business, or is it silent? A silent workplace is great if you run a public library, but if you run an office the lack of noise is deafening, and a telling symptom of people just waiting to punch out for the day. Most people may work for the paycheck, but if they are working for the weekend, you need to make an effort to boost morale.
  3. Two-way Loyalty - Many small business owners demand loyalty out of their people, but refuse to reciprocate. There is nothing that will make a worker throw in the towel faster than a lack of loyalty. Very few people prosper in an unsupportive environment. To keep your workers in a productive mindset, make them realize that you are working together for a common goal, not just working for you.

Getting smarter about the way you do business doesn’t start with technology, and doesn’t start with capital, it starts with a dedication to do the right thing for your clients, for your staff, and for the myriad of other people that depend on your business. If you handle your staff in the right way, it will provide you with the largest ROI of any investment you can make this year, and any year.

Learn Where You Can Compete and Where You Can’t
Many of today’s small business owners look at their more-successful competition and try to emulate the practices that have made them a success. The fundamental problem with this strategy would be that you are in competition with these companies for revenue, and by doing things the same way as they do it doesn’t set your business apart from them. That being said, there is are reasons that the company you are setting out to emulate is having success. By copying your competitors’ best features, you could create some space in even the most saturated market. Whether they boast superior brand recognition, have superior customer service, are superior at fulfillment, etc. you have to know your place in your market. In fact, many experts consider the act of finding your niche inside of your target market to be one of the largest differentiators to achieving success for a small business.

Consider your smartphone for a minute. You decide to start a company to make smartphones. Chances are you aren’t going to compete with the Apples, Nokias, and Samsungs of the world. So, while it stands to reason that you may want to abandon your plan altogether, you start looking at the data and there are no phones made specifically for doctors. If you deliver on your promises and create a device that works for the needs of doctors, there is a chance that you can compete within that niche market, while not really competing at all in the larger market at all.

Anything you can do to deliver your goods and services to the most people should be the aim, but be cognizant that by setting your sights too high, you may just be putting your company in a perilous predicament. You need top tier customer service, a trustworthy product that you stand behind, and a plan on how to get your product to your consumers if you are going to compete in any market. Find your differentiator and exploit it.

2018 is another year where technology will be in the mind’s eye of every business owner, but to find success by using technology, you have to apply it in the right way. For more information about business technology, how to stretch your IT budget properly, or any other technology related subject, call the IT professionals at The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Unpaid Invoices are a Major Problem For SMBs

Unpaid Invoices are a Major Problem For SMBs

While many different people open businesses, the primary reason that they all do so is to make money. A positive cash flow is essential if the business is to generate funds that support a cause or provide a decent living. However, to collect this cash flow, a business must have their invoices returned. As it happens, this doesn’t often occur in a timely manner.


Whether you own a business or work for one, you need the business to make money so you can make money and settle your finances and debts. This becomes challenging when the status quo dictates that payment terms can stretch the time for an invoice to be paid to up to three months. This delay between the transaction and the actual payment has led to many operational difficulties in many businesses.

There’s a good chance that you know about this from firsthand experience, as these difficulties are exceptionally common. Estimates have attributed 5 percent of the national gross domestic product to unpaid invoices. 81 percent of invoices are past due by 30 days or more, with the average small business waiting for approximately $84,000 to come in from invoices that have yet to be paid. This average business also only has about 27 days of assets saved.

Added up, estimates say that businesses were owed $825 billion in unpaid invoices in 2016.

It is pretty clear that outstanding invoices are a considerable problem for small businesses, and in some cases medium-sized establishments as well. Improvement and innovation simply can’t happen if all of a business’ funds are tied up in sustaining themselves as they wait for payment. When was the last time you had to postpone something as you waited for money to be available for it?

However, sometimes you have to spend money in order to make money. With the services we offer at The Connection, Inc, you can have your capital spend reduced by budgeting your IT costs into a predictable monthly rate. We’ll provide you with software that can help you keep track of from where, and when, you should expect a payment.

For more information about line of business applications and the other solutions we have available, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

0 Comments
Continue reading

House of Representatives Makes Moves to Support Small Business

House of Representatives Makes Moves to Support Small Business

Without competition, there would not be businesses. However, this competition needs to be fair in order for small businesses to embrace new opportunities that arise. A U.S. bill that allows for both of these goals has passed in the House of Representatives and will be voted on in the Senate.

0 Comments
Continue reading

What Effect Could Artificial Intelligence Have On Your Business?

What Effect Could Artificial Intelligence Have On Your Business?

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more accessible to businesses of all sizes. In fact, it is swiftly becoming apparent that businesses that aren’t actively considering how to leverage AI in their processes are doing themselves a disservice.

0 Comments
Continue reading

The 6 Most Common Technology Issues Faced By SMBs

The 6 Most Common Technology Issues Faced By SMBs

While news sources might lead the layman to believe that most issues facing the typical SMB come from cyber criminals lurking online, the reality is far less dramatic. However, this misconception makes these issues no less serious, and still things to prepare for. Let’s review some of the most common causes of technological issues in the office environment.


  1. Lack of Strategy and Compatibility: When two high-ranking decision makers aren’t on the same page, troubles typically ensue. Simply put, sometimes the goals set by administration don’t match up with those of IT, and vice versa. This situation can often prolong the time projects can take, or throw the entire project into disarray.

  2. BDR Shortcomings: The worst time to consider what to do in the face of a data disaster is after one has struck your business. However, many small businesses are neglectful in their precautionary preparations, assuming that the chances of disaster are too low to make an investment into a backup and data recovery solution. While this might save them in the short term, they jeopardize their financial future by exposing their business to the expensive repercussions of a data disaster.

  3. Unknown Root Causes: In IT, it is not uncommon for a minor issue to be indicative of a much larger, more problematic concern. It is also common for these larger concerns to go unnoticed as the minor side effect is repeatedly resolved without any further digging. As a result, the larger concern may be more difficult to resolve when it eventually is noticed, causing a much larger drain on a company’s resources.

  4. Waiting for an Issue to Occur: While there is wisdom in the motto, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” it simply doesn’t apply to a business’s technology. Proper care and maintenance can help prevent critical issues. Many issues of this type demand total attention from your staff and prevent productivity until they are resolved, most likely at a much higher cost than it would be to simply prevent them.

  5. Legitimate Security Issues: Even though there are far more ways for things to go wrong due to internal complications, no business can disregard the threats that are lying in wait to snatch sensitive information once the opportunity presents itself. Yet many small businesses are lax in their security solutions, assuming that their size will prevent them from being targeted. However, their lack of adequate protections allows viruses and malware to do their worst with ease, as cyber criminals have no problem with snagging low-hanging fruit.

  6. Troubles for Users: If the technology that employees use to complete their work can no longer provide the operability that their responsibilities require, a business will feel the results. These results usually take the form of decreased employee productivity, morale, and time well spent.

Clearly, while the threats posed by malicious entities online shouldn’t be underestimated, these common issues can not be ignored if a business wants to stay in business. However, by setting a standard for your daily operations to follow, you can keep your company from being tripped up in these issues.

The Connection, Inc can help. We have considerable experience in helping businesses take the necessary steps to circumvent these issues, preventing downtime and lost productivity. Give us a call at (732) 291-5938 to learn more.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Having a Network that’s Tested Guarantees You’ll Overcome Any Disaster

Having a Network that’s Tested Guarantees You’ll Overcome Any Disaster

Does your SMB have an internal IT department? Chances are that it is a major pain point for your organization, and even if you do have one, it might be bogged down with so much work that mistakes can happen and threats can slip through the cracks. Sometimes the best way to protect your network is to know where and how threats manage to get there in the first place.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Why SMBs Need to Move Away from On-Premises Computing

b2ap3_thumbnail_cloud_server_400.jpgMost small and medium-sized businesses aren’t new to IT. For the past 15 years or so, SMBs have been attempting to keep up with their larger competitors through the implementation of technology systems. They’ve instituted computing systems from servers to workstations to mobile devices, peripheral technologies like fax machines and copiers, “state of the art” networking technology, and all other sorts of tech, just trying to keep a leg up on their competition.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Why We’re Cautiously Optimistic about Using Mobile Devices at Work

b2ap3_thumbnail_mobile_device_management_400.jpgAs expected, mobile technology is a consistent part of daily business operations for many companies around the world. Employees love taking advantage of the mobility these devices offer, making their home office just as useful as their in-house workstation. However, a mobile device management solution needs to be strictly adhered to in order to optimize security and guarantee that a stray smartphone doesn’t expose your data to unexpected eyes.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Tip of the Week: 3 Easy Ways to Connect Your Business with Your Community

b2ap3_thumbnail_is_your_community_involved_400.jpgIt’s important for a business to be connected with their community. Even if you have a global market, it’s still important to invest in the city you’re headquartered in. It’s where you and your employees live, and if you can build relationships and connect with other organizations in your community, only good things can come from it.

Here are three easy ways your business can become more involved and respected within your community.

0 Comments
Continue reading

Customer Login

News & Updates

  The Connection, Inc is proud to announce the launch of our new website at http://www.tconnection.com. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our servic...

Contact us

Learn more about what The Connection, Inc can do for your business.

The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730