Thursday, 28 February 2013

Azox First French Site Built on Dynamics GP Now Live!


Azox has successfully completed its first French store for Mitutoyo! This ecommerce website utilizes eSource B2B with a variety of features to sell meteorological testing equipment to customers. One desired feature of this Microsoft Dynamics GP ecommerce solution was a navigable site. To successfully provide smooth navigation and make finding products easier, Mitutoyo needed advanced search capabilities. There are a few features that helped Mitutoyo provide this to customers. First, the company has their inventory organized into a catalog. This catalog groups similar products together based on assigned attributes. To further improve browsing, Mitutoyo also uses filters. Filters allow customers to search for items by specific criteria, like product attributes and features. While browsing this web store, customers will also be presented with related products in order to up sell or cross sell additional items. Mitutoyo’s site also features saved carts, analytics and multi store. Saved carts allow customers to store items in a custom-named cart and access later for purchase. Analytics, allows for tracking of customer behavior within the web store and multi store allows Mitutoyo to have more than one web store, each with a different URL, that all pull data from the same back office.



Another project completion this week for Azox was the launch of an online bill pay site for EZE Castle, a provider of IT services, technology and consulting for hedge funds and alternative investment firms. The online bill pay solution from Azox creates a portal for customers that allows them to view, print and pay invoices online. Cash, credit card or ACH transactions can be processed instantly any time.

If you are a Microsoft Dynamics GP user in the market for an epayment or ecommerce solution with seamless integration to your back office software, contact Azox today. There are four ecommerce environments to choose from, B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-consumer), Sales Portal, a customer service site, and Mobile Store. Azox also provides online payment processing solutions including, online bill pay and credit card processing, which allows a company to accept cash, credit card and ACH transactions online.

Women’s Leadership Breakfast set for March 13

Women’s Leadership Breakfast is 8 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 13 at Marriott Centerpoint, 3600 Centerpoint Parkway, Pontiac. The Center for Women in Business will offer information on key factors that help women succeed in corporate America. Following the presentation, a panel discussion of corporate executives will provide insight and advice on corporate advancement for women in business. Partner hosts include Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Troy Chamber of Commerce. Ticket prices are $25 for chamber members and $30 for non-members. Add $5 per ticket after March 11. Speakers include: Roberta Zenn Phillips, Executive Director of Center for Women in Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Lori Blaker, president/CEO of TTi, Inc.; Steve Henderson, general manager of Dow Automotive and Rumia Ambrose- Burbank, president/founder. For information, contact the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce at 248-853-7862 or visitwww.auburnhillschamber.com

Sunday, 24 February 2013

'Smart talk' tips for workplace success

Submitted by Hannah Auerbach Newman Communications of Watertown, MA
As businesses become increasingly globally focused, managers need to understand how to lead, motivate, and inspire multicultural, virtual, multigenerational teams.

Communication expert Lisa B. Marshall created an authoritative reference guide - 288 pages of tactical and practical inspiration to help people master what Lisa calls "smart talk". SMART TALK (St. Martin's Griffin; January 22, 2013) is a swiss army knife of communication-a comprehensive set of tools to avoid communication breakdowns in any business situation.

Here are three tips from her book:

Provide restorative feedback:
When utilized correctly, feedback is one of the fastest ways to improve productivity. To emphasize this importance, Marshall created the term restorative feedback, which is a respectful and collaborative way to illuminate blind spots and reinforce a job well done. For maximum improvement, use a 5:1 positive to negative feedback ratio--researchers have found that this ratio can predict workplace performance with remarkable accuracy.

Say "no" more: The ability to say no is a sign of professional and emotional maturity. While Marshall addresses the popular "sandwich" model of saying no, she also provides 8 alternate models of equal effectiveness.  Learn how to identify when a situation calls for no, and how to say it in a polite and respectful way. A correctly uttered 'no' is pleasantly assertive, and can enhance your business reputation and sought-after appearance.

Develop authentic charisma: Inner charm, or authentic charisma, is by definition, "a quality of pleasing or delighting to attract strongly or irresistibly." While some view charm in the workplace as superficial or manipulative, authentic charisma is an ethical and often overlooked step to success. While it can come naturally, charm is not intangible--research suggests it is a set of behaviors that can be developed by choice. In an increasingly virtual workplace, human interaction and perception of charisma is more important than ever.

About the Author:  Lisa B. Marshall is a communication expert, author, and speaker who helps organizations build stronger teams. Her award-winning podcast, The Public Speaker, has earned over 9 million downloads since 2009. Lisa has been featured on CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, and many other media outlets. She holds a master's degree in interpersonal and organizational communication. She lives near Philadelphia with her husband and two children.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

B2B Ecommerce Websites from Azox: One New, One Upgraded


A consumer-facing B2C site for Zila went live a couple weeks ago and now the company’s B2B ecommerce website is ready. Zila is an oral hygiene company that makes products used for oral care and cancer screening and sells them to dental professionals. The company’s B2B ecommerce website provides an environment that these professionals can use to browse electric toothbrushes, lasers, oral medications and more. While searching Zila’s inventory, users will be shown related products based on what they are viewing to encourage up selling and cross selling. From the back end, Zila employees are also able to assign specific users unique catalogs as they deemed fit. This web store is equipped with a shipping rate calculator that provides UPS, USPS, FedEx and Purolater rates as well as Azox Credit Card Extension, which allows customers to submit credit card payments in Microsoft Dynamics GP that are processed real time.

In addition to this new B2B site, Azox has also completed an upgrade for Eminence, one of their existing customers. Eminence is a loudspeaker manufacturing company. The company has implemented Azox B2B ecommerce solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP as well as Azox Credit Card Extension, an epayment solution. The company was looking for a way to expedite the checkout process, so they opted for a new add-on. The Eminence B2B site now features one page\guest checkout, which makes placing an order quick and easy.

If you are in the market for a B2B or B2C web store, contact Azox today to learn more about what our solution offers. Azox also provides a Sales Portal site for customer service employees and sales reps as well as a mobile store. In addition to ecommerce, Azox has payment processing solutions for both ACH checks and credit cards as well as an online bill pay add-on module.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Workshop to offer tips on hiring ideal employees

TROY — “Hire and Keep That Elusive 'Ideal' Employee” is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27 at Automation Alley Headquarters. 2675 Bellingham Drive, Troy. John M. Jones, director, business leader - talent and rewards, of Towers Watson presents tips on how to hire and keep that elusive ‘ideal’ employee. The cost is $30 for members and  $50 for non-members at the door. For information, visit www.automationalley.com or call 800-427-5100.

FERNDALE — Valentine Vodka owner Rifino Valentine will share his story and path to success at a special Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit (MSED) networking event on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The event will be held at Valentine Vodka, located at 161 Vester Street in Ferndale. The evening features networking and appetizers at 5 p.m., a distillery tour and tasting at 6 p.m. and pizza and networking at 6:30 p.m. The cost for the event is $55 for MSED members and $70 for non-members. To register, call 248-643-6950 or visit www.msedetroit.org.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Women invited to sound check their voice

Feb. 19
ROYAL OAK — The Association for Women in Communications (AWC) - Detroit chapter presents a special evening with voice-image specialist Marlena Reigh at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, at a private home in Farmington Hills.
Reigh, president of Voice Image Specialist, LLC, will share the five voice habits that sabotage a woman’s business success and how to avoid them.
It only takes seconds for others to want to listen to us, based on the sound quality of our voices. Find out how to have a voice image that gets the professional results you want.
Reigh has more than 20 years of experience in speaking, coaching, and leading seminars. MARS Advertising of Southfield is the spotlight sponsor. The evening will begin with networking and a light supper, followed by the program. The cost is $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers, and $15 for students. Register at www.womcomdetroit.org or call 866-385-1784.
 
Feb. 27
WATERFORD TWP. — Women’s Business Certification Orientation is 9-11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. Learn the benefits and process of becoming a Women’s Business Enterprise. For additional information on what it means to be certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise visit www.miceed.org. The cost is $25. Register at www.AdvantageOakland.com/expand or call 248-858-0783.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Inventors Council to meet Feb. 14

The Inventors Council of Mid-Michigan, holds a gathering of the minds of inventors on the second Thursday of each month. The next meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday Feb. 14 at Walli's Restaurant & Banquet Center, ( I-69 and Center Road) 1341 S. Center Road, Burton. Admission is $5 for nonmembers, members get in free.
The council is a resource for creative people who need ideas on how to take an idea and run with it. As Orville Crain, CEO of Klever Innovations LLC said, "You're not an inventor until you do something with that idea."
The Inventors Council was started by Bob Ross of Service Corps Of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Larry Ford, president of the Flint Area Chamber of Commerce (FACC), in 1997. Call 810-621-3468 or email Jim Harris with questions to harris03@charter.net or visit inventorscouncil.org.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Join Azox for an Informative Webinar this Month!


The first of our monthly webinars will take place this week and will cover the benefits of using online bill pay. Interested in a different topic? Each month, we host three webinars. Topics covered include benefits of using our ecommerce solution that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics GP, secure payment processing and online bill pay. These webinars are available at no cost to you and last about 30 minutes. Please join us to learn more about our products! This month, the webinar schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. EST

Using our online bill pay solution will make it easier for your business to collect payments efficiently and on time. This solution, which integrates with Microsoft Dynamics GP, can be added to new or existing websites and allows customers to view, print and pay invoices online.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. EST

Azox Credit Card Extension provides businesses with a fast, secure and reliable system for accepting both credit card and ACH payments while seamlessly integrating with Microsoft Dynamics GP. This solution allows you to process and validate a transaction anytime; it provides enhanced security by storing data off site through tokenization and is PA-DSS certified and PCI compliant.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. EST

Azox eSource Ecommerce Engine is available for three different environments, B2B, B2C and Sales Portal, which is used by customer service or sales employees. All three are compatible with Microsoft Dynamics GP and help a business grow online. These ecommerce solutions synchronize with Microsoft Dynamics GP to provide inventory and pricing information real time, which allows customers to see the most up-to-date information possible. In addition to placing orders online, customers are also able to track their packages, check their account statuses and pre-print invoices.

Index shows housing markets improving nationwide

WASHINGTON - The number of improving housing markets continued to expand for a sixth consecutive month to a total of 259 metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for February. This is up from 242 markets listed as improving in January, and includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of the Columbia.
The IMI identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 20 new metros were added to the list and three were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Rome, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Racine, Wis.

 "The fact that all 50 states now have at least one metro on the improving list shows that the housing recovery has substantial momentum and continues to expand from one market to the next," said 2013 NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.
The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures' respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

A complete list of all 259 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in February, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.

The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Personalities thrive in different work environments

Submitted by Hannah Auerbach, Account Executive, Newman Communications

Drawing on their experience from coaching executives and training world-class organizations, Merrick Rosenberg and Daniel Silvert have written a book, "Taking Flight!" about four work styles, using the acronym, DISC. The book lays out a blueprint for understanding how to get more productivity out of workers and helps workers identify what style they are and what they should look for in a job.

Take Flight!" excerpt:

"The degree to which people like their jobs is largely a function of the corporate culture in which they work. People spend a significant percentage of their waking lives at work, so matching work environment with style can lead to greater job satisfaction and a more rewarding career. Although no setting will likely satisfy every want or need, there’s a lot to be said for understanding the types of environments that bring out our best.

What follows are optimal work environments and general job characteristics that match each style: DISC.

Dominant Style 

D’s thrive in environments that value big-picture ideas and high levels of accountability for getting things done. Someone high in D energy will thrive in a culture where setting ambitious goals and aggressively pursuing results take precedence over playing it safe. D’s prefer settings where candor is considered healthy and constructive conflict is welcomed. An environment that encourages competition can bring out the best in the D’s performance.


Interactive Style
 
Given that I’s are enthusiastic, optimistic, and upbeat, they thrive in high-energy, positive work environments. A workplace with low morale can have a particularly devastating effect on an I’s job satisfaction. The I’s desire to talk and contribute necessitates an atmosphere that encourages group interaction. In addition, I’s thrive when empowered with freedom and flexibility. Jobs that require the frequent juggling of responsibilities are well suited to an I’s thirst for variety and spontaneity. In fact, multitasking keeps the I’s mind active and engaged.
A “command and control” manager will not bring out the best in an I. Likewise, highly structured and formalized settings can seriously stifle an I’s talent for motivating others and stimulating innovation.

Supportive Style

S’s are driven by their need for stability. As such, they prefer calm and steady work environments. S’s will typically experience significant levels of stress in settings where constant change is the norm.
Seeking harmony in all of their relationships, S’s thrive in collaborative workplaces in which people genuinely support each other.

Conscientious Style

C’s are detail-oriented and logical and have a relentless need for accuracy. If a culture doesn’t reward quality, C’s will not be satisfied with their work. As such, they thrive in formalized settings with definable standards and expectations. A highly collaborative, free-flowing, and unstructured workplace would not be optimal for strong C’s, as they prefer to work independently and need quiet space to think.
C’s also require ample time for analysis before arriving at a concrete conclusion. A fast-paced atmosphere where people spontaneously make decisions based upon intuition and gut feeling would be unsettling and disruptive. C’s need to understand the logic behind decisions and therefore will thrive in settings in which managers provide rationale and an abundance of information.

The right style of work environment will supercharge your skills and become a reliable source of vitality in your life. The wrong environment will drain your energy reserves and lead to much stress and conflict for you and your coworkers. So, when looking for a job, remember to consider workplace culture as one of the key criteria to determine if a job or company is right for you. And if you’re a manager who helps to create the environment for your staff, try to factor in styles when dealing with each individual."

About the Authors: Merrick Rosenberg and Daniel Silvert have led training for more than 20,000 people in small and large corporations. They have worked with more than two-thirds of the current Fortune 100 companies in 44 states and around the world.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Capture a Piece of Ecommerce Sales this Valentine’s Day


Online retailers haven’t made it past the holiday craze just yet. Christmas may be behind us, but Valentine’s Day, the second largest gift giving holiday of the year, will be here in no time. National Retail Federationhas predicted that consumers will each spend $130.97 on gifts, up from $126.03 last year, with an estimated total of $18.6 billion. Consumers purchases will include candy, flowers, jewelry, greeting cards, gift cards and other goods for their significant others as well as for family members, friends, co-workers and even their pets. Given the current economic conditions, it will be more common for consumers to buy conventional items, like candy or greeting cards this Valentine’s Day.

Not only is spending predicted to increase, but so will the amount of consumers planning to shop online. Based on a survey of 5,815 consumers, 26.3 percent of them will choose to do their Valentine’s Day shopping online, an increase of 7 percent from 2012. Additionally, 40.7 percent of those who own a smartphone will choose to shop online using their device. Likewise, 46.9 perfect of those who own a tablet will not only make Valentine’s Day purchases from their device, but will also use it for researching gift ideas.
There are a few ways you can capitalize on a portion of sales this Valentine’s Day. For starters, you must have established a store online. To get started with the foundation, contact the Azox team to learn more about our integrated ecommerce solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP. If you’re already online, try one of these ideas:

  •  Run a Valentine’s Day promotion, such as special pricing, a BOGO offer or a coupon.
  • Create a custom catalog that includes items relevant to the holiday, such as flowers, candy or jewelry.
  • Setup related products with a Valentine’s Day theme by assign parent/child relationships to different items in stock.
  • Offer a quick, one-page guest checkout screen for new customers that may be shopping last minute.


Don’t miss out on this and other busy online shopping days because you lack an online store or need to improve your current site. Having an integrated ecommerce storefront will increase consumer awareness of your brand and will also improve your sales. Azox offers ecommerce solutions for B2B, B2C and customer service sales portal environments. These web stores are easy to build and include modules that make all of the above mentioned tips possible and more. Contact us today to learn more.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Entrepreneur-YOU conference aids women in business

The second annual Entrepreneur-YOU women's conference is 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Walsh College's Troy campus. Entrepreneur-YOU is designed to provide supportive resources for women who are growing or starting any type of business.
The program was initiated in 2012 through the collaboration of successful local business women seeking to help women in Southeast Michigan who have entrepreneurial talent. Event collaborators include Huntington Bank, Inforum, Michigan Women's Foundation and Walsh College.
The day-long conference offers four tracks with work sessions and panels to assist participants at every stage of entrepreneurship.
The keynote speaker for the event is Lori Blaker, CEO of TTi Global, a staffing, training and outsourcing solutions provider. Blaker has led her company to rank among the top 25 women-run businesses in the United States, and she has earned honors that include Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year. Recently she was part of the first-ever U.S. Department of Commerce trade mission to Afghanistan.
For more information and to register for Entrepreneur-YOU 2013, visit www.thewalshinstitute.com/eyou. Tickets are $40 each.