If I say the word Ninja - what's one of the first things that comes to your mind? I would guess that if it's not the very first result then at least in the top 5 you'll say "stealthy" or "quiet" or "hidden"...something along the lines of an individual that has the ability to completely blend into his surroundings and become practically invisible. For the ninja, this is critical to the practicing of his art. For the business owner intent on finding new opportunities and new customers this should be the farthest things from their mind. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

I recently had the privilege of attending a fantastic Joomla! day conference (Joomla! Day Chicago 2012). This gathering of business owners, users and developers was an amazing opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals. Over one hundred other people all eager to talk about something that I was quite passionate about myself: the award-winning open source CMS, Joomla! But as I mingled among the small groups and chatted with users I saw something that made me stop and think. Off to one side I saw someone sitting by themselves at a table, laptop in front of them, head down, paying no attention to the exciting buzz of connections being made all around them. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, they must be busy with something at the moment and would soon return to the group, but as the day progressed I repeatedly saw this person returning to this same position with little to no conversation with those around them. Even when directly addressed the responses were single words or even a simple nod of the head. And this struck me as a problem.

People travel from around the world to be at this conference, to meet other people and to establish and grow relationships. Not to mention learn from the excellent sessions being offered. Throughout these sessions this person seemed to pay little to no regard to the speaker or the message. And I wondered, why did they bother?

No doubt, they told themselves they were attending this conference to learn new techniques, gain information and grow relationships. They would undoubtedly leave frustrated and discouraged, wondering why the trip felt like a waste of time and money. And they would probably never realize what had struck me so plainly as I watched them.

Being present at a conference is not the same as being visible. You have to do more than simply fill a seat. You can't be a ninja, sitting in the shadows, practicing your invisibility and expect to see the results you want. As the saying goes, he would have friends must make himself friendly. Don't think that showing up is all that must be done. Instead, take action, step outside your comfort zone and meet new friends, make acquaintances and reach out to others. Don't be a ninja.

If I have learned one thing it is that there are many things that I haven’t learned. That is especially true when writing software. I am amazed at the things I learn on a daily basis. A new function or a new way   to manage my workflow. It is a constant battle to keep on top of the latest developments and make sure that the code I write and the methods I use are the accepted way to do things. But it is extremely  important to stay up to date. And that means listening.

Listen

I listen to those that I trust, and I listen to those that I don’t. I listen to everyone but I listen with a different mindset. If I hear something from a trusted source then I usually stop and evaluate what they've said and look at the suggestions made and see how I can apply them to my code to make it better. If I hear something from someone that is not a trusted source then I run it through a filter of what I have learned and what other trusted users have said on the subject and then if it is a good idea I apply it to my code. The key is to listen, and to listen with intelligence. Recognize that you don’t know everything and constantly push yourself to grow and change.

Read more: You Don't Know It All

What?? No, I haven't lost my mind. Although these items would seem to have nothing in common, in the complicated world of CRM's they just might be intricately related for someone. Seriously though, while developing CRMery we were reminded that not everyone calls their companies, "Accounts", or their users, "People". For example, in the world of non-profit organizations they may choose to call their users "donors". You get the idea, we saw an opportunity to improve things.

Our solution

We wanted to create a CRM that allows for the unique and custom naming of key elements and we wanted it to be incredibly easy to do. That means instead of telling our members to go digging through their files to find a language file and then replacing every instance of a key word with their new word we have simplified the process. Now, when you want to change out key words to better match your organization's structure you can do so from our configuration panel settings. It's that easy. Simply type in the new name for each of the key words and the system will automatically replace them system-wide.

Little things matter.

It seems like such a small thing. But it's those little details that make CRMery so easy to use and so perfectly fit for any business. Now you can use CRMery without having to teach your staff new lingo. We just brought the learning curve that much lower, and that's what we are all about. Introducing new software shouldn't mean retraining your entire company. It shouldn't mean hours and hours of learning how to use a new Customer Relations Management tool. Our goal is to simplify your life, provide you with an amazing product and outstanding support. So, next time you are interested in how many toothpicks are associated to a pickle...we can help you track that.

Email can be overwhelming. And it can be hard sometimes to keep track of all your email messages. I know that I've had times when I have scrolled back through my messages and missed something important. At one point I read it when it first arrived but then after a few days (or sometimes even hours), it fades into my inbox list and it slowly fades from my mind. All I'm left with is that nagging feeling that I have missed something.

Most of the time I can remember the person or company that the email was concerning but that is the extent of my recollection. Occasionally I may remember the approximate date that I received the email. Next comes the frantic searching of my emails to try and find it. There may be dozens of emails from that person, especially if they are a hot lead that I have been corresponding with extensively. Then comes the email threading. Now I'm not only scrolling through days worth of email but also scrolling within email threads to try and locate the message in question. And it gets worse.

What if the person didn't email me directly? Perhaps they emailed my coworker Richard, now I have to search even harder to try and find the email - and hope that Richard has forwarded me all the messages I need for that account.

We saw this as a problem. With CRMery we set out to fix that problem. You can define your email addresses that you use (several of them if necessary) and then forward or Bcc your customer emails to your company-defined CRMery account. The system will then associate that email with the correct contact or company as a note. No more email dependency. No more searching for a thread or specific message tucked somewhere in someone’s email inbox. All your important emails will be magically added to the correct customer or company, and when you know only the contact name you can easily pull up their account and read the associated notes. It's that simple.

That is how we like to do things at CRMery. Simple yet sophisticated. No more headaches and hair-pulling searches. So stop depending on your email inbox to store your important business communications and instead use it to respond to those silly forward’s you always get from that crazy relative.

Arrgh! If you've developed any software, template, extension, or digital product then you've worried about your digital rights being pirated. You've worked long and hard and lost countless hours of sleep on your 'baby' and here it is out in the open on some warez site for free! Here are some basic thoughts to consider that may help ease your worrying and put things into perspective. And maybe you'll gain some insights for when it happens to you, because more than likely...it probably will.

Don't Panic

The first reaction is to panic- your precious work lies open and exposed for anyone to take. But don't panic. Take a couple of deep breaths and think about the implications. Anyone that is trolling these warez sites probably is not interested in purchasing your work in the first place. They are simply looking for a way around the system because they lack integrity and a moral compass. Is that the type of person you want as your customer? Probably not. They are not likely to ever come to your site to purchase your product because they don't want to support your business or spend their money for what they think they can get for free. They don't value your time, your product, or your support, and that is not a good customer.

Read more: Is Piracy Hurting My Business?

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