With thousands of productivity apps on the market today, it can be tricky to choose the right one for your company. But this decision just got a lot easier. Todoist released a business version of their popular task-managing app. Todoist for Business offers a minimalist, intuitive interface which allows up to 80 projects at a time with 200 active tasks and 50 collaborators per project. Todoist Founder and CEO, Amir Salihefendic, says the rollout of Todoist for Business was a natural evolution of the product, which was first launched in 2007. “After noting that approximately 82 percent of our individual users were occupying Todoist for work-related tasks, we saw an important opportunity to help increase workplace productivity,” Salihefendic said in an email to HighSpeedInternet.com. “We developed Todoist for Business, beta tested across many different corporate settings, and adapted the software to users’ needs.” Since going live, their product is crushing the competition. But what makes Todoist so great? How is it different from the scores of other apps for managing tasks? Basic Features Task Customization Todoist offers useful task customization features, including notifications, notes, and prioritization levels. These allow you to go above and beyond basic Gmail or iPhone task-lists. Now you can schedule reminders to be sent via text or email, helping you stay on task. You can also sort items into projects with multiple priority levels, add notes to individual tasks, and easily share items with collaborators. These are all useful features, but other apps like Remember the Milk and Wunderlist can let you customize your to-do list too, as long as you’ve got the app handy. These two also connect with your email account like Todoist, helping you keep projects organized and ready to share. Minimalist Layout Layout is one area Todoist beats the competition. Todoist maximizes white space with a simplicity that leaves you focused. The only other app that comes close is the web-based Todo.ly, but it is as basic in function as it is in appearance. Todoist looks simple and sleek but still packs a punch with all of its features. This attractive minimalist design cuts down on distractions, making toolbars and reminders available only as you click, but otherwise keeps the screen clear, helping you focus on the task at hand. “Todoist is known for being the most beautifully simple, yet technologically robust task manager on the market,” Salihefendic said. “We’ve built our software and apps following simplistic, intuitive design principles which provide a very sleek user experience. This is something that people really appreciate – when you want to be productive, you don’t want to deal with unnecessary bells and whistles that can, at the end of the day, decrease your productivity.” Productivity Tracking Another great feature of Todoist is its ability to track your productivity over time. If you want to know exactly how much you accomplished last week or month, or which days or times of day were most productive, Todoist can chart your statistics and give you instant reports. This will help you learn how to organize work hours to match productivity trends, making you more successful than ever. New Features for Business Several new features are now available with Todoist for Business. First is the creation of administrator accounts, giving company managers the power to add and remove employees from the service, track projects, and download data for billing purposes, etc. This app also provides improved access to group contact lists and team inboxes, making team collaboration a breeze. Todoist also creates unique email accounts for each project, letting team members add, modify, or update tasks as well as incorporate text and pictures into notes for individual tasks. Todoist for Business offers new security features like improved data backup and encryption. Former versions had daily automatic backup and basic encryption; the newly-released business suite has bank-standard SSL security coding, secured data centers, and hourly data backup. What Sets Todoist for Business Apart? It’s true that Todoist isn’t the only productivity app to offer many of these highlighted features, but Todoist is the only service that integrates these services into popular mail clients and synchs them across 13 major platforms. You can use Todoist for Business in Outlook or Gmail without even opening the task app. All you have to do is use the simple Todoist tool built into your mail service. “We can reach an extremely diverse group of users: those who use Chrome, iPhone, those who use a Samsung tablet, those who use a PC, etc.,” Salihefendic said. “All of our platforms are synchronized in real-time, our mobile apps are fully native, and we offer many key features that our competitors do not.” Even more impressive is the fact that Todoist for Business works with iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, and nine other platforms in addition to the stand alone apps, which means no more wasted time trying to get your task list to sync with your coworker in a different city, or worrying about copying and pasting project notes or anything like that. You and your team can spearhead that new project, prioritize and assign tasks, share work, add notes, and track your success for only $3 per employee per month. Do you think Todoist for Business would be helpful for your productivity? [zipfinder]
Photo: Todoist Find Ryann on Google+ Places like Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley likely ring a bell for being a hotbed of places to launch the next great business venture. But you don’t have to have real estate in these two cities, especially now that the Internet has helped make things a new ball game for entrepreneurs. We’ve found five of the best cities to start up an online business. These areas are making a name for themselves and we want to make sure you know about them. 1.       Kansas City, MO Kansas City is preparing for big changes in innovation with the onset of Google Fiber. The city is one of just a handful throughout the U.S. which will receive free, gigabit Internet. In addition to Google Fiber, the Mayor has announced a city-sponsored initiative called Launch KC. The idea behind Launch KC is to attract more startups with enticements such as equipment subsidies and cheaper office space. The initiative allows businesses to access a large data center for more computing power and connects business owners with others who want to network.  Larger local companies, like Hallmark Cards, are also donating office space to new entrepreneurs. 2.       Atlanta, GA Atlanta is an educated city with more than 46% of residents having received a Bachelor’s degree. Georgia Tech is nearby, providing good talent for growing businesses and the city itself is known as a tech hub. In addition, Atlanta’s cost of living is low, 1.6 percent below the national average, making the city attractive to start ups. The Metro Atlanta Chamber also offers small business support with resources for entrepreneurs, networking luncheons, monthly workshops, and CEO Roundtables. You’ll also find training resources and free consulting at the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center Network. 3.       Austin, TX If you want to live in the “Live Music Capital of the World” and hob-nob with musicians, artists, and writers at the South by Southwest festival then Austin is the place to start your business. In addition to the vibrant music scene, Austin is also gaining in small business growth. From 2007 to 2008 small businesses grew by 1.5 percent. The cost of living is below the national average in Austin and the University of Texas nearby offers an educated workforce. Texas has no corporate income or personal income tax. There is a state business franchise tax that range from .5 to 1.0 percent. You are exempt from this tax if your business revenues are under $300,000. The rest of the state and local taxes are below the national average, making the city attractive to new business. 4.       Charlotte, NC Charlotte’s population is growing, having an 18.6 percent population growth from 2007 to 2011. The increase of people contributes to the thriving small business environment in the city. The Business Innovation and Growth Council is working to create an environment that encourages high-impact and growing entrepreneurs. Many startups can qualify for matching fund grants or you can receive assistance and professional counseling at the Institute for Entrepreneurship. In addition, North Carolina offers one of the nation’s lowest effective business taxes, low workers’ compensation and unemployment expenses, tax credits, funds, and grants. 5.       New York City, NY You may not consider New York City as a place to start your business because of the high cost of living. The city is expensive, but the metro New York area has 27.73 small businesses per 1,000 residents. The size of the city itself encourages innovation. The city has many resources for startups including the New York Public Library and the Citi Foundation, who both combine their forces to sponsor a startup business plan competition that has prizes worth more than $30,000. Recently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also pushed initiatives that will help grow the city’s entrepreneurial power. He has put together a mix of venture-capital incentives, higher-education initiatives, and policies friendly to technology companies. The Center for Urban Future reports from 2007 to 20011, more than 1,000 web-based tech startups were in the city, with more than 80 raising at least $10 million worth of investments. Companies like ZocDoc, Tumblr, and Warby Parker are among the startups calling NYC home. If you’re looking to start an online business and want a tech-friendly city, consider one of these five as your new home. [zipfinder] Find Ryann on Google+ There have been many Internet startups over the years that have started off with a boom, only to fade into oblivion. While Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, said “having a large number of users and the inability to monetize them is a non-existent problem,” many online companies would disagree with him. We found five companies that had an overwhelming number of users, but they couldn’t figure out a way to capitalize on and profit from their following. 1. AOL Instant Messenger AOL never could draw in any profit from AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). AIM emerged in the late ‘90s as a key messaging chat interface. At the height of its glory, AIM had over 18 million users; even the folks on Wall Street were using it to communicate. The engineering team for AIM was in a constant power struggle with top AOL Executives about AIM’s role in the marketplace. The corporate team at AOL just could not accept a service being offered for free as the way of the future, when their profits were from a subscription service model. One of AIM’s attempts at monetizing their product was through advertising links. They never specialized their advertising based on the individual user much like Facebook and Twitter does now. AIM never had success at selling ad space, advertisers showed no interest in buying up spots. No key advertising, no monetization. In 2011, it was reported that AIM only held 0.7 percent of the messenger market worldwide when it used to be the dominant player. Even though AIM still operates, most of their clientele was lost to social media sites offering their own chat services. 2. Alta Vista Back in the late ‘90s, before Google, there was Alta Vista. At one point in time, Alta Vista had a Web index of 20 million pages, while its competitors were hardly able to index millions. The Internet was still fairly new to consumers, and no tech company seemed to be able to figure out how to make money off a Web search engine, including Alta Vista. Alta Vista was a pioneer in the Web search field, and they were one of the first companies to offer free email. Eventually, Google came along and figured out the market share and how to profit and started taking over the Web search marketplace. Alta Vista became a defunct site over time. Yahoo! picked it up through a merger in the early 2000s and eventually shut it down and absorbed the technology into their search platform. 3. Napster Napster, a music file sharing service, changed the music industry forever, but it did not make any money while doing it. At the top of their game, they had 80 million users enjoying sharing music files, all downloaded at no charge. The music industry caught on, and the copyright lawsuits came in from musicians and bands that didn’t want their music downloaded at no cost (meaning no royalties for the artists). At the end of the journey, Napster tried to switch over to a paid subscription service and monetize, but they were unsuccessful and shut down in 2001, later merging with Rhapsody. 4. Webvan Webvan launched a business based on grocery delivery in 1999. The CEO had a “hunch” that at least 35 percent of the marketplace would be purchasing groceries online by 2003. At the end of 2000, they reached several thousand homes, but the order dollar amounts were low and the company was losing money. By 2001, the company had to call it quits. Webvan invested too much of their capital funding into warehouses, trucks and offices for customers who never came. Instead of slowly implementing their service and building a customer base, the grocery service blew 1.2 billion in funding. Webvan failed due to expanding too quickly, budget conscious consumers, low sales volumes, overspending, weak profit margins and no firm customer base. Amazon Fresh has since resurrected Webvan, including some of its corporate teams, and they are slowly expanding into markets nationwide. 5. Friendster By 2003, Friendster had millions of users worldwide and was considered one of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley, receiving endless technology awards and garnering a lot of attention. The downfall of Friendster was riddled by its inability to adapt to the user’s needs and by technical problems, including a slow loading website. The social network also tried to monetize through advertising too early on, instead of focusing on building their customer base. Friendster did not have newsfeeds and the personalization that Facebook and MySpace offered early on. MySpace lured away a lot of Friendster users by learning from Friendster’s mistakes and implementing a different social media strategy. Facebook came along, and the rest is history. Friendster is now a social entertainment and gaming site operated out of Malaysia. It seems online trends change every day, and the audience is fickle. One day you can have a winning online business model, and the next day your time has passed. It is best to strike while the iron is hot, and figure out a way to monetize your popularity. [zipfinder] Photo: Jason Persse Find John on Google+ The needs of telecommuters and freelance employees are vast and wide. Along with high speed Internet access and wireless options, telecommuters also need a city with a low cost of living, a metropolitan feel, and safety, to name a few. The Census Bureau found that many metro areas saw an increase of people telecommuting between 2005 and 2010. The percentage of home-based workers is only getting bigger and many cities are starting to take note of the trend. So, we looked around to see what cities are best for it and found 10 we think will be any telecommuters dream.
  1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee has a small town feel, with big city appeal. The city is known as the “Brew City” and is famous for its beer scene. It’s also home to 13 Fortune 500 companies, two botanical gardens, a major league baseball team, and 17 colleges and universities.
  2. Charlotte, North Carolina: Charlotte is the second largest banking city in the United States, coming in right after New York City. There are nine Fortune 500 companies here and 19 colleges and universities including UNC Charlotte. Sports fans will enjoy the major league football, basketball, and hockey teams while art lovers can explore 17 museums. Charlotte’s cost of living is about 10 percent lower than the national average, making it an even more attractive place to live.
  3. Atlanta, Georgia: Atlanta has a low cost of living, about 4 percent below the national average for big cities, and has a crime rate that is steadily decreasing. Along with lower living costs and being a safe place to live, Atlanta is also home to several top universities, four major league sports teams, and many cultural offerings.
  4. Washington, DC: Because there are laws mandating federal agencies allow workers to telecommute as much as possible, it makes sense that Washington, DC is a telecommuter-friendly city. The District of Columbia makes the list because of a high percentage of white-collar workers, broadband Internet access, and abundance of government agencies.
  5. San Francisco, California: While the cost of living is higher in San Francisco, the city is friendly to telecommuters. The area offers fast Internet access, incredible technology and business support, and has one of the hottest city atmospheres in the country. Traffic is often heavy in San Francisco, giving employers a great excuse to let employees work from home regularly.
  6. Manchester, New Hampshire: Manchester is just 50 miles north of Boston, giving telecommuters quick access to many corporate firms. However, housing costs in Manchester are below the nation’s average and there are no state sales or income tax.
  7. Seattle, Washington: If you need a Wi-Fi connection, you’re sure to find one just about anywhere in Seattle. Wi-Fi connections are abundant and affordable. Seattle has a lower cost of living when compared to other high-tech cities, and is one of the healthiest cities in the United States. The climate is rainy, but that doesn’t stop locals from taking part in outdoor activities like hiking and boating.
  8. Houston, Texas: If you telecommute in Houston, you’ll enjoy an average home price of $90,000 in the Alief and Sharptown neighborhoods. There are many planned communities in nearby Woodlands that offer affordable housing options. Houston’s career opportunities are diverse, ranging from corporate jobs to healthcare careers. The city also has a world class symphony, professional sports teams, performing arts theaters, and a cosmopolitan feel.
  9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh is in the midst of transitioning from “Steel City” to the “Paris of Appalachia.” The city’s economy is getting more diverse and has expanded into industries such as robotics, finance, and nuclear engineering. The city is currently home to eight Fortune 500 companies and has seven universities.
  10. Austin, Texas: Austin is known for being an eclectic city, which makes it a popular place for all kinds of people and personalities. There is a rich intellectual and cultural scene, due to the University of Texas in Austin, as well as 10 other colleges and universities in the area. Austin is best known for their music scene and is often called the “live music capital of the world.” In addition, the American College of Sports Medicine ranks Austin as America’s 10th Healthiest City.
Are you living in a telecommuting friendly city? Let us know in the comments what makes your city a great place to be for a telecommuter! Photo Credit: Citrix Online/Flikr
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