Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Can’t my brains just get along?

Before you write me off as confused, or worse schizophrenic, consider this... I’m a high social functioning PC person, and I use both a BlackBerry and an Apple iPhone.

I like to consider myself a prime candidate to cross compare these leading devices as I can recount both the best, and the worst of both. For instance, surfing the web on a BlackBerry can be painful and slow – somewhat akin to doing email on an iPhone (from the perspective of a BlackBerry user of course).

I love the BlackBerry for its push notifications, making having to play fetch with the iPhone to get my mail seem silly in comparison.

My BlackBerry integrates into my existing business systems, giving me a common view of my inbox, with a complete record of all incoming and outgoing emails from desktop, and the web. On the other hand, email on my iPhone is disconnected from everything else, forcing me to deal with my email all over again, even if I’ve already viewed and responded all but one message.

Happily, if I’m in need of a faxed or signed doc while I’m mobile – and it happens more often than you think – I can rely on the myFax BlackBerry app or the myFax iPhone app to get the job done.

So what’s my bottom line? I think it all comes down to what brain I’m in at any given time. Left brain, BlackBerry; right brain, iPhone.

If I’m feeling particularly angst ridden about a proposal or deal I’ll inherently be looking for speed, so BlackBerry will be my choice. If I’m feeling a bit more amenable and desire a more engaging experience, I’ll lean to the iPhone. Either way, I’m in business no matter what, with a nod to the myFax app for thinking of me, in both my brains.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Guest Blog Post: National Pro Bono Celebration

This week we celebrate pro bono lawyers, and are thrilled to welcome Pam Weisz as a guest blogger!

October 24 to 30 marks the second annual National Pro Bono Celebration in the United States. Sponsored by the American Bar Association, this week is meant to showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make, and to highlight the growing need for high-quality, free legal aid for those facing foreclosure, eviction, consumer debt, domestic violence, child custody disputes and other grave civil legal problems.

As they face rising demand from those affected by the economic crisis, overstretched legal aid and pro bono organizations are increasingly turning to technology - especially online tools - to enable collaboration, increase efficiency and to make the legal system more accessible to those in need.

Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit that receives support from MyFax, provides a technology infrastructure that empowers the public interest law community to improve service delivery, increase private attorney involvement and enhance collaboration among service providers. Its flagship website, http://www.probono.net/, helps thousands of attorneys nationwide connect with legal aid organizations in their communities, find opportunities for meaningful pro bono work, and access the training and support they need. Its http://www.lawhelp.org/ website helps people find free legal aid programs in their communities, answers to questions about legal rights, court information, self-help tools, links to social service agencies, and more.

Another program, LawHelp Interactive, provides a national infrastructure for online legal document assembly, enabling tens of thousands of low-income people each year to complete needed legal forms. LawHelp Interactive increases efficiency for legal aid and pro bono programs, allowing more people to be helped in less time.

Technology alone is clearly not enough to solve the increasingly disparity between the availability of high-quality, free legal help and the number of people struggling with life-altering legal problems. But it is a key element in efforts to help close the justice gap.

To learn more about how Pro Bono Net is using technology in the service of increasing access to justice, visit http://www.probono.net/. Lawyers wishing to get involved in pro bono can visit www.probono.net/volunteer to find pro bono opportunities in their community.

Pam Weisz is the Director of Communication & Corporate Sponsorship at Pro Bono Net. She works on marketing and communications initiatives and runs the corporate sponsorship program, which connects companies with Pro Bono Net's membership of thousands of attorneys. A valuable member of the Pro Bono Net team since 2007, Pam previously worked in business development and strategic planning roles at media companies including the Associated Press and Showtime Networks. Before going to graduate school, she spent several years working as a journalist. Pam has an MBA from Columbia University and a BA from Stanford University. She lives in New York City.

Monday, October 18, 2010

We have Another MyFax Customer Contest Winner...and a BRAND NEW Contest!!

Our second MyFax customer contest closed last Friday and that means we have a new winner to announce! Congratulations, Yvette Williams! We hope you enjoy your brand new iPod Touch! (Just in case you were wondering, our winner was chosen from a random drawing that included everyone who correctly answered our three questions). We'd also like to thank everyone who entered; as with our first contest we had a great response and we're really happy with how popular our contests have been.

For our new contest we are keeping the same format but changing up the prize - we don't want you to get bored with us!!

With that said - our THIRD MyFax contest starts today and this time you could win...drum roll please...a $250 gift certificate from Amazon.com!!

Like our previous contests, all you need to do is copy the skill-testing questions below into a Word(R) document, add your answers along with your name, phone number, MyFax account number and email address, then use your MyFax account to fax the document to 1-866-257-2046. You can even enter as often as you'd like!

This contest ends on December 20, 2010, at which time we'll do a random drawing from the entries that have answered all three questions correctly. The winner will be notified by email and announced right here in the Inside MyFax blog!

New Questions:
  1. Is MyFax on Facebook(R)?

  2. Name one of the other two products from the makers of MyFax (hint - go here and scroll to the bottom of the page).

  3. Can you reach MyFax support by phone and email?

As we said, you can enter as often as you like. And...if you have a friend you think would benefit from MyFax, send them a free month and get one for yourself at the same time. Refer a friend today!

* You must be a MyFax customer and at least 18 years of age on the day the contest opens (October 18, 2010) to be eligible to win. Contest not open to residents of Quebec or Rhode Island. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Full contest details available at http://www.protus.com/legal/contestrules.asp. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of entries submitted. Contest ends 11:59 PM EST December 20, 2010.

** Pages faxed from your MyFax account will be counted in your monthly fax allotment and if you go over your monthly allotment, additional fax pages are ten cents per page. To enter without using your MyFax, see the contest rules. By entering this contest, you hereby agree to (a) be bound by the Contest Rules and (b) consent to the collection, use and disclosure of any personal information associated with this Contest by Protus IP Solutions Inc. ("Protus") for the purposes of administering this Contest, in accordance with Protus' Privacy Policy available at http://www.protus.com/legal/privacy.asp.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apps and Hedgehogs

In what's considered a management classic, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins introduces the concept of a hedgehog's defense strategy as a metaphor for that which differentiates good companies from great companies. Collins notes that great companies focus on doing one thing better than anyone else - exactly how a hedgehog defends itself from the cunning fox by doing one thing only, rolling up in a ball.

Let's take the hedgehog metaphor and apply it to the BlackBerry.

Since its inception, the BlackBerry has done one thing very well - deliver your email to you, wherever you may be. With email emerging as the predominant form of business communication in the early part of the decade, it's no wonder BlackBerry devices became central to business operations - even spawning a new term of endearment in the social lexicon, "CrackBerry."

Now with an established worldwide user base and dominant share of the mobile marketplace, it's no surprise that RIM, makers of the BlackBerry, have branched out into the app world with their very own app marketplace - BlackBerry App World - and continue to aggressively expand their smartphone and tablet lines, including the most recent keyboard/touch hybrid, the BlackBerry Torch. Make no mistake about it - although it has branched out into the consumer marketplace with similar phones and features to those of Apple or Android devices, BlackBerry will always be associated with business, first and foremost.

As I alluded to earlier, faxing remains a critical form of communication for a number of industries because of the inherent security vulnerabilities of email - an email can be spoofed, a fax transmission cannot. When it comes to transferring or sending somebody's healt records, financials or contracts, businesses will turn to fax for the foreseeable future. So it's no wonder then, at the request of our small and big business customers alike, that the MyFax App for BlackBerry is now available.

Integrating your email, fax and phone needs (i.e. consolidating all your phone numbers into one number with services like my1voice), into one device isn't just convenient, but makes rock solid business sense.

So to our MyFax BlackBerry...or..."CrackBerry" users, the MyFax App for BlackBerry is free to download via BlackBerry App World. Please enjoy this app as we continue to increase its functionality to better streamline your business and fax needs.

Have a thought or comment about our apps? Share it in the comments section below!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Thanks For Helping Us Reach a Milestone

It's official! This week our parent company, Protus, reached half a million paid subscribers for our Campaigner, my1voice, and (of course) MyFax services. It definitely reinforces our position as one of the fastest-growing and highest quality Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) players in the market.

To give you a little perspective on what that number means, in the recording industry if you sell 500,000 units they give you a gold record. That's Elvis/Beatles/Justin Timberlake/Beyonce territory!

Of course, we couldn't have done it without all of you. So thanks to all 500,000 of you for putting your trust in us and helping us reach this milestone. We promise to continue working to keep that trust and to deliver the best communications services available to small businesses.

So, MyFax customers, what other Protus products are you using, or thinking of using? Hit the comments and let us know.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Trick of the Fax Machine

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie "The Usual Suspects" (also one of my favorite movies). In it, while being interrogated by the police, Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) tries to explain the man and the legend behind Kayser Soze - the criminal mastermind who makes the Godfather seem like a choir boy. In the face of opposition to the existence of such a criminal mastermind, he utters the phrase, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist..."

You can draw a lot of parallels between that movie line (it's actually a literary quote) when thinking about fax machines. Most of the time when someone mentions a fax machine or utters the phrase "I have to fax this..." most people respond with, "fax machines still exist?" They do - in abundance.

I haven't seen worldwide stats out there on the number of fax machines still in existence, but it's estimated there are approximately 20 million machines in the US alone with billions of fax pages sent worldwide. These machines do their part to negatively impact the bottom line, productivity, and the environment. All the while, there exists Internet faxing - a cost-effective, productivity-boosting and environmentally-friendly solution. But you already know that - because you are one of the close to half a million customers who send and receive faxes using email, the web, smartphones and popular software applications like Microsoft Office(R).

But as big as the MyFax army is, the fax machine empire seems bigger. What these people don't realize is that fax machines do more harm than good. So when you see someone using a fax machine, set them straight with the following helpful FYIs:

1. Fax Machines and the Environment:

  • Fax machines are energy vampires and consume more electricity than any other piece of office equipment, according to the environmental protection agency;
  • Fax machines print everything, whether required or not - that's a big reason why in the US, annual office paper consumption is enough to build a 10-foot-high wall that's 6,815 feet long! That's greater than the distance between New York City and Tokyo;
  • Most people don't recycle the machines themselves and therefore they end up in landfills. The same goes for the toner cartridges used to print the faxes and the paper and the ink dries on - straight to the landfill.

2. Fax Machines and Costs:

  • At the low end, fax machines start at about $100 and at the high end in the thousands, if you're looking at an all-in-one;
  • The extra phone line needed for the machine costs anywhere from $20 to $30/month
  • Don't forget the cost of toner! Paper and the electricity to run it on average about $9/month (assuming you're running it for the entire year, using it modestly).

The MyFax referral program allows you to gift friends and employees with a free month of Internet fax service so they can see for themselves the advantages and benefits of Internet fax. If your friend decides to stay on, you get a free month too! More information on the MyFax refer-a-friend program can be found here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fuggedaboudit! The Dilemma of Online Storage

I read about an interesting study in the early part of the decade on cab drivers in London, UK. As a result of having to mentally map and navigate an entire city, these drivers had, over time, developed an enlarged hippocampus (the area of the brain associated with memory and learning). Essentially, without getting into medical mumbo-jumbo, these men and women, while on the job, had their brains rewired and as such developed a sort of super memory. Lucky them.

For the rest of us ordinary Joes and Janes - we have a hectic life that contributes to what I like to refer to as the scourge of the small business person - absent-mindedness.

As a small business owner you are your business - you are sales & marketing, accounting, administrator, and CEO. Your primary objective is to grow the business, meaning you're on call 24-7. What complicates the matter is the "mobility factor" - your "office" could be at home, in the car, at a client site, or at some other location in your city or state. So now you have to lug around your laptop, business phone and maybe personal phone (if that's the case, you should really check out my1voice) and you have to ensure you have your briefcase, PDA, and the list goes on and on.

How do you remember everything or ensure you have everything nearby when there's just so much to remember all the time? You can create a checklist for every time you go out the door, but that would be cumbersome and time consuming, and I've said it before and I'll say it again, money is not the most precious of resources, time is (I just saw the most recent trailer for Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, where the great character, Gordon Gekko, reiterates my point).

Physical paperwork adds to this dilemma, so much so that it has spawned an entire industry for online storage targeted at small business. Other companies wrap these services in fancy names like Content Management System and sell them to big business for a lot of money.

Faxing is no different because whether you look at it from a mobility perspective (the machine doesn't go anywhere) or from a physical documents perspective (a fax machine prints everything), you quickly realize, "Houston, we have a problem."

There are many free value-added features that are part and parcel of the MyFax service. Two that might help alleviate some of the pressures of remembering to bring everything, everywhere are the ability to store commonly faxed documents inside MyFaxCentral as well as one year of unlimited inbound and outbound fax storage. Available in the Send and Receive preferences section of MyFaxCentral, each permits you to leave all the fax paperwork behind like contracts, schematic designs and other important fax documents that are an essential part of the supplier-customer dynamic. Each gives you access to your important faxes from anywhere in the world you have access to an Internet connection and a web browser.

Feel free to check them out! We know that removing fax documents from your list of things to remember will definitely alleviate the pressure of doing business on the road.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Webinar Alert: MyFax and Salesforce CRM

In my last post I discussed MyFax for Salesforce CRM (available via AppExchange 2). If you want to learn more about this, be sure to register for our upcoming webinar with our good friends at TMC. Here are the details:

Title: MyFax Secure Cloud Faxing App: Seamless Integration with Salesforce CRM

Date: Wednesday, September 29

Time: 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT

What You'll Learn:
  • The features included in MyFax for AppExchange 2
  • The benefits an integrated Salesforce CRM/MyFax solution will provide whether in sales, marketing, call center, IT, finance, or another department
  • How MyFax provides faxing solutions for the entire organization, even outside of Salesforce CRM

Click Here to Register!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Goodbye Rolodex, Hello Fax...Wait, What?

Those of a certain age will remember the golden era of American business when being a salesman meant the obligatory Rolodex, luxury air travel, dedicated secretary, and the three-hour lunch. The facsimile machine was a marvel to behold - simplifying document sharing, accelerating signatures close and far, and freeing up time for a round of golf. Today, the Rolodex is gone, air travel is, well, less than civilized, you're your own administrative assistant, and lunch is ten minutes at your desk.

But whatever happened to the fax machine? Well, in the words of the inimitable Mark Twain, "the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." With an estimated 20 million fax machines still operational across the US, faxing remains vital to the operation of many businesses - used to order inventory, invoice customers, and comply with legal and regulatory documentation requirements. Anyone who works in (or who has customers in) healthcare, real estate, or the financial industry still see faxing as a core element in their day-to-day business. Go figure!

For the folks selling to these businesses today, it's all about the pipeline or funnel - filling it, managing it, reporting on it...from anywhere at any time! To do this efficiently and effectively, most businesses have gone electronic with their prospecting and sales forecasting activities, somewhere between spreadsheet management and fully deployed Customer Relationship Management (CRM). So where does faxing fit in this new, searchable, mobile, online age of sales?

The trick is in integrating the best of the old with the best of the new, as opposed to forcing new or different workflows on your prospects and clients, or trying to keep track of two parallel communications channels. Let's look at Salesforce CRM and the integrated MyFax app as an example.

MyFax for Salesforce CRM (available via AppExchange) enables users to securely send, receive, and manage their faxes from within Salesforce CRM. This integrated solution:

  • Provides an integrated record of all client/contact communications across the organization - sales, marketing, finance, audit, support, etc.;
  • Enables the receipt and sending of communications requiring a signature (i.e. PO, LOI, contract) from anywhere with Web access;
  • Delivers immediate organizational cost savings and related efficiencies;
  • Integrates faxing into the marketing mix with email to fax and fax to email options;
  • Improves the fax user experience - internally and externally.

If you haven't tried MyFax for AppExchange, click here to get started. And as always, share comments below on how YOU integrate fax into your sales workflow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Efficiency is All About Workflow Part II: Get Your ACT! Together

One of the greatest things that has happened in software over the last decade - and which isn't trumpeted enough - is the ability of software programs to interface with one another. This ability to integrate one program with another truly paved the way for the current app craze. The advantages are blatantly obvious - there are just certain software applications used by everyone in business, and the more integrated they are, the more efficient the user can be. Why is this important? As I've noted in previous posts - for a small business owner, time is a precious resource. Rather than cut corners on things like running their business, these enterpreneurial folks multi-task to get things done.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a staple for organizations big and small, whether they're for-profit or not-for-profit. There are, of course, many CRM solutions out there, and depending on organization size or function, there is usually a common preference. For instance, ACT!, SalesForce CRM and Microsoft Dynamics have historically been tailored to SMB, mid-sized and corporate customers respectively. Increasingly, most vendors now segment the CRM market by releasing various versions of their software and/or service with limited or increased functionality (depending on their target).

So what are the advantages of using a CRM solution? I could go through an entire list, which would change depending on what your industry was or what your job function is. Better yet, I'll describe a situation that many of us have probably experienced - being called by a company, of which you are currently a customer, and being sold a product that you already own/subscribe to. Nothing makes you feel like a valued customer like that conversation (and afterwards), and this really stresses the need and importance of using a CRM.

For small business, ACT! by Sage has been one of the more popular CRM applications, with an active user base of 2.8 million users. As noted above, different ACT! versions now exist, tailored for bigger companies, different industries (real estate, financial) and those geared toward software-as-a-service. ACT! includes contact management, prospect tracking, a calendar and communication tools, along with reporting and dashboards. It easily integrates with office software like word processing and email programs. Sound familiar? MyFax does the same - we're fully integrated into Microsoft Office and other word processing software, as well as popular email programs like Microsoft Outlook and Gmail.

ACT! and MyFax can easily integrate with one another via the MyFax for ACT! plug-in, a free tool that's available as part of your MyFax service. Using this plug-in, you can easily track your history of faxes sent to ACT! Contacts; easily send faxes to an unlimited number of ACT! contacts; use Mail Merge ACT! templates to personalize your faxes; and view received faxes directly within ACT! for up to 365 days.

ACT! isn't the only popular CRM solution that MyFax is directly integreated with. In an upcoming blog post, we'll review MyFax integration with SalesForce CRM.

Either way, with MyFax for ACT! integration, we hope our small business customers enjoy the few extra minutes in the day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stand Up and Be Counted - Gizmodo Wants to Hear from YOU!

It's time to be counted!

Gizmodo, a leading technology site, recently posted a contest inviting readers to vote for the Best Online Fax Service on the market.

You can check out the contest here - http://gizmodo.com/5636383/five-best-fax-services

We're thrilled that MyFax is included as an option. And if you're thrilled with your MyFax service, we hope you'll consider adding your vote here.

Happy Voting!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Add Me, Like Me, Tag Me, Follow Me, Tweet Me...HELP ME!

Social media is a phenomenon - how else can you explain that approximately 10 percent of the world is on Facebook? Still not impressed? Then add Twitter, MySpace and the host of others, and you're on the fast track to a billion...that's billion with a b. In its infancy, as the potential was understood, it was all about how these companies could make money, attract investors, and go public. For other companies it was how to monetize participation on these sites - sell, sell, sell.

In my opinion, both have failed. The vast majority of social media sites, if not all, have struggled wtih advertising-driven models, and the vast majority of companies haven't sold anything. In most cases, the challenge has been about walking the fine line between making money and respecting privacy.

I have no doubt that eventually somebody will strike gold and create a business model that will lead to the big IPO...but I'm not holding my breath, and neither should you.

Some companies have approached social media in a very simple and straightforward way, leveraging it to keep a continuous dialogue with their customers and as part of their SEO strategy. It's these companies that have benefitted the most, and ironically, usually turn a better profit. It's these companies that small business owners can learn from.

One of the fundamental rules you're taught from the get-go in any college marketing course is something I like to call the law of customer service. The law of customer service teaches that it's roughly eight times less expensive to keep a customer than to go out and get a new one.

Think about what it costs you to get a customer - and don't just consider hard currency, think of other resources like the time it takes to nurture that potential customer, to sell to them, to convince them to pick you rather than a competitor, or alternate service/solution. Now think about your best customer - the one that loved your service so much that he or she not only keeps coming back, but refers people to you. Now imagine an army of customers just like that customer.

Large companies obviously can't be on a first-name basis with every customer at the same level that a small business can be - but they certainly have been trying with social media. These companies understand that customer service must be 24/7 - done by phone, email, etc. Sound familiar? It's what is offered to you as a MyFax, my1voice and/or Campaigner customer. But with the average US Facebook usage at over six hours per month, social networking has become a natural extension to that. So these companies "take to the streets" so-to-speak, and ensure that customers (both happy and unhappy) are heard and engaged.

So where's the lesson to be learned here? For small business, social networking can be great for networking, and trying to sell your business products or services, but its true value for your business is keeping you in touch with your customer base.

I encourage you to join in the conversation on our own social media pages - Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We look forward to continuing the discussion here.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Results of the First MyFax Customer Contest...and Some News!

Our first MyFax customer contest closed at 11:59 PM last night and it was a resounding success! This morning we had a random drawing from all the entries that answered the three questions correctly and the lucky MyFax customer who will soon be receiving a brand new iPod touch is...KYLE KINCAID!! Congratulations, Kyle, and thank you so much for entering our contest!

We had tons of entries and some really good feedback. Because we had such a resounding success, we've decided to hold this contest again!

That's right - our second MyFax contest for an 8 GB iPod touch starts RIGHT NOW!

It's the same as before - just copy the skill-testing questions below into a Word(R) document, add your answers along with your name, phone number, MyFax account number and email address, then use your MyFax account to fax the document to 1-866-257-2046. You can even enter as often as you'd like!

This contest ends on October 15th, at which time we'll do a random drawing from the entries that have answered all three questions correctly. The winner will be notified by email and announced right here in the Inside MyFax blog!

New Questions
1. Is there a MyFax app for the iPhone?

2. Can you add cover pages when you fax with MyFax?

3. How many days per week is MyFax customer support available?

Don't forget - you can enter as often as you like. And...if you have a friend you think would benefit from MyFax, send them a free month and get one for yourself at the same time. Refer a friend today!

*You must be a MyFax customer and at least 18 years of age on the day the contest opens (August 31, 2010) to be eligible to win. Contest not open to residents of Quebec or Rhode Island. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Full contest details available at http://www.protus.com/legal/contestrules.asp. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of entries submitted. Contest ends 11:59 PM EST October 15, 2010.

**Pages faxed from your MyFax account will be counted in your monthly fax allotment and if you go over your monthly allotment, additional fax pages are ten cents per page. To enter without using your MyFax, see the contest rules. By entering this contest, you hereby agree to (a) be bound by the Contest Rules and (b) consent to the collection, use and disclosure of any personal information associated with this Contest by Protus IP Solutions Inc. ("Protus") for the purposes of administering this Contest, in accordance with Protus' Privacy Policy available at http://www.protus.com/legal/privacy.asp.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What's in a Number? The Psychology of Free

My colleague on the my1voice side wrote a fantastic blog post giving his thoughts on Google Voice integration with Gmail. In general, his thoughts were as follows - if you're a small business owner and you are looking for software to help you run your business, free sounds great in theory. In reality, free doesn't deliver reliability, useful business features, or a live person ready and available 24/7 to ensure your business services are working for you.

Don't get me wrong, using a free service isn't a bad thing - it actually has its advantages.

Let's take a look at the concept of free from another perspective - growing your business. A short while ago, a great piece of advice was passed along to me by a MyFax customer. This customer said, "In a down economy, nobody ever hesitates to call a toll-free number."

Queue the light bulb! He was one of the many MyFax and my1voice customers who have built their business around the use of a toll-free number.

Put yourself in the shoes of a local customer who has the option of calling two companies for a particular need - one that is located in his/her city or one in a neighboring county or state. In these tough times, where every penny counts, what choice do you think that customer makes?

This is where the use of toll-free numbers comes into play. What many experiments in behavioral economics and psychology have shown is that free can be a powerful tool - it removes boundaries and risks and allows the better product and/or service to win - and hopefuly that's yours!

But really, and maybe I'm just overthinking things - I mean, you wouldn't charge someone to visit your website, would you?

So it should be natural then, that you wouldn't charge them to phone you or send you a fax. Put another way, maybe the reason why toll-free numbers work so well for small business is that they make doing business with you easy...Not to mention giving your business a higher level of prestige by allowing you to cast a big shadow.

Either way you look at it, as a MyFax and my1voice customer you have a choice - either local or toll-free for the exact same cost - so get those numbers out there!

As a starter, remember to take advantage of our free business card offer to MyFax and my1voice customers to see for yourself why free has so many advantages.

And don't forget to take to the comments section to let us know how YOU'RE using free to build your small business!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Batter Up - Are You Ready?

Like successful small business owners, Major League Baseball's best managers know when to tinker and when to leave well enough alone. That makes complacency your biggest enemy. For example, as a small business owner, look at your IT infrastructure - it may not be broken, but is it taking too much time, energy, and resources for the results it derives? Like the good baseball manager who tinkers with his batting lineup to get his players in the right slots, your IT support system is something you need to constantly review, looking for what works best now.

Perhaps the toughest part of any baseball manager's job is letting a player know that he no longer benefits the team as he once did. Fortunately for small business owners, the decision to replace an IT component isn't nearly as heart wrenching. After all, a piece of peripheral hardware like a fax machine is an inanimate object that won't break down in tears if you decide the time has come to eliminate it due to cost, ongoing maintenance, or the simple annoyance factor.

While small businesses have proven to be resilient in this era of economic recovery, they're facing the most critical time of the year - the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter of any year is like the ninth inning of a tie game. You don't have time for pop flies or strikeouts; you need to get a run on the board and earn that win! And to do that, you have to be aware of the resources you have. It simply won't do to go overboard spending time and money that will mean a poor return on investment (ROI).

Small businesses can make the most of their fourth quarter by looking to the cloud. Using cloud applications like MyFax, you can minimize margins and stay focused. These affordable, pay-as-you-go applications are operational in minutes and can be accessed from anywhere you can access the Internet.

On September 16, we'll host a webinar on the Intuit Community called "Home Run Stretch - Make the Fourth Quarter Count!" This is a must-attend event for small businesses, as we'll discuss:

- Leveraging cloud applications to streamline time, lessening time spent on administrative tasks;
- How your business can go paperless for efficiency and effectiveness;
- Why you need to integrate workflows to avoid duplicated efforts;
- The advantages of going mobile with your iPhone, Blackberry or Android to make the most of your day

Click here to register for this webinar and hit the comments with YOUR suggestions as to how to make the most out of the fourth quarter "home run stretch."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Efficiency is All About Workflow

Over the last year and a half I've had a pretty hectic life - working and studying full time. It was a unique experience, which tested the limits of sleep deprivation, productivity, and work/life balance. It was also unique because it allowed me to experience what small business owners go through in terms of starting and growing their businesses. What I came to realize in the context of the day-to-day life of a small business owner is that time is the most precious of resources.

Saving time requires you to identify the many little things that can deviate your attention from far more important things - like growing your business! It's called being efficient, and as many small business owners will tell you, it's easier said than done.

The MyFax service has, over the years, gone far beyond just offering you the ability to send and receive faxes with your email, the web, or your smart phone. We continuously listen to our customers, and we've gladly delivered with innovative integrations with some of the most popular software applications and mobile phones in the market, including: Microsoft Office and Outlook, Salesforce CRM, Act!, Lotus Notes and, just last week, the iPhone.

In addition, we also created the MyFax Print-to-Fax Assistant. The Print-to-Fax Assistant is a print-driver that lets you send faxes directly from within any Windows-based application by simply selecting File>Print>MyFax.

The MyFax Print-to-Fax Assistant further integrates MyFax directly into your current workflow by allowing you to manage fax communications and document management workflow even more efficiently. Here are some examples:

Two of the most popular office document applications outside of Microsoft Office are Google Docs and OpenOffice. Each offers a suite of free products similar to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Visio. The fact they are free and offer similar functionality has made them popular among small business owners.

Once you have installed the MyFax Print-to-Fax Assistant and you are working within any of the aforementioned programs, rather than saving the file and closing the program, you simply select Print and Choose MyFax. The Print-to-Fax Assistant will then open, and from there you can send your document to multiple recipients by either manually entering contacts or uploading contacts from Outlook. You can even include cover pages and billing codes.

The MyFax Print-to-Fax Assistant is free to all MyFax customers and can be downloaded from MyFax Central. You can see it in action yourself by viewing our video tutorial. Either way, we hope you enjoy the extra few minutes in the day you'll save because of it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Need to Run Your Small Business? There's An App For That!

I love my iPhone. There's no two ways about it. The marketing professional in me loves how it totally changed the mobile phone game, and the branding and marketing behind it - right from its amazing and flawless design down to the packaging. The early adopter in me loves having the best piece of technology out there (I already have the iPhone 4 while many of my friends are still waiting for theirs), and the ability to stream things like World Cup matches directly on my phone, while at the beach. The business person in me loves what the iPhone and its apps marketplace represent - a remarkably simple but powerful piece of technology that can help you run your business from the palm of your hands, from any corner of the world. But why is that important?

Well, one common thread across our many customers, who are spread across many industries including real estate, construction, and health care, is the "mobility factor." Whether a small start-up or a large enterprise, mobility can now make or break your business. It's no wonder then, why close to three quarters of US workers can now be classified as mobile.

Developments that have certainly aided and abetted this trend include not only the iPhone, but other smart phones and the availability of Software-as-a-Service (i.e. software applications you can access over the web). Starting with the BlackBerry and the idea of "email everywhere" and evolving to the everything-under-one-roof iPhone and Android smart phones (with their respective marketplaces), and continuing with the availability of 3G/4G Internet and cheap data plans, small business owners using SaaS in conjunction with their iPhone can now run an entire office out of their car, at a client meeting, or at half-time during their son or daughter's sports game. This means they are connected to their customers , employees, suppliers and partners 24/7 - anytime, anywhere.

Where Does Fax Fit In?
So where does fax fit in? Well, fax is still an important business communications tool and a staple for many industries in the context of the prospect-customer-supplier dynamic. So it's no surprise that our very large and mobile customer base requested and now has available to them the MyFax app for the iPhone. Available in the Apple App Store - for FREE - this app means MyFax customers can now add even more convenience to their iPhone business experience.

So bear with me for a moment, as I've been waiting a long time to say this: Need an important fax but you're 1,000 miles from your office? ...There's an App for that!!

Read more about the MyFax App for the iPhone here.

So what role does your smart phone play in your business strategy? Have your say in the comments...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Successful Entrepreneurs Aren't Risk-Takers

I read a great article the other day on the subject of Entrepreneurs and Success, by one of my favorite authors - Malcolm Gladwell. You might recognize the name from his recent works: The Tipping Point, Outliers, Blink, and What the Dog Saw. The article debunks the myth of the successful entrepreneur as a risk-taker, and introduces the Predator theory as one of the main reasons behind the success of many of the most famous and well-known entrepreneurs. The success of these entrepreneurs, as the article successfully points out, is not the result of their ability or willingness to take on risk, but rather their aversion to risk-taking, and their focus on the sure thing.

Put another way, these successful entrepreneurs wouldn't place a bet on a Yankees-Red Sox game, where there would be a 50-50 chance of either team winning. They would, on the other hand, put their money on the Yankees, if the first place Yankees were playing a last place team with a depleted starting rotation!

Little risk, high value, and a big pay-off may tend to explain the huge success and adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) within entrepreneurial start-ups; and small, medium, and large businesses that have stayed true to their entrepreneurial spirit. What SaaS represents is a huge deviation from the traditional software model, with little downside and a whole lot of upside:
  • There is no upfront investment - you don't have to buy any hardware or software, because SaaS can even replace things like your fax machine, phone system and email servers;

  • Little or no risk - you can try it before you buy it. If you buy it, then it's pay-as-you-go with no contracts involved. As well, since you're using a service/services that is used by thousands and/or millions, you know what you're getting from the get-go;

  • Value - sharing with hundreds of thousands (and in some cases, millions) of users also allows you to get a more robust service than you could get by running the software and/or hardware all by yourself. Most SaaS offerings provide small business with features and capabilities that were previously available only to large enterprises, and only at a steep cost;

  • Accessible from anywhere - the road, home, in an airport, etc. Mobility, whether for a small at-home business or a Fortune 500 company, is the new reality of business. Operating your business from a car while waiting for a customer is no longer just convenient, but necessary to get ahead.

These days, just about anything can be offered "as-a-service" from fax to phone systems; customer relationship management to accounting software to word processing. With the above advantages starting for as little as $10.00 per month, you can truly understand why, for most entrepreneurs, adopting SaaS...is almost a sure thing.

What do you think? Do you see entrepreneurs as risk-takers? Are you adopting SaaS successfully in your business? Take it to the comments...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best Buy Adds MyFax to its Software Installer

As you may have seen, we had some exciting news to share with you this morning, as MyFax has been added to the list of productivity tools available through the Best Buy(R) Software Installer on selected PCs and netbooks sold at Best Buy stores in the US. This is very exciting news for us!

For any of you who run your own business, your computer often becomes your ultimate communications hub - it's one of the most important items you own. As you know, merely selecting what PC you use is only the first (and arguably the easiest) step you'll take to set up this hub. Getting it fully operational is a whole other issue.

What's made this process so difficult is the dramatic rise of bloatware. You've likely run into bloatware before - all those extra programs and free trial offers littering your desktop because the PC manufacturer was paid to place them there. Even if you navigate the endless slew of registrations associated with these programs, in 30 days you find yourself in a panic because your free trials have "timed out" and you have no way to access the information you need.

As if that wasn't difficult enough, trying to configure one of those combo printer/fax/copier/scanner devices to your new PC is a nightmare, to put it mildly. Your reward for successfully doing this? An endless stream of faxed advertisements that eat up your not-so-endless toner cartridge!

This is why our news today is exciting - Best Buy and MyFax are letting you regain control of your office environment. Using the Best Buy Software Installer, you're able to tackle the issue of bloatware head-on, as you pick only the software you need. That's right - no more free trials for confusing software you've never heard of. Couple this with MyFax, which provides an integrated fax solution that doesn't require any installation, configuration, special hardware or mystifying software. As our customers will tell you, MyFax also lets you choose how you want to manage your faxes, including which faxes you print. No expensive cartridge replacements.

No one wants to spend scads of time just to set up their PC or netbook - we've got too much to do! We feel today's news is one way you can get rid of a common technology headache.

If you want to learn more about today's news, be sure to visit our newsroom.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fax: The Fourth Pillar of Your Corporate Identity

Your fax number is an essential business communications tool, just like your website, phone number and email address.

All of these tools make it easier for suppliers, prospects, and most importantly, customers, to easily contact you in the manner that works best for them. So it's essential to your business that you publish these four pillars of communication anywhere and everywhere your logo and business name appears!

The MyFax team realizes that for a new start-up or an at-home business, advertising can be costly. So we're proud to give you an exclusive offer - as a MyFax customer, you are entitled to 250 FREE premium business cards from Vistaprint!

These aren't your run-of-the-mill, plain Jane business cards, but rather eye-catching, full colored (front and back) cards customizable by you. With a ton of templates to choose from, you can get creative or just go for the look that best suits your business. All you have to do is insert your company logo, web address, MyFax number and email address - and they will be delivered to you!

You can find more details here - http://myfax.biz.vistaprint.com/

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Contest for MyFax Customers!

I'm very excited to tell you about a new contest we're running that's open to all MyFax customers*!

It's easy - just copy the skill-testing questions below into a Word(R) document, add your answers, along with your name, phone number, MyFax account number and email address, then use your MyFax account to fax the document to 1-866-257-2046. You can even enter as often as you'd like!

It's as simple as that. When the contest ends on August 30th, we'll do a random drawing from the entries that have answered all three questions correctly. The winner will be notified by email and announced right here on the Inside MyFax blog!

Our fabulous prize is an 8GB iPod touch!

  • 1,750 songs

  • 10 hours of video

  • Earphones

Now for the questions...drum roll please...

1. Does your computer have to be on to receive faxes with MyFax?

2. How many email addresses can you send and receive faxes from with MyFax?

3. What is the name of the MyFax online portal where you can send and receive faxes anywhere you can access the Internet?

Don't forget, you can enter as often as you like. And...if you have a friend you think would benefit from MyFax, send them a free month and get one for yourself at the same time. Refer a friend today!

Good luck and Happy Faxing!

*You must be a MyFax customer and at least 18 years of age on the day the contest opens (June 27, 2010) to be eligible to win. Contest not open to residents of Quebec or Rhode Island. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Full contest details available at http://www.protus.com/legal/contestrules.asp. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of entries submitted.

**Pages faxed from your MyFax account will be counted in your monthly fax allotment and if you go over your monthly allotment, additional fax pages are ten cents per page. To enter without using your MyFax, see the contest rules. By entering this Contest, you hereby agree to (a) be bound by the Contest Rules and (b) consent to the collection, use and disclosure of any personal information associated with this Contest by Protus IP Solutions Inc. ("Protus") for the purposes of administering this Contest, in accordance with Protus' Privacy Policy available at http://www.protus.com/legal/privacy.asp.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Don’t leave your communications behind when you jump into the cloud!

So you’ve made the big switch – leaving desktop software, per seat licensing, and annual maintenance costs behind. Congratulations, my friend! As you lean back in your chair to celebrate, feeling pretty smug and proud of yourself, a pile of cords, handsets, and hardware catches your eye. It’s then you realize you’re only half way into the cloud. You’ve moved your office apps online, but your communications infrastructure is so web 0.1 with dedicated voice and data lines, an aging PBX that doesn’t even provide caller id, and a fax machine that is forever out of paper and toner. Easy come, easy go as they say!

And then your cell rings and you have an epiphany – all you need to run your business is your mobile. And then reality sets in once again. Think about:
• Never being free of the office again when literally everyone (clients, creditors, and even pesky telemarketers) has your cell number; or,
• Skyrocketing bills when you finally take that well deserved and oft delayed vacation to “outtacallplan” land; or,
• Reading faxes on your 10 by 10 pixel phone screen.

Well, maybe it’s not such a crazy idea… “there’s an app for that” as they say. In this case, we’re talking about apps that will help your communications infrastructure catch up with your office apps in the cloud and deliver immediate cost savings. Virtual phone systems like my1voice with built in auto-attendant, reception, call routing, call identification, and voicemail functionality move your voice calling into the 21st century, leaving your PBX and dedicated lines firmly behind. As well, internet fax services like MyFax let you send and receive faxes from your email, the web, or smart phone without the need for a fax machine or any of the related costs.

So step into the cloud with both feet - don’t let your communications be jealous of the attention you’ve shown your office apps. Start today for free with my1voice and MyFax.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Real Estate Disrupted

At the end of the day, people need a place to live, work, and convene – that’s the lasting appeal of “bricks and mortar”. Even with the ups and downs of economic cycles and the recent housing crisis, real estate is renowned for its ability to bounce back. And yet, real estate is far from being immune to the disruptive force of the internet.

Realtors who clung to their pagers, paper listings, and land lines have already disappeared. A new breed of interconnected web savvy realtors has emerged – are you one of them? The web offers these realtors unparalleled and cost effective access to prospective buyers and available properties – even on a global basis when appropriate.

Here are some of their tips and tools:
Staying mobile and productive – Without technology this becomes an either or scenario. With technology, you can be productive and on the road. For example, tools like MyFax let you send and receive signed purchase agreements from your email, web, or smart phone. Solutions like my1voice ensure you get your calls, but make your actual location transparent to callers.
Client nurturing – People are less likely than ever to stay in their first home for their lifetime. So, think once a client, always a client. An email communications tool like Campaigner helps you stay in touch and keep your name top of mind when the time comes to upgrade or downsize. As well, staying in contact can net you those lucrative double-ended transactions where you sell the first home, buy the second.
Always connected –You can give your clients all your contact information, but how many are likely to give up after the first two tries? Tools like my1voice find you so the client doesn’t have to, and you never miss an important call again.
Find and communicate with prospective buyers and sellers online – email, social media, web presence... – need I say more?
Look professional, without the effort and the expense – Tools like Campaigner offer off-the-shelf realtor branded email templates and copy suggestions. my1voice can be your virtual assistant with automated reception and unlimited extensions and voicemail boxes. As an online tool, MyFax ensures you never run out of fax paper or toner or faxed offers again.
So join the real estate revolution. Seize technology tools to broaden your reach, stay connected, and accelerate your real estate business.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What do Real Estate Agents & Accountants have in common?

On the surface, nothing – with one being naturally gregarious and assertive, the other more reserved and analytical – I’ll let you figure out which for yourself!

The answer to what real estate agents and accountants have in common lies in their paper-based workflows including:
Need for regulatory compliance - Both professions are paper-heavy by nature – with lots of required regulatory and government documentation along with the need for legally valid signatures.
Thrift – Paper is costly. Accountants are cost conscious by nature. Agents are money motivated and like to keep as much of their commission check as possible.
Client communications and confidentiality – Paper is an open loop process and prone to being misplaced or lost. Both accountants and agents deal with sensitive information that if misused could compromise their client’s position or otherwise cause them direct harm.
Professionalism – Accountants need to project a professional image to attract clients and to build client trust and loyalty. Agents are on the road a lot. Being on the road, being productive and being professional can be mutually exclusive.
Technical simplicity – With rare exceptions, agents and accountants are not techies – if they were, chances are they would have taken a different career path.

So the answer to what real estate agents and accountants have in common is MyFax!

MyFax lets you send and receive legally valid documents from your email, web, or smart phone and keep an electronic record. MyFax replaces your need for fax machines, in house fax servers and everything that goes with them, like supplies, dedicated lines and long distance charges. MyFax helps ensure client confidential communications. Faxes are sent from and received in a user’s private email inbox or from the password-protected MyFax website. MyFax projects a professional image with business class reliability and 99.9% availability commitment. MyFax never runs out of paper or toner, never jams and a user’s computer doesn’t have to be "on" to receive faxes. MyFax is easy to implement - no installation, no additional hardware or software, no maintenance - and it’s as easy to use as email.

Not surprisingly then, real estate agents and accountants are two of the largest users of MyFax. So if you’re an accountant or real estate agent and haven’t tried MyFax, why not?

And if you’re a mortgage broker, insurance agent, lawyer, or health care provider – the question and answer aren’t a lot different!

Try MyFax today for Free.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Faxing still a factor in schools

Saw this article today from Tufts University’s student newspaper and thought it was worth passing along. The article interviews a number of Tufts students to get their thoughts about faxing and fax machines. Keep in mind that these students have never known a world without email and instant messaging, and most probably take texting for granted as well.

The general consensus at Tufts seems to be faxing is still used a lot for business, although many of the students aren’t sure why.

One student working in the Treasurer’s office gets it, though. He points out that often faxes are sent instead of email due to security and privacy reasons. If you’re talking about personal and private information, it actually has to be faxed by Massachusetts law.

What’s interesting is it seems this institute of higher learning is still relying on fax machines rather than an Internet fax service such as MyFax. A MyFax account would solve many of the issues the students see while still following the legal mandates for privacy.

What has your experience been? How much does the business office at the colleges or universities you deal with rely on faxing versus other forms of communication?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Get your paper organized and searchable

Ever lose your car keys, glasses, purse or wallet? You’re not human if you haven’t. This is the challenge with tangible, yet inert objects – there’s no way to find what you’re looking for, short of a random search. If you average 5 minutes a day in collective random searches, that’s more than half an hour a week, two plus hours per month, and so on. Before summing up your lifetime average and getting depressed, think about the challenge of finding missing paperwork in the office. Then, think about the opportunity for an extra 30 minutes or more of productive time per employee per week. Along with saving the environment, a real time searchable electronic archive is the true promise of the “paperless office”. But going paperless just isn’t an option if your occupation is real estate, law, insurance, or finance, among others. Paper is part of your everyday workflow and as such a “necessary evil”.

The question becomes how to keep your paperwork organized and searchable to be able to realize these efficiency and effectiveness gains. Your best bet is to look for points where paper either touches or could touch an electronic workflow – sending up the equivalent of an emergency flare to say, “Hey look, I’m over here”. Take faxing as an example. Cloud computing services like MyFax let you keep your paper based workflow (aka fax), but also provide end-to-end electronic tracking with an electronic record to file away. As well, with MyFax those efficiency gains and associated savings aren’t whittled away by additional hardware or software costs. Plus, with the ability to fax via email, smart phone, or the web, you’re more efficient and effective.

Just imagine, paper with an electronic trail in one searchable archive. Simple, convenient, effective, and best of all organized!During the month of May, MyFax joins QuickBooks in the Intuit App Center in a special promotion to Get Organized. Promoting the need to improve document management and reduce paper in the office, QuickBooks customers can try MyFax risk free by visiting http://bit.ly/MyFaxGetOrganized. As an added bonus, each use of this service in May includes an automatic submission to win a Kindle. For complete terms and conditions, visit http://bit.ly/IntuitKindle

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The trouble with paper is you can’t get organized

Are you the type of person who double-checks the mailbox slot? Checks and rechecks an address (physical or electronic) before sending? Prints fax confirmation pages? … Well, I am! You may call me a worry-wart, but the more important the communication is, the greater the likelihood I’ll wake up at 2am in a cold sweat. So why is it, whenever there’s a life altering communication like mortgage papers, license registration, or releasing a lien, it’s still paper?

Within a business context, you may be the most organized business person in the world with regular client communications, just-in-time operations, and timely billing and collections. What about the person you’re communicating with? How can you ensure that he or she received the required information at the right time (and can find it again)? As well, how do you know if the information was disseminated to other parties as needed on a timely basis? Quite, simply who received what, when is a relative unknown. This is the trouble with paper! It is by very definition an open loop that conspires against getting and staying organized. Of course, there are some interrupt driven processes to help address the paper gap like requiring signatures, but who cares if the receptionist got your letter or package if that becomes its final destination?

The business world has taken a few tentative steps away from paper, but there’s a long way to go. Faxes have long been considered legal documents, but they’re still the only electronic type communication that is! Even with the convenience of faxing compared to “snail mail”, there are still lots of annoying little details to address like, “Did the right person receive it?”, “Was it timely?”, “Was the information shared appropriately?”

Today’s technologies can help you bridge the paper gap efficiently and effectively. Continuing with the fax example, cloud computing services like MyFax bring faxing to your email, smart phone, home, and literally anywhere that’s connected to the web; requires no hardware and software; provides end-to-end electronic tracking, and gives you an electronic record to file away. Paper with an electronic trail in one workflow. Simple, convenient, effective, and best of all organized!

During the month of May, MyFax joins QuickBooks in the Intuit App Center in a special promotion to Get Organized. Promoting the need to improve document management and reduce paper in the office, QuickBooks customers can try MyFax risk free by visiting http://bit.ly/MyFaxGetOrganized. As an added bonus, each use of this service in May includes an automatic submission to win a Kindle. For complete terms and conditions, visit http://bit.ly/IntuitKindle.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Faxing provides a solution to ethical challenge for lawyers

Those of us who work in offices and exchange documents regularly often use the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word. It’s a handy way to make edits without losing the original text, just in case we want to go back to the original later.

For lawyers, though, Track Changes can present an ethical problem according to this post from the Internet Business Law Services web site. A legal document may contain all sorts of information that someone makes a decision not to share down the road. If Track Changes was used, though, it’s possible that the “hidden” data can be exposed, thus creating a potential breach of ethics and confidentiality. It doesn’t take much effort to make that happen, either.

Toward the end, the post talks about ways to prevent these potential breaches. Of course, one of the first ones listed is to fax the document instead of emailing it. A fax has no Track Changes function, so as long as you remember to accept all the changes before sending it the person on the other end can’t get at that confidential information.

Even if you’re not a lawyer, there may be things that have been removed or changed in certain documents that you don’t want to share. If that’s the case, avoid the risks. Use MyFax to send them.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Things you can do to help Planet Earth

It’s Earth month again. What started out back in the 1970s as a way of raising awareness about the planet and the effect we humans are having on it has now been extended to the entire month of April. Perhaps someday we’ll all think about it all the time, and every day will be Earth Day.

Until that day, it’s important for each of us to do what we can in our daily lives. Fortunately, as a user of MyFax you’re already having a positive effect. For proof, check out this special page, which shows the impact moving from fax machines to an Internet fax service can have.

Ok, that’s one thing. What other things can we all be doing to make a difference? I’d especially like to see some more ideas that not only help the planet, but make life or work easier too – the way MyFax does.

Friday, March 12, 2010

If you really want to keep your information secure, fax it!

For most of us, email is a daily part of our lives. We send all kinds of information via email, from business documents to financial records to Great Aunt Sally’s secret apple pie recipe.

What many don’t realize, however, is that email is very vulnerable to being intercepted. Which means private and confidential information that you’d like to have kept private and confidential can actually wind up being open and exposed pretty easily. And with tax season upon us, it gets extra worrisome.

It’s just one more reason to have a MyFax account. Internet faxing is far more secure because a hacker can’t really intercept a fax – even one that is going to an email account. Because of the way it’s transmitted, a fax will appear as nothing but noise to someone trying to look into your private information. That’s because a fax is disassembled and converted into some electronic wizardry, then reassembled on the other end. So are emails, but when you intercept an email it can be reconstructed. Can’t do that with an Internet fax.

And with MyFax it’s even more secure because we add a layer of 128-bit encryption just to be sure there’s nothing for an email hacker to see. It’s the next best thing to having one of those Jason Bourne-like secure phones.

So if privacy is a concern, and it is for most of us these days, think about faxing your confidential documents instead of emailing them.

Now it’s your turn. What types of documents do you need to send securely?

Monday, March 08, 2010

MyFax Receives Product of the Year Award

Technology Marketing Corporation's (TMC®) INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine has named MyFax, the fastest growing Internet fax service and my1voice, the cost-effective, feature-rich virtual phone service for small business as recipients of the 2009 Product of the Year Award.

Being recognized for outstanding innovation by INTERNET TELEPHONY aligns with customers’ perception of the Protus business communications products. The company is consistently rated highly in both user and professional reviews for its attention to customer needs and personalized service.

“INTERNET TELEPHONY is proud to grant Protus a 2009 Product of the Year Award for MyFax and my1voice. Protus has proven its commitment to quality and excellence while addressing real needs in the marketplace,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “We’re happy to recognize and honor Protus for their development of IP communications technology. We look forward to more innovative solutions from them in the future.”

A complete list of Product of the Year winners is published in the February 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine. INTERNET TELEPHONY has been the authority in IP communication since 1998™, providing unbiased views of the complicated converged communications space. For more information, please visit www.itmag.com.

Friday, February 26, 2010

MyFax now has local numbers available in 34 Canadian cities

While we talk a lot here on the blog and in other places about the value of having a toll-free fax number – especially how it can make a small company look larger – it’s not necessarily right for everybody.

There are lots of good reasons you might want to have a local number instead, such as a small company wanting to emphasize its local ties or a large company wanting to localize its service.

That’s why the fact that MyFax has expanded our local fax number availability in Canada is such warm news on an otherwise chilly day. In fact, we now have local numbers available for our Internet fax service in 34 cities throughout the Great White North, which is 28 more than we used to have. It’s enough to cover virtually every major city in Canada, whether they’re located in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

By the way, if you’ve been using a toll-free fax number in Canada and want to change it over to a local number, contact MyFax customer service via phone, email or online chat and they’ll take care of it for you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

MyFax to Exhibit at the National Real Estate CyberConvention & Expo

MyFax Product Marketing Manager Sam Wehbe will present “Technology for Realtors The New Way - The Web Way” at the National Real Estate CyberConvention & Expo.

Sam will discuss the new breed of solutions that deliver technology through the Internet and make workplace IT easier and less expensive for real estate offices and individual realtors.

Details for the event:

What: National Real Estate CyberConvention & Expo
The CyberConvention is expected to attract more than 10,000 real estate professionals during its seven days, and is completely virtual open to the real estate community worldwide.

When: February 21-27, 2010

Where: http://recyber.cyberconventions.com/

Presentation: Sam’s presentation will be accessible all day Tuesday, February 23 and Friday, February 26. Attendees can visit the Speaker Center inside the convention and click on Sam’s session.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Faxing helps athletes deliver signed Letters of Intent

Wednesday, February 3 was a big day for high school athletes and the colleges that have worked so hard to get them to come to their schools. It was national signing day, the day that those athletes can sign National Letters of Intent that commit them to a particular college.

It’s also a big day for fans of those schools, which is what makes the whole process so newsworthy. That’s why I was delighted to see this photo of an athlete from Plano, Texas signing his National Letter of Intent. Not so much for the athlete or the sport itself – I’m not a big follower of Texas high school football – but for the delivery method of the signed letter.

That’s right, you guessed it. When he was done signing the letter, he faxed it. As with so many areas in the business world, when a signed legal document needs to be transmitted quickly, faxing is the method of choice – sometimes the only allowable method.

If the school has MyFax they’ll be able to file it electronically for safekeeping instead of having to store a piece of paper in some file cabinet somewhere in the bowels of the athletic facility. They can add the letter to the player’s general electronic files, making it easy to keep everything about him together throughout his time at the school.

Readers, what about you? Have you ever had to fax an unusual or interesting document like this one?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Test Your Faxing IQ

Before email, before instant messaging, before texting and smart phones, there was the fax. While it’s normal to think that faxing has gone the way of the typewriter, the truth is faxing is still very much alive. In fact, it’s a big part of many industries and even required by some.

So to make sure you have the most current information – and a good store of knowledge should you appear as a contestant on Jeopardy! and the Daily Double is a fax-related question – we offer a couple quiz questions.

1. Some advantages of an Internet fax service over a fax machine are:
A. No need to go back to the office to read your faxes
B. Internet fax accounts never have busy signals on inbound faxes
C. Because they’re electronic, your faxes can travel with you more easily
D. All of the above

All of the above. Since Internet fax services are tied to your email account, you can receive faxes anywhere you can get email. That also means you can store your faxes on your laptop or other device so they’re always handy. And if multiple people send you faxes at one time, your Internet fax service will never return a busy signal.

2. The monthly cost for an Internet fax service is roughly the same as using a fax machine.
A. True
B. False

False. It’s actually a lot less. With a fax machine you have the cost of the machine, plus a dedicated phone line, toner, paper and electricity. The only cost for an Internet fax service is the service itself. You’re really looking at pennies per day for 24x7x365 access to your important faxes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

MyFax expands local fax number coverage by 78 area codes in the U.S.

While we talk a lot here on the blog and in other places about the value of having a toll-free fax number – especially how it can make a small company look larger – it’s not necessarily right for everybody.

There are lots of good reasons you might want to have a local number instead, such as a small company wanting to emphasize its local ties or a large company wanting to localize its service.

That’s why the fact that MyFax has expanded our local fax number availability in the U.S. is such warm news on an otherwise chilly day. In fact, we now have local numbers available for our Internet fax service in 78 additional area codes throughout the country. That’s a 46 percent increase in total U.S. coverage in just one year!

What that means to you is you can obtain a local number no matter where your office happens to be located – or where you want it to look like it’s located since you don’t have to live in that area code to receive a number for it.

By the way, if you’ve been using a toll-free fax number and want to change it over to a local number, contact MyFax customer service via phone, email or online chat and they’ll take care of it for you.

So what do you think? Do you prefer to use a toll-free or local fax number? And why?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Faxing saves the day for vacationer

Saw this story this morning and just had to pass it along. It’s one I think we can all relate to – that sinking feeling when you realize you’re in deep trouble and you’re not sure how you’re going to get out of it.

The story involves a journalist who was taking an international vacation over the holidays, traveling from Marin County, California to the island of Malta. Potentially a dream vacation, right? Well it was, until she got to the airport and was told her tickets listed her married name but her passport listed her maiden name. In these days of heightened security that wasn’t going to work.

She needed proof that both identities were the same and was told by British Airways that a copy of her marriage license would work. That’s not something you normally carry with you on vacation. Fortunately, though, she was able to have someone fax a copy of it to the airport, it was accepted, and her vacation went off as planned. So basically the fax saved the day!

You may never face that issue, but at some point we all forget something of importance – usually at the most inconvenient time. Maybe it’s your notes for a presentation. Maybe it’s a contract for an important client. Whatever it is, it’s good to know you can have it delivered quickly and right to you computer or smartphone with MyFax. It’s a good little safety net.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yet another article on obsolete technologies

If you want to raise some controversy, trying telling users that the technologies they know and love are obsolete and ought to be retired.

That’s what happened recently with an article by Computerworld’s Mike Elgan called 10 obsolete technologies to kill in 2010. In it, he takes on everything from the 12 volt DC port (once called the cigarette lighter) in cars to business cards to home entertainment remotes. And of course, #1 on the list is the fax machine.

In Mike’s world, everything should be emailed. Of course, MyFax users know better. There are plenty of good reasons to fax documents, such as:

- They need signatures
- They contain handwritten notes or amendments
- The law requires it (pretty much any medical record)
- You want the document encrypted during transmission
- The person on the other end doesn’t like or use email
- That’s just how your industry works (construction comes immediately to mind)

The one thing he did get right is there’s no real need for a fax machine anymore. An Internet fax service will do whatever you need done with faxes while helping you save money and make your office a little greener.

Say what you will – faxing is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. And until those fancy smart phones become a lot cheaper to own, program and use, I doubt we’ll be getting rid of our home entertainment remotes anytime soon either.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Faxing in a VoIP World

Many businesses are looking at moving to Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service as a way of adding capabilities while reducing costs. What they may not realize, though, is that a gain in one area could cause a serious issue in another. In this case, adding VoIP means you could lose your ability to send and receive faxes.

If you’ve been using a fax machine, you probably had a dedicated phone line for it. When you make the move to VoIP, the “additional” phone line will be removed along with the others.

There is an alternative, however, that fits your intentions much better: an Internet fax service. As VoIP does for voice, an Internet fax service allows you to send and receive faxes anywhere you can get an Internet connection – your office, your home, a customer’s location, a truck stop, the airport or even your favorite fast food restaurant or purveyor of fine coffee.

When you receive an Internet fax, it appears as an attachment in your email account. Everything is handled electronically, making faxes easy to store, carry with you, search and even back up so you don’t lose an important document as can happen with a paper fax.
If you’re thinking of upgrade your phone service to VoIP, it’s the perfect time to reconsider your fax options as well. An Internet fax service will allow you to not only maintain your faxing capabilities but improve on them.