Peripheral Visions

a blog from SuppliesGuys™ -- Good Guys. Great Buys.

Posts Tagged ‘Small Business’

Business Printer Reviews 2011

Are you currently looking for a new printer for your small office or business? In this blog post we are listing four of the top business printers we reviewed during the course of 2010. Hopefully this review will give you a good start when it comes to navigating through the business printer waters.

Oki B431dn

what makes this a top business printer? The Oki B431dn produces high quality prints in lightning fast speed. Its flexible as there are three ways to connect with this printer. It is small in size when compared to other business printers in its class. The Okidata B431dn is ideal for the small office environment given its high duty cycle, paper capacity and relatively low maintenance costs. Plus auto duplexing comes standard with the Oki B431dn.

Oki B431dn Specs:

Printer Type: Monochrome Laser

Print Speed: up to 40 ppm

Duty Cycle: 80000 sheets per month

Print Quality: up to 1200 x 1200 dpi

Paper Capacity: standard – 350 sheets / maximum – 880 sheets

Connectivity: USB, Parallel, Ethernet

Memory: 64 MB/320 MB

Toner Cartridge (page yield): standard capacity – 4K pages per cartridge / high capacity – 10K pages per cartridge

Other supplies needed: image drum

Lexmark E462dtn

what makes this a top business printer? The Lexmark E462dtn yields similar specs to the Oki B431dn. The high volume performance capabilities (duty cycle, page speed and print quality) coupled with a low cost per page are the two primary reasons as to why the Lexmark E462dtn is ideal for a small business owner or workgroup within a larger organization. It does have a slightly slower first page out speed at 6.5 seconds but duplexing is standard in this Lexmark printer. Plus it is network ready.

Lexmark E462dtn Specs:

Printer Type: Monochrome Laser

Print Speed: up to 40 ppm

Duty Cycle: 80000 sheets per month

Paper Capacity: standard / maximum – 550 sheets

Print Quality: up to 1200 x 1200 dpi

Connectivity: USB, Parallel, Ethernet

Memory: 64 MB/576 MB

Toner Cartridge (page yield)standard capacity – 3.5K pages per cartridge / high capacity – 9K pages per cartridge / extra high capacity – 18K pages per cartridge

Other supplies needed: photo conductor kit

HP LaserJet Enterprise P3015dn

what makes this a top business printer? This workhorse of a monochrome laser printer is perfect for a high volume office environment that requires a great deal of black & white pages.  It has the flexibility to print to a wide variety of media types and can ensure confidential documents stay private with an optional PIN number. Perhaps a bank, title company or real estate office could use the LaserJet P3015dn. The print quality is among the best in its class given its speed capabilities. This printer is network ready and durable.

HP LaserJet P3015dn Specs:

Printer Type: Monochrome Laser

Print Speed: up to 42 ppm

Duty Cycle: 100000 sheets per month

Paper Capacity: standard – 600 / maximum – 1600 sheets

Print Quality: up to 1200 x 1200 dpi

Connectivity: USB, Ethernet

Memory: 128 MB/640 MB

Toner Cartridge (page yield): standard capacity - 6K pages per cartridge / high capacity - 12.5K pages per cartridge

Other supplies needed: N/A

Dell 1355cnw

what makes this a top business printer? If you are in an environment that requires high quality graphics to be printed then this printer is for you. What it lacks for in speed and paper capacity, it certainly makes up for in quality. Factor in that the Dell 1355cnw can copy, scan and fax in addition to printing and you’ve got the recipe for a solid business printer. It is an affordable option given the low cost of replacement supplies (the image drum and fuser unit are designed to last for the life of the printer, so you’ll never need to replace those parts). The one drawback is that you won’t be able to use this printer for any print jobs that require auto duplexing.

Dell 1355cnw Specs:

Printer Type: Multifunction Color Laser

Print Speed: color – up to 15 ppm / b&w – 12 ppm

Duty Cycle: 30000 sheets per month

Paper Capacity: standard / maximum – 160 sheets

Print Quality: up to 4800 x 4800 dpi

Connectivity: USB, Wireless, Ethernet

Memory: 128 MB

Toner Cartridge (page yield): standard capacity - 700 pages per cartridge / high capacity - 1400 pages per cartridge (color), 2000 pages per cartridge (black)

Other supplies needed: N/A

Categories: Product Reviews

Great Customer Service Matters for Small Business and Big Business Alike

At The Supplies Guys we take great care and pride in our customer service, yet there are times when we are reminded by customers of just how important this really is. This week we received an email from a customer who not only appreciates great customer service, but as a small business owner fully understands how treating customers like gold is not just a good business practice, it is the only way to do business. He also provided us with some very inspirational insight that I think our readers will appreciate. So here is the email in full, unedited. Enjoy!

—– Email Insert —–
Hi Melissa!

 I got to thinking about the experience I’ve had with Supplies Guys so far, and wanted to pass along this commendation for your excellent customer service. My dad often said that small businesses were the backbone of America.  Today I hear more and more how in-debt governments (like ours) decide to go further into debt to give billions in bail-outs to big corporations, while taxing the small businesses –the middle class– more and more.  The signs of the times really bring Dad’s words to mind, and I often shake my head in realization of how vital small businesses are to our economy, our country, and -even though it may sound like a stretch- the blessed freedoms we have in the USA.

The ability to borrow your dad’s lawnmower and start a business mowing the neighbors’ yards…  the freedom to build a chicken coop with your own hands and your own sweat and sell eggs to the neighborhood  –and know that you succeed or fail because of how you do business…  that’s the gritty reality that keeps American industry strong, and forces small businesses to actually serve their customers instead of putting such low value on customers that they outsource customer service to India and confuse customers with endless automated voice systems.

Which is why I’m writing this review.  From my long-distance experience with SuppliesGuys, you guys (gals) have a strong business backbone.  You actually have real customer service for their business, and that shows that you value us as customers.  Your professional website may look like you’re a big corporation, but after talking with customer service a few times, it’s clear that regardless of your size, you’ve got small-business customer service at heart. So, you get my praise for your customer service, and in my book, you’re not a big corporation; you’re just a really successful small business.  :-D

I hope God blesses American men and women with the gumption to start more small businesses, and do their work with honesty, integrity and respect for customers.  That’s what makes good customer service. Thanks for watching out for your customers.  It may not seem so at times, but if you watch out for us, we’ll keep coming back. God bless.

Sincerely,
John Dehnart
CrossTimber (yep, a small business.)
—– End Email —–

CrossTimber has served its community and out-of-state customers with business printing since 1994, and is now offering website design services. John and his wife, Katie operate their printing company from their home in Ohio, and use SuppliesGuys toner to make personalized bookmarks, name plaques and name meaning coffee mugs!  SuppliesGuys toners paint the vibrant color designs that are unique to CrossTimber’s name meaning gifts.  Order a bookmark at  www.meaning.name and you’ll see why CrossTimber chooses SuppliesGuys compatible toners for crisp vibrant personalized gifts.

Categories: Business Tips

To Pay or Not Pay for Web Hosting

Whether or not to pay for web hosting depends upon your online goals, resources, skills and abilities and required functionality.

It is not hard to find low or no cost options for hosting a web presence on the Internet today. Simply perform a query at your favorite search engine for “free web hosting” and watch the results pour in. In fact, a recent search garnered 134,000,000. Yes, that’s 134 MILLION search results for the keyword phrase free web hosting!

With all that attention and energy out there, using a no cost website hosting company must be an alright option, yes? Well, perhaps. But not always. It simply depends upon some factors that should be considered prior to committing ones online presence to a company that finds revenue streams from options other than charging the website owner.

Some important questions to ask when considering a web hosting company might include (but certainly not be limited to) the following:

  • Price: Clearly, free means at no cost. For some with extremely limited budgets to spend for online promotion, low or no cost may well be the best option, at least for a limited amount of time.
  • Speed: How fast will those free web servers be able to load up your website for all the visitors who find their way to your home page? What happens if sudden awareness and popularity blesses (or curses, depending upon how you look at it) your website. Will those shared, free servers be able to handle the loads?
  • Space: For many, the limited amount of disk storage space associated with the average free web host is fine. But what happens should your site need to store and serve massive amounts of images, video files, documents, etc.?
  • Functionality: Unless your website is offering advanced interactive functions, this may not be much of an issue when considering whether to pay for your website hosting. Down the road, however, when you need that advanced functionality how will your free web hosting provider react? Will you be able to upgrade to get what you need?

In Support of Paid Web Hosting

Starting a business costs money. Perhaps not a massive amount, but companies today understand they must have some budget to move their ideas forward. When it comes to pinching pennies, probably the last place you want to scrimp is with your online presence. You need powerful and secure hosting. To ensure that your website is safe, and protected, the company providing you with services needs to have a sound business model. Giving away free hosting on the strength of placing obtrusive advertisements on your company website is not likely to provide them with the financial strength required.

By the sheer nature of free web hosting, transfer speeds must be limited and doled out to a large number of websites residing on their servers. This means that in order for your website to perform well, i.e., have fast page loads, limited to no waiting for images, videos, downloads, etc., your site must be a near perfectly optimized operation. If you are an expert at the sort of optimizations necessary, you may have a chance at success. Even then, regardless of how well coded a site may be, your site speed is still at the control of the free host.

Many free services do provide for the eventuality that some of their users may need to upgrade storage requirements. The challenge with these offerings tends to be the price points they are offered at. With a quality paid hosting provider, if you actually need to go beyond the massive amounts of disc space offered, the prices per MB are usually very reasonable and easy to acquire.

As your website increases its need for functionality, you’ll find that having a paid hosting provider makes it very easy to add web applications. When popularity and massive spikes in traffic find their way to your site, having the bandwidth, speeds, and functionality you need to convert those visitors to paying customers will more than provide a great return on your choice to invest in a paid website hosting service.

Author Bio: Vern Marker is a writer for a business web hosting company and is always looking for cost-effective solutions for business owners. When Vern is not blogging or writing, he loves to travel the world. Follow him on Twitter@VernMarker.

Categories: Business Tips

Add a Personal Touch with Variable Data Marketing

Variable Data Marketing

Variable data marketing, abbreviated as VDM, is personalized marketing that uses different sets of data in marketing materials to reach out to a customer. The data used in VDM is personal buying information, such as what items a customer purchases regularly. Most often, variable data marketing is used within direct mail marketing, but also applies to e-blasts and other online marketing efforts.

The marketing plan begins with a structured database of information about each customer, such as name, address, purchase history. A company uses this data to personalize their marketing materials and offer special offers on the products a customer has purchased, or deals on relevant items to the ones in their history. The data becomes variable as it is plugged in to the marketing material, whether it be a direct mail piece or e-blast. Because each customer is different, each material has variables that are changed for each piece sent out. Although this may sound intensive, the variables are quite easy to switch out and for direct mail, the pieces don’t have to be printed in mass quantities as most jobs do.

How Small Businesses Can Use VDM

Small businesses can use variable data marketing to offer relevant offers with a personalized touch to their customer database. As variable data marketing is personalized and uses the customer’s name in much of the artwork, the customer becomes more likely to purchase from a company that adds a personal touch. Plus, when you’re offering them a specific deal based on their purchase history, you’re establishing customer loyalty and a lasting relationship.

Because VDM mail pieces and e-blasts don’t have to be sent out in mass quantities, it’s attainable for small businesses to test out variable data marketing to see if the characteristics adhere to their marketing plan.

Examples of Variable Data Marketing

If you’ve ever purchased anything from Amazon.com, you’ve likely received at least one email from them with recommendations on products that you’ve purchased. Amazon is taking your personal buying information and using it to reach out to you.

Another example of variable data marketing is done right here at The Supplies Guys. We work closely with a design company to create original artwork that uses the customer’s name and an offer on an item they’ve purchased from us. The Supplies Guys also offers PURLs, a personalized web address for customers to control their orders and view purchase history. PURLs are also a part of variable data marketing as they personalize the data for each customer. Here is an example of a Supplies Guys postcard that contains variable data, as well as the customer’s PURL:

Conclusion

Variable data marketing is an innovative marketing technique that is accessible to small businesses as well as large corporations. It is an important marketing technique as it reaches out to customers with a personal touch, a touch that always makes a difference to customers, regardless of whether they’re purchasing from a brick and mortar or an online retailer. Small businesses are the best candidates for variable data marketing because it spreads across all mediums and also assists in brand awareness as it gets names in front of customers’ eyes.

What do you think – would you implement variable data marketing into your small business’s marketing plan?

Categories: Business Tips

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