The Top 5 Best Automated Answering Services For Small Businesses

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best automated answering service for most small businesses is VoiceNation or SAS.

Small businesses have limited time, and answering customer calls yourself takes your attention away from actually running the business. The problem is that diverting calls to voicemail often gives off the wrong impression.

Automated answering services can help and allow you to receive calls and relay messages, all with that personal touch. Below we’ve assembled the best automated answering services that money can buy.

The Top 5 Best Automated Answering Services

  • VoiceNation — The Best for Immediate Activation
  • SAS — The Best Call Receptionists
  • Davinci — The Best for Administrative Task Assistance
  • Ruby — The Best Mobile App
  • BPO American — The Best Customizable Service

Those are our top picks for the best automated answering services. Let’s take a closer look.

VoiceNation — The Best for Immediate Activation

  • Instant activation service
  • Account manager on all plans
  • Mobile app for portable management
  • Easy custom call scripting

Try for 7 days free

VoiceNation is the ideal answering service for small businesses that need to get up and running as quickly as possible.

VoiceNation stands out because it can start taking calls as soon as you finish the sign-up process. There’s no need to wait 24 hours like other answering services commonly require—you simply start using it. 

VoiceNation home pageVoiceNation home page

Instant activation is just one part of the attractive offer, though, and all VoiceNation plans include an account manager available when you need them. There’s also message delivery by voicemail, email, or text, a complete mobile app to…

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This Common Vitamin Doubles Weight Loss

As many as 50 percent of the world’s population are deficient in this vitamin.

High levels of vitamin D in the body are linked to weight loss and losing more belly fat, research finds.

One study has found that drinking more milk, which contains calcium and vitamin D, can double weight loss.

Higher levels of the vitamin may help the body to decrease the storage of fat.

On the other hand, low levels are linked to fat storage.

People on a diet have been shown to lose 20 pounds more when their vitamin D levels are high.

The current study included 90 young US women in California whose weight and vitamin D levels were tested.

The results revealed that low levels of vitamin D were linked to being shorter and heavier.

Dr Richard Kremer, the study’s first author, said:

“The high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in young people living in a sun-rich area was surprising.

We found young women with vitamin D insufficiency were significantly heavier, with a higher body mass index and increased abdominal fat, than young women with normal levels.”

Vitamin D is linked to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is involved in many vital bodily processes, including mood and sleep.

Dr. Vicente Gilsanz, study co-author, said:

“Clinicians need to identify vitamin D levels in younger adults who are at risk by using a simple and useful blood test.

Because lack of vitamin D can cause fat accumulation and increased risk for chronic disorders later in life, further investigation is needed to determine whether vitamin D supplements could have potential benefits in the healthy development of young people.”

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and a higher chance of getting colds.

Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Kremer et al., 2008).

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The Top 5 Best Online Backup Services – In-Depth Reviews

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best online backup service for most people is IDrive and Backblaze.

Finding a reliable online backup service for business or professional use isn’t a choice to be made lightly. If and when the worst occurs—hardware failure or accidental deletion—the peace of mind that comes with a secure online backup is invaluable.

However, finding the right online service that lets you back up all your data in a remote location is a challenging task, especially with so many online backup options out there. Today, we’ll look at the best online backup services you can rely on to protect your business data.

The Top 5 Best Online Backup Services

Let’s look at why we chose these five backup services over their competitors.

IDrive — Best for Unlimited Devices

  • Back up from unlimited devices
  • Fully automated backup process
  • Save files locally and in the cloud
  • Convenient iOS and Android apps

Try for free

IDrive supports online backups for (nearly) unlimited platforms and servers and is easily accessible from Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems. You can back up all the databases and servers for as many computers and mobile devices as you want.

It’s this versatility and flexibility that makes IDrive my top choice for the best online backup services.

IDrive home pageIDrive home page

You get an easily manageable dashboard with a simple interface that lets you see how much storage you have left. Use search options to find files and set up backup intervals. As IDrive’s backup process is automated, your data will be ready to back up as soon as you create an account. You…

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Conflict: 5 Responses to Any Issue

Conflict: 5 Responses to Any Issue

Where people interact, conflict occurs.

“Researchers found that on average, parents have 2,184 arguments with their kids every year. Each day, in fact, they spend about 49 minutes fighting.” Yahoo

  1. Average employees spend 2.1 hours a week dealing with disagreements.
  2. 27% of employees have seen tensions escalate to personal attacks.
  3. 54% of employees think managers could handle disputes better. (Workplace conflict)

Conflict: Hotheads have closed hearts. Image of an angry cat.Conflict: Hotheads have closed hearts. Image of an angry cat.

Too little conflict:

Organizations that fight all the time are distracted and paralyzed. Organizations that have no disagreements are avoiding issues.

When everyone gets along someone is faking.

Fear of disagreements doesn’t solve issues. It prolongs them.

People who skirt tough issues choose the easy path instead of the right path.

Conflict is a wake-up call that the status quo isn't working. Image of two puppies playing tug of war.Conflict is a wake-up call that the status quo isn't working. Image of two puppies playing tug of war.

5 responses to any issue:

#1. Open your mouth to make things better.

  1. When you’re unsure if words are helpful, stop talking.
  2. Always seek the best interest of others.
  3. Temper aggression with kindness.
  4. Avoid defensiveness. People who need to be right need others to be wrong.
  5. Apologize quickly.
  6. Define issues and design solutions.
  7. Show respect to yourself and others.

#2. Choose positive outcomes.

Don’t start arguing until you define a win that suits all participants.

Know what you’re fighting for.


  1. What do we want?
  2. If this conversation goes well, what will be true?
  3. If we resolve this tension, what will be different?

#3. A little progress is better than none.

Reject the need for perfect solutions.


  1. What does better look like?
  2. What’s a small thing that will make a big difference?

#4. Ask questions before making statements.

Hot heads have closed hearts.

Curiosity heads for the door when emotions get hot.

Better to ask a stupid question than make a stupid statement.

#5. Be specific:

Generalities don’t solve specificities.

Ambiguous solutions cause more conflict.

Working harder isn’t a solution to missing a specific target.

Which of the above responses would most help you?

What would you add to the above list?

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Team EQ: What It Is – Why It Matters – How to Increase It

Team EQ: What It Is – Why It Matters – How to Increase It

New book giveaway!

20 copies available!!

Leave a comment on this guest post by Joshua Rosenthal to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of Team Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

Deadline for eligibility is 05/29/2022. International winners will receive electronic version.

Build team emotional intelligence by setting norms. Image of a multi-colored silhouette.Build team emotional intelligence by setting norms. Image of a multi-colored silhouette.

Team EQ is:

Team EQ is about noticing when emotions surface and impact the work, and your team’s ability to manage these emotions effectively.

Team EQ is about building healthy relationships within and outside the team.

Team EQ is a higher-order emotional intelligence that is not simply the sum of its individual parts. Largely, two things impact a team’s performance: emotions and relationships.

Team EQ includes four core skills:

  1. emotion awareness
  2. emotion management
  3. internal relationships
  4. external relationships

Why Team EQ matters:

Collaboration is essential to production — not only one’s individual expertise.

Leaders and individual contributors can demonstrate high EQ, however, the teams they work on might still perform at a low level if collaboration is missing or isn’t as polished as it can be. This is your Team EQ and at times it can be high (when your team is effective) or low (when your team struggles).

Team EQ: Go further faster by working on the way you do the work. Image of an old push mowerTeam EQ: Go further faster by working on the way you do the work. Image of an old push mower

3 Strategies for Building your Team’s EQ:

#1. Recognize Your Team’s Triggers.

What causes your team to be distracted or unproductive? Identify the types of people, situations, or conditions that cause strong emotions or poor performance so you can manage their impact when they surface.

#2. Set Team Norms and Enforce them Lightly.

Set behavioral ground rules for how you want to work together that all team members agree to. Define for yourselves what a gentle reminder of these team norms looks and sounds like.

#3. Own Your Mistakes.

When the team fails, own the mistake openly to rebuild trust and model the type of behavior you’d appreciate in return. Discuss and share any lessons learned. 

What are some ways you and your team can start building your Team EQ skills today? 

Dr. Jean Greaves in her own words:

Joshua Rosenthal is the Director of Training at TalentSmartEQ, the world’s premier provider of emotional intelligence (EQ) training and development, certification, assessments, and coaching.  Their book Team Emotional Intelligence 2.0, is a research-driven resource that delivers practical strategies and showcases how an emotionally intelligent team is far more than the sum of its parts….

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4 Hard Things Leaders Do

4 Hard Things Leaders Do

The hard things leaders do make them glorious.

A bird in flight is glorious. There’s glory in just being human. Stars at night sing glory.

Effortless glory is wonderful. But there’s another kind of glory that’s seen in the hard things leaders do.

Effortful glory – the glory of doing hard things – might go unnoticed.

The hard things leaders do make them glorious. Image of a tree reflecting on water under a night sky.The hard things leaders do make them glorious. Image of a tree reflecting on water under a night sky.The hard things leaders do make them glorious.

The truth about hard things:

The hard things leaders do are uncomfortable.

  1. Confronting intentional violations.
  2. Correcting screw ups.
  3. Cutting back.
  4. Saying, “No.”
  5. Terminating someone.

Life filled with ease leans toward weakness, indulgence, and self-serving.

The hard things leaders do often go unnoticed. People who don’t do what you do, don’t know how challenging it is.

When combined with humility, the hard things leaders do:

  1. Give strength.
  2. Shape the will.
  3. Expand outlook.
  4. Enrich life.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

4 hard things leaders do:

#1. Receive help.

You’d rather give help than receive it, but both are necessary. Leaders who go the farthest receive the most help.

Leaders who do all the helping – but don’t receive help – screw a lid on their potential.

#2. Face criticism with grace.

Winston Churchill was criticized for his frequent visits to bombed neighborhoods during WWII. Of course, he would have been criticized if he hadn’t visited bombed neighborhoods.

#3. Serve in unnoticed ways:

Serving gives life meaning. It’s a privilege to serve even when you’re tired.

I wish I could say that serving was always easy and fun. But difficult service is often more fulfilling than easy.

Effortful is more glorious than effortless.

What would life be like without service?

It’s glorious to:

  1. Step back so others can step up.
  2. Celebrate other’s success.
  3. Develop people until they outperform you.

You might enjoy anonymity, but high-impact leaders let themselves be seen. Image of a peacock peaking.You might enjoy anonymity, but high-impact leaders let themselves be seen. Image of a peacock peaking.Let yourself be seen.

#4. Let themselves be seen.

Let people see you:

  1. Learning from failure.
  2. Giving second chances.
  3. Experiencing joy.

Encourage vulnerability by practicing vulnerability.

Which of the above hard things seem most difficult for you?

What could you add to the above list of hard things leaders do?

Added resource: The Hard Thing about Hard Things

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4 Ways to Set Team Norms

4 Ways to Set Team Norms

How do you enforce team norms lightly when you have a disruptive member?

Dear Dan,

When you have a disruptive team member with emotional outbursts that is limiting the team’s effectiveness, enforcing lightly just doesn’t seem to change the behavior. How do you maintain expectations when stepping outside of those behavioral boundaries only gets a light “slap on the wrist”?



Team norms: Don't play the role of Moses carrying the 10 Commandments. Image of Moses with the 10 Commandments.Team norms: Don't play the role of Moses carrying the 10 Commandments. Image of Moses with the 10 Commandments.When it comes to team norms, don’t play the role of Moses.

Dear Lyna,

Dealing with disruptors is challenging. If you aren’t skilled with tough issues, matters get worse. I suggest you begin by sharing the burden.

4 ways to set team norms and enforce them:

#1. Teams set team norms:

It feels like you feel alone. Don’t get me wrong, some responsibilities aren’t meant to be shared.

Team norms should be set by the team. Don’t play the role of Moses carrying the 10 commandments.

Google studied over 100 high performing teams.

“… the only pattern they found was that high performing teams had norms that guided how team members treated each other. Interestingly, there were no patterns among the norms, either. What worked for one team was the exact opposite of what worked for another team.” (Team Emotional Intelligence 2.0*)

How to establish team norms:

  1. Brainstorm ideas for team norms with the team.
  2. Ask team members to search the Internet and come with their favorite ideas.
  3. Delegate the task to a few team members. Discuss and vote.

Team norms: high performing teams set their own norms. Image of a tape measure.Team norms: high performing teams set their own norms. Image of a tape measure.High performing teams set their own norms.

#2. Evaluate and revise:

You won’t get your norms right the first time. Aspirational norms might be too high. If you haven’t started a meeting on time for years, setting a norm to start on time won’t work. Try something else.

When new team members join, refresh your norms*.

#3. Enforce norms lightly.

Choose to enforce team norms lightly. Give examples.

Suppose not interrupting is a team norm. When someone interrupts, interrupt them and ask, “Hey Mary, does not interrupting still work for you*?” Smile when you do it.

#4. Confront abusive violators in private.

You wouldn’t publicly bring up employee discipline. If the team confirms a norm and one team member persistently violates that norm, discuss it in private. Treat it the same as any other discipline matter.

Most team members won’t give each other corrective feedback. it’s too awkward.

What suggestions do you have for Lyna?

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7 Lessons from the Naïve Leader

7 Lessons from the Naïve Leader

One day a naïve leader decided to explore the desert. He was smart enough to know he needed water and clothing for protection from the sun. But he didn’t understand all the dangers in the desert.

At the edge of the desert, he was surprised to meet a poisonous snake. But he was excited and didn’t know the snake was deadly.

A naive leader feels excitement when caution is needed. Image of a cobra.A naive leader feels excitement when caution is needed. Image of a cobra.

The snake, with sly reserve, asked, “Where are you going my friend?”

“I’m off to explore the desert,” replied the naïve leader.

“Oh my,” the snake said with mock concern. “Do you know poisonous snakes live in the desert?”

The naïve leader gasped, “I have never seen a poisonous snake. What do they look like?”

The sly snake said, “Look for an animal with four legs, a bushy tail and two black beady eyes. They pretend to be friendly and helpful, but they’re deadly.”

The surprise:

He thanked the sly snake and turned with confidence toward his adventure. But when he turned, the sly snake bit him on his hind end and he died.

7 lessons from the naïve leader who died:

  1. What you don’t know can bite you in the butt.
  2. A naïve leader feels excitement when caution is needed.
  3. Inexperience doesn’t know what it doesn’t know.
  4. Seek advice from several sources.
  5. The person who seems to help might be waiting for you to turn your back.
  6. Passion adds danger to naiveté.
  7. You are never fully prepared for a journey you haven’t taken before. Life is that journey.

What lessons do you see in the story of?

Still curious: The Naive Leader – What Makes You One and How To Avoid It.

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