Are you ready for the New Year? More importantly is your business ready? Now is the time to organize your business, update files and put in place systems and processes (or update the ones you have already). In this week’s #TechChat I go over what I do at the end of the year and give you some great pointers on what you can be doing too.
Some great end of year things to do are:
Reflect on what went well in business, what didn’t go well, and what can be better next year.
Purge through your files (Digital and Physical)
Create file folders for the upcoming year.
Prepare for tax filings.
Purge your email list, emails and social media accounts.
Setup your content or plan your content for the next quarter.
Fill out your planner or calendar with all the events and items you know about already for the upcoming year.
#TechChat’s are weekly trainings in the Digitally You with Samantha Facebook Community designed to help entrepreneurs & small business owners learn new ways to be productive in business, how to use the latest apps and organization tips.
If you are anything like me and consider yourself a lifelong learner, you may have tons and tons of pdf’s, ebooks, videos, audios, images, and various other things that pertain to some type of training course you took. Whether you took the course online or offline, you may have digital files that you will need to refer back to periodically. Well in this #TechChat I show you how I have organized my “training files” and how easy it is.
“Training Files” are those files that you have when you pay for a webinar or take a course or go hear a speaker and they send you digital files (audios, pdf’s, outlines, powerpoints, videos, etc.) of what you learned for you to refer back to later.
By organizing these files you are more likely to come back to them and be able to get at the information you need when you need it. Don’t just save files in your download folder until it becomes a unmanageable mess. Take the time to set up the file structure on your computer and cloud storage and utilize the information that you paid for.
Do you organize the information that you have bought? If so let me know what your system is in the comments below.
Today I am sharing 3 apps of many that I use to run my businesses. It is important as a business owner to be organized and have as much of your work tasks automated as possible. These apps are just a few that I use to do just that. I have saved myself hundreds of hours by implementing these 3 apps. There are more things that I use to automate my business but these are my top 3 that I use daily.
So watch as I share what I use to capture my ideas and client information, what I use for project management and what I use for invoicing. Be sure to look at my other posts about other tools I use to run my business. And be sure you check out our Resource page too.
P.S. Please ignore me being upside down. Only when I show me you will see that I am upside down. I think I had the phone turned the wrong way when recording. But the important information is right side up ;-).
P.S.S. Do you need help when it comes to finding out what technology you need for your business and how to use it? If so check out my Blueprint for Success: Pushing Past Tech Fear program. I am now enrolling for this hands on 4 week course that will have your business in tech shape. Learn more here.
Are you in the market for a new computer? Don’t know where to start or what you should be looking for? Well this post is for you.
As a technology consultant and coach I often asked “What should I get?” If you have ever been in the market for a new electronic gadget you are all too familiar with the non help you get in the stores. You must realize that the clerks are there to sell a product and they will tell you anything whether they are on commission or not. You also have store personnel who have no clue at all. They just work there.
I want to share with you a few tips or questions that you need to have answered before you go in any store. Once you have these answered and settled in your mind you will be able to go to the store with confidence and more importantly knowledge. You will certainly come home with what you need and nothing more. So let’s dive in!
What Is The Main Use Of Your Computer? What Do You Need To Be Able To Do?
This is where you really want to think about what you use your computer for and what are the basics that you really need. Do you need just email functionality or be able to browse the Internet? Do you use it strictly for business or do you need it for both home and business use? All of these answers to these questions will help flesh out the blueprint that you will need when it is time to go purchase your new computer. The answers will help you pin down what you really need and not be oversold by the salesperson or come home with something that you didn’t even want.
What Is Your Budget?
This is usually a tricky one for people. Most people fail here because they have not done any research to find out what are the going rates for computers in the first place. So that is where you want to start. When you go in a store just browse the computer section to familiarize yourself with what computers are going for. From the least expensive to the most expensive. You might also want to note what features come with each price point. Don’t be afraid to comparison shop. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket at one store. Remember knowledge is power! Once you have familiarized yourself with pricing then you can come up with what you are willing to spend for the features that you NEED in a computer.
How Computer Savvy Are You?
This is an important one. You don’t want to get a computer with a ton of bells and whistles when you have only mastered turning it on. Remember the sales person will make everything sound easy peasy to you but once you get home you are on your own. So you need to make sure that the computer you get is not bloated down with a lot of programs and other shiny tricks to the point where you get frustrated and don’t even use the thing because it is too over your head. It happens everyday. Or if you aren’t all that computer savvy think about getting some training either free or paid that can get you up to speed on what you need to know in order to operate your machine.
What Programs Will You Need?
All computers come with what is known as bloat wear. This is extra software loaded onto the computer that you didn’t even ask for. With that being said, you need to figure out what programs you will need that don’t come with the computer and are extra costs. The most important piece of software that you need is virus protection software. Do not skip this. Because it only takes one bad virus to ruin your new investment beyond repair. After that you will probably need a PDF reader which is free from Adobe and some type of Office Software like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc. But if you do not want to pay an arm and a leg for Microsoft’s offerings you can go the open source route and get Open Office for free that will let you read and save Microsoft Office file types. After you get the basics you can figure out what other software programs you will need depending on what you will be using your computer for.
What Accessories Do You Need?
Here you will need to know if you need speakers or a larger screen or if you will need to get a USB hub or a router of some type. Is your set up at home wireless? Do you need a printer or scanner? This is the time to answer all of these questions before you head out and get sold some riverfront property in Kansas! Only get what you absolutely need for your new computer and what you will be actually using.
Will I Need Help Setting It Up?
I’m pretty sure you will need help getting everything set up even if you follow directions. It just helps having someone else setting it up right the first time and making sure that everything works like it should. This is especially true if you will be setting up a wireless network in your home at the same time. So look into whether the store where you purchase the computer from offers this service or if you can get a neighborhood kid to come over and help you get set up. Don’t try to do it alone if you don’t know what you are doing because the last thing you want to do is ruin your new purchase because you plugged in the wrong cords.
Now for a word on wireless setup. If you decide to go wireless remember to have it set up with a password so that anyone driving down your street can’t just jump on to your open wireless network and possibly get onto your computer. It can happen. And if you go through a phone company to set up your wireless computing remember to choose a new password because everyone knows that they use your home phone as a password most of the time. Let’s make sure not to make it easy for the identity thieves out there.
After answering all of these questions you should now be in a great position to go confidently and boldly to purchase your new computer. Because you have done your homework and researched and thought about what you need you will not be oversold by a pushy or non-knowing clerk at the store. You will also not be sold something that isn’t compatible with what you have. You have all of the power and can now make an informed decision.
Even after all of the planning and research you still don’t feel comfortable going by yourself then by all means hire someone who specializes in this type of thing (hint, hint, ME) to come with you to the store to make sure that you are making the right decision. You can be in and out in under two hours depending on if you go to multiple stores. You can even have that person help you set up everything once you have made your purchase. You can’t go wrong with that.
I hope this post has given you some insight into choosing the right computer for your needs and given you the confidence and knowledge you need to make the right decision and purchase for your family.
I was a panelist for on a call for the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) last week. The topic was “Harnessing The Power of CRM to Grow Your Business”. I was one of 3 panelist discussing what a CRM was and how it helps your business.
So you may be asking “What is a CRM?” Here is a definiton from Zapier:
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, so by definition, a CRM is an app that helps you manage your relationships with current and prospective customers. Your email and address book already do that, in some ways—your email links related messages together, and lets you find all messages from a contact with a quick search, while your address book can hold as much info about your contacts as you want. Even the old-fashioned Rolodex was a CRM of sorts.
As you can see having and utilizing a CRM is crucial to your business, especialy if you want it to grow. So I wanted to share with you some of the tips I shared on this Teleconference.
Why Do I Need A CRM & How Early In My Business Should I Implement
One of the questions asked on the call was “Why do I need one and how early do I need to utilize one?” My colleagues all gave great answers saying the sooner in business the better to be thinking about and utilizing a CRM. This is true that you do need to be thinking about a CRM at the earliest stages of your business. Especially if you plan on growing your business. But my advice was that if you are just starting out and don’t have a lot of contacts yet you can still utilize a hybrid system of a CRM like your Google Contacts, Phone Contacts, Evernote, or a scheduling system like Vcita. The reason you want a CRM is because for any business to grow you need customers and clients. You need to build a relationship with these customers and clients. The more people you come in contact with the more disorganized it can become to keep up with who said what and when to follow up. So that is where having a CRM comes into play.
I shared that when I first started out I utilized my Palm Pilot’s roledex feature and kept paper notes in a notebook. This was way before there was a way to scan in business cards like you can now. That was a ok system until I got a little bit bigger and attended way more networking events. Then I graduated to ACT. Only now 19 years in am I utilizing another true CRM for my business as my business model has changed.
That was my experience but if you know that you want to grow your business bigger and will be starting out in business going to a lot of events, I would definetly try out a couple of the CRM’s I will mention below. Most, if not all of them have Free trials and a few have a totally free version depending on the number of contacts and people in your business needing to utilize it. You have way more technology available to you now than I had when I first started. Do what is comfortable and right for your business.
CRM’s To Start
Below is my list of CRM’s. They vary from free to paid and from simple to complex. My advice is choose two that meet your needs right now, but has room to grow as your business grows.
These recommendations are in no particular order and certainly does not encompass all that is available, but it does give you a few that I have tried personally and some that have been recommended by other professionals to get you started in the right direction.
I also shared that when you are looking for a CRM you want to make sure that they have integrations with other services; like your email managment system, etc. You should also make sure that you can get all of your information by download or export.
Also make sure that you can access your info via the cloud. Because there is no point in having a CRM if you can’t access your notes and info on the go.
Look for free trials and only put in about 20 contacts when you are first starting out so that you can really see if it is going to be a good fit without sacrificing a lot of time and energy by putting all of your contacts and information in.
There is more that I plan to write on this subject as there was more questions that people asked that we didn’t get to get to. So stay tuned to my blog for future posts on the subject.
If you have a CRM recommendation or if you are using a hybrid solution of a CRM I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you are someone who needs more help in figuring out what is the right solution for you can contact me or check out my 4 week program Blueprint for Success: Pushing Past Tech Fear. You can learn more by clicking here.