Category Archives: Organization

Organization and Tools – More Google

Hey Richard. We are continuing our Organization Tools discussion with more about Google apps.

Hidden Gems in GMail – the Browser Version

Gmail has so many features given to you for free, that you would have to pay extra for if you were purchasing another email client. Gmail works best with the Chrome browser (duh they are both by Google, who also invented Android).

  • On the upper left, below “Google”, there is a pull-down box called Gmail. This provides quick access to your Tasks and Contacts.
  • At the upper right, when you click the “tic tac toe” board icon, this is where you will find other google apps.
  • Use the “gear” to select the “display density” – how scrunched together the items are on your screen
  • Use the “gear” to change your theme
  • Use the “gear” to access your settings. This is a topic all on its own.
  • You can split your screen vertically (the index is on left and message body of the selected message is in a preview window on the right) or horizontally (the index is on top and message body of the selected message is in a preview window on the bottom). You can also choose No Split
  • Get details of your login status and location (including MAC address and IP address) by clicking the tiny “Details” link at the bottom of the screen. If you have multiple simultaneous accesses to your Gmail account, you can terminate all other sessions with the button, “Sign out all other web sessions”.

More tips to come

Rich Moyer

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Many Reasons To Use Google Tools (including Gmail)

The questions I get when I talk about Google Tools generally follow:

  • You mean the search engine?
  • Gmail, right? I already know how to use Gmail.

Well, Google is so much more than search engine technology and email. Google has provided a complete suite of office tools – absolutely free. There is some partner software but everything you need is already right in your browser, and there is most likely a downloadable app for your Android tablet or phone, and your iPhone and iPad.

The secret is knowing how to find and access these gems.

OK, So Let’s Talk About Gmail

If you don’t have a Gmail account, GET ONE NOW. Unless you are using an email system in your own domain for branding purposes, even your BUSINESS email account should be Gmail.
and
Why? You definitely want to create a separation of BUSINESS and PERSONAL email. I don’t give out my personal email, except to close friends. My business email is my BRAND. It is ME – my business persona. I have been using the same email(s) for the majority of my business communications for many years.

The most important reason you do not want to use anything BUT Gmail is that Google does not FILTER your email. They still deliver it, but if it has questionable content (according to the Google Gods) then it is put into a SPAM folder. But at least you RECEIVE IT and YOU can decide whether it is worthy of earning its place in your INBOX. Most ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) DELETE and FILTER emails, so you may not be receiving critical messages, and you were not even given the opportunity to DECIDE.

As a system administrator, I deal with another issue DAILY and that is BOUNCES. When an email bounces, it sends failure notices o the SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR continually (usually retries around 50 times). I have special software that prevents these messages from crippling my systems. This is a common means of generating Denial of Service Attacks by the seedier side of our industry.

You Can Have Your Own Email Domain That Is Actually Gmail

Google actually has a premium email service that you can brand with your own domain name. In fact I have had one for years, although I do not use it for official business communications since I retired:
spahoconsulting.org“. I control the email addresses, configuration, and applications allowed in my domain.

Why Gmail?

It is free
You get TONS of storage
You get GREAT apps
You can access and synch across multiple platforms
Less likely to bounce
It is an industry standard
All the apps talk to each other
Full featured

Create your BUSINESS Gmail account (all Gmails are the same, just create a professional sounding email address) and then create a separate account for your personal email. Google Labs (the little gear at the upper right) has an app that allows you to open all of your inboxes from different accounts from one page.

Rich Moyer

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Make Your Business Plan Secure and Evergreen

Keep Your Business Plan Up To Date

Your Business Plan should be update as changes happen in your business:

  • Additions or changes to Partnerships
  • Additions or changes to Major Suppliers
  • Changes of Products or Services Offered
  • Changes in Financial Status, Banks, or Investors
  • Changes in Market Segmentation
  • Changes in Business Organization (LLC, corporation)
  • Changes to Legal Status

Authenticity

  • Date and Version Control
  • Expiration
  • Retention and Destruction
  • Statuatory Endorsements
  • Witnessed and Notarized Signatures

Security and Protection

Your Business Plan should be secured and protected. It may contain personal or financial information.

  • Electronic protection, like a password for a digital copy of your Business Plan, deters casual intrusions.
  • Secure Digital Storage – like encryption, Cloud Storage
    Safe or Safe Deposit Box – for physical copies

Review

Schedule periodic review of your Business Plan and associated business documents, licenses, policies, procedures, etc.

I schedule business plan reviews quarterly, coincident with quarterly tax filings.

After quarterly financial close, I attach my Profit & Loss report and Balance Sheet to my Business Plan.

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Your Business Plan – Putting It All Together

OK, Richard,

You have been through all the elements of your Business Plan, and actually given some thought to what your business is, and what you want it to be.

One of the leaders in XLN, one of the programs I was associated with, frequently reminds his team that the PRODUCT or SERVICE you are marketing IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS.

The Product or Service is what you PRODUCE or MARKET, but your BUSINESS is:

  • How you define WHAT you do,
  • WHY you do it,
  • HOW you approach what you do,
  • How you present YOUR BUSINESS to your prospects,
  • How you handle your FINANCIALS,
  • How you obtain and retain your CUSTOMERS and
  • HOW you adapt to CHANGES in your Business.

Your Business Plan should be the document or presentation you would show to:

  • Your Banker or Investors – to demonstrate that you have given some thought to your business, and shows INVESTORS that you are a viable entity WORTHY of their TRUST.
  • Your Prospects – telling them why you want them to do business with YOUR COMPANY.
  • Your Customers – so they know they have signed on with someone who will STAND BEHIND your products or services and will CONTINUE to do business with. They will TELL OTHERS and GIVE YOU TESTIMONIALS.
  • Your Accountant – so the RIGHT accounting methods and tax filings can be done to establish YOUR COMPANY as a legal entity and obtain the optimum tax treatment and REDUCE LIABILITIES
  • Your Insurance Company – to reduce exposure and ensure the proper coverage to protect YOU and YOUR COMPANY
  • Your Business Consultant or Coach – to help you learn about products, services, and business practices to IMPROVE your Business or make your Business MORE EFFICIENT
  • Your Attorney – to ensure regulatory compliance, reduce exposures, and LIMIT LIABILITIES

You can change products or services, but, in my experience, even when my company offered a different product line or service, MY CUSTOMERS would CONTINUE TO DO BUSINESS WITH MY COMPANY and follow the lead MY COMPANY set forth, because they knew MY COMPANY would be an ADVOCATE FOR THEM and PROVIDE THE SUPPORT they deserved.

The bottom line:

A BUSINESS PLAN Establishes YOUR COMPANY
As An Entity Unto Itself

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What are YOUR Goals?

How much TIME are willing to dedicate to YOUR business?

This is an important question. But to get to an answer on this, you have to assess your current situation.

If you are trying to start your business the way I did, working a full time job, time with the family, soccer games, business travel, my own chores around the house, how much time are you WILLING to dedicate to your BUSINESS?

Willing and able are two different things. Are you too exhausted to actually take the time for your business? Has this been prioritized the same way by your WIFE, FAMILY, FRIENDS, BOSS?

Life gets in the way. Deal with it, or walk away.

How much MONEY are you willing to invest in YOUR Business?

This one is always a stumper. People have an expectation that everything on the internet is free, there are no rules, no taxes, and you can do whatever you want.

Wrong. It’s ok to take advantage of those things are truly a bargain, but FREE IS NOT FREE! (There you go, got me on my soapbox again).

Try opening a McDonalds for free. You do realize those business owners pay HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for the franchise, property, utilities, employees, product, etc. and that a new franchisee rarely turns a profit for 5 years?

Where else can you open an INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS for a couple hundred bucks a month? And hope to turn a profit in several years IF YOU ARE DEDICATED TO YOUR BUSINESS and stay on track to meet your REALISTIC GOALS?

What is a REALISTIC short and long term financial target for YOU?

  • Have you considered loss of the income associated with your J-O-B?
  • How much would it take for you to leave your J-O-B to do this full time?
  • Will you lose medical, dental, vision, life, disability, long term care insurance if you left your J-O-B? With Obama Care, medical insurance is MANDATORY or you pay a fine.
  • You will lose 401K and pension
  • How will you manage in the interim?

What resources do you have available?

 

  • Savings, checking bank accounts
  • CDs, stocks, bonds
  • Lines of credit
  • Personal or business loans
  • (Do NOT get a 401K loan! This is future savings you should NEVER touch)

Do you want to build a new business, or expand/focus an existing business?

  • Different choices
  • Stick with what you have and add on?
  • Abandon what you have invested in with time and money?

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Tools Needed to Create Your Business Plan

A computer or laptop is ideal.

Because you will be doing a large amount of text entry and editing, it may be difficult (although not impossible) with a Tablet or Smartphone.

I will admit that technology has come a long way, I am also guilty of getting extremely flustered by it which is unusual coming from someone who built a career as a techie (among other things). I am almost embarrassed to say that I spent many years building datacenters, systems, and networks but my son had to teach me how to use a smartphone. I guess it is hard because it is how PEOPLE choose to interact with devices, not a logical, methodical, orderly way that an engineer or programmer would approach it.

My son will say “OK Google” and whisper some gentle suggestions about creating appointments, or getting driving directions, or finding a nearby restaurant. I am in AWE of the capabilities until I try the EXACT SAME THING on my own phone with laughable results. I generally have to resist tossing out the window, realizing that I would have to buy another one just to drop back to my old way of doing things.

But, technology can do some really cool things:

  • Dictation into a text file, no matter where you are. Although, my phone likes to make things up, insert whole paragraphs I never even thought about saying let alone writing. It changes words, interprets silence as an opportunity to make road noise into the next revelation.
  • Create Selfies and spontaneous videos to promote your products or services. I get so tired of seeing selfies of EVERYTHING. I get it, you were in Yosemite National Park but I want a COUPLE photos without somebody’s face obscuring the beautiful scenery. 
  • Share and transfer data to and from everyone. No, I said the photo of that moose we saw, not ANOTHER CAT VIDEO. 
  • Social Media is the fast track to notify everyone quickly. I don’t care what corner you are standing on, whether it is so hot your makeup is running, nor if you have a pimple today.

Where to Put Stuff and Share Stuff

  • Storage for your documents.
    • Google Drive is free, and shareable
    • Dropbox – more free storage that can be mapped like a virtual drive to your computer

Document Creation Tools

  • Word Processor, Text Editor
    • You need some way to create editable documents that can be saved and modified or updated later.
    • Windows has a folder of free Windows Accessories that includes Notepad (for unformatted text) or WordPad which is a mini-Word.
    • Google Drive has a built-in, free, full featured word processing program called DOCS that is compatible with, and can import and export to Microsoft Word and other RTF-format files. If you will be doing any editing across platforms, I recommend Google DOCS. There are apps for every platform, you can make local copies, and your documents will synch when you reconnect
    • Evernote is also cross-platform, and can export to standard word processing formats

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Why go through all this formal planning?

Why go through all this formal planning?

“You’re taking valuable time away from me that I could get to work!”

This seems like so much unnecessary work. After all, it is YOUR business, and you know what you want to do… right this minute. What about tomorrow when you are up to your butt in alligators, will you recall at that moment that your original intention was to drain the swamp?

It is too easy to get distracted and off course. Things change, and that is OK, but if you have a baseline that captures the ideas and goals for your business at a particular point in time, you can refer to that point to keep yourself on track, or make a CONSCIOUS decision to make a change in direction.

A key ingredient they miss in the planning process is VALIDATION.

Once you do your plan, you want to jump right in and immerse yourself in GETTING IT DONE, but you forget that there were unknowns in your plan.

Did you actually do a test run, validate your assumptions, and tweak the plan before you jumped head-on?

Try it first with a SMALL SAMPLE with the knowledge that you may find deviations in your assumptions. People rarely get the opportunities for “DO OVERS”. If you can detect some of these things with a smaller sample, you might avoid a colossal OOPS that could damage your reputation or budget.

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Just think of it…

What about this, Richard?

Can you imagine building a skyscraper the way that most people in Network Marketing define their businesses? That’s like walking down the street in Manhattan and saying, “We’ll just order some steel, glass, and concrete, hire a crane and some guys, and next thing you know, we’ll have a skyscraper and we’ll be rich.”

How is that different than this?

“Uh, we’re going to surf til we get enough points to send out a message given to us by some Guru who promised we would only have to work 20 minutes per day. He gave that same message to 4,000 other people, but because I paid him $397, MY system will work better than the ones being promoted by those other 4,000 who only paid $97.”

I’m not asking you to create the master plan for the universe, just to write down what you know, and as more information is available, or things CONSCIOUSLY change, update it. Believe me – it COULD save you thousands of dollars…

Start Your Business Plan Today.

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