Category Archives: Get Organized

The Hidden Value of Networking

networkingThere are thousands of articles written on how to make the most of networking events. Most of the articles offer advice on how to find clients at those events.

Here’s another reason to network: finding future consultants, partners, and employees to help grow your business. At some point you will need to hire a virtual assistant, accountant, project manager, etc. How will you find the right person/firm to hire? Let me tell you, it’s much harder than you think.

Before you begin your search for the right person to hire, you must narrowly define the mission, vision, and ideal client for your business. Why does this matter? Because the consultants and employees you hire can’t help carry out the mission of your business if they don’t understand it. Continue reading

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Why You Should Use QuoteRoller

I confess. I used to use Microsoft Word to prepare client proposals. I dreaded preparing them even though it meant bringing in new business. I copied the last proposal I did and carefully changed all client name references, dates, fees, etc. And then I read, re-read, and re-read the proposal to make sure I didn’t overlook anything. It took forever. When I finally overcame the fear there was something I forgot to change, I emailed the proposal to the prospective client. And then I had to wait for the client to open the file, read it, print it, sign it, scan it, and finally (hopefully) email it back to me.

From Inefficiency to Efficiency

And then I found QuoteRoller. I could add my client’s contact information to QuoteRoller. It was easy to create templates to reuse. I could track when the proposal was viewed by the client and, of course, when they accepted it. I could even use the RightSignature integration to get a real live signature instead of an electronic acceptance.  I could create and email a proposal to a client using one of the templates I setup in QuoteRoller while we were speaking on the phone and close the deal in short order. Generating proposals for prospective clients became something I no longer dreaded.

QuoteRoller Features

QuoteRoller has myriad features to benefit any business. A dashboard allows you to see how many proposals you’ve sent, which ones have been viewed, and what your acceptance rate it. In addition to the text content, you can add pictures and videos to your proposals. And clients can ask questions or make comments on your proposal.  In other words, you can wow your clients and win the job.

What’s Your Time Worth?

We business owners try to accomplish too much each and every day. Using QuoteRoller to prepare proposals will save you time and allow you to use your valuable time more efficiently. The basic subscription to QuoteRoller starts at $14.99 for a monthly plan, $8.99 per month for an annual plan. Even if you currently only prepare a couple proposals a month, as CEO of a business, your time is certainly worth $14.99. Isn’t it?

*This post contains an affiliate link.

Travel and Work from Anywhere

Do you ever read about business owners that travel the world and work from anywhere? Wonder how they did it (and feel a bit jealous)? Here’s how I did just that.

I live in Arizona while my family resides in Pennsylvania. This past holiday season, I flew to Pennsylvania in December and returned to Arizona in January. I did not ship anything ahead for my business nor did I pay any excess baggage fees.

How did I do it? My business has been paperless from the start. What I don’t scan and file myself, Shoeboxed does for me. Clients share documents with me via Dropbox and any paper that does come my way is scanned and shredded (mostly). This eliminated carrying piles of paper with me.

So what did I carry with me?
• MacBook Pro
• iPad
• wireless mouse
• wireless keyboard
• 3-4 folders with documents that I needed hardcopies of
• 2 wire-bound notebooks
• Calendar/Planner
• assortment of writing utensils
• iPhone
• bluetooth headset
• and of course the chargers for all of the above

And it all fits in this Mobile Edge laptop backpack.

I like this laptop backpack because of its slim design, but the best feature is it is TSA friendly. That means I just unzip the laptop compartment and send my bag through the scanner without taking my laptop out of the bag.

While using my iPad as a second monitor to view documents, I was able to work very efficiently. And with my Bluetooth headset and Join.me screen-sharing, meetings were a breeze.

I will admit to some trepidation at traveling so far away for so long. What if I forgot something important? Having the right tools made all the difference. In the end, there was nothing I had left behind (documents or other) that caused any sort of panic and I had a pleasant stay with my family.

*Note: Links may be affiliate links and I may earn a few coins if you clink the link and buy something.

Paperless Freedom in Flagstaff, Arizona

Shoeboxed is an awesome service that scans my documents and helps me stay paperless.

With Shoeboxed there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

Read my interview here

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Software Integration – What is It?

LaptopHandshake-copyIn the age of “there’s an app for that”, most software manufacturers proclaim their product’s ease of software integration. But what does that mean? In short, it means one software program shares its data with other programs.

Now, does software integration matter to you? Don’t get caught up in the hype. Think about how YOU and YOUR BUSINESS will benefit by integration. Does this save time in your workflow and help keep your data consistent or does it create new problems?

Before running off to check which of your software programs will integrate with others that you are using, a few things need to be considered:

1. Not every program integrates with every other program out there. If integration between products is something you feel will benefit your business, keep compatibility in mind when choosing software solutions.

For example, you have contact relationship management (CRM) software (Highrise, CapsuleCRM) that you use to track sales leads. What happens when one sales lead becomes a customer who just placed an order? Wouldn’t it be nice if information for that new customer (no longer just
a sales lead) would automatically go into your accounting software to create an invoice? That’s where integration comes in.

2. Not all integrations are well written. Sorry, but it is a fact. Realize whether the integration is in beta testing and also look for reviews on how well the integration works. Some can cause errors and a lot of inconvenience on your part.

3. Know what data is shareable and how often. This could be minutes, hours, or daily and can impact your workflow.

4. Understand which direction the data is shared and whether it’s a one-way or two-way operation. This will impact which program you enter updates into first.

Continuing our example above, if the CRM can send data to your accounting software but cannot receive it, you now know all changes to customer data must be entered into the CRM first, because the CRM will share the information with your accounting software.

Software integration can be a great timesaver. Do your homework and learn the facts before setting one up.

avoid falling behind with your accounting and go paperless

Slay the Paper Monster

paper-monsterLook at your desk. Too much paper? It’s time to take control.

The key to banishing the paper monster from your life is to choose a simple document management system that works for you. That can be something as low tech as taking an envelope, writing the name of the month on the outside, stuffing all the relevant receipts inside and filing the envelope in a file cabinet. Just be consistent. Set aside time each week to handle the papers. Set a timer if you have to. Be consistent.

Considering the ink on many receipts disappears in a short period of time, going paperless might be a better option in eliminating the paper monster factor. If you shred the documents after scanning, your business records will take up more space on your hard drive than physical space. There are many solutions to choose from so consider these things before choosing a system.

1. Choose a system that matches your work style.
2. Choose a cost effective but easy to learn and use system.
3. Necessity of sharing the scanned documents with others.
4. Consider how important your document management solution is to be integrated with other software you are currently using (email, finance, CRM, project management and such).

One solution is to use the scanner on the all-in-one printer in your office to scan and file each document. This is the option I used until my business picked up and I fell far behind. Then I looked for another solution. You could also purchase a scanner such as Neat Receipts or Scan Snap that come with their own document management software and integrate with other applications as well. I considered purchasing a mobile scanner by Scan Snap but decided the real issue was, not having time to do the scanning.
If you are away, the camera on your phone will do a great job taking photos of receipts and other documents. You can add those photos directly to Evernote, Shoeboxed, Dropbox, and many others.

Ultimately I chose to use Shoeboxed for my document management. I stuff my documents in a prepaid envelope and they do the scanning. I use their integration with Evernote to organize my documents (receipts, business cards, etc.) into various notebooks. I also use DropBox for document sharing. Except for documents of a legal nature (business licenses, etc.), I shred everything after it’s been scanned. This works for me. For now.

Just as I realized doing my own scanning was no longer practical, my current solution may need tweaking (or even changing altogether) in the future. Choose the best solution for your business now, but choose something that has a few additional features so that it can grow with your business.

This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive guide. Will the solution that works for me, also work for you? Maybe. You and your business are unique. It’s essential that you choose a document management solution that you are willing to use consistently and get the results you want; organized business records.