Category Archives: Uncategorized

When should you think about outsourcing your IT support?

You may want to think about outsourcing your IT Service if you are running into one or more of these situations:

  • You currently have an in-house resource.  They are run off their feet (or so they say), but they can’t tell you what they do in a day.
  • You currently have an in-house resource, however due to their limited skill set you are forced to outsource parts of your IT as a result.
  • You currently have an in-house resource, however service has become an issue and users are forced to wait their turn as that resource can only resolve one issue at a time.
  • You currently have an in-house resource, but lack coverage when they are sick or on vacation.
  • You have difficulty retaining a good in-house resource.  It seems that they get bored dealing with the day to day support as well as always being on call and end up getting a job elsewhere.
  • You are experiencing technical or service issues and it seems that all you get are excuses as to why they are occurring.

If you answered yes to one or more if the points above you should think about outsourcing your IT department.  There are several reputable providers out there and most of them will come in and do a network evaluation at no cost to you.  There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an IT service provider:

1.       Ensure the company is a fit for you.  Some large IT companies are not setup to service smaller businesses (0 – 300 Computers) and as a result the business can end up feeling like they are not important.  The other side of the coin is that very small IT companies (1-3 technicians) can provide great service to begin with, but quite often spread themselves too thin and as a result no longer differentiate themselves.

2.       Ensure the company has proper systems and processes in place to provide you with prompt and efficient service to minimize downtown, to provide proper reporting as to what has been done, who it was done for and what is being invoiced, as well as detailed documentation on your network.  The documentation is important as it can be very costly to have another company come in and learn your entire network from scratch.

3.       Ensure the company has references with a proven track record.  It is good to ask for references of businesses of similar size to your business.  That way you can get a good idea of the kind of service you will be provided.

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Are you up to your ears in how involved you need to get with Social Media? According to the “Social Media Experts” if you are not Tweeting, Digging, Flicking, Noodling, or just general “Inging” using most of the other few hundred “Social Networking Sites”, you are going to lose business.

My experience differs greatly from those “Social Media Experts”. The first thing you have to understand is that these self proclaimed experts have something to sell you. They have books, programs, links, that will help you get your message out to millions of followers. Get your message up, give it to them and they will bombard the Internet for you. Very soon this SPORC as I call it (Senseless Petty Outrageously Repetitive Crap) will be to our Smartphone’s as SPAM is to email.

Don’t despair, there are Social Media Services out there that can and will benefit you as a business person, if you use them properly. One of the best is You Tube. For those of you who don’t know, You Tube is owned by Google and is one of the ways to get your website listed higher in Google searches. There are professional sites like Linked In. If you have something important to say, having your own blog is another great way of communicating to existing and prospective clients. Unless you are a Mass Marketer selling products world wide, leave the Facebook’s and the Twitters for personal use.  If it was to be used as a business tool, it would have been called Business Media, not Social Media.

How do you use these sites? For this article, let’s talk about You-Tube. You will see tons of home made videos from business owners about how great their business is, how they look after customers and have the best service in the world. What’s the point? Well there is no point, because their competition says the same thing. Here is the secret to U-Tube. Get videos of customer testimonials up there. They don’t have to be professionally made, or cost a pile of money. Buy a $200 or $300 flip camera, find some happy customers, offer them an incentive and let them tell your story. Surprisingly, 20 to 40 seconds is all that is needed. You will be amazed how the word gets out. If any of you are interested, I can send you the link of a one hour video that will show you exactly how to do this. And best of all it is free.

Brent Swain

Business Productivity Group

http://www.infusionsoftcanada.com

403-686-4000

For the Techno Gal @ Valentine’s Day

Wow check this out.  What would the look be on Marie’s face if she were to get this beauty for Valentine’s  day?  Not only does it look great but it holds a gig of memory.  Not a lot of space but when we’re out for the evening and she just has to store that very special file.  Wow did I just score the right gift.

About $150.

Digital Dan

Dealing With Difficult People

If you are like most of us, there are people in your world you are forced to interact with everyday that represent a source of aggravation to you.

Dealing with these kinds of people doesn’t necessarily have to be the greatest challenge you face from day to day. Clearly, we can’t control the actions of others, yet one option that is available to us to deal with difficult people, is to change the way we interact with them. We can’t change them yet we can influence their actions through our own actions.

When we change our approach with the difficult person, our actions may well influence their actions and demeanour. When trying to manage any difficult person or conversation, one strategy that has proven to be effective in the past is the strategy of shifting our communication from a place of “advocacy” to a place of “inquiry”.

So often when we encounter one of these situations, we believe we can be effective by meeting their emotions (often anger, aggression or frustration) with similar emotions. This strategy is counterproductive, as escalation will likely be the by-product of that exchange.

Instead of meeting their anger with our anger, there may be value in coming from a place of curiosity and one excellent tool is the word “Why”? While I am not talking about the application of “Why?” we often hear from our teenagers, this application sounds more like “You have taken a strong position with respect to this issue, can you help me understand why.”  Another application may sound like: “Why do you think it is okay to treat me with disrespect?”

Again, tone is a critical component when asking the “why question” as it is not our intent to inflame or escalate, rather to engage in a rational conversation and put the difficult person “on notice” that we won’t be treated badly.

The first time a person treats us badly, we are a victim. The second time they treat us badly, we are essentially a volunteer. Truly, we teach people how to treat us and letting the difficult person know in a non-offensive way that we refuse to be treated badly is a good start to influencing their behaviour.

Try the “why question” the next time you face a difficult person or difficult conversation. Coming from a place of inquiry is a non-offensive and a productive way to manage challenging people or situations.

Good luck.

Gary McDougall

Conflict Solutions Limited

www.conflict-solutions.ca

How Many Hats Are You Wearing?

As business owners we ask ourselves to wear many hats every day of the week. But how do we do this with any degree of success? Here are three keys to help focus on your priorities:

1) Delegate or ‘outsource’ those tasks that are not your core business competencies. Take bookkeeping for example. Yes you can do it, however, take into respect how many hours it would take you to do it versus a competent professional who does it every day. “My bookkeeper does my quarterly books in 3 hours! This same work would take me about 3 days!”

2) Spend about 70% of your work week on sales and marketing!  Yes, you read that correctly! You must keep filling the funnel in order to get new clients or customers. End of story.

3) Educate, educate, educate! Educate yourself, your staff, and your clients every day. We have all heard the saying, ‘education is power’. Never close the books on business. Fill your brain with Knowledge and you will always be continuously improving your bottom line.

Shauna Baty is the President of her own company, The Business Block, which teaches ‘Business Classes for Busy People’. For further information on educating your business, please contact her

friendly staff at: http://www.TheBusinessBlock.com or email info@thebusinessblock.com.

More changes for folks on 10th Ave South West

Over a few days the old Magiclean building was leveled to make room for the new station scheduled to be completed late 2012.  It has ushered in more change as our side streets are now restricted to 2 hour parking.  Expect more construction and noise as the West end of 10th Ave goes through more changes.

Minding your Mind’s Business: The Effects of Stress

Stress is at the root of most, if not all illness and the chaotic mind is at the core of all human suffering. In today’s society, individuals are consumed by the overexertion of daily living, including stress accrued from work, school, and/or family demands. Workdays are longer, leisure time is shorter, family time consists of rushing across town to drop the kids off at school; our laptop, cell phone and blackberry have replaced our best friends. People’s thoughts are clouded, lives are overrun with things to do, and this manifests in an unhealthy and unproductive approach to living. Stress, as a result of our fast-paced lifestyle, contributes to physical and psychological distress and illness.

Research shows that psychological stress is linked to several health indicators, such as immune responsiveness, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain, and cancer, to name a few. Stress is also linked to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety which can be exacerbated with increased stress in one’s life. There is a correlation between stress and the physical and psychological affect on health. The questions we must ask ourselves are: How can we reduce stress? How can we improve the quality of our lives including our psychological and physical health?

Listen to your body. We need to be vigilant of the fact that stress creates a pattern on the brain and body that over time breaks down our immune system and healthy body functions. People become sensitized to stress and its ill affects on the body. Instead of keeping busy and thinking that productivity and success comes from living frantically, STOP. Listen to your body, take a break from the cycle that the brain and body have created to sustain your chaotic life pattern. That is not to say that we need to stop working and being successful, however, we need to listen to our body and honour what it is telling us. STOP the cycle by going for a walk, taking mini-breaks throughout the day, meeting a friend for lunch, or doing something that you truly enjoy. Create new and healthy patterns for the brain and body.

Listen to what you tell yourself. We ultimately have direct control over our mind and how it perceives, interprets and in turn, responds to everyday experiences. Speak kindly to yourself, stay positive, and know that stress is more a creation of your mind and body than anything else. How do you speak to yourself? What do you tell yourself on a daily basis? Remember, words have power.

Pay attention to how you spend your time.  Don’t let stress conduct your life; choose through intention how you wish to spend your hour, your day, your lifetime. Each moment counts. Make sure that how you spend your time is in line with your values, goals, and aspirations. Each day ask yourself, “Am I honouring myself by spending my time this way?”

Find a healthy balance in your life. Balance is a subjective experience and varies from person to person. Some people require a lot of alone time to gain energy while others require social time as a means to recharge their batteries. Finding a healthy balance means listening to your body and honouring what it is telling you.

Psychological stress is something we all need to tend to. We can do so by paying attention and listening to our body; staying positive and listening to the way we speak to ourselves; spending our time in a manner that sustains and supports our needs and desires; and finding a healthy balance in our lives for work, leisure, health and happiness. Take the time to reflect, evaluate and change your life so that the song in your heart may be more in tune with the melody in your mind.

Rachela Buonincontri, BA, MC:AT, CCC

Certified Counselor and Art Therapist

rlbuon@shaw.ca