Without To-do lists I’d be in trouble. I mean serious trouble. They permeate every waking moment of my life and serve to keep me focused and on track day to day. The nature of the business means we’re looking after numerous amounts of customers, who in turn have numerous issues and they come to our businesses that require numerous administrative tasks to keep them running, with a life outside of work vying for attention. I think I’m making my point. Lots to do, coming in from every direction. Without my carefully crafted to-do’s I’d forget, delay, procrastinate and probably have no job/business to speak of. That is of course unless you’re some kind of super-genius, in which case my feebly constructed sentences are probably highly annoying to you. But if you’re a normal human-being like me, please keep reading.Read full article...
As an owner of a Computer Repair Business I soon discovered that time wasters can come in many forms. Time wasters are effectively people or things that give a very low amount of benefit or return, in comparison to your time spent. The problem is so pervasive that you’ll have already thought of something or someone that drains your precious time away. Usually we think of an individual. There’s always a friend, family member, supplier or customer we know we’re probably better off avoiding where possible. Few realize that a few or many of things we do throughout our day have the tendency to suck up those precious minutes and possibly hours for very little gain. Today we try to understand and identify some of the changes that you can make to reclaim that time and put it back into areas of your life deserving of your attention.
In the early days of Facebook I could easily obliterate hours of my life everyday digging around my friends and family profiles. Whilst I felt a lot more informed about my own social network it soon becomes clear that knowing what my auntie had cooked for dinner that evening really wasn’t one of things I absolutely needed to know. Thankfully Facebook have introduced updates to give a clearer view on what’s important to me and glancing it over every evening now takes a mere few seconds. To avoid more time wasting behavior I’ll forego the Facebook site completely where possible, choosing to check my wall via my phone or tablet app whilst on the move, most likely when I’m stuck in a queue, such as at the bank. This is one simple example of how I took a time wasting influence in my life and adjusted it slightly to avoid it having such high impact. All things in moderation is a good manta to follow.
Typically, in most lines of work, we have jobs that need to be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. These jobs can relate to anything such as a daily backup tape swap, a monthly meeting, server and workstation health checks or cleaning your bathrooms. For the first year of business this wasn’t a big deal, I did these repetitive tasks as and when I could fit them into any spare moments I had available, which at that time, were plentiful. A few years on, things are much busier and my free time is somewhat erratic. Squeezing in those jobs just wasn’t a feasible option, things got missed, messed up or completely forgotten. This can quickly lead to bad support performance and an exceptional level of stress.
After a little more time concentrating on this issue, I found that getting these tasks down to a tighter and much more strict schedule helped to save me time and clear my mind to focus on more important work. Off the back of creating a tighter schedule you’ll automatically develop most of them into habits, over time you’ll find yourself doing all these things without much thought further increasing your performance and productivity.
Anyone who decides to run their own business whether full time or part time has a lot on their plate. There’s a lot to do to run and maintain a business even before the customers come along, and when they do you’ll have various things vying for your time and attention. Getting on top of your workload and your time is a serious challenge, if you’ve not run your own business before or if you’ve not had an IT support role in the past you’ll most definitely go through a potentially heavy learning curve. This is what my Managing Work Load series hopes to address. Each article will attack a single topic on managing your work load in relation to a small IT business owner and specifically how to manage it when it gets too much, how to get it under control and how to keep on top of it.
The Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, revolution until recently was naively believed to be a problem affecting big business solely. Whether we like it or not, this just purely turned out to not be the case. While the earnest discussion about the problem began a few years back, this issue has been around for small businesses in some form for the better part of the last decade.
But more importantly, how does this trend affect your role as a consultant, and why should you be concerned? For numerous reasons, actually. The small businesses you support are likely seeing more devices enter their networks than ever before, which means the possibilities for data leaks, mass infection, and security breaches are at an all time high. Ignorance is not a great plan for the long run.
This topic is quite timely on my own end, as customers of my company FireLogic are finally realizing the risks that all of these foreign devices pose. While it’s definitely not my place to play small business tech referee, as a trusted adviser, I do see fit to provide my honest opinion. Whether it be security related or in consideration of bandwidth limitations, BYOD is hitting small business hard. Here’s my top recommendations for easing the burden on your customers’ networks and offices.
You’ve probably been there before. You’re asked to do some maintenance on someone’s computer, and when you arrive, you discover it’s Windows 2000, running on 128 MB of RAM, with outdated browsers, and outdated software. To them, it’s just a little slow, and while it takes a couple minutes to display some modern websites, it doesn’t display them correctly, and it’s just… too old. There are no extra slots for memory, the processor is so old and slow, and every time the machine is asked to perform some task, it sounds like a miniature jet engine trying to take off. When your client’s machine is too old to upgrade, where do you start?
Article contributed by Lisa Hendrickson, Owner of Call That Girl Computer Support and Repair. Lisa has been a featured writer for Technibble since 2010 and is a contributor in the Technibble Business and Marketing forums.
When I started out in 2007, I started Call That Girl with no clients, but I had dreams of growing an enterprise. I had plenty of time to dream of what I could do with this business. I dreamed of hiring employees and having a staff working the phones and doing tech support calls. Turns out my business didn’t grow as fast as I wanted it to, but I grew steadily with a nice client base of repeat clients.
Eventually though, I ended up burning myself out and was wondering how do I make those dreams of being a big business happen if I don’t hire? I would always get nervous thinking about payroll, insurance, workers compensation, etc. Listed below are a few tips on hiring and firing employees I have used as my own guideline as the boss.
With the Windows 8 user base increasing steadily, and the majority of the focus on computing devices switching to mobility, we’re going to see an increase in the need for backup and imaging solutions focused on mobile devices. As Techs, we need to fill that gap between desktop backup systems and mobile device backups. There are a few Windows 8 backup and imaging tools for techs as far as backing up Windows 8 devices. A few new tools have recently become available – RecImg Manager and SlimImage. These utilities support Windows 8 on desktop and tablet, with touchscreen support, and are packed with features every Tech will appreciate.
No matter how 2012 treated your computer repair business, let’s put yesteryear behind us and look ahead to what 2013 has to bring. The holidays were likely crazy for most of us, forcing many to juggle a hectic mix of client work and family matters. But I hope you had a chance to relax a bit and think about your strategy for the new year. Reflection and subsequent planning are a healthy part of managing any size business.
Change … Change is looked upon differently by different people. Generally speaking we have two groups. Those that embrace change and those that loath it. But change is a complicated process, Windows 8 for example wanted to change the face of Windows and fill a potential gap in the market. “Gap filled problem solved, but where in the world is my start button?”. Microsoft introduced changes to one of their flag-ship products and all in all, people didn’t like it, too much too soon perhaps?
But the basic moral is that you simply cannot please everyone, people are naturally resistant to change and how you manage that change is the most important part. Microsoft managed the change badly, badly communicated and an end product leaving their valuable customers scratching their heads. To turn the knife they then went and released Surface RT, easily the most confusing release of 2012. Since working with businesses I’m often asked to facilitate significant changes that impact running operations, often it’s a struggle to help the end users see the benefits of such changes so here’s my quick step guide to reduce the backlash.Read full article...
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