Archive for the 'Small Biz Management' Category




How to Create a Small Business Intranet

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Lifehacker has a good article on how small businesses and teams need to “stop repeating yourself” and collaborate with a company “wiki” and use it as an intranet. Basically, you want a password protected web page where everyone on your team can view, edit and collaborate on ideas, processes and “how to’s” so a team member does need to keep asking for information or bother anyone on how to do something, what is so and so’s phone number, what is the time-off policy, etc. The basic premise is that if you need to send an email to everyone in the company about something (especially how to do something, a policy change, procedure update, etc.), you can probably post it on your small business intranet where everyone can access it.

If you can centralize your company documents, instructions, contact lists and procedures in one place, and make that information easy to update, then you have a fantastic time-saving resource. Moreover, you have gotten one step closer to automating your business, standardizing your procedures. You’ve also made your company more valuable because a) you can sell it as a “system” and b) you can have your company run by others who know what to do and how to do it.

Lifehacker recommends MediaWiki, the free open-source software that powers WikiPedia, to power your intranet. However, the learning curve is steep, it requires installation on your own web server and is not entirely user-friendly. There are many other professional solutions like HyperOffice and Microsoft Sharepoint but they have their own complexities – usually too many bells and whistles for a small business intranet.

We use and recommend EditMe. EditMe is like a user-friendly, password protected version of WikiPedia. Basically, you setup an account instantly, double click the page you are on and you can edit it in a regular Word-like editor. Same goes with the side menu where you will be adding links to other pages (which you can create in one click). Basically, you create a page, name it, then link to it on your menu – you can even attach files to each page (employee manuals, etc.). You can add users with different permissions (view/edit/delete, etc.) quickly and it sends email notices when pages have been updated. A basic account starts at $19/month (30 day free trial as well) and is easily the best $19 MyNewCompany.com has ever spent. I’ve seen all the intranet solutions and this is by far the easiest for small business.

Small Business Intranet suggestions:

  • Have a “Home” page that everyone must check daily – this is where you post any important notices or updates – prevents endless “memo” type emails. Tip: set company browser home pages to this page.
  • Let anyone make updates but make sure there is an “administrator” who can reverse those updates and “undelete” files and pages. EditMe has this feature.
  • Recommended pages: Contact List, Procedures Manual, “How to” page (change printer ink, setup email account, etc.), Business Ideas, Suggestion Box, Marketing Info, Vendor List, Employee Contact Info, projects, etc.
  • Make sure every employee uses it. EditMe takes 10 minutes to learn so every new and existing employee should get an overview.

Optional:

If you need to collaborate on a higher level, you may want to consider, in addition to a small business intranet, using a simple project manager like BaseCamp. BaseCamp has some additional features that make managing tasks, projects and more extremely simple and they offer a free basic account.

So “stop repeating yourself”, setup your intranet now and focus on your business – you won’t regret it. 🙂

Do Your Last Minute Taxes Online!

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Did you know that TurboTax now allows you to not only do your personal tax return, but they also do Single-member LLC’s, Multiple-member LLC’s, S-Corporations and C-Corporations?

Great Small Business Advice from Larry Winget

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Larry Winget offers great small business and personal development advice in this recent article. He can be a bit “brusk” and in your face. He’s known as the “Pit Bull of Personal Development” so while his advice might not make you feel good, it is effective.

Specifically, his small business “truths” (each is summarized in the article)  include:

  • Apathy is killing business.
  • Attitude doesn’t matter.
  • Who cares if your employees are happy?
  • You don’t have to love your job – but it helps.
  • Not firing people is a cancer on your business.
  • Do the right thing no matter what.

And he summarizes with his “Larry’s all time best advice for business success:”

Do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it, in exactly the way you said you were going to do it.  You won’t ever get any better business advice than that.

Be there when you said you would be there.  Deliver when you said you would deliver.  Call when you said you would call.  Be a person who can be counted on by keeping his word every time.

While I don’t agree with every one of his “truths”, his summary is the absolute truth – we take it to heart here at MyNewCompany.com and you should consider it as a cornerstone of great customer service for your small business.

Tracking Online Buzz

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Inc. Technology Blog has an Article Posted on ways to montior when your company is mentioned online:

Listen Up! Tracking software and services can alert you to what customers are saying about your business on social networks, blogs, and other social media. These tracking techniques offer steps beyond Google Alerts to keep you informed.

A few weeks ago, a Twitter user tweeted that she was planning to try Zitune, a restaurant in Los Altos, Calif. David Auerbach, the restaurant’s co-owner got an e-mail alert from a Web-based service Trackle, calling his attention to the tweet. As he often does, he sent a response thanking her for visiting Zitune and asking how she’d liked it. Soon, they had a dialogue going. Then she asked if Zitune’s chef (and Auerbach’s brother-in-law) would like to be interviewed for her video blog.

As social networking sites grow in popularity it is becoming more and more crucial to monitor any online mentions of your brand. You can use these methods to take advantage of opportunities to connect with satisfied clients who can become advocates for your services and products (as in the above example). You can also connect with clients who are dissatisfied before negative publicity grows and damages the public’s perception of your brand. An excellent example of why this can be valuable is the massive amount of bad buzz and negative publicity caused by United Airline’s handling of one angry customer’s request for replacement of a broken guitar (story HERE).

The method you choose to monitor mentions of your company is less important than having a system in place that ensures you are aware of it when your company is being discussed online.

Avoiding Bad Technology Habits

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Steven G. Atkinson from Technology Tips for SMB’s has a post up on Bad Technology Habits:

It seems that sometimes when people are talking they forget where they are. Or they get so engrossed in the conversation that they don’t realize who may be near.

As new technology enters the mainstream it is easy to make it part of your life without thinking about the consequences of that new technology on interpersonal relationships. This is true for both business and personal relationships. Most of the tips are pretty common-sense but it’s never a bad thing to be reminded of how things we are not thinking about can influence our interactions with other people.