A reliance on the Internet & Power

We had a power cut this morning and apart from feeling like my right arm had fallen off and worrying if planes were going to start falling out of the sky (my office is at Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton), it got me thinking about how to manage a deliver a web based company without the internet and power. This is quite difficult without a cup of tea to hand !)

There are plenty of jobs I can do without the internet, as evidenced by the various pieces of paper scattered around my desk. Things like scoping websites (also known as drawing pictures of how a web-page might look), creating sitemaps for a website structure and menu, writing content for sites (such as introductions, and snippets of information (loaded with SEO goodness).

I have, however, been able to continue managing my clients social media accounts (via my phone) and even hooked my laptop up to my iPhone via Bluetooth / Hotspot but it’s a bit to slow for uploading files to websites.

Anyway, to avoid doing any proper work I thought I’d write a new blog post (3 in 3 weeks now… get in !)

Here’s what I rely on the internet and power to do..

I’ll ignore the obvious things like lights, PC’s, monitors, enough power in my laptop, and the kettle for tea. Instead i’ll focus on the various internet services I use on a daily basis. Hopefully it might provide some food for thought for those of you who want to save a bit of time, happy to help with advice if required.

Document Management (Cloud storage)

I use a paid version of Dropbox Business (£79 pa for 1 TB (thats 1000 Gb) of space – There is also a dropbox-logo_34k8free version but only provides limited space. One of the best things about Dropbox is that is provides online an offline access to your files. It also has a bunch of other cool features like 30 day file recovery, folder and file sharing.

I have a free version of OneDrive (personal) which I’ve had to empty because they reduced the allowance to only 5Gb

I also have OneDrive for Business (as part of my Office 365 subscription) which, to be frank, is bl**dy awful and constantly needs to be reset and fixed and as a result needs to re-download all 30+Gb of data ive accumulated over the years – Seriously Microsoft… sort it out ! I use this to archive older projects, large images and files.

TOP TIP: If you currently have files or precious photos stored only on your laptop hard-drive (or phone) download some form of cloud storage and copy / save your content there. The CIA/MI6 really aren’t that bothered by your holiday snaps, there is no need to fear online / cloud storage.

Email

I use Office 365 Business Premium which gives me email, file storage and access to the very latest office365version of the full Office suite (of which I only really use Outlook, Word and Excel).

I encourage all my clients to use this service rather than pop3 or imap – Its robust, always online, is mirrored regardless of what device you are accessing it from (i.e. some clients have to copy themselves into mails they send so that they get a copy of the mail on the PC if they have sent from the laptop.

I also have about 20 other email address connected to sites I own or manage – generally I just forward these to my personal hotmail account.

Time / Project management

Harvest – Is something I used extensively in the past when managing several people who are working on different projects. I’m currently using it for a client who i’m billing hourly and they want an accurate breakdown of what they are paying for. It can also help track how much time you spend doing a particular element of a project which helps when quoting.

I also use Trello which has a nice friendly interface and is great for creating to-do-lists. Its completely free and can be used between teams so that everyone knows who is working on what (and saves your email being clogged up for simple answers to simple questions).

Invoicing

I use a simple system called Hiveage. Its online and lets you easily create and manage invoices Hiveage_logo(and bills) on the go, it gives some nice graphs of how much money you’ve earned each month and who owes you money. Its not perfect but for only £4.00 pm its great.

TOP TIP: I’d recommend any small business (especially workmen/women) to use it. Why wait till you get home after a long day before you invoice the customer when you can do it there and then. Im sure it leads to quicker payments.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

I’d be lying if I said I make good use of it and I really should. I’ve recently signed up to HubSpot but haven’t used it much yet. Most of my contacts and leads are in my head or on email but I really should get them down digitally so that I can track when I last spoke to them, what actions there are to complete, when I next need to speak, when to invoice etc.

 

Accounting

My Accountant recommended Xero which I use to reconcile all my business banking. Assigning each payment in and out to a  clients of pre-defined expense, it makes my end of year accounts so much easier and limits the amount of paperwork I create and waste.

 

Anyway, the powers back on and so is the kettle. I hope this has given you a few ideas of the kind of time and money saving services that are available online. If you want any help or advice setting things up or linking them to your current business practices please get in touch.

 



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