Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

TBST

December 10, 2013

A rev for a client today.   Go and have a look at their site.   We did most of it and I,m pretty proud of it.  And I am very interested  in seeing if my vast readership all rushing off and visiting a client site shows up in the analytics.

TBST…. Total Businesses Services and Training 0ffers Government Funded  and Fee paying nationally accredited and recognized qualifications.    Nationally recognized qualifications are vitally important when seeking employment.     The TBST office is located in   Docklands but they provide training to the whole of Australia.

TBST delivers the Certificate IV Bookkeeping, Certificate IV Accounting and Certificate IV Business Administration qualifications as well as MYOB Training short courses via flexible distance learning. They offer government-funded training that can save students thousands as well as fee paying places with affordable 6 month interest free payment plans.

TBST’s courses are delivered flexibly by distance learning, in other words  online education; allowing  students to better manage the demands of work, family and study.  TBST’s course content and assessments build directly on, and add value to,  students work-based activities.  The TBST Certificate IV Bookkeeping and Accounting Qualifications provide students with the educational qualification required under the BAS Services Provider Legislation. There are other requirements under the new legislation and linking to the Tax Practitioners Board will assist with any questions you may have about the other requirements.’s

Their feature rich website is a Plone site (by that well know Web development company ‘Perfect Notes’ and hosted by Mr Brewer at ABOC.) Plone is a content management system, like Drupal and WordPress   but with more features and scalability than either. And probably a little less user-friendly. Plone is of course what PerfectNotes (and not too many other web developers) specialize in it.

Currently this blog is a wordpress site.  It’s what wordpress does best.  And yes of course we could hang it off our PerfectNotes plone site.   Sometimes you go with whats easiest.

So if you are the slightest interested in looking at a complex  Plone site,  or if you are interested in pursuing a ‘Government Funded‘ career change,  or for that matter just to help us learn more about Google Analytic oddness’s then go,  follow the links and have a look.

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Overwork is no good for us – or our customers

November 12, 2013

Having just published a blog post that I wrote last month, I am reminded that there is more to life than work!

This is also helped by the fact that I got out for a bike ride twice last week, then went away for a long weekend of music and relaxation. On top of that, we are (weather permitting) going to listen to more music tonight.

I was fortunate that I had reached a good point to rest in my major current client work, so it was not so dramatic that I was off email for a couple of days. This means that the time I took to relax and recharge did not impact on my customer service – no problems with customers allowed me to relax even more.

So – how is your work/life balance going? What do you do to ensure that you can keep working well for all your customers?

Make your voice heard

September 28, 2011

Well, they say learning new things is good – I never even knew there was an Australian Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry – but there is! And they are running a poll where they would like to hear from women in business. So this is our chance to participate – make our voices heard. At least now someone is asking what we do – and how we think things might need to change.

I will be filling out my poll responses this afternoon.

Click here to be part of this! (The link is in the top banner on this page).

Let me know what you think – are they asking reasonable questions? Is it worthwhile taking part?

Of the new year, resolutions, holidays(!) and progress

January 7, 2011

Firstly, Happy New Year! I hope that all of you have had a good festive season and that we are all looking forward to a good year in 2011.

Well, I had great plans for the holiday period – top of the list being that I was actually going to take a decent break. Of course, as a small business owner, this particular plan fell through… One of my current jobs is not transferring correctly from my test environment to the live server, so my break was reduced to a couple of days, rather than a week or two – but we’re nearly over that hurdle and then I will have a happy customer!
This means that the website rewrite has been postponed for a while – I’ll let you all know when it starts, so you can have a look at it when it is relaunched. Keep an eye out for the notifications!

So, my first BIG task for next week is to work out the immediate priorities for 2011 – and some longer term goals. Do you have plans for changes in 2011? Let us know by leaving a comment – remember, one of the best ways to make sure that you actually carry out your plans is to be accountable – so put it out there – we’ll help you make it happen. Also, if there are issues stopping you from carrying out your plans, we might be able to help you work out how to overcome the obstacles too.

Here’s to a good year for everyone!

Windows Users – Remember to Defragment your hard drive

December 16, 2010

Well, I have not been very diligent about this…

When you open Accessories – System Tools – Disk Defragmenter, you can click the Analyze button, to check whether your hard drive needs cleaning up. Hopefully, you get a picture with a lot of blue and white, some green and a minimal amount of red – or, you could get a picture like I did:
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Obviously, my hard drive needed to be defragmented – with a vengeance!

Unfortunately, there is also a requirement to have 15% or more of the hard drive free in order for Disk Defragmenter to work correctly. So – as I had less than 15% free on both occasions that I have used this tool, I was not able to get the full benefit from the tool… But it DID improve the situation each time I ran this tool. Running it repeatedly moved files around, improving the situation, even if it is still not ideal.
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While it might still look like some kind of Jackson Pollock or Pro Hart art work, if you look carefully, you will see that the first blue section has moved further to the left and there is less colour on the right hand side – all of which means that your files will load faster on your PC – which has to be good!

So – learn from my mistakes – don’t leave it 12 months between times that you run the Disk Defragmenter tool on your hard drive! Backup your files regularly and run the defragmenter about once a month – don’t let your picture get as colourful as this.

Networking – does it work?

December 1, 2010

One of the issues that Perfect Notes has with getting Virtual Assistant customers is trust – if a business hires a Virtual Assistant and the relationship works, the VA is going to learn a LOT about the business! So, necessarily, you have to be sure that you trust the person who is going to be doing your work. But… in this modern world, most people come to your website to work out whether they want to use your services. Which is totally reasonable – but how do you convince someone who is reading your website that you are trustworthy? I mean, I could write all sorts of words, but how do the people looking at the page know that we are not snake oil salesmen? I have not yet found a solution to this question, although this will be focused on more when the website is rewritten (hopefully by the New Year) – but part of the solution is to actually meet potential customers face to face, to build a relationship and let people get to know us – hence the fact that Perfect Notes often attends networking events.

Do they work? Well, I would have to say yes. 30% of Perfect Notes’ customers came from networking of one kind or another.

Are they hard work? Well – for me they are – for a lot of people they are just fun, because they are people who love chatting to other people, so it’s just an extension of that, talking about their business. But the more I do this, the better I am at talking to people about how we can help them and the more comfortable I am with the whole process – so it’s all good. And every time I speak to someone about the business problems we can help them to solve, that potential business relationship is happening and the possibility of building enough trust to allow access to business knowledge – which is the only way that potential customers can learn who we are and what we stand for.

So – if you see us out and about, come and say hi – if we can’t help you, maybe you can help us – not all business relationships are as customer and supplier – partnerships are possible too!

On the other hand – does your business need to establish a face-to-face relationship with your customers? If so, think about networking – it really can work for you, as well as for us. And if you want to know some of the details, talk to me – it can’t hurt to have more information, surely?

What is a ‘Virtual Assistant’?

November 26, 2010

So… you might have heard the term ‘Virtual Assistant’ used – especially if you know a bit about Perfect Notes – but you don’t really know what it means… Let me see if I can explain it a bit – particularly in regard to the things that we can help you with!

Wikipedia tells us, as a start:
Virtual assistance (or VA) is the professional service of remote administrative office and other specialized support by a virtual assistant who works with clients in an ongoing, collaborative professional relationship.

But that doesn’t really help me to understand it any better, so I doubt that it helps you either! So let’s try to describe it a bit more clearly.

A virtual assistant takes some of the administrative tasks of running your business off your hands, so that your time is free to do the stuff that makes you money – or keeps you happy.

So how can you tell whether you need a virtual assistant to help you run your business?

  • Do you spend all of your day selling to customers, or creating widgets, or training people, or installing machines – then come back to the office and spend another hour at your desk catching up on all the paperwork?
  • Do you know that you need a holiday, but dread the thought of going away, because you are the only one who knows how your business should run?
  • Do you know that your website should be updated but have no time to do that? And you suspect that you are missing out on customers because your website is a long way down the list in Google Search results?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, a virtual assistant could help you.

So, send us an email or call us on 03 9894 0530, to talk about how we can help solve some of your business problems – and make your life easier!

Backups

November 21, 2010

Well, it’s an oldie but a goodie – the topic of backing up your data – particularly your business data.

It might seem that we regularly discuss the need for having backups of your information – especially if you are running a business with that information – but we talk about it regularly because it’s so important!

Data that needs to be considered ranges from your holiday snaps from the digital camera, through your university essays to the accounting information that allows you to invoice your business customers. Obviously, the backup procedures for each of these types of files is different, but you need to ensure that you have at least two copies of all of these, to make sure that you always have access to them – remember, CDs and DVDs can be scratched or lost, so another copy is always a good idea.

For businesses, there are at least a couple of choices for backup locations – you can keep one copy of your information in a separate physical location (say one at home and one in the office), or there are a number of services that allow you to put a backup copy online (over the internet). In each case, there are issues that need to be considered, including how quickly you can access the second copy if you need it and what the costs are. Along with this, you need to decide whether you need an automated backup process or you can (and will!) do it manually. So if you want to talk to someone about the backup requirements of your business or your family, have a look here and send us an email – we can help you.

So – why am I mentioning this now? Well, I had a meeting with a business associate on Thursday morning – it had been postponed twice due to illness, so it was important that we catch up this time… In the morning, I got an SMS that she would not be at the initial meeting, as she had been up till nearly 4.30am with her local IT guy, trying to remove a virus from her work PC, but that our later meeting was still on – so it sounded like she had an ‘interesting’ night! By the time the initial meeting was over and I called her to let her know I was on my way, she had managed about five hours sleep – so our meeting was definitely happening. Anyway, to cut a long story short, when I got to her office, this was the story:

1. She was concerned about backing up her data and her clients’ data, so she bought an external drive (well, actually two) to ensure that she always had a separate copy apart from the one on her PC.

2. One of the two drives in the external case was faulty. So the initial setup did not complete, but she had great difficulty convincing the people that she had bought it from that she had followed the correct process and the drive was actually defective and needed to be replaced. The process of trying to convince them to repair or replace it under warranty had taken around a month, so far.

3. She got a virus on her work PC. Trying to remove this required a reboot and going back to a previous Restore point. Windows did not recover correctly from this, so she sent a panicked message to her IT guy – who worked through the night to try to recover from the issues.

The outcome of all this – the IT guy was not able to remove the virus in a single step, so the single drive in the external case is being used to take a backup of all the files required (as was its original purpose in life!) – this process looked as if it was going to take all of Thursday and probably at least half of Friday, if not longer. After that had been done, the PC was going to be taken away to have the virus removed by whatever means were required – which may well require a complete clean install and then reinstallation of all software being used on that machine. I have not heard how that process went, but obviously my associate is not happy that this virus is causing so much grief and downtime for her business.

So, ultimately, she was doing the right thing by setting up a backup system to ensure that her business could run smoothly if there were any issues – but it did not quite get organised before she needed it. Let us help you to avoid this situation! An email or a call on 03 9894 0530 can start the process of protecting you from being caught out like that.

Why we’ve been so quiet…

November 12, 2010

Well, while it might not have been obvious to everyone out there, Perfect Notes has been very busy for the last two weeks.

A fortnight ago, we received a request for quote for some work setting up and supporting Plone websites and associated servers. While some colleagues believed that there was no point in responding to this, we decided to at least do some preliminary work to determine whether it was worth our while to provide a response. So there was about a day’s worth of research and investigation… At the end of that time, we had determined that it was possible for us to do the work requested, so the real work started – to produce the quote!

Well, the long and the short of it is that Kathy spent a week and a half pretty much dedicated to this work, while David spent a couple of days on it – investigating some processes directly and then doing a review of the completed document.

Ultimately, if we get this work, we will be employing a couple of other people to help us out, so that none of our other customers or potential customers suffer – and if it doesn’t happen, well, we have both learnt a lot in the process of producing the quote – which is all good – any increase in knowledge has got to be good! You, our customers, definitely benefit from our increased understanding of the possibilities that are out there – the IT world is always moving forward, so this research has kept our ability to support you and your systems moving forward.

And, of course, it takes a while to catch up from a work overload like that – but we seem to be up to date again.

So, we hope to keep this blog updated a bit more regularly again – and not leave everyone in the dark so long in the future.