Category Archives: Outsourcing

Collaboration is Key in Virtual Communications

I am always looking for good web-based collaboration tools as I constantly need to collaborate virtually. That’s how I found Onehub, this tool is not simply for collaboration, it can be used as an FTP replacement. With a free account you can only set up one hub, where you basically can  upload 1 GB of files. Your hub can include calendars as well in addition to discussion boards, task lists, images, RSS feeds and video.

Paid accounts are available too – from $19 per month up to $249 per month. Details are available on the Onehub website.

Central Desktop  is a great collaboration and project management platform.  It has too much power for a solopreneur, but is great for teams and workgroups to share information and communicate with other members.  Paid accounts start from $25 per month.

Protecting Laptop Data

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If your small business is among the many that have remote workers, you could be sending sensitive customer data, credit card or Social Security numbers out the door.

Half of all organizations reported a laptop or other mobile device stolen last year. Each customer record may cost a company $150 more in legal fees, notification costs, and other expenses, according to Inc. magazine.

For about $9.95 – $149 per month, you can give a laptop its own GPS system. Free trial is available. If MyLaptop GPS is installed on your laptop, the stolen machine will report its location as soon as the thief connects to the Internet.

Encrypting the hard drive will keep thieves from using the data. The Enterprise edition of the Windows Vista has an encryption feature built into it. Other systems cost from $50 to $120 per computer.

Without encryption or a GPS system, your only course of action is just to report the theft to police. Always keep laptop serial numbers in a handy place. If the unit goes to a repair shop, the police will be notified.

Treat your laptop like a wallet. You wouldn’t leave your wallet in the car or laying around where someone could pick it up.

Moving Or In Need Of Custom Packaging?

Problem: Anyone who has looked through ANY stock box catalogue knows that as the sizes get larger, the choices dwindle. Many times shippers are stuck buying a size box that costs more to ship because the length plus girth of the box goes above the lower limit of an OVERSIZE CATEGORY. If the box is too large for the product being shipped, so that the length, width or height could be reduced, there is a real possibility to reduce or even eliminate the oversize charges.

Solution: At Custom Packaging Options, they make the box to fit the product! And they make just the quantity you need. You won’t have to buy hundreds to get a custom size. They have done this for a furniture manufacturer who saves $18.00 in freight charges per box! Another customer, a local tannery, is saving $8.50 per bear rug that is shipped. And they use stronger material (44 ect rather than 32 ect) which eliminated the shipping damage she was experiencing with the weaker stock box, giving her additional savings and consumer confidence in her company.

Should Micro-Businesses Outsource?

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I had a conversation recently with a small business owner who realizes that her work is piling up and she needs to hire additional help for office management, filing and marketing tasks.  She is currently not outsourcing or hiring employees as she knows she would have hard time losing control over certain aspects of her business.

After further discussion I realized that the main issue for her was TRUST. How can she find someone she can trust? Can she rely on recommendations and/or probationary periods to figure out that a certain person /company is a right fit? Would it be a good idea to hire friends or relatives, especially when someone has had bad experiences in the past?

Then we talked some more about pros and cons of outsourcing.

PROS:

>Reduction of stress.

>Decreased workload.

>Delegating unpleasant tasks.

>Efficient use of business owner’s resources and time.

CONS:

>Added expense.

>Finding the right person/company may take time.

>Delegation can be difficult.

>Idea of signing a long-term contract not appealing.

>Training issues.

We agreed that she should thoroughly assess her needs and make a list of most frustrating tasks causing her stress. In addition, she needs a SPA day as she has not taken any time off for a long time.

Maybe a massage chair in her office would be a good idea?