Advice for Small Businesses
Presented by Ash Myers
Areas of Discussion
Best Practices...SECTION 1 Knowledge Base..SECTION 4
Using a test machine for new software Wikis
Risk of shareware/freeware Google Sites
Getting Help – Tech Support Calendaring
OpenOffice/Other suites Backups/System Maint...SECTION 5
QuickBooks Simple Start/Other Financial Software System and Network Security
Tax Software/Services System and Network Maintenance
Support Forums Remote Access to your PC
Project Management..SECTION 3 Other Items..SECTION 6
OpenProj vs. MS Projects Online Reputation and Marketing
Other PM Software
Disclaimer ~ Each business case is unique. Software
and procedures discussed in this presentation may not
be suitable for your system. Please consult a qualified
professional, or be very confident in your own skills,
before performing any change to a critical system.
Open Source - Free or inexpensive software that is offered via a public license. This public
license allows us to use this software for personal or business purposes.
Software License Agreements - A free software license grants users of that software the
rights to modify and redistribute the creative works and software, both of which are forbidden by the
defaults of copyright, and generally not granted with proprietary software. These licenses typically
include a disclaimer of warranty. An important property of free software licenses is that they are not
contracts. Users of free software do not need to agree to the license in order to simply use the
software (only to copy or modify it).[definition from Wikipedia].
Wiki - The term 'wiki' comes from the Hawaiian word wikiwiki, which translates to quick web. The
idea behind a wiki to provide information in a collaborative, interactive, and accessible way.
Best Practices – The term “Best Practices” refers to those processes and procedures that have
been washed out by industry as being the best way to do a particular act.
Freeware and Shareware – Just like it sounds. Freeware and Shareware is software that is
distributed free (or close to it) and can easily be obtained from many Freeware provider sites, such as
S e c t io n 1 :
Best Practices...o r c lo s e to it.
Passwords, Passwords, Passwords
• Change passwords every 90 days for critical information and use alpha-numeric
as well as special characters when possible.
• Use a Password Manager [software], this will provide for secure password generation
and allow for very easy access and less to memorize. Think of this as your secure “hub”.
• Computer as an appliance concept.
• Use a test machine.
• Backups and System Maintenance
• Use the Help Files.
Getting Help - Tech Support
Don't abuse your IT friends and family...please
hire a professional. It's cheaper than you think.
Because sometimes we need help...
Many small businesses struggle with the concept and development of an IT strategy. Even
the smallest of businesses need to take into account how technology will be used in that
business and how systems will be maintained.
It is easier than ever to get technical help. There are several service companies out there
that cater to small and home based business and well as commercial services. Most will
provide a free consult, then provide a bid. Others may charge time and materials. Either
way, expect to pay a range of $65/hr to $185/hr...most small jobs should take around an hour
Advantages and Disadvantages
• Low or no cost solutions.
• Good user-forum support. Usually.
• Usually well tested and reviewed.
• More difficult to locate.
• Technical understanding maybe required.
• Availability of support on free versions.
Discover and use it...
First, identify what you would like to get out of your system. Include your smart phone, internet
and phone service as well. Many times technologies become redundant or obsolete...or can
simply be consolidated.
Analyze your current system and take inventory of what tools are currently available. What
Software, what hardware?
What technology is currently at your disposal and can you solve any items identified in Step 1?
What is left...does anything need to be removed from the system? Then find out if you can solve
any of the remaining issues with freeware.
Do you really need to upgrade? Don't be pulled in by bright and shiny. If your machine can run
XP and access the internet at broadband speeds, then chances are you don't NEED a new
Helper (Task) Software
Knoppix ...and many many
Online Presence more.
I've created this presentation (and most of
the content) using all free open source
Writer – Word Processor (MS Word)
Draw – Simple CAD (MS Paint)
Impress – Desktop Publishing (MS PowerPoint)
Math – Formula Tool
Calc – Spreadsheets (MS Excel)
Base – Database (MS Access)
I just paid $399 for Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business
Edition (3 seat license) for a client. Did I mention OpenOffice
is free and handles just about any format you through at it...
Word Processor (MS Word)
This is a screen shot (using Alt+Print Screen then Ctrl+V).
I've created this presentation (and most of
the content) using all free open source
Desktop Publishing (MS PowerPoint)
This is a screen shot (using Alt+Print Screen then
Ctrl+V) of OpenOffice Impress while I was creating
Google Docs and Others....
There are several online providers of
productivity software that are gaining
traction as well...full feature software that
can be accessed via any internet
connection. Most also come with a
generous amount of storage as well...
Online Office Suites
...these tools are fantastic for anyone
that wants to stay mobile.
Metro-SEO uses Google Sites to
manage our calendar, tasks, projects
There are several good
project and task
PM Software (MS Project)
OpenProj (pictured above) is a robust project management tool
that provides Gantt charting and task dependencies. By the
way, MS Project costs $599 for standard version, $999 for
Google and Zoho also
offer free online wikis...
Luminotes is easy to learn. You can attach files and images. You can
also allow other users access and permissions, so managing the changes
is very simple. No more out of date procedures...
S e c t io n 5 :
Backups and System Maintenance.
Try mapping out your own
network. It really does help to
have a graphic representation.
Comes in handy when talking
with tech support.
It truly depends on your
situation, the more critical the
data, the more often you may
want to backup. I personally
like Monday, Wednesday, and
Friday after bed time.
Most software manufactures
release security patches on
Tuesdays (Patch Tuesdays),
so updating your system's OS, Backups are almost as important as passwords. Get yourself an
AV, and Spyware Protection on
external hard drive, most come with software that will allow you to
Wednesdays is a good
practice. setup nightly backups...
Ever want to make some notes on a document, but
couldn't because it was a PDF? This solves that problem
as well as provides great change control of the original
document such as .DOC files.
Chrome (Google Browser)
Soon to be an Operating System offered on
new PCs, Google Chrome has changed the
way I navigate the internet. I highly
recommend trying it out...it's fast and easy,
due to combined search or URL. Security is
also very good with the “Incognito” feature
which allows you to surf without leaving traces
or receiving cookies...
Looks simple, but the Windows Calculator doesn't allow you to print a receipt.
Need to access your PC remotely. TeamViewer can
be used like GoToMyPC or for remote assistance.
This is the best functioning Anti-Virus I have ever used.
The free version last a year, then $39 a year after that.
The price tag is perfect, especially compared to Norton
starting at $69 a year, without the free year.
Available Services from Metro-SEO
Metro-SEO's primary services are Search Engine Optimization, Website
Optimization, Online Marketing and Reputation Management.
The Internet is now the first place people go to find information. We can provide the marketing
statistics for you website so you can see directly your ROI...try that with the yellow pages.
Having a website is NOT enough of an online presence for your company. Unless you also rank
high on each of the major search engines for your targeted phrases, chances are that no one will
see the website. Where does your website rank?
This seminar and the services I offer - performing consultations and
implementation projects - sprouts from the needs we see in our customers and
partners that struggle with these issues.
Small Businesses need support too, and it shouldn't break their budgets to get it.
A lot of times, all that's needed is a bit of training and confidence in the technology
they already own.
Cost Savings Summary
Microsoft Word = $229 OpenOffice Write = free
Microsoft PowerPoint = $229 OpenOffice Impress = free
Microsoft Excel = $229 OpenOffice Calc = free
Microsoft Access = $229 OpenOffice Base = free
Microsoft Project Standard 2007 = $599 Serena OpenProj = free
GoToMyPC = $179.40/yr TeamViewer = free
Microsoft Office Professional 2007 (w/Outlook and Publisher) = $499
OpenOffice Suite (w/ Math and Draw) = free
...and many many more.
If you had to purchase MS Office and Project, as well as need remote access to
your computer, it would cost you $1,277.40...or you can use the comparable free
tools I've discussed today for free...
Sources and Links
Sources, Links, and Resources:
Ash Myers - LinkedIn (also on first slide)