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October 2010
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December 2010

November 2010

Intuit, very relevant? For whom?

Running a small business means, among other things, having to keep the books. Having a "business pondering" blog means writing about relevant programs which, often, make live for small business owners easier/simpler, especially bookkeeping/accounting software.
Writing about software means attracting request from various software programs.

A simple suggestion? Analysed? Relevant?

This morning I received the following email:

Hello,
I am contacting you from Intuit UK regarding a link suggestion for your website.

Intuit UK is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small organisations and their advisors including accountants and bookkeepers. The flagship product is QuickBooks, the accounting software designed to help small businesses succeed through taking the worry out of managing business finances. Having analysed your website’s content, we think that a link to QuickBooks would be very relevant and useful to your visitors.

Therefore we would greatly appreciate you placing a link to us from your http://www.thekissbusiness.co.uk page. Should you choose to link to us, our homepage URL is: (*)

Please let me know if you would like some further information regarding linking to QuickBooks and for more information about Intuit UK, please visit (*)

Look forward to hearing from you soon,
Thanks and best regards,
(name removed by me)

My reply:
Sorry, not a fan of Quickbooks and therefore it would not be fare to my readers.
(Plus most often if others ask for links from my site to a program/company they offer a "reward" or link love. Can't see anything you're offering - and that for a large business)

Karin H

Facts:

  • If you suggest something to someone, it normally means it is a benefit for that someone.
  • Anyone analysing my website's content knows - should know - it only links to software programs I use myself (or if I have no need for such a program myself but comes with the high recommendations of someone I trust and who uses the program his/her self).
  • Very relevant and useful to my visitors? Says who?
  • I'm sure you would be greatly appreciate if I hand out link-love, but why should I?
  • You heard from me pretty soon, but where's your answer?

More trouble with "big" software companies

Intuit is "rolling" out a SaaS version of Quickbooks - a beta version you have to pay for for the pleasure of helping them out finding the bugs (Duane Jackson of Kashflow had a field day with this and so did Dennis Howlet)
Next up is Sage, banning Duane from the GEW party - read all about it on Duane's and Dennis' blogs)

Imagine my chuckle when my comment on Duane' post about the ban turned into this tweeter question by him:

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How's that for proper analysing someones website - asking the competition to give out links?

Are the "big" software companies feeling the pressure of being overtaken by other - better, simper, cheaper, better value for money - software companies that they resort to shooting themselves in the foot? Not once, but continuously this week (which is Global Entrepreneurship Week for that matter ;-))

(* = links to the software and business home page removed - of course!)


Using ScreenSteps.Me for Octane HQ

ScreenSteps.Me is the latest addition to the multitude of ways ScreenSteps Desktop gives you to publish your articles/lessons.

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This "lesson" - made in ScreenSteps of course - will show you how you can use it when you have an Octane HQ account to add a new step in a follow up series (email) or a new email campaign broadcast.

Write the article/lesson in ScreenSteps

Utilise all the features SSD gives you, from image capturing (great tool!) to formatting, to write your message. In this particular example I'd already written a blogpost for our FAQ & News site, announcing drastic discounts on our two most popular floors which I wanted to turn into an extra newsletter for all our newsletter subscribers.

when you're article is finished, click the Share Button and select ScreenSteps.Me. After it has uploaded your article/lesson to your ScreenSteps.Me account (free) select Visit.

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Open the document you want to (re)use in Octane HQ and check if everything looks and feels ok.

Create new email campaign in Octane HQ

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Name your new campaign and go the "write your email" step

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In notepad I have my standard email template I use for these type of (short) messages and this template is copied in Source

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Copy HTML or Styled HTML from ScreenSteps.Me

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Add to existing source

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I then have to reshuffle the article title to where I always place the headline of the message

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But that's really all I have to edit, the rest is copied and pasted, including the images used, into the email marketing message.

Send yourself a test message

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Select your contact group you want to email it to, set the time to broadcast it and job done!

Simple - and effective.

ScreenSteps Desktop keeps getting better and better!

 

ScreenSteps - Documentation Done Right


Call to action - Time not to Change, for the better

Saturday 30 October I drove home at the normal time of 5pm - in clear day light. Two days later, Monday 1 November, at the exact same time of 5pm, the drive home was in darkness.
I hate this abrupt change!

Economical sound

Yes, I know, the seasons change and going into the Winter there will be fewer and fewer hours of day light until the end of December where nature will pause a few days and then slowly, very slowly in the beginning, we'll have more light.

But having to adopt so suddenly in one day time instead of gradually getting used to the darkness is not natural. It's too abrupt, especially when the rush hour in most towns and villages start around 5pm and over one weekend this rush hour lands from day light into complete darkness.

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All because we're switching from British Summertime back to GMT in the last weekend of October. Last Saturday Andrew Ellson (Personal Finance Editor) made some valuable points in The Times why "ditching the GMT" is an economical good decision:

  • lower energy bills (and fewer carbon emissions) - lighting up later in the running up to December
    • "A study published earlier this year also found that about 447,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions would have been saved if the clocks were not put back each year between 2001 and 2008, equating to electricity savings of 885GWh – enough to supply 200,000 households – and a reduction in peak demand of 4.3 per cent."
  • fewer accidents, evidence suggests that lighter evening mean fewer accidents and fewer accidents means less costs for the NHS
    • "Road safety experts believe up to 100 deaths could be prevented every year and it would also enable children to travel home in light."
  • more savings in the public sector by spending less on heating and lighting

Others have already indicated that not switching back to GMT will mean longer and safer training periods for youngsters in the various sports. Over three hundred sporting organisations including the FA and Lawn Tennis Association are very much in favour of keeping the BST, it would increase participation and therefore cut obesity.

And of course for shoppers it will mean lighter and longer midday shopping - welcomed by retailers, bistros, bars, pubs etc.

"Up to 80,000 new jobs could be created in the tourist industry, as longer evenings would extend the tourist season and allow attractions to stay open for longer in the year."

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There's a Private Member's Bill (by Rebecca Harris - Con) working its way through Parliament that, if passed, would mean the clocks stay unchanged next winter.
This Bill is due for its second reading on 3 December.

If you support the idea, write to your local MP to demand he or she supports the legislation. They should!

According to Andrew Ellson, they - politicians - won't get many easier opportunities to put some money in their constituents' pockets.

(The MP for Ashford is Damian Green - Con and you can reach him through greend@parliament.uk or leave a message through his Ashford page).