I love my brand new Hewlett-Packard laptop with Windows 7, and just about have it loaded up with all my stuff. But a word of caution. New laptops have 64-bit operating systems as opposed to 32-bit (which means your computer can process more bits of information at once). That means your gadgets and software might work and they might not, and you won’t know until you try.
Software I’ve had forever that’s a laughable version to the people who use it a lot (such as version 2.0 of Photoshop Elements) works fine. But my business card scanner (that’s older than version 8) and my DYMO postage and label printer will have to be re-bought.
I’m the most distraught about Adobe Acrobat. I have version 7. I can open a PDF and edit it, add more pages, etc. But I can’t create one by printing to the Distiller. I normally use Adobe Acrobat every day and am dreading having to upgrade when I really don’t need anymore features than I was already using.
There are no drivers for any of this, and it didn’t work trying to use them in the compatibility mode Windows offers. It was time for a new laptop, and I’d budgeted for it. But I wasn’t prepared for buying more gadgets and software though, but I guess I will. Good thing to do anyway before year-end (for tax purposes).
When I got back to my office after a few conferences, I started reviewing some of the business cards I’d collected. I kept noticing the same, common missteps business owners continue to make. Here are a few:
No email address.
Email address is illogical, hard to spell, impossible to remember, hard to type, hard to read.
@yahoo.com, @aol.com, instead of @anybodybutyourownURL.com.
No physical address.
Type is too small to read without a magnifying glass.
Background is too wild and text impossible to read or scan.
Design ignores all the rules (e.g., font too fancy for type of business).
Unnecessary words such as “email” before the email address, “Website” before the URL.
Coating on both sides that makes it impossible to take notes on.
Vanity phone numbers such as 400-488-PHONE (not a real number). Don’t make me have to work to call you. Please also include the actual numbers.
Your business card is part of your marketing team, and it needs to be dressed and looking like you mean business. Take a look at yours. Are changes needed?
Hi, Peggy! I have lots of business cards from others. What is the most productive way to store them. I originally thought I’d use a desk top Rolodex; then I thought I should group them according to services, photocopy the page and then file the pages. What do you suggest?
None of the above. I batch scan all my cards into categories using the CardScan. For example, when I speak at an event, I’ll create a category for it and scan all cards into that category. Later if I want to send an email message (or mail merge email or letter) just to those people, I can.
If you don’t want to invest in a CardScan, decide how cards can become electronic (Excel spreadsheet, Outlook, etc…either way, add categories so you can filter later). If you never intend to contact the people, dump them because they’re junk. Only keep the few you actually need.
I also have a card file and keep cards for vendors such as gardener, barber, etc. I don’t file them by the person’s name but rather by what they do. So the barber’s card would go under B because that’s the first thing I’d think of when I need the number.
Hope this helps.
If you have questions about improving your personal productivity, Ask Peggy by leaving a comment on a related blog post or send to email address on the Contact page above.
A sheet of labels got stuck in my HP All-in-One LaserJet printer and I tried pulling it out. I got it, but I destroyed the sensor that lets the printer know I have a cartridge. After finding out it was almost as cheap to buy a new printer as to fix the old one, I threw up my hands.
I considered buying another printer but I realized how rarely I printed anything. It dawned on me to try doing without one. Here’s how I managed without a printer for a year.
Documents I need to sign. My clients either send training agreements as a Word document or a PDF. Word Documents: When the agreement is in Word, I pop in my signature from AutoText, save a softcopy, and email it back. I had already scanned in my written signature and saved it as a graphic. In Word, I saved it in AutoText (display the graphic on a page, select it, click Insert, AutoText, New, give the entry a name. Every time I need to sign a document, I click where I want the signature to go, type in the name of the AutoText entry, and press F3.) PDFs: When the agreement is in a PDF, I have a Custom Stamp with this same signature graphic and insert it as needed.
UPDATE: Here’s a video I recorded on how to do this. It’s part of my new series for Suite Minute TV: tips that will save minutes or hours every day for people who don’t have a second to spare.
QuickBooks invoices for clients. I used to print my client invoices (created in QuickBooks) and fax them along with all the receipts. Without a printer, I create a PDF of the invoice, scan all the receipts and attach them to the PDF and email everything. (Since I lost my scanner when I lost my all-in-one LaserJet, I either asked every establishment for an extra receipt, or I scanned all receipts with either my business card scanner (Executive CardScan) or my NeatReceipts(TM) scanner.I use the CardScan when I have one or two small receipts. I use the NeatReceipts units when I have several by taping as many receipts as possible onto one sheet of paper and then scanning.)
Shipping labels for packages and envelopes.For shipping, I either handwrite whatever I need, but most times I print everything with my Dymo LabelWriter(TM) Twin Turbo that doesn’t require ink cartridges.
Documents I absolutely had to print. On very, very rare occasions when I needed a printed document, I saved it on a Flash drive as a PDF and either printed it at a friend’s office up the street (on my way out), or I’d wait until I got to my hotel and printed it at their business center. This was never an inconvenience. My friend didn’t mind because every time I stopped by there he had a list of computer questions to ask me.
Outlook Calendar details to use on travel. I put all the details of my trip in the text area of a calendar appointment. All of this information gets synched to my PDA, but I like having it on paper in case the PDA locks up and it’s inconvenient to boot up my laptop. When I had a printer, I printed all this. Without the printer, I had to handwrite notes with the main information I’d need (flight and hotel info, host phone, etc.).
Documents I had to mail but wanted to keep a copy. When I needed to keep a copy of a document I needed to mail (e.g., a rebate form), I simply scanned it (with the Neat Receipts scanner).
After a year, I discovered I was doing just fine without a printer. Then I purchased a new desktop computer that came with one. It’s an HP Color Deskjet and does everything but fax. It’s nice knowing the printer is here if I need it, but you can go broke buying ink. It’s been two weeks and I’ve used it once (to copy a receipt for a rebate) because, as usual, I have no intention of printing anything unless I absolutely have to.
So rethink how you use your printer and let me know if you have any success with not using it.
I have a business card scanner…saw it years ago and just had to have it (CardScan)! It’s probably about 90% accurate reading the text on the card and turning it into a contact so I can’t complain. The problem is that after that first wave of cards was scanned, I don’t use the scanner anymore.
I don’t blindly collect business cards when I’m out “networking.” If someone thrusts a card in my hand, I’ll take it to be courteous (although they weren’t). But when I get to my office (or when I pass a trash can) and know I have no connection with the person and have no intention of contacting them, I trash the card immediately (especially if it’s printed on cheap paper with a perforated edge and no rhyme or reason to the design).Most of the cards piled up around you amount to keeping junk, clutter, a mess. Businesses have failed, people have changed jobs, etc. Why keep junk?
When I’m out and get a card I want to keep, I’ll write something about the person on it so I’ll remember. Then I add them to Outlook Contacts manually. I add a Category and I add my notes in the text area. I do this immediately so they won’t pile up. Then I trash the card.
Most of the addresses I add to Outlook come from within an email message or on a Webpage. I have some great software that allows me to select text, press a hotkey (for me F9), and populate fields in Outlook automatically. It’s magical! If you can’t download software at work, do it at home. Copy 2 Contact today! It’s inexpensive and worth every penny.
When someone indicates they want to stay in touch with me (and the feeling is mutual), I’ll email them my vCard from Outlook.
If you work in a group environment, the scanner would help because you can set it up on one machine and take turns using it. Or check into a network version. Otherwise, think twice before you buy.