Using a 1300 or 1800 for my fax number

So can calls coming from faxes come through 1300 or 1800 numbers?

Yes, absolutely, the 1300 and 1800 number networks are intelligent enough to accept both phone and fax signals. They can deal with each and ensure the user receives calls to the correct device or network.

Often, a business will activate a 1300 number for phone and a separate one for fax. They will have the phone 1300 number land to their office landline or mobile phone and have the fax 1300 number land to their fax machine. Alternatively of course, the business can choose to land the fax 1300 number to a virtual fax, or service called a fax to email.

The 1300 or 1800 number is termed as a “shadow” number in that when called, it has a command telling the network where to land the call. It can be landed to any available line including virtual faxes. These fax to email services have an identity of course because they have their phone number. They can be called directly or they can be used as an answer point for 1300, 1800 numbers.

The benefit of setting up your business communications this way is that you present a larger, professional picture to your market. Having a 1300 number for your phone number but then just a normal phone number for fax really has shown to show weakness in a business model. Finishing off the set up with an additional 1300 number has shown that your market will see your business as a more complete, professional organisation.

Business owners could also choose to use a combination of one 1300 number and one 1800 number. If it is important for the business to be seen as a “free” phone call for their clients then they could activate a 1800 number for the phone line and a 1300 number could be the fax line. Either way, the fax signal will be accepted by the 1300 or 1800 network.

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Apple or PC

The battle between Apple and Microsoft really is no great secret – it’s been going on for years and will continue to do so. At the moment Microsoft hold the largest market share at around 82%. However, Apple are fast increasing in popularity with their Mac OS X and claim to be reaping a 70% year on year increase in ownership in Australia.

Whilst most Australian Businesses still use Microsoft Windows for their computing the last 5 years has seen an increase in the amount going over to the Mac. It is difficult to find actual numbers but the percentages speak for themselves: 5 years ago, Microsoft held 91% of the market share, that is down to around 82%, whilst Mac have risen from just 5% up to a massive 14% market share.

There are vast differences between the two, which makes it difficult to say which one is the best. The main difference between the Mac and the PC is the operating system. Whilst most PC’s rely on Microsoft Windows, the Apple Macs run their own operating system – the Mac OS X. This is not available to be run in any non-Apple product so if you want to use it you have to have a Mac computer. Microsoft however allows Windows to be run on just about any system going, which means they have a much higher rate of availability.

Whilst both the Mac and the PC are pretty much up with each other there are one or two differences that should be noted. Mac’s are generally much smaller than PC’s in both RAM and hard drive space. Whilst a PC typically has anywhere from 2GB to 8GB of RAM, the Mac will only have a maximum of 4GB. This is great if you don’t store much on your computer or are a heavy user.

Another difference is in stability and compatibility issues. Although much more improved now, PC’s are still more prone to crashing than their Mac counterparts. This is a huge issue and one that needs some addressing before PC’s start to regain lost market share. As for compatibility, the Apple Mac will run both Mac OS X and Windows whereas the PC is only really capable of supporting Microsoft Windows products.

The Apple Mac is more widely used by designers and developers, particularly because of its ease of use and its graphics capabilities. The PC tends to be more a free for all type, suitable for just about anybody, or any type of business to use. Which one you use for your business will depend almost exclusively on what you require it for.

Before his death in 2011, Steve Jobs (Apple) and Bill Gates (Microsoft) were friends and business enemies for more than 30 years. Their relationship was based on a mix of personality and business rivalry and certainly had its difficulties. Although they remained close friends they also had several clashes over the years. In 1988 Apple sued Microsoft for an infringement on its patents but in 1997, when Apple were falling, Bill Gates stepped in and invested $150 million. In 2007 the pair appeared together on stage for the first time in over 20 years and, whilst some expected fireworks they were disappointed. The two demonstrated a long term friendship and a huge respect for one another and the meeting of two technologically advanced minds was deemed a massive success.

Which Accounting Software?

We wanted to submit some articles about some generic business topics and so this is a beginning to that.

Business owners always have to answer questions and make decisions, especially about their accounting methods. Once upon a time it would be a decision about which book-keeper to hire. The advent of accounting software has changed that. Now it is a question of which accounting software you should choose for your small business.

There are several options open to you. You can choose from traditional well known software, such as QuickBooks or MYOB. Or you can choose to go with completely online software such as Xero or Saasu. Each has it’s benefits and pitfalls so let us take a look at these four and compare what they have to offer and how they can help you.

QuickBooks and MYOB
QuickBooks and MYOB are two of the more popular pieces of accounting software. Both offer a selection of packages, ranging from basic accounting methods to the more complicated and involved. They both have a choice of either purchasing a subscription of 12 months or buying the full package outright. QuickBooks and MYOB have similar functions including payroll, time billing, and inventory control and accounts preparation. Another similarity between them is that that they both offer the facility for online accounting. This means that you can access your accounts from any computer that has access to the internet. They are both capable of automatic data-entry, which means you can hook up your bank accounts and credit cards and the data will be automatically imported to the system. Also, full back-ups, updates and technical support are offered as part of the service. One big difference between the two is QuickBooks ability to offer multi-user licenses – each copy of the program can be licensed for use by multiple individuals.

Xero and SAASU
Online accounting software is fast becoming a favourite method for small businesses. There are many companies that offer online accounting software, two of which are Xero and Saasu. Both of these are part of the latest in cloud based accounting programmes and are quite similar to each other in what they offer. They both offer a series of different packages, ranging from small and basic up to the most comprehensive package available. Each is priced separately and is available on a subscription basis. Both Xero and Saasu offer basic accounting functions such as payroll, sales orders and invoices, bank feeds and inventory control. They both have the ability to automatically produce invoices and both provide real time views of your bank balances, sales and bills pending. As well as automatic bank feeding they can both also update from your PayPal account as well.

We have only really touched on the basic features of all of these packages; you will need to go to the various websites for more detailed information.

MYOB
QuickBooks
Saasu
Xero

However, it is clear that the accounting software that you use really depends upon several factors: – the size of your business, how many users should have access, how detailed your accounts need to be and how much you are prepared to pay. It is worth bearing in mind that any software that is available online normally comes complete with automatic updates, back-ups and complete support, three very valuable requirements in the new digital age.

If you want to read more on accounting tips and techniques, have a read of this interesting article published by one of our team as well – Cash Flow Importance, an article on Anthonysblog

Business + Friends = Loss of Friend!

The modern world offers all kinds of opportunities for people to put their new ideas into business action. Having the correct company structure can save the small business considerable time and money. If you do not have the financial resources to go it alone as a sole trader, the logical answer tends to be a partnership. Partnerships are relatively inexpensive to set up and pool the partner’s cash investments. Profits are shared between the partners but so are responsibilities. Each partner is personally liable for the tax debts of the partnership. If you have the initial idea for a new small business, where do you find others to invest? This is often where friends come in – but what are the pitfalls are there to having friends as investors, partners or staff?

Working together can put friendships under intense strain. Remember that good friends are hard to come by and pay careful consideration to how a new joint venture will affect your relationship. Good communication, honesty, trust and mutual respect are all vital to both your friendship and your small business together.

Before creating a partnership with a friend, it is essential to talk through as many concerns as possible. Make a list of contingencies. Create a legal written contract describing who does what and what proportion of the company each partner owns. Look at this signed small business agreement as a kind of pre-nuptial contract – it may save your friendship if things go badly for your business.

There is a fine balance between maintaining friendship and growing your small business. Arguments will happen, so before forming a partnership ensure that you are all good at managing personal conflicts. Healthy arguments can be good ways of driving a business in the right direction. Greed, ego and conflicting ideas can all prove to be tough challenges and might make it necessary to involve a strictly neutral third party to resolve disputes without breaking up friendships. You need to be sure that the benefits of having a friend to share your costs and workload offset the pressure of having others tell you how you should operate.

Lots of work goes into the initial start up of a small business partnership. Ensure you know how much time each of you can devote. Talk through your expectations. Are your strengths and weaknesses compatible to cover all necessary areas of the new business? Do you have similar definitions of success? It is essential to set ground rules and produce written job definitions. Know your roles and commit to them one hundred percent.

Going into business with friends can be fun and profitable. Partners can offer skills, connections and money you may not have. But the stress of working together can wreak havoc on your friendship if you become consumed by industry and forget to be friends. To establish a boundary between work and socializing is imperative. Designate time for “no business allowed” “friends only” time. Make sure that all parties know when they are talking as business partners and when as friends to allow your relationships and business to flourish.

Hidden Files In Mac Finder

Have you been wondering how to show files that are hidden in the Mac finder? Files like .htaccess which are hidden for safety reasons as in most cases if the deletion of this file occurred it would be fatal to a website function. Mac have taken out the quick and easy functionality and unfortunately it is a little more complex then usual.

To show hidden files (and mind you this will show all hidden files in all folders), you would need to follow this process;

– Open a terminal window by going to Finder, Utilities and open a terminal window,
– at the prompt, type in – “defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES”
– press return
– you will then need to close Finder completely and reboot a new finder window by firstly typing in “Killall Finder”
– press return again and then close the window and open up Finder.

When you navigate to the folder that you had the hidden file in it will now be shown for you to upload or work with.

To turn off the show hidden files function simply repeat the Terminal entries but this time changing YES to NO in the first entry, “defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool NO”

A very handy thing to know!

As a further note, if you are using an ftp program like Cyberduck, you can show hidden files (alot easier), by simply opening up your ftp file and then clicking on View, Show Hidden Files.

Source Material For Cyberduck

Good luck and happy hidden filing!

Take Your Life Back – Leverage!

Leveraging success in business involves knowledge, action and education, resulting in a formidable formula to accelerate productivity and the potential to generate tremendous leverage.

To make this happen, the following key areas need to come into play:

• Resources
• Technology
• Knowledge
• Time – a combination of yours and other peoples

Resource Leverage

Leverage can be exerted by making the most out of your assets, and combining this with your own personal strengths. As a team leader, you’ll need an extensive range of skill-sets, ideas, experiences and talents. These skills need to be utilised, providing strengths to optimise productivity. Think about the relevant assets that you possess, that those around you do not have? Are you able to create leverage? What unique connections do you have? Financial resources? Or perhaps other assets you can access in order to output a greater effect?

A helpful way to get started with this is to undertake a SWOT analysis, where you can focus on identifying your best assets and strengths and expand on these for identifying potential options and opportunities. A SWOT analysis will assist you to identify critical weaknesses.

Levering Technology

This comes down to how you go about your work and how to employ technology to automate this as much as possible. At the basic level, you’ll find that all you might require is a laptop computer as a means to stay in touch with work and home. You may find that a personal digital assistant (PDA) will assist you in maintaining a convenient and backed-up time management plan. Mobile phones which can access your emails or browse the Internet are also helpful tools when you’re in downtime or away from the workplace.

You could also consider using voice recognition software instead of typing. This will allow you to dictate your documents and save valuable time in the process. For example, Google Desktop Search will assist you to better manage and locate documents hence eliminating the need to be filing your digital documents. If you find yourself held-back with routine data processing tasks, desktop data-bases such as Microsoft Access can automate simple processes. The benefit of this process is that it only needs to be set-up once, and can be executed the same way each time allowing you to scale your operations.

Software’s such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases can also be employed for customer service and sales companies who need to track and manage their inventory. You can also consider the use of blogs and email-based newsletters as a means to stay in touch with customers with the push of a button. All of these items leverage technology tremendously.

Leveraging Education & Knowledge

Applied knowledge is a great lever for success. When combining both action and education, this has the potential to generate huge leverage. Learning by way of experience alone is a slow process. So by determining how to accelerate the learning process through formal learning avenues, you’ll expedite the process significantly. Technical and practical training via accredited courses will help to build a foundation of knowledge from the ground up.

By taking these steps to acquire knowledge, you can avoid years of slow and unproductive learning. Learning on the sole basis of trial and error is inefficient. A superior method for teaching and training staff can also be to capture the knowledge from those within the organisational management, and to pass it down through the ranks.

Leveraging Time

Leveraging your time effectively is the most fundamental strategy to succeed in business. Given that there is only a set amount of time in each day, if you were to use your own time, it greatly limits the out-put needed to optimise productivity. By leveraging the time of other people, you will be able to increase the work output to an extraordinary level.

Delegating is the heart and soul of leveraging your business to it’s full potential. Learn to prioritize and to focus your business activities on the things that are likely to give you the best return on the time spent. Set decisive targets and goals and back this up to motivate yourself in reaching your targeted goals.

Use team building to empower your staff or contractors. Engage consultants and industry experts who can cover the gaps that you fall short in. You can also think about outsourcing tasks to lighten the load so your productivity is not hindered. Providing you are delegating properly, the time and money invested to leverage other people’s time is often well spent.

Don’t Forget Telecommunications!

Telecommunications allows information to be shared over significant distances, between two or several parties.  Multiple transmitting and receiving on a larger scale can be achieved through a telecommunications network, the largest being the Internet.  The importance of telecommunications to business is therefore paramount and any new business can not underestimate the power of telecommunications for the success of their business.

Types of Telecommunications

Any new business must consider what telecommunications can do for them and how best to tailor it to their individual purposes.  Telecommunications allows businesses to connect with customers, support staff and colleagues and the speed and efficiency of the equipment, devices and networks available is a vital consideration.

–    Telephone and Fax
–    The Internet
–    Service Providers and Packaging

Telephone and Fax

This mode of business telecommunications is widely used and viable, particularly for businesses that operate on a primarily local basis.  With new technologies constantly evolving it is still highly relevant and provides a cost effective option for many businesses.  The three basic types of phone systems most widely used are PBX (Private Branch exchange) for medium to large size business, KSU (Key System Unit) for small to medium sized businesses, and KSU-Less Systems for businesses with less than 10 employees. An important addition to this is the use of 1300 Numbers to enhance the business’ customer perception and measuring capabilities of marketing and incoming call flow.

The Internet

The Internet’s contribution to business telecommunications can be seen in its usage as a research tool, emailing and instant messaging.  It has also facilitated the development of new technologies such as VoIP (a phone service via the Internet), that provides a less expensive option than the standard phone service, particularly over long distance.  Skype has been the forerunner of this technology, allowing communication all over the world.  This further highlights the advantages for businesses that outsource workers overseas through services such as oDesk and Elance.

Service Providers and Packaging

The three main telecommunications companies in Australia are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, offering Landline, Inbound Numbers, Mobile and Broadband services or a combination of these.  Increasing numbers of Mobile service providers have also emerged creating a price war between providers that is good news for the consumer and any new business trying to minimize costs.  Similarly, increasing numbers of ISP providers are emerging with three of Australia’s top providers being Internode, iiNet and TPG.  To compare competitiveness of the various plans (Whirlpool.net.au) is Australia’s largest Broadband forum, listing all ISP’s and their plans.

But of course, business owners are not tied to these major players anymore. The was a fear of moving away from these tier 1 carriers but that is no longer an issue. Small business owners can safely employ smaller carriers that have security and efficiency like Ozetel Pty Ltd.

Packaging is therefore an important consideration for any new business as it allows the option to customize the telecommunications requirements to the individual business.  Bundling services with one provider may be more equitable for the individual business’s purposes or obtaining different services from competing providers may be the best way of minimizing costs.   By researching what packages are offered by providers, businesses can save valuable dollars in a competitive market.  Bundling phone, fax and Internet services can often be more affordable as well as reviewing local and long distance communication requirements before selecting a suitable package.

Of course, the new business entrepeneur should consider the elements of business that are imperative and enforced by government entities such as ASIC and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Original Source: Anthony’s Blog, A site for business and life.