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The Only Way to Share Folders on Dropbox

Posted by in How to, Small business

Dropbox is a great way to share documents with co-workers and clients but I’ve recently found that you have to be very careful when you’re sharing folders with other people if you don’t want to them to see personal and confidential information. Now if you’re like me, when you wanted to share a folder with someone else, you just sent them an invitation giving them access to that folder. Simple, right? Yes it is but it can also be downright dangerous. Because if that folder is a sub folder then not only do they have access to the folder that you shared with them, they also have access to everything within the parent folder. Yes, I mean everything! For example you may want to share a project file with one of your clients – call them Client A – so you create a folder for that project called Project ABC within your main client folder which contains the files for all your clients. As soon as you share that project folder with Client A, you’re also giving them access to everything within your main client folder. Not only can Client A see the project files, they can also see all your client files, which could prove not only deeply embarrassing but could also have wider data protection implications. So if you want to be sharing folders with other people on Dropbox, you need to make sure that you’re doing it the right way. And the right way to share a folder on Dropbox is to make sure that the folder is created within your main Dropbox folder, and not within another folder. By doing this, the people you share the folder with will only be able to see what is in that folder; they will not be able to see what is in the other folders on your main Dropbox account. So be careful when you’re sending out invitations to people on Dropbox – make sure that you’re only giving them permission to access the content that you want them to see. It’s important to get it right as it can have serious implications for your business. Get access to other tips and tools to help you work more effectively and get things done by completing the form below to download a copy of our free guide “How to Organise Your Workload So There’s More Time For...

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8 Things Smart Business Owners Do Every Day

Posted by in Small business, Time management

As an entrepreneur, what you do every day can define how successful you are in achieving your business goals. Think about it.  You can either start the day cursing the alarm clock as you fall out of bed bleary eyed, stumbling towards the kettle to make your first fix of coffee.  Or you can have a routine that leaves you feeling calm, motivated and ready for whatever the day has to throw at you! Now I’m not a morning person by any means but I’ve found that having a routine when I first get up is essential if I want to start the day the right way.  If I miss this routine for any reason then it certainly has an impact on how I feel and act during the day – sometimes grumpy, unfocused or demotivated (or all three!). And because how you start your day can have a positive or negative impact on your mood and how you work, then it can also affect the success of your business. So here are 8 things smart business owners do every day to ensure they stay motivated and focused. Have a morning routine.  As I mentioned, I may not be an early bird but I do understand the importance of starting your day off in the right way.  Because if you don’t then this can affect your attitude and thinking for the rest of the day.  Having a morning routine – whether that’s going for a run, meditating, or writing in your journal – will help to ensure that you start off the day in the right frame of mind. Focus on what’s important.  Trying to juggle a growing to do list is a surefire way to feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. Yes we’ve all got a 101 things we could be doing but if you want to be successful in achieving them then you’ve got to focus on what’s important to you and your business.  So review your action list regularly to see if it’s still relevant.  Then pick no more than 3 things to do each day that will move your business forward. Know where you’re going.  You wouldn’t set off on a journey without knowing the destination so why would you do that in your business?  By knowing what you’re aiming for, you can create a clear plan of action on how to get there.  By doing that, you will know exactly what you should be focusing on each day to move you towards where you want to be. Delegate.  If you’re spending hours trying to sort out your expenses or designing a PowerPoint presentation, then that’s time you’re not focusing on earning money for your business.  Smart...

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How Entrepreneurs can keep costs down and still afford to outsource

Posted by in Outsourcing, Small business

The problem that many entrepreneurs face when they start up in business is that they try and do everything themselves in the belief that they won’t have enough money to start outsourcing their workload. And yet there are many ways that entrepreneurs can keep costs down when they first set up and still have enough money to outsource those business functions that they don’t have the skills or inclination to do. The reason you create a business is because you enjoy doing something and you want the freedom and opportunity to earn money doing it yourself.  But there are aspects of running a business that you’re either not good at or absolutely hate.  For me, it’s doing the bookkeeping – I loathe inputting my expenses and trying to tally everything up. And I’m sure there are aspects of running a business that you loathe too.  We’re only human and there are some things we are good at and some things we’re not so hot on.  The hard part is to admit that and let someone else do the hard slog. But how can you do that when you’re in the early days of business and don’t have a lot of cash? Luckily there are a wide range of free or low cost tools that you can use to run your business.  This frees up some of your hard earned cash to bring in people to help you on the day to day stuff so you can focus on getting new clients and bringing in the money. So here is a list of tools and apps to help you keep your business costs down so you can still afford to outsource. Google Apps.  This is the main tool I use to run my business. It gives you the ability to view your emails, calendar and documents from anywhere, and share them with other team members.  It’s not free but the business version costs from around £3/month so extremely good value for what it offers. Google Docs.  Why spend a fortune on Microsoft Office when you can get what you need with free software such as Google Docs or Open Office?  In fact if you use Google Drive then any documents you create with Google Docs come within your storage allowance. Google Drive and Dropbox.  Work on the fly with document storage and sharing tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox.  You can access your files from anywhere as well as share them with other members of your team. Google Hangout and Skype.  Keep travel costs down by scheduling virtual meetings online using free tools such as Skype and Google Hangout. MailChimp.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to get...

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How much do lost hours cost your business?

Posted by in Small business, Time management

Here in the UK, we officially entered into spring by putting our clocks forward by an hour at the weekend. As business owners, we know time is precious so to suddenly lose an hour is quite a shock.  It makes us realise how much we need to value our time and not just let it slip through our fingers. See my blog post “Are you investing in your time or just spending it?” which talks about the importance of investing in your time. Let’s face it, most of us are guilty of losing an hour every day on activities that distract us from our main tasks. This not only affects our productivity but more importantly can also affect our bottom line. If you’re wasting time on tasks that aren’t moving your business forward or generating income then this will ultimately affect whether your endeavours fail or succeed. So how much do lost hours cost your business? From my experience of working with clients, here are some of the ways that many business owners waste an hour or more of their day: Creating or updating their own website Playing around with the design of their email newsletter template Teaching themselves how to use Mailchimp, Aweber etc Trying to format their own presentations in PowerPoint Following up on standard email enquiries Searching suitable venues for events and meetings Researching information on the internet Designing and updating their profiles on social media Designing and formatting reports and Ebooks Managing and updating their contact database Researching relevant topics and content for blogs and articles Just by delegating some or all of the above, you will be saving yourself a lot more than one hour a day. Because delegation is more than just saving time and money.   It’s about creating a mindset that is prepared to invest in yourself and your business so that you have the space and energy to bring in bigger and better opportunities.  These opportunities create more client work, resulting in an increased income to invest in building a team to grow your business. We may not be able to bring back the hour that we lose every year as we cross over from winter to spring.  But we can reclaim the time that we lose every day on tasks that don’t serve us and don’t move our business forward. Here at Smart VA, we work as trusted partners with our clients by handling their admin and online marketing projects so they can focus on moving their business forward in the right way.  Check our our virtual PA services to find out...

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What do you want to leave behind?

Posted by in Small business

What do you want to leave behind? This question has been on my mind for 2 reasons over the last couple of weeks. First of all, my business coach asked me about what I wanted to leave behind from last year. When I was thinking about this, I realised that the question also had another meaning and that refers to what you want to be remembered for, ie what do you want to leave behind after you’ve gone. The first question really got me thinking and like many people, a lot of what I want to leave behind from last year is around limiting mindset and beliefs.  Things such as not valuing what I do, not trusting in my continued success, and focusing on what I haven’t got rather than what I have. So my intentions for this year are to trust that my business will continue to grow and succeed; to have an abundance mindset not one focused on lack; to value what I do and the benefits that I bring to clients; and to believe that I have the ability to earn as much money as I want. The second meaning reminded me of the chapter in Stephen Covey’s book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ where he asks the question: what people would say about you at your funeral?. I first read this book when I set up in business in 2009, coming out of 20+ years in the corporate world.  Reading that chapter brought me up short. I felt adrift as it was the first time I hadn’t had a full-time job since my early twenties.  I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted in life or where I was going but I knew that something had to change.  When I thought about it,  I couldn’t get my head around the concept of leaving a legacy – it was something that I’d never thought about before – and I couldn’t think of one interesting thing that people would say about me after I’d gone! Nearly 5 years down the line and I realise that running a business certainly teaches you a lot about yourself.  It forces you to go out of your safety zone and do things that you never thought you were capable of achieving.  It’s certainly helped me to get clearer about who I am, what I want and where I want to go. This is the first time since reading the book that I’ve thought about the idea of leaving a legacy and it’s an interesting idea to play with.  Reflecting on the question of what you want to be remembered for can be another way of creating an overall vision...

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How to move forward by looking back

Posted by in Organisation, Small business

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.  Winston Churchill I’ve recently been reviewing my business after a period of feeling like I’d hit a brick wall and didn’t know where to go next. I actually think it’s something that a lot of business owners face at one time or another – you get to a point where you feel stuck and not sure how to move yourself forward to the next stage.  But it can leave you feeling demotivated and demoralised if you don’t do something about it. So I went back to basics and did a complete review of my business.  I looked back at how far I’d come since I first set up, how the business had changed from my initial vision, what I liked about it and what I didn’t like, the changes that I’d like to make and what I’d like to do going forward. So how did it help to move forward by looking back? Not only was it good to get everything down in writing and be able to look at it objectively, it also made me feel proud to see how far I’d come as a person and business owner over the last few years. The whole exercise helped to reconnect me to the reason why I set up in business in the first place.  It reminded me of my successes and how much I’d achieved as well as giving me clarity around how I wanted to move forward.  This left me feeling much more motivated and positive about the future. So if you’re ever feeling stuck and unsure about what action to take next, then I can definitely recommend taking time out to look back and review your business.  Just writing out your achievements, what you like and don’t like about the business (be honest!), as well as where you want to go in the future, will help to give you the motivation and energy to move forward to the next stage. A really useful tool that I  use for writing out my thoughts is Oh Life – it sends you an email once a day and you just hit reply and write out whatever you want. And if you’ve got your own experiences to share, then please feel free to drop a comment in the box...

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