“I love researching software and online platform solutions for my business” said no one, ever.

That said, I do spend a fair amount of time researching software and online systems for us and clients and realized that YOU might be interested in our solutions for your own business. Ya know, so you don’t have to spend all YOUR time researching. So, here it is, I hope it's helpful.

Bookkeeping:

Bookkeeping is the task I love the least. Seriously. But I LOVE Xero.com. It's saving me several hours per month in time over the old systems we’ve used. It is SO worth the monthly fee.

Xero can do everything we need, and it's easy to understand and set up. I can keep track of multiple bank accounts; generate estimates and then convert them to invoices; track inventory and client/business expenses; automatically reconcile the bank accounts; generate cash flow and other reports; enter bills to be paid; track time and attendance for employees and pay them; prepare W2s and 1099s, and export them all to tax software. They even have mobile apps for when I'm on the run and need to enter something.

Organization and To-Do Lists:

I use Evernote to keep track of clients and their to-do lists, and share notes/images/files. Evernote is a gem, it's secure, free or very low cost and it does everything I need.

Each client (and our company) has a Notebook, and each notebook contains notes and info for projects and to-do lists. Evernote syncs across computers which is very handy. I can update and edit the info from any device we use for business (and we use seven) and immediately see it on the other devices.

Email:

These days many of our clients just have a Gmail account. You know, like, MarysArt@gmail.com. It’s free and easy to use and you can set up your gmail account on your computer or check in online. However, if you want to present a more professional face to the world, I do recommend that you have a yourname@yourdomainame.com email account. For example Mary@MarysArt.com.

Yes, it costs something to have email via your domain name, but IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) it’s totally worth it. Get an IMAP (not a POP3) account through your domain name provider (we use Godaddy mostly) and you can sync email across all your devices.

Websites:

Our website has been a Squarespace website for years and years and we’ve set up dozens for clients. Yeah, we’ve tried other platforms but Squarespace is the best we’ve found. They are an awesome and ethical company. You can start with a simple inexpensive brochure website and grow into a complex e-commerce website later. Their support is stellar, and the websites are responsive and mobile-friendly with extensive customization capabilities, integrated and supported modules, and much more.

Many of our clients want to learn to maintain (or at least edit) their websites so we give lessons also.

Documents:

Microsoft Office is what we use the most, along with Apple's iWork suite

To create, edit and share PDF files, we use Adobe Acrobat Pro via an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

Image Wrangling and Graphic Design:

Again, for us it's cost-effective to have a subscription to Adobe software: Choose from one or all of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Dreamweaver, Muse, Acrobat, Bridge, and many more.

For quick image resizing to use on websites and for tutoring clients I use free Skitch. It's really easy and fast for grabbing and annotating screen shots from the web, sharing them, and lots more.

For powerful image wrangling without a monthly fee you can purchase Photoshop Elements and it has many of the same features as Photoshop at a fraction of the cost.

But before you buy, check the software on your computer. You may have something you can use, like iPhoto. I don't think you should spend money when you already have software that will do the job. When you grow out of it later, great, move on up to something else.

Backups - Two is Better Than One:

We learned the hard way to have more than one backup system. A few years ago the backup drive crashed, taking with it a lot of files that were not on any computer (any more). Lesson learned.

Now we have two backup systems:  External hard drives with Time Machine on the Macs is backup number one. Check your PC as Windows may ask you if you want to use your new external drive for backup. Backup system number two is online secure, encrypted cloud storage via Backblaze which backs up all our computers to one safe place that can be accessed from just about anywhere. It's come in very handy when we're traveling and a client has an emergency and we need to access their files. 

Contact us if you have questions or need some help with any of this.

As always, all our best to you and yours,

-Robin

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"For us it's all about refining and refining utill it seems like there's nothing between the user and the content they are interacting with." ~ Jonathan Ive of Apple (designer of the iMac, iPhone and iPad)

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Doyou ever read something and have one of those "Ah ha!" moments?  I did when I read those words. I just about jumped out of my chair.  "That's IT, that's IT!!!" I said out loud.  And I knew that I just had to tell you about it.

I mean, I can go on for days about all the wonderful services we provide, but from a marketing perspecitve that doesn't help you really truly "get" what we're all about here at Sagara Development and most importantly,  how you benefit from that. Because if you don't see the benefits of working with us, why would you? And I certainly spend enough time saying to clients, "Swell, that's a nice FEATURES list you got there on your website but what's in it for your customer? How do THEY benefit?"  So...I'm taking my own advice and writing you about it.

Anyway, what Jonathan Ive said, that's really what we aim to do for you. That's how we create that "time and space" I talk about. I want your business to be sooooo smooth and refined that your clients and customers feel no resistance when they interact with you, your website, your marketing, your products and services. I want your clients and customers to feel so damn good when they visit your website, read your brochure, email you, whatever, that they can't hardly stand to be without you.

So, yeah, we do lots of websites and website updates. We manage shopping carts and databases. We create marketing materials, write e-newsletters and deploy them, and all kinds of groovy things that help your business run better and free up time for you to focus on what you really want. But all that is really FEATURES, lists of things we do and offer.  WHY we offer all that, and the reason we're here is that we really want to do is help you be so fricken successful that you jump for joy and experience the benefits I talk about on the website:

  • Experience less stress, more time, and a huge sense of relief.
  • Shape your life for your happiness and get what you most want.
  • Be more energetic and productive.
  • Be more profitable.
  • Experience lots of JOY!

If you are already a client, how can we help you more and better so you're jumping for joy?  If you're not yet a client, how can we make it so that you are?

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart