Denise McGill is a freelance copywriter specializing in catalog product description, copy makeovers, web content, landing pages, promotional materials, articles and more. Visit her website at http://mcgillcopywriting.com for more information on giving your business the competitive edge.
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Lucy Beer says
Love these ideas, especially the email templates and job function manuals. To extend the latter idea, one problem I see some small businesses having, particularly if they have employees/consultants that may not work in the same office, is an inadequate sharing of knowledge and information. Google docs can provide a decent solution to maintain central repositories of knowledge but I’ve noticed it requires a shift in thinking. People don’t automatically think to share the information they have or to consider whether it could be of value to someone else on the team. Do you have any other suggestions on ways teams can share knowledge or communicate more effectively amongst themselves?
Lorilee Rager says
These are such simple, easy tips & commonsense, but people don’t seem to follow them! Great post! Thank you!
“Learn to use the software on your computer – Hours of productivity and time management can be lost in a day if you have employees that cannot adequately use the basic functions available on a spreadsheet or word document. Not knowing how to format or use basic formulas can have an employee laboring over a project needlessly and ultimately missing deadlines. If the budget is tight, have an internal employee teach the basics of the computer software your company uses – it is well worth the day spent to bring everyone up to speed.”
A couple of comments there. My main job is on-site support. If you teach people how to use the current version of brand X wordprocessor, you’re not saving any time or money, because you’ll have to do it all over again in two years when the next version comes out and moves buttons and menus around. Training efforts should center around the general things that most wordprocessors, spreadsheets, etc have in common.
This equips the user to figure out the specifics of a particular brand/version of software for himself/herself.
Also: templates aren’t only for e-mail. Chances are, you have a few kinds of documents and spreadsheets that you use regularly. Instead of having people manually create them from scratch, create templates using styles instead of manual formatting, and then install the templates on each person’s computer. This will give your documents a professional look, without a lot of time tweaking formatting on each document. (Manual formatting is barbaric, like “bleeding” someone to stop a headache.)
Innkeeper Seely says
The comments are as relevant as the post. I’m on page 40 of our Inn’s operating guide and I’m not sure how many more trees will die before it is done.
For Lucy, if the team works on a project or event plan a follow up meeting the day after completion for rehash. Have a neutral person or tape player record comments both good and bad about how the process was handled, what could have gone better, what time line would be sensible if the event was repeated etc. This type of session gives you a template for planning and problem solving repeat projects or similar events.
I enjoyed your guest post on time savers. We can all use more time in our day! I thought I’d chime in with some resource links from Microsoft. They’re trying to tailor help to the small business community and they have a couple of tools / links below that might be worth checking out.
Hope this helps!
The Microsoft SMB Outreach Team
Microsoft Small Business Center
Microsoft Pinpoint tool to help you find technical experts and special applications