Eight Productivity-Boosting Tech Upgrades

Time is MoneyDo you have people on your team who are so amazing, you wish you had an extra hour of their time every day? With technology, you can have exactly that. The following upgrades can save anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even the smallest improvements, just a few seconds here and there, really add up when they are repeated over and over throughout the work week.

Some of these upgrades require you to spend money, but think about the benefits you’ll see when your top people –including yourself – find all that extra time.

Buy a New Computer

If your computer takes more than a few seconds to boot up every morning, it’s time for a new one, or at least a tune-up. For best performance, replace desktop PCs every 3-4 years and laptops every 2-3 years. If a newer computer is slow, ask your IT team to check it for spyware. They may recommend wiping the entire hard drive and reloading everything, which will give you a fresh clean start. Just be sure they backup data and settings so nothing is lost during this process. With faster speeds, you’ll gain time when you login every morning and also throughout the day.

Manage Email Better

It’s common to receive dozens if not hundreds of emails daily. Saving a few seconds every time you check email is a big deal. To accomplish this, first make sure your spam filter is working well and customized to your needs. You should have very little spam, and your legitimate emails should nearly always make it through. If not, have your tech team fix it. Use Outlook rules to automatically filter email and move it to folders, so that you can easily find what you need. Make sure mobile devices like smartphones and tablets sync email so that anything you read on your phone is already updated on your computer. Lastly, take an hour and go “unsubscribe.” Most people receive email newsletters they never read. Click the unsubscribe links or block them with your spam filter, and then you never have to see these again!

Add Another Monitor

Adding a monitor is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get more done in less time. Studies show varying results depending on the type of work you do, but one thing is crystal clear: dual monitors are a huge productivity booster. This can gain you a full day a week, if not more, and there’s almost no training time required. Keep email open in one screen, and whatever you are working on in another; compare spreadsheets or documents side by side; copy information from one software package to another; keep your main system front and center while browsing the Internet for research on the other monitor. It sounds simple, but that’s the beauty of it. It IS simple, and it really makes a difference.

Encourage Remote Access

Make it easy for people to work anytime, anywhere, and give them the flexibility they need to do just that. Switch from a desktop to a laptop, buy them an iPad or Droid tablet, or give your staff a data plan that lets them connect to the Internet anywhere they might be. It’s not just the workaholics who will love you. Your hardworking staff who struggle to balance work and life will be especially appreciative. When they have the right technology to work remotely, along with flexible work schedules and your trust, you are likely to see them put in not only more hours, but also more productive hours because they have their home life better under control.

Upgrade Your Internet

Do you use cloud-based services? Spend a lot of time online? Check out faster Internet connections for increased speed throughout your day. High speed business-class cable Internet is one of the best values today. Fiber Internet connections cost more but provide fast speeds with extremely high reliability and very few outages.

Make Information Easier to Access

Information overload is a huge issue and time-waster. Employees spend hours every day searching for what they need, reformatting what they have, transferring information from one system to another, and recreating information they can’t find. At minimum, clean up and reorganize your company’s shared data drives. Communicate the new structure to your team, and challenge your managers to enforce the new structure. If you want to take it further, investigate document management systems. These provide greater structure and security to company information and include advanced search capabilities to make finding data as easy as possible.

Chat with Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is a quick and easy way to communicate with others inside the company. It’s more immediate and interactive than email, but less disruptive than a phone call. It’s a very efficient way to communicate and yet another way to save a few minutes here and there throughout the day.

Reorganize Your Desktop

Take a page from Lean manufacturing, and have everyone on your team reorganize their workspace to make it more efficient: make everything you do on a regular basis accessible within one to two mouse clicks.

Start with the applications you use daily. Add shortcuts to your desktop or taskbar for each of these, and clean up any that you don’t currently use. Also add shortcuts to the folders you access most. Create bookmarks for the websites you visit most often, and rearrange your browser toolbars so that you can get to those websites with a single click. Is there a feature in Office that you use constantly but it’s hidden in the ribbon so you have to hunt for it every time? You can add that command to the very top of the window in the “Quick Access Toolbar.” Google for instructions on how to do this in your version of Office.

Ready For More?

There are always more ways technology can make your team more productive, and it’s never “one size fits all.” The key is to be clear about what you expect and what the value will be. Then you can choose the very best technology tools for your business.

CIO Security ALERT: 5 Million Gmail Usernames and Passwords Leaked Online

alertThis is an Alert from CIO Services. We will never send alerts that are not warranted and we request that you read the entire advisory and share it so that others may protect their personal accounts.

Unknown hackers have leaked over five million valid credentials pertaining to Google Mail logins early this morning. The file of leaked emails does not contain any passwords or other sensitive information, only full Gmail email addresses, but this still poses a serious threat to personal information.

Here’s what we recommend to protect your Gmail accounts:

  • Do not enter any email username or password combinations into any websites “to check if your password is secure.” It appears scams are already appearing.
  • We highly recommend you change your Gmail password regardless and turn on a form of two-factor authentication to heighten security and prevent any possible future attacks.
  •  When you change your passwords, we recommend you pick a new password that is strong (at least 9 characters long with UPPER case and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters such as $%&*!@).
  • Please read the link below for easy ways to create good passwords that you can remember: http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/antivirusantispyware/tp/5-steps-to-a-strong-password.htm

How To Ensure The Heat Doesn’t Fry Your Server (And Your Profits!)

error-101409_150Could The Dog Days Of Summer Be A Threat To Your Business?

With the “dog days” of summer upon us, most business owners are looking for ways to keep their company’s sales and profits HOT, while keeping their IT expenses COOL. But if proper attention is not given to your server and network equipment during the summer, all that heat outside can actually bring your company’s growth to a grinding halt and increase your IT expenses significantly.

Excess heat can be a big problem for small to mid-sized business servers, since a server that becomes overheated usually costs more in energy, fails more often and is more likely to crash. For most companies, a server crash can mean hours or days of downtime, unproductive employees, HUGE amounts of stress and thousands of dollars in lost opportunity.

“7 Steps Every Business Owner Must Take To Prevent a Server Crash”

Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent your server and network equipment from overheating and crashing this summer:

  1. Tidy up the server room; a neater room will increase airflow.
  2. Keep the doors to the server room closed and seal off the space.
  3. Make sure cold air reaches all the equipment.
  4. Have a redundant A/C that is specifically designed for computers.
  5. Buy a rack enclosure where the cooling is built into the bottom of the rack.
  6. Keep the temperature at no more than 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Consider virtualization or cloud computing so that you are generating a lower amount of heat in the first place.

Protect your server and computer equipment from frying with our FREE “Beat The Heat” Network Audit. Schedule your “Beat The Heat” Audit today!

Call our office at 314-414-8400.

Email info@cioservicesllc.com.

OR visit the contact page on our newly redesigned website to ask for your FREE “Beat The Heat” Network Audit.

 www.cioservicesllc.com/contact-us/

 

 

 

 

Juicy Read: Get A Grip

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Get A Grip

By Gino Wickman & Mike Paton

“Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business” is a fable telling the story of a very real process for getting a grip on your business. It is the story of a business in a very common rut trying to get out. For the actual process read the companion book “Traction,” also a CIO juicy read.

 

 

 

 

Strategy For Extraordinary Growth

Our fresh idea for business success this month comes from Mike Michalowicz, someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times over the last year. He was the featured guest at my mastermind meeting in Nashville twice already this year and is scheduled to join us again in July.

Entrepreneurs don’t do most of the work. Entrepreneurs identify the problems, discover the opportunities and then build processes to allow other people and other things to do the work.

~ Mike Michalowicz

Mike’s first visit was to share his book, “The Pumpkin Plan,” a strategy for growing a remarkable business in any field. He walked us through a process for finding the sweet spots in our business and how to replicate it for extraordinary growth. Mike guided us through his unconventional strategies to help build a truly profitable company that is the best in its field, no matter what field you are in.

His last visit he shared with us advanced copies of his soon to be released book, “Profit First.” Profit First is a simple system to transform any business from a cash-eating monster to a money-making machine..

I love when Mike joins us, because his tell-it-like it is business advice and fresh ideas always come with a very specific process, a real plan of attack that aligns with your goals! AND that is exactly what we do with technology at CIO.

Our business focused, fresh technology solutions come with a real strategic plan for using technology to make your business better. All the fresh ideas and new technology in the world will not do you any good unless there is a solid strategy in place that supports your business goals.

So what specific strategies do you have in place to help your business grow this year?

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Juicy Read: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

 

By Mike Michalowicz

 

This tell-it-like-it-is guide to cleaning up in business, even if you are at the end of your roll is uniquely entertaining and useful all at the same time. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, Mike’s “get real” approach to business is a much-needed swift kick in the pants.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Ideas For Business Success

Mike MichalowiczCIO is more than just a tech company. We are a partner in your success. So we are calling all experts to share their fresh ideas to help you succeed. This fresh idea is from Mike Michalowicz. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; a former small-business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the next E-Myth!”

THE TOP 5 MOVIES EVERY ENTREPRENEUR MUST WATCH

1. Miracle On 34th Street

What You’ll Learn: The greatest lesson in salesmanship that no one follows.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Santa Claus, working at Macy’s, goes out of his way to help customers, often encouraging them to shop elsewhere for the best deals. Instead of losing customers, Macy’s becomes overwhelmed with customers seeking Santa’s help. Macy’s sales increase simply by doing what’s best for the customer – too bad they don’t do this in the real world, but you should. 

2. Click

What You’ll Learn: What it’s like to fast-forward life.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Adam Sandler wants to keep fast-forwarding to the major accomplishments of his career. He loses the balance between work and home, and misses the lessons hidden in life’s daily routine. Entrepreneurs are generally of the “I want it all now” breed, and this movie will show you how wrong that is. Take the good with the bad, and never stop pursuing your entrepreneurial AND family dreams.

3. Glengarry Glen Ross

What You’ll Learn: Lying, cheating and stealing never work long-term.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Hard-close sales work…for a single sale. Ultimately your reputation is ruined, and deceived people lie in your wake. This movie is all about what not to do as an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, too many businesses still follow these practices. Get in an industry with a “Glengarry” reputation and be honest, reliable and go out of your way to be helpful. Your business will flourish.

4. Office Space

What You’ll Learn: If you don’t like what you are doing, change.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Follow your gut. If you hate what you do, change. Just don’t steal – that never works. Instead, find your passion and pursue it. And if you already own a business you love, don’t mess with Melvin. He might just burn down your entire building.

5. Jerry Maguire

What You’ll Learn: What you expect when launching your business never comes true.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Hands down, the best movie of all time for entrepreneurs. Jerry leaves his big-money agency position to go out and start his own shop. Just like any entrepreneur who leaves to start their own business, he suspects every client will leave with him. There is no easier way to start a business, right? This movie shows the real deal. Nothing ever goes as planned.

 

To learn more, visit www.mikemichalowicz.com.