“I already know our CAMs” – Do you really?

April 26th, 2016

We often hear our members, especially our long serving members, say that they already know the Corporate Associate Members (CAMs). We don’t need to talk to them because we already know what they do. Do you really know everything?

Our CAMs are also business owners/franchisers who have been and still are in the position of growing their business. They have made connections, made mistakes, learned valuable lessons and found terrific resources that can benefit not only their businesses but perhaps even ours. Their businesses have changed, just as ours have, and they may have new offerings. New staff also come in and bring new ideas, experiences and energy. While our CAMs would love to do business with us, they would also like to share their business knowledge with us.

They would also like to get to know us better because we too have experienced business in ways that they can benefit from. No business or business owner can operate in a vacuum and we have an opportunity in our next meeting to mix and mingle; learn and share; meet and greet and grow our resources for our own business.

Please plan to attend the May 2nd CAM Roundtable, you may be surprised at what you didn’t know!

What are the best scanning apps?

March 10th, 2016

Best Scanning Apps

I do a lot of scanning at my desk with my trusty Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 scanner, and I also like to take my iX100 ScanSnap with me to my clients to scan on site. But there are times when it is just more convenient to use my phone as a scanner, especially if I am on the go and just have a small piece of information such as a receipt or business card to scan.

Thanks to today’s technology there are a lot of scanning apps available for your smartphone, and many of them are free. I decided to try out a few of them to figure out which ones deserved space on my phone. Here are my results:

Evernote Scannable

  • Can set the camera to either manual or auto capture. No other scanner I tested had this feature.
  • Scan quality is excellent.
  • Highly accurate at recognizing whether the scanned image is a receipt, photo or business card.
  • Option to save as a JPG or PDF.
  • Integrates with Evernote, Dropbox, Camera Roll and email, but you need to Send To in order to save to Dropbox.
  • Free

Verdict: Thumbs up, especially if you are an Evernote user.  Simple to use, beautiful clear scans, and integrates with Dropbox as well. As I use Evernote for almost everything, this one definitely stays on my phone, but it might not be the number one choice for others. 

CamScanner

  • No auto image capture, but is fairly good at detecting image edges and image can be rotated before being saved.
  • Options to auto enhance, scan in B&W or grayscale, and lighten image.
  • Can save scans as either a PDF or JPG.
  • Nice user interface – easy to understand how to save, tag, delete, etc.
  • Beautiful clear scans captured, even with glossy business cards.
  • Includes OCR (optical character recognition) option, which worked perfectly with the business card I tested.
  • Integrates easily with Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive, and OneNote on the free version.
  • Also have the option to AirPrint, fax, add to an album, email, or collaborate with up to 10 people on a document.
  • Pro plan costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. This is not necessary unless you want to collaborate with more than 10 people and need 10GB of cloud space.

Verdict: Thumbs up. With its OCR capability, collaborative features, the ability to scan to PDF or JPG, and save to a number of cloud-based apps, this is the most feature rich scanning app I tested. Definitely staying on my phone!

Tiny Scanner

  • No auto capture option, but automagically detects page edges.
  • Saves only as a PDF.
  • A bit tricky to figure out how to name, edit and delete scans – the app’s instructions for how to do this are not very clear.
  • Choice to scan in color, grayscale or B&W.
  • Can easily rotate image before saving.
  • Free version allows sharing through Email, Fax or Open In options.
  • Can “Open In” Dropbox and save the scanned PDF to Dropbox if that app is enabled on your phone.
  • Can only access Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Print through the Pro version.
  • Pro version available for IOS and Android for $4.99

Verdict: Thumbs down. While this is a great little app, the fact that the free version can only save to Dropbox and email, and that even with the paid version, it only creates PDFs and not JPGs, makes it a little less versatile than the other two scanning apps above. I probably will be taking this one off my phone.

Genius Scan

  • No auto capture, but image edges are automagically detected.
  • Can rotate before saving.
  • Can apply image enhancement if desired.
  • Poor quality scans of glossy images such as business cards.
  • Easy to rename document or image and apply tags.
  • Can export to email for free, but all other export features – including Printing, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, OneDrive, OneNote, etc. – are only available with the upgraded plan for $6.99.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Given its poor quality scanning capability and the fact that that the free version can’t integrate with anything except email, this one is definitely going off my phone!

Conclusion: If you want to be able to scan something even when you don’t have your dedicated scanning device with you, I recommend getting Evernote Scannable or CamScanner (or both) for your smartphone. That way you’ll never miss an opportunity to save important information from a card, receipt, or other document.

Remember: if it’s worth saving, it’s worth scanning!

 

Penny Catterall is the Owner and Founder of Order Your Life, LLC. Order Your Life works with clients in the Washington DC Metro area and virtually around the world, to help you declutter, go paper-less, improve workflow and make life simpler.

Blogging…. it’s on everyone’s to do list!

February 24th, 2016

Blogging…. it’s on everyone’s to do list! Blogging is often the last thing we accomplish on our to do list!

We have been told that we need to blog to educate our clients and grow our businesses, but not all of us are gifted writers. What should we blog about? How long should the blog be? How often should we blog? Should we hire someone to blog for us? How do we make it interesting?

NAPO WDC is offering our members a chance to gain information about this aspect of Social Media from a well-known expert. Autumn Leopold will be at our March 7th meeting to give us pointers.  Her presentation will include solid and proven techniques and trade secrets to improving, growing, and promoting your blog. There are five modules of her blueprint she will touch on.

  1. 1. Learn how to analyze your audience’s behavior, insights, and increase engagement. We will discuss how to speak to your audience in terms of benefits to them instead of services you provide.

  2. 2. Learn how to create a strong and clear brand for your blog. By having a clear brand reader will know what to expect from you in the future.

  3. 3. Discuss how to create engaging content and blog specific writing techniques.

  4. 4. Teach you some of her best tips and tricks for promoting your blog and creating a loyal social media following. We will discuss how to convert your social media followers into blog subscribers.

  5. 5. Cover how to implement growth strategies through e-mail marketing and webinars. Bonus: We will touch on ways to monetize your blog.

Please join us and gain valuable knowledge from our esteemed guest.  NAPO WDC is looking for blog submissions. If you would like to submit your blog to be used on our website (exposure for your business and practice of your skills) send it to techdirector@dcorganizers.org

Grow Your Business Through Mindfulness

February 8th, 2016

sand-883068_1920Mindfulness – it’s a word you hear everywhere these days. Be in the moment… Be present… Meditate… Journal. Sounds nice. But you are busy. Your days are already packed with running your company. Why make time for one more thing in your day?

Because it can pay off big time in helping you grow and sustain your business, and even help you maintain your equilibrium during the tough times. The benefits are well worth the investment of a little time and attention. A variety of studies show that professionals who regularly practice mindfulness have:
• 32% decrease in medical symptoms
• 29% decrease in perceived stress symptoms
• 26.5% increase in acting with self-awareness
• 26% increase in observational skills
• 25% increase in non-reactivity
• 22% increase in non-judgment
• Improved cognitive function
• Increased productivity
• Enhanced colleague and client relationships

In fact, the benefits of mindfulness are so well documented, many major companies are incorporating the practices in their company. Proponents of mindfulness in the workplace include: Heinz, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Twitter, General Mills, Unilever and many others.

Mindfulness, defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the particular moment, and non judgmentally,” is also supported by recent neuroscience findings. The subconscious continually assesses the environment for threats, triggering the fight or flight response when any threat is detected.

Kathy Cox is Crew Chief at Harmony Crew, LLC.

Knowledge and Information

December 2nd, 2015

Knowledge is often seen as a rich form of information. A more useful definition of knowledge is that it is about know-how and know-why. It is important to note that to make knowledge productive you need information. Knowing how to make a cake is not sufficient – you need the list of ingredients. And to decide what cake to make – you need information – the tastes of the consumers of the cake.

Know-why is also important. If an ingredient of the cake was unavailable – knowing the purpose of that ingredient might help a knowledgeable cook substitute an alternative. In fact know-why is often more important than know-how as it allows you to be creative – to fall back on principles – to re-invent your know-how.

Today, the creation and application of new knowledge is essential to the survival of almost all businesses. They include:

  • Intangible products – ideas, processes, information are taking a growing share of global trade from the traditional, tangible goods of the manufacturing economy.
  • Increasingly the only sustainable competitive advantage is continuous innovation. In other words the application of new knowledge.
  • Increasing turnover of staff. People don’t take a job for life any more. When someone leaves an organization their knowledge walks out of the door with them.
  • As small and often solo businesses, our problem is that we don’t know what we know.
  • We are talking about sharing knowledge and information – not just information.
  • The purpose of knowledge sharing is to help each of us to meet our business objectives.
  • Learning to make knowledge productive is as important if not more important than sharing knowledge.

Knowledge is a perishable and can be increasingly short-lived. If you do not make use of your knowledge then it rapidly loses its value. Sharing knowledge is a synergistic process – you get more out than you put in. If you share a product idea or a way of doing things with another person – then just the act of putting your idea into words or writing will help shape and improve that idea. If you get into dialogue with another person then you will benefit from their knowledge, from their unique insights and improve your ideas further.

NAPO WDC is fortunate to have a very experienced group of Golden Circle members who want to share their knowledge with us. Please join the meeting on Dec. 7 and learn more know-how and know- why.

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” ~ Dau Voire

 

Are you part of NAPO’s Golden Circle?

November 3rd, 2015

logo-golden-circleIf you have been a NAPO member and in business for 5 years, then be sure to attend the next Golden Circle gathering in January 2016. If you haven’t been in business for 5 years yet, you have this to look forward to because it is so valuable!

Here are a few highlights of things we discussed at the last meeting. The conversation was SO useful both as a professional organizer and as a business owner. Plus, it’s just plain fun networking with each other.

 

Le Tote

One of the discussions we had was about clients who love to shop, and this website was suggested as a possible solution. This service allows you to “rent” clothing, so it satisfies the need for getting new stuff on a regular basis and also keeps the closet from overflowing. At least, that’s the idea. 🙂

This is from the Le Tote website: “Always have something new to wear. Get 3 garments and 2 accessories delivered to your door – unlimited times each month. Wear everything. Send it back. Receive your next set of options days later!”

Get more information from LeTote.com.

The Confidence Code

Have you read this book yet? It is a fantastic in-depth look at the confidence gap between men and women. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman bring you the scientific research, interviews with high ranking, successful women and specific actionable steps for becoming more confident. This is a great resource for women, especially entrepreneurs!

Get more information from TheConfidenceCode.com.

PicMonkey & Canva

Do you have a Facebook page but don’t know how to create the cover image at the top? Do you have a blog but don’t know how to design infographics? Do you need to create something visual but don’t have the design or tech skills necessary?

There are 2 online services that you can use for free that take all of the guesswork out of it. Check out PicMonkey and Canva!

If you have any questions about Golden Circle, please feel free to contact our Golden Circle liaison Lauri Mennel at laurimennel@gmail.com.

President’s Message

October 28th, 2015

Could you? Could you put together an event that would be entertaining and educational? Could you use your skills to bring together new ideas to your colleagues?

Would you? Would you like to do something that would be of value to your fellow organizers? Would you enjoy creating events that would also provide information that can help you grow your own business?

Can you? Can you see yourself as a valuable member of the NAPO WDC leadership team? Can you raise your hand and say yes?

Last spring many of us got the call from Janet asking us to help out and join the NAPO WDC Board of Directors. Ten of us answered yes to her request.  Unfortunately, one board member has to drop out and we are in search of a new Director of Programs and Professional Development.  I am asking you to please consider taking this position.  The program for 2015-16 is nearly complete so it’s a great opportunity to get involved without starting from the beginning.  You won’t be alone and you won’t have to do it by yourself – we are a team!

The Education portion is one of the key components of our monthly meetings and without it, we will struggle. This is an opportunity to learn new things, refresh our memories of prior things learned and to share our community of knowledge. We cannot lose this learning opportunity but without someone to take the reins, we very well may falter.

Whether you have never been on the board before or if you served in the past, please consider stepping up!  NAPO-WDC needs you!

Managing Your Home Data Digitally

October 19th, 2015

Homeowners often struggle with managing the details about their home because they are generally disorganized or do not have a central system to track the data. It makes sense why this happens. We have real estate documents in one file cabinet, contacts of service providers in address books or on our phones, full drawers of receipts for items we purchased, photos of our homes in boxes, sticky notes on what task is next and who is going to tackle this task, and some homeowners do not have any of this information because they might be new at homeownership.

Managing your home digitally and in one place can solve many of these issues. If you had a digital account of your home and storage of all home related documents at your fingertips, you could actually remove a lot of the paper you have in your home to become more organized both digitally and physically. Additionally, understanding the details of one of your largest assets, can help make you, as homeowner, more aware and more informed about your home. Understanding what you own, how to take care of it and how to enhance it can help you maintain the value of your home.

Organizers can now help their clients become more digitally organized by using the most innovative tools to help them understand the contents within their home, the paper associated with their home and how to take action to maintain the value of their home. These services are opportunities to continue to support clients while also building out an organizers business to help continue with the overall business growth strategy.

Elizabeth Dodson is the co-founder of HomeZada, a cloud-based home improvement and organizational software tool. HomeZada strives to educate and provide resources for homeowners in all areas of home management, including home improvement projects, maintenance, inventory, and property information.

President’s Message, October 2015

September 28th, 2015

Vanessa Seifert, President

Vanessa Seifert, President

I was looking for ideas and doing research for this blog so I did what everyone does…I Googled “blog for organizers”! It has been awhile since I did this and the sheer volume of information was overwhelming. English (American, Australian and British), Spanish, German, French articles flooded my computer screen. This started me thinking, if I was having issues finding something specific with organizing how complex must this be for people who are looking for advice for their homes and business? So, I Googled some more – organizing tips, organizing marketing, organizing for dummies – YIKES!

Now add to that extensive list the multitude of electronic options for marketing: mobile, Evernote, Constant Contact, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and so on. Where do we begin? How do we possibly manage it all? To that end, NAPO WDC has been making an effort to enlighten and educate its members on some of the vast options available to us. Last year we had presentations from Google and Virtuallinda. This year we will continue our education with Constant Contacts, Home Zada and virtual organizing.

We will host our first live webinar meeting October 5th with Elizabeth Dodson of Home Zada. She will be discussing how to go digital in our clients homes and help them organize & manage their documents & possession. This is a closed webinar and you can only view it at the meeting so please join us.

Harnessing the Power of Mobile Marketing

September 23rd, 2015

Mobile MarketingMobile marketing presents a huge opportunity for small business marketing but before you dive into adding some of the tactics to your business, do the research and make sure that you’ll be attracting the clients you want with the methods you implement.

Think about your own patterns today….how often do you pick up your mobile device and read an email or log onto the internet from your smart phone and look up an address or phone number? When making a purchase, how many reviews are you reading before making a purchase? Your customers are doing the same thing, so it’s important that your marketing reflect these buying patterns.

Three simple tactics you can implement as a basis for building your mobile marketing include:

  • Google my business – this is a tool provided by Google that allows you to put significant information online and get reviews from clients. There is a verification process, so you can’t complete everything in one day, but once you do, it will help prospects find you
  • Mobile responsive emails – if you are sending email campaigns to your prospects, clients and strategic partners, make sure the template looks good on a mobile device. Look at the font size that you are using and consider using on column rather than two.
  • Online Reviews – get in the habit of asking your clients to go online and write reviews. The best place to start is on your google my business link, but directory sites like Yelp, Angie’s list and Houzz are also worth consideration.

Develop a strategy for your marketing and you’ll see greater results.

Debbie DeChambeau is a marketing strategist and business consultant. She frequently speaks for Constant Contact on marketing best practices and is part of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultants Network. If you need help building your marketing plan, implementing your marketing tactics or just have questions about building your business, contact her and schedule a meeting.