Business

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Coronavirus and how it affects the service provided by Anything I.T.

How does the coronavirus outbreak affect the service that Anything I.T. provides its customers? Note: When I talk about Anything I.T. I’m also talking about its collaborators in the Geek Collective: Comtec ICT and Hello Simon.

What effect? Hopefully very little!

Much of what we do at Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective is proactive work which thankfully can be carried out from the ‘comfort’ of our home offices.

Of course, some services cannot be reasonably carried out at this time without breaking the governments ‘stay at home‘ statement of the 23rd March 2020. Those services might be the installation of a new telephone system, network cabling to an office or fixing a broken computer.

Aside from a few limitations, Anything I.T. can still help your business come out the other side by helping you work proactively on the technical aspects of your business.

Such services might include:

  • Website creation, updating, upgrading, content creation
  • Setup and configuration of business-class email and cloud storage systems (we can help install on your computers remotely)
  • Cloud telecommunications systems to help you work from home
  • Customised Excel spreadsheets
  • PDF document creation to send out to your customers
  • Logo and print design
  • Automated backup systems
  • Remote support for your business computers
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Social Media help

Get in touch today to find out how we can proactively help your business come out the other side running, not walking.

You can request a video conference with us too!

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Technical things you can do while staying at home during the Coronavirus outbreak

Article by: Jonathan Burrows
Date: 23/03/2020
Length: 5 minutes

Quote: “When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Here are a few technical tips and things to do while at home to support your business through coronavirus.

Summary

For most businesses, this is at best a trying time, one in which it will be hard to get through unscathed. But what would life for your business be like when you come out the other end?

That’s up to you, of course, however, there are some technical things you can do to put your business in a much better place when we say goodbye to COVID-19. At least from a technical standpoint.

No excuses, it’s time to learn!

What we will cover

  • Cloud storage
  • Communications
  • SEO for your website
  • Security
  • Learn something new

Cloud Storage

Probably most of you will have some sort of cloud storage in place. This is where you save files to a specific folder on your computer hard drive (such as OneDrive – Personal, and the file is automatically uploaded to the cloud.

If you don’t have cloud storage you might want to look into it. Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive are just a few.

If you can only work with files by using Microsoft Office, then consider OneDrive since some plans come with a subscription to Office 365.

Dropbox has a web version of Office built in so that’s handy too. Google Drive has its own version of web programs to create and edit documents and spreadsheets.

The point about this post though is to encourage you to look into cloud storage if you haven’t got it and to take a closer look if you do.

Tip: Check folders on your computer that are outside the cloud storage folders such as your Desktop as these are not synchronised by default. If you lost your computer or the hard drive died then those files will be lost!

Anything I.T. and Hello Comtec provide business versions of OneDrive and Google Drive. Get in touch to find out how these products can help you.

Communications

Have a look at the way you communicate with your potential customers and existing customers. Here are several things to look into and research yourself:

Cloud telecommunications

Move your phone system away from antiquated and immovable hard-wired systems into your office/home (such as a BT line) to cloud-based telecommunications such as Number Club by Hello Comtec. Contact them on their website or us here at Anything I.T.

Facebook Page Messaging

You can have your Facebook Page (you do have a Facebook Page don’t you?) automatically reply with a customised message to anyone that starts a conversation. You can also setup Frequently Asked Questions so visitors can get the answers they need quickly without having to wait for you to respond.

You might want to also integrate Instagram into your Facebook since you can receive and reply to messages all in one place.

Improve your email communications with Office 365 for Business

Office 365 for Business comes with business-class email. A stable and full-featured product. More on that elsewhere.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your website

Now that you are stuck at home for a few weeks, why not focus a little on your website?

Check your SEO

Check your SEO for your site by using tools such as Ubersuggest. Once you get familiar with this tool you can then work on your site content to reflect your goals.

Blogging and article writing

Now is the time to create a few articles or blogs of useful information to help your website visitors.

By creating several blogs you can improve the way Google (etc) see your website and therefore improve the visibility of it on search results.

You can normally set each blog with a publish date sometime in the future so you could write about future events coming up and delay their publishing until later.

The important thing here is to write useful information that people will read.

You might also want to try creating video blogs too.

Update your main pages

Take a look at the content on your website pages also. Tweak and improve them. Make sure the content is relevant to what the topic is about. Google likes to see websites updated regularly.

Google My Business

Do you have a Google My Business listing?

Seeing your business in what some people call the ‘map’ section of results can be quite important. Google My Business is yet another way you can improve your online visibility.

If your business has a physical address, then that will help how you appear on the map but the address will need to be verified, usually by way of a postcard sent by Google to the address with a code that needs to be entered into your Google My Business console.

Security

How secure are your computers and the data they have stored on them? Perhaps they should be removed from public view?

Who has access to business files and documents? Did you forget to remove sharing for someone who left the company? Check it now.

Are your anti-virus programs up-to-date? Check them.

What about GDPR? In most small businesses you can check what you have to do to be compliant at the ICO website. There is a Registration self-assessment on the ICO website which will take you through some steps to help you decide if you need to pay a fee or not.

Learn something new

Learn something new. For me, I’m self-teaching myself a new programming language called React. For you? Maybe you have always wanted to get to know more about SEO, or HTML, or how to speed up your computer or to understand your computer network.

Now is the time and there is plenty of information and tutorial websites to help you. Here are just a few:

  • Lynda.com (Business, Higher Education, Programming, Photography, Business and much more)
  • Codecademy.com (Programming)
  • Hubspot.com (Marketing, Sales, SEO, Social Media)
  • Udemy.com (From Programming to Photography, Marketing to Personal Development)

Finally

This post is really just a way of stimulating your mind to get you doing some technical things to help your business and to put it into a better position when coronavirus isolation ends.

Feel free to get in touch if you need any help:

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Atomic Habits in Business Technology

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.


Atomic Habits is a book I’m currently reading and it just makes perfect sense! James Clear talks about how these small decisions or habits can be amazing catalysts in the long run to boost your business.

So how can you make small atomic decisions? Read on!

Small habitual actions

Small habitual actions producing long-term, sustainable results. Success in I.T. is often about making small decisions and changes, rather than high-impact decisions.

As you read this article consider what actions you take automatically that perhaps haven’t been beneficial to you and your business.

Atomic habits in I.T – Just make stopping and thinking a habit before making a decision.

Future thinking

Keeping the future of your business in mind when making technology decisions will not only help reduce embarrassing future high expenses but provide a fantastic tech platform for growth.

I wrote on my personal blog about the concept of Future Thinking. It needs a little more work but I believe the ideas are extremely pertinent to business too.

Small (yet important) choices

Small choices can make all the difference. Did you decide to put off upgrading your file storage systems, web and email hosting last year? Maybe, you now pay the price by:

  • Website reliability and speed issues
  • An inordinate amount of spam in your inbox(es)
  • Too much time taken up with getting colleagues information which they could have had access to with an upgraded system. This could also include failure to provide important contacts with the right information quickly enough, losing sales or important deals in the process
  • Loss of documents or other data due to failure to implement a good backup strategy (by the way, syncing services like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are not good enough, I’ll explain later)

Concerns of present costs should not outweigh future-benefits

Are you in this for the long-term or not? Do you intend to be in business for more than a year? I should hope so! Then you need to spend some serious mental energies on your IT/web/telecoms systems. Making the right decision doesn’t even need to be expensive!

Before the nitty-gritty details, here are a couple of questions that must be considered:

How do I know I’m making the right decisions?

How do I know that everything is connecting and ‘hanging together’ correctly?

Seek trusted advice and making atomic decisions. That’s the answer

Consider all your business tech requirements under the following headings:

  • I.T. Systems
  • Web Systems
  • Telecom Systems
  • Bespoke (to your business) Systems
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"

I.T. systems

I.T. systems are the things that you use every day such as turning on the computer and loading a program to carry out our duties. It could be sending and receiving emails, writing letters and printing them, entering data into a finance package, and so on. I.T. systems would include the wireless and cabled Internet connections, printers, webcams and microphones for meetings, the list goes on.

Everything about your I.T. systems must work well. The beauty of a good I.T. system is that you hardly know it’s there because it rarely goes wrong. Poor quality systems often throw up little annoying errors which compound over time and disrupt the flow.

In business, flow is so important (I see another blog post in my future) and choosing the right system to enable better flow is one of those crucial atomic choices you can make.

Network cabling from your router to your PC’s and the correct choice of equipment is essential. From wireless access points to routers, PC’s to Macs, door entry systems to CCTV’s. It’s all got to hang together somehow.

"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"

Web systems

These might include the hosting service for your website, the email platform, and how they all interlink with each other.

There are several very good server platforms to host websites and email applications. Amazon Web Services (AWS) being one such. AWS takes the level of server capabilities to another level. AWS might not be the right one for you though. Word of warning, you will need to have a really good understanding of AWS and server technologies to make this work.

You might be better off choosing a hoster who can offer at the very least unlimited bandwidth, unlimited space, and great support when/if things do go wrong.

Many providers of website design and hosting services offer monthly payment options. Anything I.T. and our partner Hello Simon (award-winning freelancer) offer this as a way for our clients to spread the costs of what would normally be a large outlay.

"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"

Ask your current provider if your website is hosted on the latest (and speedy) hard disk technology, known as SSD. These hard drives on web servers are super fast, much faster than ‘older’ drives.

Should you choose a website made with WordPress or one that is custom-coded (hand-written programming)? Around a third of websites made today are made with WordPress.

WordPress is now extremely popular because it not only provides the business owner with a way of creating and editing pages on their site but it has a wide range of ‘plugins’ providing versatility.

Anything I.T. providing WordPress Services

Sometimes that is not enough and you need someone to program a website for you. That’s okay. Handwriting a website provides an opportunity to make it do exactly what you want, BUT can be a lot more expensive than a WordPress created site.

Websites by Anything I.T. and Hello Simon

Please also consider how you market your site. Likely, you will need an SEO service like that provider by Hello Simon (SEO). Again, this can be paid for on a monthly basis. In fact, this is highly recommended since SEO is best planned for the long-term.

Telecom Systems

Gone are the days when a fully-featured telephone system costs the earth. I remember not so long ago it would cost a minimum of £1,000 to get started. That was just for the hardware!

Perhaps thousands of pounds plus huge ongoing support costs just so you could put calls on hold, play them a message so they could choose the right department, or transfer calls to another team member. Then you had the BT line and call expenses on top! You’d need ISDN which was expensive as well.

Nowadays, you can pay as little as £20 per team member with unlimited calls with all the features, and more, of a state-of-the-art telephone system! All this in ‘the cloud’ so no expensive BT lines required.

The system we provide is by a very accomplished provider called Wildix.

Anything I.T. and Hello Comtec offer a service called Number Club. Get in touch if this interests you.

"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"

Bespoke Systems

From a distance, this looks daunting and you’d be forgiven if you don’t see how this fits in with the topic of atomic habits.

Sometimes businesses need to run software that is pertinent to their business. There are countless numbers of them!

From accounting systems to property management portals (by the way, Anything I.T. make one called Posidacious), care home software, car sales.

There are sales systems that help you gain leads and sales sometimes called funnels. Once again, monthly payments are the norm here so if you budget well based on your income then you should do well.

You name it, if you have a business, there’s probably some bespoke software that’s been made for you.

Just be aware of the costs such software as they can be crippling. Maybe you could commission a company to make your own! If you do, you might want to consider something that is cloud-based rather than a piece of software that is installed on your PC.

As for the support of such software, in most cases, you will need to pay for support from the provider, rather than outsource support to a company like Comtec ICT or Anything I.T.

"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"

Ask us how bespoke software impacts on your I.T. systems though.

Cloud-based business-class web and I.T. systems

Here are some examples of business-class software and systems that you really should consider, but with relative low-cost impact on your business.

  • Office 365 for Business – Email, cloud storage (OneDrive) and much more, monthly payments from less than £6 per month (Price List)
  • Shopify – An online store anyone can set up for a monthly fee (you can get us to set it up for you)
  • Xero – cloud accounting package, paid monthly, invoices, quotes, reminders, pay directly from the invoice and much more
  • Canva – Make marketing images for social media, business cards and more. There’s a free version and a paid-for version
  • Hootsuite – Manage multiple social media accounts from one program
  • WordPress – A content management system for your website – A WordPress support and management service can be purchased through Anything I.T. – See Price List
"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"

Summarisation

I know I’ve repeated myself about making small decisions throughout this post. It bears repeating though! You don’t need to make big, expensive decisions when considering technology. Just a small one here and there to nudge your business in the right direction.

The benefits will astound you. Once more:

"Just make small (atomic) decisions to head your business in the right direction"
by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Number Club

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.


An introduction to Number Club, what it is and why it can be a ‘life-changer’, or should we say ‘business-changer‘ for small businesses.

High-end Unified Communications, priced for small businesses

What the heck does that mean?

In as concise a sentence as possible, Unified Communications are where you communicate (phone call, conference call, messaging and so on) via any device, whether that be a mobile phone, tablet, desktop PC or ‘proper’ desk phone.

The benefit to small businesses if they can enable this is that regardless of where they are sat (or standing!), they can make and receive calls ‘as their business’, transfer calls to another team member, message team members and so on.

With Number Club, there is a lot more to it than that which we will explain later in this post. For now, rest assured that Number Club is truly a high-end telephone and communications system that small businesses can afford.

Number Club – The gory details

Number Club is an offering by Anything I.T. and its partner Comtec ICT. It’s been designed to provide all the features of a modern PBX system (including Unified Communications) at an affordable price.

Features include

  1. Communicate via desk phone; web browser, tablet, mobile phone, all while appearing to come from your business landline
  2. Video calling
  3. Conference calls
  4. Transfer calls between the team
  5. Place calls on hold
  6. Set day/night times
  7. Customised call routing (press 1 for sales, 2 for support and so on)
  8. Voicemail (including transcripts by email)
  9. Shared contact lists (for your team)
  10. Mobile phone app
  11. Chat messaging within the team
  12. Leave Post-it notes for other team members
  13. Individual ‘Available‘, ‘Away‘, ‘Do not Disturb‘ statuses
  14. PLUS – a direct extension number to our team
  15. A range of desk phones and accessories

Cost

£20 per (premium licensed) user (some user types are less, please ask), per month on a minimum 12-month contract.

This provides you with a business landline number (actually several if required) in your area (i.e. Plymouth would be 01752 xxxxxx), and full access to the features listed above.

Not only do you get all that, but you also get unlimited UK landline and mobile calls! (it does not include premium-rate numbers) in the £20 per month/per user price.

Optional extras

Equipment

You do not need a physical desk phone for the system to work. That’s just one of the features that make this a great value system. However, if your business requires desk phones and other equipment, these are available at affordable prices. Please ask us for the latest pricing. Here are some images of products available:

Wallboards

Wallboards – A live way of looking at call stats for your team displayed on a TV (ask us about this option as it is an optional extra requiring some development time). Check out the blog over on the Comtec site for more information

Telecoms via a computer’s web browser

You can even carry out calls via your computer’s web browser. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, then this is a real lifesaver.

Making calls from your business number while sat at your PC is very useful, including messaging colleagues and website visitors (if you have something called WebRTC set up), conference calls and screen sharing.

Not only is useful, it is a professional way of communicating.

Mobile devices

Then there is the mobile phone app! From the app you can make and receive calls (again, from and to your landline number).

From the app you can also carry on a chat conversation, check your voicemails and set a status.

By status, I mean you can set yourself to busy of offline which means you will not be disturbed by calls when you don’t want to be. Perhaps you are in a meeting or don’t want to be awakened by unwanted calls at night?

A little but useful feature

if you take on Number Club as your phone service, you get an extension number for each user (let’s say you have extension 3076), you have the ability to dial an extension number for Anything I.T. or Hello Comtec. Right there from your phone! Nice and easy support at your fingertips.

Summary

In essence, Number Club is a high quality, full of features cloud based telecoms system which is affordable and scalable as your business grows.

Contact us for more information or to arrange a demo.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

The Geek Collective

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.


Who are the Geek Collective?

In a moment, I’ll go into some detail about the three ‘geeks’ behind the Geek Collective. For now here is a quick summary of how the Geek Collective can benefit you, the customer.

Benefits

For the most part, the Geek Collective is an unseen entity (for now) because it’s just three guys in Plymouth (UK) who are techies and whose skills cross a large range of technical areas. Each running their own business.

But how does this benefit you, the customer?

Simply put it means there is a support network behind the business you choose to implement some sort of technical service.

Be it website design through Anything I.T. or Hello Simon, or implementing a modern (and yet cost-efficient) telecoms system through Hello Comtec. Or still more an I.T. Support service through Anything I.T. or Hello Comtec!

Because of the way everything technical works these days, there is a natural crossover between all the supposedly separate areas.

But this is not true in reality.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you want a nice new website made by an award-winning designer (that’s Simon at Hello Simon by the way). That’s great because he will design you a smashing site fit for purpose.

But what if you also said, I need help with the emails on the domain name we own as well. Or perhaps you also mention to Simon that you are moving to a new office and could do with help setting up the technical aspects such as network cabling, broadband and router, new PC’s and so on.

The good news is Simon won’t answer you by saying, “Sorry I can’t help”, he’ll say, I’ve got just the person! And he will pass you on to one of the other two in our little network.

Why would we do this?

First of all, it’s great to be able to offer each of our customers that we can literally do ‘anything I.T.’ related.

But quite frankly it’s really nice to have other geek friends to work with whom we trust.

Trust is an important thing in friendships and also in business. Especially since some of the services we offer could be construed as a competitive crossover into one of the other businesses!

But that doesn’t stop us because we know that the benefits to us and our clients is huge.

More about the three of us and what we offer

From left to right: Neil Tancock of Hello Comtec; Simon Pykett of Hello Simon; and Jonathan Burrows of Anything I.T.
Here we are geeking out and drinking coffee

You can obviously find out more from our websites and Facebook/LinkedIn pages so here is a summary of each:

Jonathan Burrows of Anything I.T.

The Anything I.T. website (circa early 2020)

Browse this site for more about what we can do and also our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Anything I.T. was set up by Jonathan Burrows in a rejuvenated format during 2019 having let the business idle along since the mid-noughties!

Jonathan got into computing in the early ’90s when his uncle brought him a PC. He was very excited about this until he opened up the box, only to find that the PC needed putting together first!

In those days without the World-Wide Web, he had to rely on books to help him build his first Windows 3.11 computer. Fun times!

This led to Jonathan eventually changing career path from one of Retail into the Technology sector including time as a Technical Consultant for a FTSE 500 company and later on a Systems Analyst for a large company in the South West of the UK.

Now, Jonathan is excited about the various opportunities coming his way, including the Geek Collective.

Jonathan’s favourite saying is:

“The more I know, the less I seem to know”

Anything I.T. website – this site!
Anything I.T. Facebook Page
Anything I.T. Linked In Page


Neil Tancock of Hello Comtec

The Hello Comtec website (early 2020)

Neil’s comprehensive understanding of the technology & communications arena has taken him around the world. With an extensive client portfolio and a commitment to reliability, his knowledge of technology systems is something that he doesn’t need to boast about.

Hello Comtec website
Hello Comtec Facebook Page


Simon Pykett of Hello Simon

The Hello Simon website homepage early 2020

Simon has been creating digital content for well over ten years, alongside his role as a Computer Science Teacher. His portfolio is considerable and works with notable individuals in the music, sport and military arenas.

He is now working hard as a freelance creative and studies the dark arts of search engine optimisation.

Hello Simon website
Hello Simon Facebook Page


Finally

So, finally, if you’ve read this far, I commend your efforts! Suffice to say, you are in safe, reliable, technically knowledgeable hands if you choose to use one (or more!) of the Geek Collective to provide technical services for your business/ We are based in Plymouth (UK).

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

How can Integrated I.T Support help your business during healthy growth?

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.


We all love healthy growth in our business. It’s exciting and exhilarating! It can also be a little scary and stressful if you don’t get it right.

Sometimes growth can be quick and sometimes a little slower over a period of time. In either case, if you do not have the processes and framework in place to accommodate the growth, things could go awry.

One area of critical importance is ‘Web/IT/Telecoms’. I’ve grouped them here because if they all hang together nicely then healthy growth can be made so much easier.

Taking an intelligent view and proper planning of your I.T. services can be all the difference to healthy growth and, well, not healthy growth!

How can Anything I.T. help?

Jonathan at Anything I.T. has been a techie since the early 1990’s (showing his age!). With help from collaborators such as Comtec ICT, Anything I.T. can help in all the technical areas of web, IT, telecoms, and indeed other technical services such as door entry systems, CCTV.

We pride ourselves on having an understanding of where our clients are in their cycle of growth. Respecting budgets and areas where they are comfortable.

Aside: Doughnuts can help!

On this point of being comfortable with IT, if a small business is comfortable with a certain aspect of their IT, we are not going to forcibly recommend another way. We will work with our customers in the best way possible. Of course, if the customer is using dated, slow computers not up to the job, then, of course, we will make recommendations.

Some business growth scenarios require the ability to work anywhere. Anything I.T. can set up systems where you can easily access your business emails and files. Also, with telecoms systems such as Wildix (from Comtec ICT), your communications with customers can be seamless and still business-like through web browsers, apps and desktop phones.

Coffee and working

Our Integrated I.T. Support service is a unique blend of traditional support and consultancy and a more closer link with your web and IT provider.

Suffice to say that working with us to ensure healthy growth can not only take some of the stress away but increase the excitement and exhilaration.

Contact us today to have a chat.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

How to use effective I.T. when a business changes

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.


When a business goes through change, there are many factors that the business owner needs to plan for. Employees, office setup and costs, informing customers of the change and so much more.

One aspect that is often overlooked is the web and I.T. the business uses. This could be anything from network cabling in the office to website changes. From the headache of changing email accounts and telecoms (and broadband) providers.

Anything I.T. has experience in the area of business change and could be the one factor that makes things go smoothly for you.

Just a few examples of areas we can help when your business goes through change:

  • Network cabling
  • Routers and modems
  • Patch panels and network switches
  • Setting up secure Wi-fi
  • Phone systems (Maybe you should consider one that can move office with you with minimum fuss?)
  • Computer setup
  • Digital signing
  • Email account changes
  • Website changes
  • Google My Business changes (such as change of address)
  • Social Media amendments and posts
  • Technical training for changes in staff

Our unique Integrated I.T. Support service might be the way to go. Why not have a chat with us today to discuss possibilities?

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Integrated I.T. Support Service

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.


What the heck is an Integrated I.T. Support Service? It’s a unique service offered to businesses in the Plymouth area only by Anything I.T. Read on to find out why it is so different and why it can be so beneficial to your business.

Partnering

Partnering with you and your business to create a sustainable long-term I.T. framework. One that can grow with your business without damaging your business finances.

We work alongside you to create a solution that not only satisfies your business need to have trouble-free tech but to accommodate where your business is financially speaking.

Uniqueness

Why is this service different to other I.T. businesses out there?

I.T., Web & Telecoms support services provided by I.T. professionals are often based on a monthly fee to monitor the existing tech setup in your business.

If problems arise, you might call the I.T. company and get them to fix said problem. Later on, maybe months or even years later, another issue or project arises. Perhaps the upgrade of PC’s to a new operating system?

There is a problem that can surface with this rather distant nature of support. That is that the technology in the business is not growing or organically changing with the business as it in itself grows or changes.

In turn, this can cause unwelcome surprises of unexpected costs and critical downtime to the business.

A lot of I.T./Web/Telecoms support assumes a ‘one-size-fits-all’. Unfortunately, that just won’t cut it in this day and age. Anything I.T. assess the current and potential future needs of its clients and works out a solution from there.

No ‘unwelcome surprises’

With our integrated I.T. service, these unwelcome surprises are negated by the very fact that we work much more closely with your business and therefore can anticipate expected changes or growth. This then leads us to be able to inform you of what you might need to do and spend to enable the changes.

Any increase in expenditure (for instance) happens incrementally rather than in one big shock moment.

Not only does this help the business from a financial standpoint but encourages a stress-free peace of mind environment.

With this service, you are getting an ‘IT Manager’ at a fraction of the cost.

Regular communication is a key factor also. We keep in touch with the client often and encourage regular reach outs and meetings with our clients. Requests such as a new spreadsheet to be designed or an email signature made up are all part of this close relationship we wish to build. All helping towards those goals of efficiency and growth.

How integrated I.T. helps your business grow or change

These days businesses have so many technical demands on them. Websites, email accounts, online advertising, analytics, desktop computers (Windows, Mac, Linux), mobile and tablet devices, telephone systems such as PBX’s, social media pages, broadband and Wi-fi, not to mention cybersecurity, door entry and CCTV systems! The list goes on and on.

There are two approaches that a business can take to these scenarios.

  1. Employ or outsource the work to relevant skilled people (such as website developers; I.T. professionals)
  2. Do most of it (or even all) if you are skilled enough and have time yourself with outsourcing some tasks to others

There are potential issues in both situations which I won’t go into too much detail here except to say that scenario one can be fragmented and involved a lot of unnecessary communicating, and scenario two puts a stupid amount of pressure on the business owner whether they enjoy the work or not.

So, to answer point 1 above, using the Anything I.T. Integrated I.T. Support Services service means one point of contact for ALL your tech-related questions, support and demands, thereby cutting out the communication issues mentioned above.

In answer to point 2 above, let’s take the pressure off you so you can concentrate on building your business. I’m not afraid to say it but often those business owners who have some tech knowledge may fiddle and do okay but when push comes to shove may find their skills lacking.

Using this unique service also provides you with a trusted partner in your business to help it grow and change. An I.T. provider which works with you on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to ensure things go smoothly.

Here’s a list (by no means a definitive one!) of products and services we can help you with:

Website Design and Hosting

Need a website? Need another website? Need help with keeping your site(s) up-to-date and compliant? Just one area that is included in our integrated I.T. Support service. More details on what we do web wise here.

Cloud Email and Storage

Reliable and secure email and file storage is now a top priority for businesses everywhere. From 50Gb mailboxes to SharePoint server helping you collaborate with colleagues. Check our recent blog post on the subject.

I.T. Support

Having available to the team four clever and enthusiastic guys (well, two youngsters and two, err experienced chaps), Anything I.T. offers IT skills built up since 1994! Need more information on our I.T. Support service?

Social Media

Setup, advice, advertising. You name it, we do it. Social Media

Telecoms

By collaborating with our partner Comtec ICT, Anything I.T. can now truly provide a fully integrated I.T. service for its clients. Now (incredibly), our clients have a direct extension number to us from their desk phones, mobiles (via the app) and browser! This includes useful chat, conferencing, video calling and screen sharing features

More information can be found on the Hello Comtec website or our Telecoms page here.

How much does it cost?

Without sounding like a politician, it varies greatly from customer to customer!

All we would suggest is get in touch for a pressure-free chat.

Who is it for?

Certainly for business in the local area of Plymouth and further afield if the circumstances suit both our business and our clients’.

It is also likely that businesses with several employees and/or a decent turnover would benefit most.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.

Update 9th April 2020

Microsoft announce change to names of products

Office 365 is becoming Microsoft 365. The blog post below describes products as they were named before 9th April 2020.

The full list of new names of the products are as follows:

Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic
Office 365 Business Premium (this post) is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium
Office 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Apps for business
Office 365 ProPlus is now Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise


OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM

Anything I.T. offers a superb range of products and services to help small businesses. Products such as OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM can provide efficiency and a quick way to access certain information.

OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM for Plymouth businesses

Why would that be important?

Because having trouble-free/speedy access to information and the ability to get the right information to your customers is essential to run an efficient business.

Used well, the business can profitably grow and the products Anything I.T. offers can grow with you too. In other words, you won’t have to change the product or services when you grow from 4 employees to 10. Or from 10 to 50.

OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM is one such product (or service if you like) that can grow with your business.

What do you get for your money (check latest prices here)?

  • BUSINESS CLASS EMAIL
  • ONE DRIVE
  • OFFICE SOFTWARE
  • SHAREPOINT
  • MICROSOFT TEAMS

BUSINESS CLASS EMAIL

What does “BUSINESS CLASS EMAIL” mean?

Your mailbox is hosted on Microsoft’s Exchange servers, one of the best business-class email hosting platforms around. Typically, if you purchased your own domain name and set up an email address, it likely will be a simple mailbox accessed by a protocol called POP3

You get 50GB of storage in your mailbox! That’s huge! Some mailboxes today can be as small as 100Mb (that’s 500 times smaller!). If you went for a Gmail mailbox, you might get 15Gb of space which is pretty good.

The default maximum size for sending and receiving emails is around 35Mb which is a lot larger than your typical mailbox which might be 10Mb or sometimes 20Mb per email. This 35Mb allows you to send larger attachments between co-workers or others you work with. And why not? In this day and age of superfast broadband, sending a 30Mb design document to your co-worker to look over should not be an issue.

ONE DRIVE

With OFFICE 365 FOR BUSINESS PREMIUM, you also benefit from the 1TB ONE DRIVE.

This is plenty enough space for most business users to store documents and files in the Cloud.

With One Drive installed on your PC, mobile and via a web browser, you can access your files from literally almost anywhere.

OFFICE SOFTWARE

All the main desktop office software you need including:
Microsoft:- Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, Access

Via a web browser:
Web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint

One license covers 5 phones, 5 tablets, 5 PCs (or Macs) per user. Plenty enough devices capable of accessing your information.

SHAREPOINT

Quote from the Microsoft SharePoint site:

“Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device.”

MICROSOFT TEAMS

Collaborate, chat and communicate about documents and projects your Team is working on.

Associated resources

Be sure to check out the resources below for more information.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

FREE Excel Spreadsheet Template – Recording Hours Worked

Anything I.T. and the Geek Collective provide an I.T. Support service and Website design to business clients in Plymouth, South West of the UK.


“Recording Worked Hours” (by Client/Project)

We all like free stuff don’t we? Especially if it proves useful! Here on this page, I’m offering you free of charge a useful spreadsheet template I created for recording hours worked.

“Recording Hours Worked.xlsx”

It’s a spreadsheet I’m using myself so I’m getting first-hand experience of using the file. In that way, I hope you also find it beneficial.

No strings attached!

Though coffee and a doughnut would be nice!

If you like it, let me know. If you share it with others, please let them know where the spreadsheet came from!

It’s probably most useful for those self-employed people out there who need a simple way of recording hours worked. It’s intended for recording hours worked for their clients, but it can be used for other business scenarios such as projects. If you use it in larger scenarios, I’d be very interested to find out how. Would you let me know? 

All I ask is that you sign up to the Anything I.T. mailing list or Like our Facebook Page. We don’t spam with numerous emails. In fact, you will likely only get between 1-2 a month! I’m not even going to force you to provide an email address. The file is just there, at the bottom of the page, ready to use.

Disclaimer/Warning

To make this work, you may need a basic understanding of Excel documents. if you break your copy, you can ask me for help, but please don’t blame me!

Explaining the Document

Summary sheet

Below are a couple of screenshots of the SUMMARY sheet of the spreadsheet (or workbook whichever you like to call it). You will notice there are a number of sheets, all named the months of the year, as well as the SUMMARY sheet.

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheetIn this example, we have a sheet that summarises the data across the year and the individual months.

On this, the SUMMARY sheet, we enter the client/project on the left-hand side. These names are automatically populated to the other individual sheets. This is important as it ensures no typing mistakes are made by the user (and thereby providing accurate data).

The SUMMARY sheet provides not only a, ermmmm, summary, of hours worked each month and for each client/project, but money made (if you use this as the basis for your invoicing).

The financial aspect is optional and for me at least, it is primarily used for giving me an idea of where I am with certain clients.

You will also note the columns which I hope are self-explanatory:

  • Total Hours
  • Total £
  • The individual months (each with Hours and £)

On the far right-hand side, you will see a list of rates. Enter your own here. These rates are used on the individual month sheets (more on this below).

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

The ‘Month’ sheets – Entering in your hours worked

On each ‘month’ sheet, you should see on the left, the area where you need to enter four pieces of data:

  • Date (the date of course!)
  • For Whom/What (See below for an explanation)
  • Description (Whatever you want in here to describe the work carried out)
  • Hours (The number of hours obviously. Can work in parts of hours too, such as ‘1.5’.

Recording Hours Worked

For Whom/What

Your client name or project name. Clicking into this cell reveals a dropdown arrow which picks up the client names/project names you entered in on the SUMMARY sheet. Adding a client name or project name on the SUMMARY sheet automatically adds it to the dropdown options.

Recording Worked Hours spreadsheet

This cell is configured so that you must enter in (or select from the dropdown) an exact match from the list. Trying to type in ABC1234lhalhdlahdl (if it doesn’t exist on your SUMMARY sheet) will produce an error.

Type in a description and enter how many hours work, or indeed a decimal of an hour (0.1 would be 6 minutes, 0.25 would be quarter of an hour, 0.33 would be 20 minutes, 0.5 half an hour, and so on).

The ‘Month’ sheets – Client/Project auto-summarisation

On the right-hand side, you will notice the client names (or your project names) automatically populated.

Important: Do not try to type into these cells. Only the rate column of cells is editable (but you will still need to enter valid data).

Additionally, the hours worked for each client/project is auto-calculated based on the data on the left-hand side so do not try to edit this directly.

Option: You can also choose a rate for this client/project. If you do, then the amount in currency is automatically calculated. It could be useful for you if you need to generate invoices based on time worked.

Recording Hours Worked

The rate is also chosen via a dropdown menu. The rates are configured on the SUMMARY sheet to the far right-hand side.

Like the other dropdown, you must select a valid option otherwise it will display an error.

Protected Cells

In the blank version below, some cells are protected. This is because we don’t want anyone accidentally overwriting the formulas within the cells by mistake and wondering why it’s not working!

If you feel competent enough, you can unlock the cells via unlocking the spreadsheet by clicking the ‘Review‘ tab on the Ribbon and clicking Unprotect Sheet and entering the password doughnut5 (hint hint).

 

Ribbon

Potential Future Enhancements

I’m considering adding the following columns on the ‘month’ sheets next to the amount (£) column:

  • Invoice #
  • Sent (date)
  • Paid (Amount £) – Colours Red (Unpaid), Orange (Partially paid), Green (Fully paid)

Colours of cells would change depending on invoice status, Sent, and Paid column.

Summarisation and Downloads

So, I hope you find this spreadsheet useful. I certainly do!

There’s a blanked out version to download below as well as one containing some sample data.

If you have ideas for improvements feel free to send a message via the contact page on this site, or via the Anything I.T. Facebook, or by directly emailing me: support@anythingit.net.

The files


Anything I.T. Plymouth Limited

Send an email and we will be in touch as soon as possible

The landscape has changed.

The Geek Collective