Collaboration

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

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

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.

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