Tips n Tricks

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

How to run two Chrome (and now Microsoft Edge) browsers, each with a different colour theme, passwords for websites etc.

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.

The multiple passwords for a site dilemma

Chrome Browser

Ever thought it would be useful to have two Chrome browser windows running, one for your personal websites (such as social media, personal email and news), the other for your business websites (business email, productivity and customer relations management)?

Or perhaps you want to login to the same website with different usernames or email addresses but you find that this doesn’t work when you have the basic set up of Chrome.

For me personally, I have about a dozen iterations as it were of Chrome. In my work as an IT support guy who provides Office…er Microsoft 365 services to customers, I often need to log in to the admin control panel and it’s just great to be able to click a profile and boom, I’m in.

One such customer is Bryce Properties who provide student accommodation in Plymouth. They have a number of people in their team and often times I will need to log in to any number of different websites to diagnose issues.

Having the ability to have multiple Chrome browsers has been a god-send.

Microsoft Edge Browser

Now guess what!? Microsoft Edge is now built on the Chromium core code and you can create multiple profiles for Edge too! I’ll update this page with additional information about how to do this in Edge but it’s essentially the same as with Chrome. So read on!

Updated: October 2020

Each with its own colour theme?

Of course, you can do that with the default Chrome experience by opening two Chrome windows, but what if you wanted to change the colour theme for each so that they are easily distinguishable from each other?

If you head over to the Chrome web store > Themes, you can certainly change the colour of the window, and in fact you can change the look completely with a range of image-based themes.

The only snag is that every Chrome window will change, not just the current one.

So how do you change things so that each Chrome window has it’s own theme or colours?

Two Chrome windows, each with its own colour theme

What you need to do is set up another ‘User’ of the Chrome browser. Google Chrome allows you to add users of its browser so more than one person can use the browser and have their own bookmarks, history, and yes, themes.

At the top right of the browser window will be a small round user icon. If you are signed in to the Google network with your email address, then you will likely see your profile image. Here’s my profile the icon with my mugshot below.

Clicking this will bring up a similar menu to this one:

Click on the Manage People icon to show this new window:

From here you can Add Person:

Choose a name for this Profile and an avatar/icon, and click Add.

Optional: The setup of the new user will ask if you want to sign in to Google Chrome with another user. Perhaps you have a personal email account and a business one?

Each account can then be synchronised (bookmarks, history, colour theme) to other computers you use! Just sign in (or create an account) for the additional user and you are done!

That’s it! Now you can click again on the top right profile icon:

In the example below, I’m signed in with my business email (jonathan@anythingit.net), and there is an option in the menu to open a new browser window with my personal user ‘Jabbs’.

To change colours. You can visit the Chrome web store in each window to choose a theme for each ‘user’.

That’s how you can do this:

Two Chrome windows, two Usernames and Passwords

Also, as suggested earlier, you can log in to the same website with different sign-in credentials. Perhaps you have two email addresses at outlook.com? Or you have two accounts on a social media site? The new ‘user’ can log in with the second set of credentials by clicking on the Profile icon:

Click on the profile icon. In this case a little basket ball. From the list that pops up, choose the other profile you want to use.

You can of course, choose to synchronise your history and settings across devices.

Have more than one computer? A PC and a laptop for instance? Then choose to synchronise by signing in with a Google account. Simple create a new profile on the second device and sign in with that same Google account on the other device!

Any questions? As always, get in touch!

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

The Wonderful World of Workflowy

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.


Workflowy is a productivity app (web and for phones). I love Workflowy and use it heavily when I want to ‘get things down “on paper”‘.

Workflowy is different to other productivity apps in that it’s all about Lists.

You create a List, then drill into the List to create sub-lists and so on.

What I like about it is the fact that you can focus on one specific list (or sub-list). You don’t have your screen cluttered with dozens of other related or semi-related lists or projects.

If you want to spend time thinking about what you need to do for your summer holiday, you can create a list (perhaps under a main list you created called ‘Personal’?) and focus just on that list. Maybe you will create sub-lists under ‘Summer Holiday’ of ‘Travel’, ‘Costs’, ‘Clothing’, and so on.

Perhaps you are an Under 19’s football coach? Well, why not create a list under ‘Personal’ called ‘Sports’. And inside that list one called ‘Under 19’s Team’. You could then focus on what needs to be done for that team by creating sub-lists for ‘Players’, ‘Matches’, ‘Practice’. You get the idea

Check out the video to see how it works!

Please let us know by email, Facebook Messenger or in the Comments any questions you might have.

by Jonathan Jonathan No Comments

Don’t be scared of Excel

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.


Yes, using Excel (other brands of spreadsheet software are available) can look a little scary. But don’t need to be!

Excel is a powerful piece of software that could potentially save you a lot of time, present information in useful ways, and highlight areas of your business that could prove extremely helpful.

You can make a spreadsheet to do very simple things, such as automatically adding up a list of invoice amounts for a given month, or keeping a running total of stock (numbers of products AND the total amount at cost or retail).

Attached at the bottom of this post is an Excel file with two tabs. One tab is a simple list of invoice numbers with dates and amounts. The other is a slightly more complicated stock system with values.

On the INVOICE tab I have also used ‘Conditional Formatting’. Conditional Formatting is a very useful feature. In the Conditional Formatting on the INVOICE tab, I’m colouring amounts of equal to or less than £25 with a pink background and red text. This is just to show you that perhaps there is a problem (i.e. should you have invoice amounts of £25 or less? Is there a mistake?).

The STOCK tab is perhaps a little more complicated but hopefully you get the idea?

I should say that there are systems out there that can do all this for you as well. Check out the likes of Quickbooks, Xero, Zoho, and many more! Of course, you may have to pay for these especially since they have a number of features (some of which you might now need!).

So, simple spreadsheets may help.

Additionally, spreadsheets don’t have to look ugly! Check out the attached to see what I mean.

Apologies if the attached isn’t an accurate representation of how these things work. It’s just meant to illustrate how spreadsheets can look and provide simple solutions.

Do you use Excel? Do you use online solutions like Quickbooks, Zoho? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Download the file

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