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Monthly ArchiveNovember 2010

Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 14 Nov 2010

3 Tips on Getting The Best Deal for Software Purchases

One of the expenses you have to account for each year is software purchases and upgrades. Depending on the program and what you use it for, you may or may not need to have the latest and greatest version. But when you do need to make a software purchase, it’s helpful to know how to get the best pricing.

Here are some quick tips to check out to see if you can get a discount on your next software purchase:

  1. Employee Purchase Programs – if you or your spouse currently works in a corporate environment, check with your IT department to see if the company offers an Employee Purchase Program (EPP). Many companies are large users of software like Microsoft Office, so the company can extend their discount to their employees. This type of program allows you to purchase some of the most popular Microsoft titles at a significant discount. In some cases, as low as $20.
  2. Student Discount Programs – if you are in school, or have a child of school age, you can be eligible for some student discount programs. For example, Adobe has several student versions of their software available for up to 80% off – all you have to do is show proof of student enrollment. These software titles are available online or for purchase on college campuses.
  3. Purchasing older versions – when a new version of software is released, the company usually tries to clear out their existing inventory to make room for the new versions. If you are on the company’s mailing list, you’ll probably receive advance notice or even special “pre-release” prices. This is your sign to start looking for the deals. If there’s really something you want, it might be worth your time to check every day – sometimes the popular titles go fast!

Before you commit to your next software purchase, make sure you do your research to find out if you qualify for a discount programs. While it may take you a little time to do the research, or even some extra steps to “prove” you qualify, the savings can be well worth it. This is especially true when you use the new software for your business, because the return on your investment is higher and the breakeven point is quicker.

Just a special note about purchasing software: I highly recommend that you purchase your business software directly from the manufacturer or approved reseller. If you ever have a problem with the software, you know that you’ll be covered and can get a replacement if necessary. When you buy a copy from a friend, or eBay, or wherever, there are no guarantees, no support and you may not even be able to claim that purchase on your tax return.

This is not a purchase you can afford to “go cheap” on. If for any reason, the software is not usable, you can’t work. This means you aren’t earning money. How can that be good for business?

Do you have other tips on how to great great deals on software and technology? Then please share them with me below!

Uncategorized Sydni Craig-Hart on 07 Nov 2010

Mistakes Happen – What to Do When it Happens to You

Nobody is perfect.

We live in an imperfect world. We are human. We make mistakes and we are fallible.

When you own a business, it may seem that your mistakes are magnified. When something goes wrong it affects you, your client, your schedule and sometimes your reputation.

In the virtual assistant industry, mistakes happen all the time:

  • A missed typos in an document
  • A critical link is broken on a website
  • Missing a deadline

…the possibilities are endless.

The longer you are in business, the higher the possibility to make mistakes. While it does not excuse you from making mistakes, it helps to have a healthy attitude about the mistakes you make and learn from them. But, mistakes should not happen because we’re not paying attention to the details, pressed for time, or because we don’t have a strong ethic.

When you make a mistake, there are 3 THINGS YOU MUST DO IMMEDIATELY:

  1. Admit the mistake: don’t try to cover up anything. Don’t blame anyone else and don’t make excuses. This will only make a bad situation worse. Instead, take ownership of the mistake and the steps to resolve it.
  2. Keep your client informed: failing to keep your client in the loop about the error will have damage your relationship. Open communication, honesty and integrity are everything in a virtual relationship. In essence, if you don’t tell your client what’s happened, you are lying to them which does not support the foundation of trust you need for a productive, long term relationship.
  3. Apologize: After you have made the mistake and it has been resolved, make sure you apologize to the client and let them know what steps you have taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again. For the most part, clients are very understanding when something goes wrong if you are upfront with them. Most people will respect an individual who owns up to a mistake, fix it and take steps to avoid the situation happening again. By assessing the situation and learning from it, you demonstrate that you are committed to excellence in your business and you care about your client and the work you’re doing with them.

Sometimes mistakes are unavoidable, there can be circumstances out of your control and you are forced to make the best decision given the situation. Even if the mistake is technically not your fault, you still need to go through the 3 steps above to demonstrate that you are being proactive and taking responsibility for a positive outcome. Your client wants to know that you have their best interests at heart.

Remember, when your client chose you as their virtual assistant, they made a big decision. They have invested time, money and trust in you. They want to make sure they are getting a return on their investment. How you handle mistakes is a good indicator if they’ve made the right choice.

Have you made a mistake recently? How did you communicate the error to your client? What is the relationship like now? Share your thoughts with me on the blog!