Business Philosophy

My primary goal is to make your office run more efficiently.

Make sure your staff is FULLY TRAINED on ALL the features in your software.

Too many offices install software and never provide training for the users. The staff has work that has to get out the door, and doesn't have time to learn the best way, the quickest way, or the most efficient way to produce that work.

Phrases are typed repeatedly instead of storing them and using shortcut keystrokes to retrieve them. Addresses are retyped, and phone numbers as well as case numbers are looked up, even though these could be stored and retrieved. Why type "If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me" (64 keystrokes) when you can produce that phrase with 2 or 3 keystrokes? Why type out signature blocks or draw a line to sign on when you can get those with 2-3 keystrokes? Why not retrieve an address that you know is correct instead of retyping it and risking transposed numbers in the address or zip code?

Lots of time is wasted searching for an example of a document that's been typed before, copying it, and editing it instead of storing blank forms in one location and using shortcuts to retrieve them. How many times do you need a "Thank you for your referral" letter, a "Thank you for your application/resume" letter, an "Enclosed per your recent request is a copy of ..." letter? Why aren't those forms readily accessible?

Software is used the way it was set up, instead of investigating what options and features can be added, omitted, and modified. If you don't like your software to underline in red the words you've misspelled, you can tell it to stop it!

Your staff curses and swears because they can't get the software to do XXX, instead of knowing exactly how to get the result they want. They are tearing their hair out because they can't get a column of numbers to line up on the right. If only someone would show them how to set a right-aligned tab!

Whether it's word processors, calendaring software, forms software, time and billing software, or client database managers, you probably are not using all the features, and you're probably tolerating features that are not locked in but can be changed.

Use MACROS and FORM TEMPLATES

Standardize documents, speed up production, reduce time spent proofreading and editing, and lower stress levels. If your staff can quickly bring in a certain type of retainer agreement, know it's already been proofread, know the names will be changed throughout the document automatically as well as the correct rate entered, and know they can print it out while the client sits in the lobby—won't that make everyone happier?

Use POP-UP MENUS and PULL-DOWN MENUS

Facilitate quick access to the tasks you do the most. These are "overlays" that work in conjunction with your word processing software. Pop-up and pull-down menus aid in training new personnel because the forms they need the most are all on one menu.

Examine your office procedures and eliminate or reduce repetitious, time-consuming, and/or stress-producing tasks.

If your staff EVER has to fill in a pre-printed form more than once, the first time can be on a typewriter, but the second time the form should be filled in on your computer screen. This is especially true if a significant portion of the form contains the same information (firm address and phone, names of personnel, customer numbers, etc.).

If a form is being filled in by hand (a timesheet is a good example) and data later transferred to the computer, you are wasting time, energy, and paper.

Phone messages should no longer be handwritten, torn off memo pads, and handed to staff members, who must then decipher, usually shuffle, sometimes misplace, hopefully answer and eventually file them. They should be typed and transmitted via your internal email system.

I do low-cost office systems analysis and provide a written report of my findings, including recommendations for corrective action, potential costs of hardware and software solutions if appropriate, and potential costs savings.

Reduce Cost

Create and print in-house any forms or office products currently being purchased from outside sources. Such items include letterhead, envelopes, mailing labels, return address labels, and internal forms (check request, vacation request, etc.).

Make sure your computer(s) and server are operating efficiently.

You can be well-trained and have time-saving macros, pop-up menus, and forms added, but if your computers and/or server are not performing optimally, you are still wasting valuable time. Do your computers crash or suspend frequently? Are you plagued by Windows error messages? Do you waste time waiting for screens to refresh or for files to open and close because your computer's processor or the video card are old and slow? Has your system been infected with a virus or does your computer need to be defragged? Do you need advice and/or assistance in purchasing or upgrading computer hardware?

I recommend you visit www.beancomp.com. I have worked with Richard Bean on dozens of projects and have always been pleased with our collaboration.

Contact Me!

DANCING WITH CANCER
by Loui Tucker

Now available in paperback