ASI Archive newsletter, November/December 2018

The ASI Archive

November/December 2018

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Holiday Hours

Monday, Dec. 24: Closing at 12:00 noon
Tuesday, Dec. 25: Closed
Monday, Dec. 31: Closing at 12:00 noon
Tuesday, Jan. 1: Closed

Finding End-of-Year Business Zen

Scott Bidwell, President/CEO

Wondering where November went? Me too. It seems like I blinked and 2018 is coming to a close.  Wrapping up the year brings with it a few extra items on the “to do” list. By now, you’d think I’d sail through these.  (When I say “by now,” I’m simply acknowledging the Bidwell business engine has a few miles on it.) Fitting these additional items into an already busy month – and a month that includes the holidays – can become, shall we say…challenging. 
If you’re finding December has you downloading meditation podcasts and switching your coffee for herbal tea, check out here are a few year-end planning tips I find useful. It’s my hope that they help bring you a little inner peace during this busy holiday season.

5 Tips for End-of Year Business Zen

  1. Review your financial reports
    If December 31st is the end of your business tax year, you’ve started closing out your books. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check in with your accountant should there be steps to take to ensure your business ends the year fiscally healthy. This may include deferring income or making purchases. Whatever the strategy, even small changes can greatly impact your total income and tax liability for the year.
  2. Get strategic with the one-page strategic plan
    Even as you’re closing out 2018, there are forward-looking tasks to be done. Creating or reviewing your company’s strategic plan is an important one. Forget about multi-page strategic plans that are unclear and unproductive. Boiling down your company’s strategic plan to one page can be highly effective. This concise format keeps you from getting bogged down in details that take the discussion off-point and off-task. It’s important to recognize that a strategic plan looks long-range. It’s not meant to lock you into a direction but sets course. It’s also a good idea to revisit it often. As markets or circumstances change, you’ll need to be flexible and revise as necessary. Here’s a great article on creating an effective one-page strategic plan
  3. Keep employees motivated
    Understandably, with the many distractions that come with the holidays, you might see a slight dip in productivity around the office. Employees often feel they’ve achieved goals set at the beginning of the year and are waiting to set new ones in 2019.  Now’s the time to set aside time with each employee to remind them how critical they are to the company’s success. Because it’s the beginning of a new year, it’s also a great time to review their successes, what steps they can take to fill the gaps where they are finding challenges, and define any new goals. In this way, every team member knows where they stand and what you expect in the coming year. 
  4. Don’t forget the paperwork
    Now is a good time to review Employee Agreements and your Employee Handbook, and make necessary corrections to payroll. (The US Small Business administration estimates that 40% of small businesses are fined about $845 annually for IRS penalties relating to payroll.) It’s also a good idea to audit vendor information. Along with reviewing your financial reports, it’s also the time to reconcile your accounts payable and organize receipts. 
  5. Back up vital business data
    We’re in the business of emphasizing the importance of data backups whether it be physical or electronic. Even so, you’d be shocked to know how often I hear of a RIM services provider whose own backups failed or weren’t in place – though they’re providing exemplary service to their clients! Don’t make this mistake. Be sure your vital business data is intact. Keep vital data in at least two, separate digital locations, and another physical copy for your records. Additionally, print a hard copy of copies of financial reports. Remember to back up contact data for vendors and customers as well.

Read this before you install Windows 10 upgrade

ASI Archive Dec 2018 woman holding stress ball
Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 upgrade (version 1809) is creating headaches. After installing, some users – ASI included – reported that mapped network drives appear broken with a red “X” as if they were disconnected. Trying to map drives using the net use command show up as “Unavailable,” and notifications pop with the “Could not reconnect all network drives” message. Happy to say, there is a solution. 

Find the fix for the Windows 10 bug in the ASI User Area. If you do not see a “pop-up alert”, click the “Headlines” or the “Knowledge Base” tab.

Not familiar with what the ASI User Area has to offer?

Tech Tip: Time to upgrade your hardware and save

Are you still running your ASI software on a legacy system? End-of-year is the perfect time to consider an upgrade to SQL. It's true that, along with holiday cheer, December puts more year-end work on your plate. With 2019 year fast approaching, what better time to say "out with the old" and "in with the new?"
The bonus? With your upgrade, you'll receive SQL with Web Services, plus ASI Mobile for Android/iOS. This means that the cost to upgrade could be less than what you're spending to keep that aging system running!