Stationery

Q. For our stationery we want to use raised printing like thermography. Is this processes laser compatible?

A. Although thermography is inexpensive, it is essentially a “plastic” ink that has been heated to give a raised effect. If your laser printer is hot enough, thermography will make a mess out of both stationery and printer. A better form of raised printing is Engravalith. You could also engrave your stationery, but this process is very expensive.

Ask the Expert is a column which helps provide solutions for the small business owner. Our Expert is Matthew Greger, President of The Business Helper. Please eMail your questions to Matthew Greger.

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Microsoft Access

Q. We are looking to upgrade our Access database to include all departments and remote offices. However, this means Macs and PCs will now need to use the database. Can we continue to use Access?

A. The short answer is no, not directly. I recommend researching the cost to move your database to FileMaker Pro. This database integrates well with Microsoft Office and is cross platform compatible.

Ask the Expert is a column which helps provide solutions for the small business owner. Our Expert is Matthew Greger, President of The Business Helper. Please eMail your questions to Matthew Greger.

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File Management

Q. I have a hard time finding files and applications on my computer. How can I locate what I’m looking for?

A. Let’s take this from a different approach. A computer is no different than the filing cabinets, in boxes, desks, garbage cans, etc. that are in your office. Or for that matter, it’s no different than your son’s or daughter’s room (now we all know that can be scary).

Organization is the key. Put all your applications into the Program Files or the Applications directory, then make aliases or shortcuts of the applications and put them in the Apple Menu or in the Start Menu.

For your documents, do NOT save them in the applications folder. Create a virtual filing cabinet (a main folder) and organize your folders and files within. Either use the default “My Documents” or “Documents” folder or create a folder in the root of the hard drive, then create an alias or shortcut on your desktop for easy access. Now you are ready to create the drawers, your main subjects in subfolders. These might be titled something like Projects, Artwork, Databases, Business, etc. Finally, you can save your documents within these main subfolders or create additional subfolders.

Now, don’t forget to maintain this organization. Take the time to file, save, your documents in their correct place and finding them will be simple.

Ask the Expert is a column which helps provide solutions for the small business owner. Our Expert is Matthew Greger, President of The Business Helper. Please eMail your questions to Matthew Greger.

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Database Estimate


Q. This is my first experience developing a database. When asking a consultant for an estimate, should I have to pay for this estimate?

A. Let’s break this down into two parts; 1) an estimate and 2) a spec or needs analysis.

For the estimate you should not have to pay anything. It’s just that, an estimate based on what it has taken to complete a similar project in the past. An estimate is usually based on an hourly rate and will usually be given in a range such as $10,000 to $15,000.

A spec or needs analysis, sometimes referred to as a detailed estimate, is a much more involved process and a fee is usually charged. This fee will be based on the amount of time it will take the consultant to work up the spec. This analysis is the blueprint for your project. It’s a fairly detailed plan of how you are going to proceed. And, just because you contract with a consultant to do the spec, you may not want them to complete the project. You can take the spec and do the project yourself or hire another consultant if you were not completely happy. However, the consultant who wrote up the spec probably is now intimate with your project.

Ask the Expert is a column which helps provide solutions for the small business owner. Our Expert is Matthew Greger, President of The Business Helper. Please eMail your questions to Matthew Greger.

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