December 2008  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
Volume 5 Issue 12   www.offassist.com
Happy Holidays from OffAssist!

I have a confession. I absolutely love being in Austin for Christmas. It's usually a little chilly, but not overly so. I love the cool weather. I like the decorations. I love walking through the Zilker Park lights. I adore watching my children's eyes light up as they see all the lights and magic of the season.

December is also a very magical time for me, because it's the month before January - the calm before the storm. January is the month when everyone says I'm a little (okay, downright) scary. Maybe that's why I relish December so much, it's a chance to reconnect with the family before the 18 hour days begin.

Incidentally, December also marks a milestone for a member of the OA team: Dyanna Larson of Ink Think celebrated her 4th anniversary this month.

I wish you all the best and brightest this holiday season and a prosperous new year!

In this issue...

How Thank You Can Be A Powerful Investment For Your Online Business
by Jason Pearson

The art of common courtesy has become lost in the mix of the day to day running of a business. There are so many ways business owners and their employees can provide excellent customer courtesy. You will find that your clients will appreciate this attention and will repay you with return business and referrals.

One very important way of giving your customers the appreciation they need is to answer the phone with a smile. Believe it or not you can tell when a person is smiling when they talk on the phone. When you answer the phone in this manner you client will not feel as if they are imposing on your day. In fact they will feel as though you are happy to be of help to them, and will not hesitate to call with questions.

Make sure you are helpful during the phone call. Nothing is more frustrating than having to call a company only to be connected with someone who is annoyed that you called, and on top of that cannot help you with your questions. A good salesperson will never make the customer feel as though they are an intrusion on the salesperson day. On the contrary, a good salesperson will make the client feel comfortable, and will go above and beyond to assist the client anyway they can. After they have achieved this call they will thank the consumer for calling. A "Thank you" can go a long way in terms of customer service.

Whether you are the owner or the employee, anyone related to the business is involved in marketing. Anyone who has contact with the client will have either a positive or negative affect for the company. If done correctly you will have a happy client willing to give you their business next time. Make the mistake of screwing up and you will have a disgruntled client who will take their business else where.

Dealing with customers through an online business calls for good customer service and courtesy as much if not more than a brick and mortar business. Where you often will not deal with clients face to face, you will need to make sure you show courtesy through emails and phone calls every time. Take time to send birthday cards or emails. If you have the budget and a large client send a gift. Make sure your invoice includes a line thanking the customer for their business. There are many ways to say thank you and with a little creativity you can find the perfect way that suits your business.

People want to feel appreciated, and there is no better way in showing that than being courteous, and saying thank you. Make this practice an everyday part of your business life and you will find that you have made life long clients. It is amazing how a "Thank You" can make such a powerful investment into your company.

Jason Pearson is an online marketing expert who wants to share his secrets with the world. To find out more visit www.thewinningbusiness.com

Article Source: www.articlecity.com


QuickBooks Tip
Check Out Your Year–End P&L

Getting ready for taxes?

Before you ship your QuickBooks off to your tax preparer, why not take a cursory look at the detail in your profit and loss accounts. Here's how:

Click on "Reports" from the toolbar menu

Then click on "Company & Financial"

Then highlight and click on "Profit & Loss Standard"

Change the date range to 01/01/08 - 12/31/08

Scroll through each account and double click when you are over the dollar value for each account line.

This will reveal the detail behind that account and if you see a transaction that should be in a different account, you simply double click on that transaction and it will take you to the original entry where you can make any necessary changes.

For example, I'm reviewing detail in "Office Supplies" and I find a transaction for ExxonMobil that should be under "Fuel". I just double click on that transaction which takes me to the original entry where I can change to "Fuel" then "Save and Close" to return to the detail report.

You can also review the detail on the Balance Sheet in the same manner by selecting "Balance Sheet" instead of "Profit & Loss Standard".
 
 
Tax Deadlines
December 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for November issued payroll

December 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

January 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for December issued payroll

January 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly, quarterly and annual filers

January 31

- Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941

- Employer's Quarterly TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)

- Employer's Annual FUTA (Form 940)

- Forms W-2, Annual Wage and Tax Statement must to recipients

- Forms 1099-Misc, Miscellaneous Income to recipients

- Forms 1099-B, Interest Income Statement

- Forms 1099-Div, Dividend Income Statement
Tech Talk With Tom...
Geeky Gifting

The gift of technology is always a popular option during the holiday season. We've rounded up some of the best tech gift guides on the web, for your perusing and purchasing pleasure.

Vintage Geek: Check out InfoWorld's article on cutting-edge gadgetry from the era when 2001 was still 30 years in the future.

At the other end of the spectrum is Extreme Tech's Geek Gift Guides - Yes more than one, with specialty lists covering everything from hardware to how-tos.

From economical to outrageous, check out CIO.com's list of Toys to Make a Techie Happy.

Our friends at Linux Journal have put together a list of gifty Tux items for the holly-daze.

Is your geek a green freak? Check out InfoWorld's roundup of tech gifts for the environmentally aware.

The people over at GeeksAreSexy.net put together this nifty list.

Hack that gift! Check out Make's list of hackable geek goodies.

Our list wouldn't be complete without ArsTechnica's guide to all things geekaliciously gifty.

Happy Holidays and a Merry New Year from OffAssist!

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.
Spotlight On...
TipsTops Designs

OffAssist is a successful home-based business. We've done pretty well, and because we have, we encourage others who want the freedom a work-from-home lifestyle offers.

This month we're proud to announce that another friend has taken the plunge! Lisa Rose, a very busy mother of four and boutique bow designer for fashionistas in the under 5-foot tall crowd, started Tip-Tops Bowtique Designs in October of this year.

It's just good business to market yourself in more than one place. Lisa really took that knowledge to heart. Beside finding her on her website, www.tiptopsdesigns.com, Tip-Tops has an Etsy store, is a registered artisan on Art Fire and has a shop at 1000 Markets.

I admit it, I'm not just a friend, I'm a customer. Thanks to our Tip-Tops bows, Cassie is finally letting Mom put her hair up.
 
Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Candy@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.

Humor
Tax Justice?

A certain tax attorney took on a very complex case of tax evasion for a rather mysterious client. He devoted over a year to the case, familiarizing himself with every loophole and angle of current legislation, and made a brilliant argument before the court.

His client was called out of town when the jury returned with its verdict, a sweeping victory for his client on every count.

Flushed with victory, the lawyer exuberantly cabled his client, "Justice has triumphed!"

A realistic fellow, the client immediately wired back, "Appeal at once!"

Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?

Email candy@offassist.com.

The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the copywriting/editing skills of Ink Think VA, and the coding talents of VA Lab Designs.