February 2009  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
Volume 6 Issue 2   www.offassist.com
Feel the Love

Can you feel the love? I can!

I know that my family, friends and clients love me and respect me and what I do. I used to think that they all avoided me in January out of fear. January, as we all know, is one of my busiest times of the year, if not the busiest. I am slowly coming to realize they are just staying out of the way so I can do my job. The brave ones even kidnap and make me stop working for a few hours. Now that's love!

Take time this Valentine's Day to show a little love to the people who support you, whether in a personal or professional capacity. I'm the public face of OffAssist, but there are many people working behind the scenes to keep me (and OffAssist) looking good and working properly. Each and every one of them are important cogs in the machine. And, of course, I love and value them all.

This February also marks the 6th birthday of my little girl - Yeah, I can't believe it either! A big Happy Birthday shout out to my own little princess. She started Kindergarten this year and, as you can see, misses being home with me SO much! I want to wish her a lifetime of good friends who love and respect her as much as mine do, and I think she's off to a good start.

Take time to feel the love this month!


In this issue...

5 Ways to Use Tips in Your Marketing Efforts
by Kristina Hill

I'm a big fan of "how to" tips. Whenever I'm waiting in line at the grocery store, nothing grabs my attention faster than magazine covers that read "8 tips for this" or "10 sure-fire ways to do that." In today's fast-paced climate, information that's easy to digest and use is always welcome.

As a small or mid-sized business, you also can harness the power of tips to connect with your customers, grow your website traffic or e-newsletter subscribers, and position yourself as a leader in your industry. The great thing about tips is that they can be used for nearly any business focus. For example, if you operate a restaurant, your tips could include "5 easy steps to mouthwatering barbecue." If you own a hair salon, your tips might be "3 ways to beat frizz during the summer heat" or "7 steps to sizzlin' summer color."

Once you've drafted your tips, here are five easy ways for you to use the information during your marketing efforts:

1. Place the tips in a highly visible area at your business location and package them in a way that invites customers to take the information with them.

2. Add an ongoing tips section to your website.

3. Incorporate the tips into your customer e-newsletter (if you don't have one, use the tips to get started).

4. Offer your tips to local newspaper or magazine outlets. The information may spark a story or be used as an addition to other stories on your submission's subject.

5. Use the tips as a fun way to connect with customers. People love to share what they know.

Ask your customers to add to your tips or submit their own.

The best part about tips is that they are a low-cost, high-impact marketing tool. All it takes is a little creativity and knowing what information will be helpful to your customers.

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; media planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and article, website, advertising, editorial, and sponsorship writing.

Article Source: ezinearticles.com


QuickBooks Tip
Upset Balance

Q: My customer beginning balances were entered incorrectly; now the total balance due is wrong. I can't print accurate statements for some customers. How do I fix this??

A: This particularly problem is really easy to fix. Just follow the steps below to get your balance back in order:
  • Click Customer Center.
  • On the Customers & Jobs tab, select the customer.
  • Go to the Edit menu and click Use Register.
  • Find the customer's opening balance transaction in the register and select it.
Note: If you did not enter an opening balance for this customer, but instead entered a series of initial transactions, there will not be a single opening balance entry that you can adjust.
  • Click Edit Transaction.
  • On the invoice, change the amount.
  • Save the invoice.
 
 
Tax Deadlines
February 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for January issued payroll

February 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly

February 28
- Forms W-2 and W-3, Annual Wage and Tax Statement to be submitted to the Social Security Administration

- Forms 1099 and 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns to the Internal Revenue Service

March 15 -
IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for February issued payroll
- U.S. Corporate Income Tax Return
- U.S. S-Corporation Income Tax Return

March 20 - State Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers
Tech Talk With Tom...
This month's tip is brought to you by our good friend Justin Ryan, freelance tech writer and news editor at LinuxJournal.com.

Remote WHAT?

If you're anything like me, at some point you've found yourself in one place and your data on a computer in another - data you need now. Or maybe you've run into remote tasks - troubleshooting, demonstrations - that would be easier to accomplish if both parties were in the same location. You may have even had to schedule inconvenient and costly in-person meetings so you could both needed to stare at the same screen at the same time.

If only there was a way...

Of course, where there's a will, there's a way! In this case, the way is paved by remote-access software. To be honest, there are tons of remote-access options, but my preference is a web-based solution called LogMeIn. I like it because it's quick and easy to install on the remote system, and it can be used with any web browser on any computer, anywhere you have Internet access.

Getting started with LogMeIn is simple:

1. You sign up for an account at logmein.com. There is a free account option which provides a basic set of features appropriate for most users or paid accounts which provide specialized features for advanced users.

2. Add your computer(s) to your account. LogMeIn will walk you through this process, downloading a small program onto the computer which will allow the remote connection. It will then register the system in your account.

3. When you're ready to remote connect, log on to logmein.com, enter your username and password, and then select the system you want to remotely control from the list in your account. Depending on the settings you chose when you registered the system, you may need to enter a password or wait for a remote user to approve the connection.

4. Once you've connected, a pane will load in your browser window displaying exactly what is on the screen of the remote computer. Anything you type in that window will be typed into the remote computer, and any mouse movements or clicks will pass though to the remote computer.

5. When you finish your tasks, click "Disconnect" and you'll be returned to your account screen.

There is no end to the potential uses for remote-access. My favorite use is for remote-troubleshooting: relatives and friends frequently call to ask for help with computer problems. With remote-access I'm able to see what they see. To fix their problem and show them how I'm doing it. It's also very useful for demonstrating tasks that can't easily be explained in writing or over the phone - a picture is, after all, worth a thousand words.

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.
Spotlight On...
Coming in March: Meet Pattie Porter of Conflict Connections!

Sneak preview for yourself at www.conflictconnections.com
 
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
Insomnia

An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor.

"Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night."

"Have you tried counting sheep?"

"That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it!"

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.