June 2007  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
Volume 4 Issue 6   www.offassist.com
Oh bliss-ful June!

This my favorite month. Not so much for the heat here in Austin, but because this is one of the slowest months of the year for bookkeeping people. It's the month that I get to spend catching up with client work and working on special projects I've been putting off. I use June to reflect on my business over the past year, see if my pricing is still valid, see how our processes are working and make adjustments as needed.

June also means swimming - my favorite activity - and lots of sun, fun and smiles for the Beauchamp family.

Have a happy Summer everyone!

In this issue...
What to look for in an SEO Training Course - Seven Important Qualities
by John Hacking

Thinking about taking a few classes this summer to expand your knowledge? Great! I am a huge proponent of continuing education for business professionals. If you're thinking about learning more about search engine optimization, check out this article for tips on:

Now that search engine optimization is a main stream marketing activity for a lot of online and offline businesses, demand for formal classroom training courses from sales and marketing professionals, web designers and small business owners is increasing. But how do you know if you are getting value? How do you choose the best local SEO training provider? Here's seven things to consider when choosing an SEO or SEM training provider.

A track record of SEO success - Obviously one quality you should look for is a track record of success over a period of time in search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

One quick way to check is to do a Google search on SEO training city, where city is your local area. (eg. SEO training Brisbane or Brisbane SEO training).

If the firm you are considering learning from doesn't rank well then you may be better off looking elsewhere. It also pays to check their SEO client portfolio. Do they have a portfolio? If so, are their clients happy with their SEO work? A few phone calls and you can make sure.

An understanding of current SEO methods - SEO is a dynamic industry. As search engines update and improve their ranking algorithms, so also must SEO companies update their methods of getting and holding good search engine rankings. If the SEO training course you considering is focused on keyword density, link exchanges and creating complex metatags, then choose again. These factors used to be very important 3-5 years ago. Not so now. The best SEO these days is about keyword research, anchor text, article marketing, directory marketing, getting one-way links and using social media.

Avoid astonishing promises - If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. If the SEO training course you are considering promises to show you how to rank in the top 5 in Google for any search term then find someone else. As a famous movie once said ,"They're dreaming."

SEO is hard work and it does take time to rank well for competitive keyword phrases.

Determining the best keyword phrase to optimize for and then executing the optimization over a period of time will eventually yield results.

Sound training methodology - Does the SEO training firm use qualified trainers? What are their qualifications and experience is both training and SEO. There's nothing more disheartening that have a boring instructor who reads his or her notes and doesn't believe in classroom interaction. Make sure your SEO trainer is both a good classroom trainer and experienced in SEO.

Hands-on experience - SEO theory should be backed up by hands-on practical experience where you get to immediately apply your new learning. Avoid any SEO training course where you are lectured to for a day or so without any hands-on experience. The best SEO courses are a combination of theory, example and practice. Where possible you should have the opportunity to work on a real life SEO project and get the instructors help with that project.

Follow up support - The half life of any training course is about 4 days. Unless the theory is applied or revised, it leaves short-term memory and must be relearned. Make sure the training that you purchase includes some level of e-mail or telephone support. if they do, make sure you use it even if it's just to make sure you are on the right track with your SEO projects. Good quality handouts , notes and access to online resources is also something to look for.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

John Hacking is Product Manager for Search Tempo. Search Tempo is a Brisbane SEO training company and Brisbane SEO services firm.
Rules for Success

There are two rules for success:

1.) Don't tell all you know.
Cleaning Up

A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered drawer.
A Helping Hand

When things go wrong, what can you always count on?

Your fingers.

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.
Important Tax Deadlines
June 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for May issued payroll

June 15 - 1040ES Estimated Taxes due for 2nd Quarter 2007

June 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

July 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for June issued payroll

July 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly and quarterly filers

July 31
- Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941
- Employer's Quarterly TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)
Spotlight On...
Holly Barbee McCormick

Meet Holly Barbee McCormick, a Realtor® with EXIT Exceptional Properties in Austin, Texas.

Holly worked in advertising in Boston, Massachusetts for a number of years before deciding to move back to the South -- Holly was born in Louisiana -- in 2001. While in Boston she got to know several real estate professionals who loved their jobs. Wow, people making a living doing something they love! When she got to Austin, Holly decided to give real estate a try.

Holly McCormick is happy to help anyone find or sell a home. As an active woman herself, Holly has a particular passion for helping other women engaged in active lifestyles find a home and a neighborhood that meets all their needs.

Holly also believes strongly in giving back. When she was 12, she lost her father to metastatic melanoma. As an adult, Holly donates 5% of her commission to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help find a cure.

If you want to find out more about Holly Barbee McCormick, "Real Woman. Realtor®. Real Deal", visit her website at www.hollybarbee.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 in 2007.

Tech Talk With Tom...
The Downside of VoIP

Last month we talked about who might want to switch from their standard phone line to Voice over IP (VoIP) and why. But wait--don't cancel your regular phone service yet! There are some real drawbacks you should be aware of before you decide to switch to VoIP. Here is a short list of VoIP problems I know of:

Safety issues: Many VoIP services have limited or no 911 capability. 911 may not work at all if your phone number is not tied to a customer device or computer located at the account address, or emergency vehicles may be dispatched to the wrong location. With traditional telephone service, the 911 network itself can identify the correct physical location of the call's origin.

Sound clarity: Some users have reported static on the lines, dropped calls, dead time (silence), or delayed voice transmission, all of which make it difficult to have a clear conversation.

Reliability: During a power outage, VoIP services generally will not work without a battery backup device or service (if available). In the event of an emergency during a power outage, security systems may not function and you may not be able to call 911 using the VoIP service. VoIP is also unavailable anytime the broadband connection is down (i.e. cable or DSL outage).

In-Home/Office Accessibility: Many VoIP services require the use of equipment like Analog Telephone Adapters (ATAs), that can limit which phones in your home or office can be used with the service.

So, the question still remains: to VoIP or not to VoIP? Unfortunately, there's no one, easy answer. The best you can do is try to make an educated decision. Call your potential VoIP provider and ask about the drawbacks that concern you: Is 911 available for my family? Will my brand new $300 office phone work with the VoIP box? What type of backup do they recommend?

If the VoIP provider can answer your questions to your satisfaction, go ahead and give it a try--but don't sign any contracts. If possible, get a free trial. Since, in this great age of technology, you never know when that dream of saving money might turn into a nightmare of downtime, be certain to keep a cell phone handy!

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.
QuickBooks Q&A
Q: I have numerous customers that I send weekly recurring invoices to. Is there an easier way to bill them than creating a new invoice every week?

A: Yes, there is an easier way! QuickBooks has this handy feature called "memorized transactions" that can make recurring entries much easier. Today we're just going to cover invoices.

If this is a new recurring invoice you can take this opportunity to create an invoice template by leaving areas of the invoice that will change each time blank. If you want to memorize an existing transaction for future reference, pull up the last copy of that invoice.

You save the memorized transaction by pressing "ctrl" and "m" simultaneously, or use the "Memorize Invoice" function in the "Edit" pull-down menu.

The customer name will appear as the default transaction name. Save the transaction with a unique name that will allow you to instantly identify it. "Remind me" will automatically be selected and you can set your preferences for how often you want to be reminded and the next date the invoice will need to be issued. You can also choose to fully automate the process and have QuickBooks send out memorized invoices on a schedule you choose.

If you are creating or editing an invoice JUST to create a template, click "Cancel" after memorizing the transaction or QuickBooks will enter the transaction into your books.

After the initial invoice is memorized, you can access it from "Lists" in the tool bar menu-- the last option is "Memorized Transactions". Select the invoice you want to send and click "Enter Transaction". If you need to edit any information in the memorized invoice, do so before entering the transaction.