September 2006  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
09/01/2006           Vol 3 Issue 9   www.offassist.com
Geek Proud

OffAssist proudly announces - our first magazine advertisement!

Yes, you read that right. Our first print ad (1/4 page) will be in the October 2006 issue of Linux Journal. We are, obviously, very excited. My mother has requested 10 copies of the magazine to show all of her friends (love you, Ma!).

Seriously, we are very Open Source and technology friendly here at OffAssist. We're very proud of our flexibility: Thunderbird, FireFox, and OpenOffice are all words that are heard on a regular basis around our office. We are not afraid to try new technology or to offer alternatives to our customers. Here at OffAssist, this has always been one of our strengths, one that sets us apart from the rest.

Thank you for joining us in celebrating this point in the life of our business!

It is you, our customers, that have allowed us to reach this landmark. We look forward to helping you reach your goals just as you assist us in reaching ours.

Need an OffAssist fix before the next newsletter comes out? Check out our blog at: www.offassist.com/blog/index.html.

In this issue...
Creative Marketing With Promotional Products

- By Jean McGuire, McGuirePro

It's already September - Did you know this is one of the busiest times of the year for the promotional product industry? This is when companies start planning their holiday gifts, holiday cards, holiday parties, new calendars for 2007, employee appreciation awards and recognition, frequently with end-of-year budget spending in mind.

Now is the time for you to evaluate your business and determine what, if anything, you want to do for your clients towards the end of this year. Will you send a gift? Do you send a holiday card only? Do you send them something useful for the beginning of 2007?

You need to first decide what you want to do, if anything, then determine how you are going to distribute your gift and how much you want to spend. Once you have those decisions, it's fairly easy to come up with products to choose from and you can be creative at the same time!

Packaging is important.

Imagine giving a coffee mug to a client telling them you appreciate their loyalty - and you hand them a coffee mug with your company name on it. A better way to give this gift is to put the imprinted coffee mug into a nice gift bag with tissue and a card. You're still giving them the same coffee mug, but the perception of value and appreciation is much higher with the extra packaging. One of my favorite suppliers of creative packaging is The Chest. There are some great ideas for packaging and marketing on that site, sure to get your creative juices flowing.

A really great gift that keeps your name in front of your clients all year long is a wall calendar with your company info. There are hundreds of nice ones to choose from, they only cost around $1-$2 each, and everybody needs one. There have been studies done that show wall calendars are looked at 4-6 times per day, 52 weeks a year, by more than one person in the office effectively costing you just pennies per day for your advertising dollars.

Whatever you decide to do, you don't have to spend a lot of money. There are all kinds of choices - currently about 700,000 customizable products available - and more products are introduced every day. I receive email every day with special pricing on all kinds of products.

You can purchase imprinted items from numerous websites, but be careful. Although their prices may seem cheap, look for the inevitable small print telling you additional charges may be applied to your credit card. Another thing to be aware of is foreign pricing. If you're in the United States, why pay higher Canadian prices for the same products? Why take any chances when you can work with someone with experience and creative ideas at McGuirePro?

As a virtual assistant and promotional product specialist, I have lots of ideas to help you show appreciation to your customers. I provide free creative ideas and onsite graphic design to all of my customers for any products purchased through us. I'm a partner with Geiger, one of the oldest, largest and most respected promotional products distributors in the world. Visit www.McGuirePro.com or browse through www.GeigerMall.com, and let me know if you see something interesting.

I have the ability to search the products of over 4,000 manufacturers who belong to Advertising Specialty, Inc., A.S.I., the promotional products industry association. If your company has a theme (like "time") or an icon (like "sunshine"), I can do a quick search for just those items and provide you a printout of those products to choose from.

Give me a call at 727-726-4333 or email jean@mcguirepro.com. I'll be happy to help you decide if you should give a gift or not and help you determine what might be the best product and packaging for your company.

Now is the time to make the decision on what you are going to do - don't wait until mid- November when suppliers and manufacturers are backed up and you may not get your product in time. Put your order as soon as possible, even if it's a few months away. Production times increase at this time of year, and you don't want to pay extra shipping or rush charges.

Happy holidays, everyone!
 
 
Important Tax Deadlines
September 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for August issued payroll

September 15 - Final Deadline for Corporate Tax Returns

September 15 - 1040ES Estimated Taxes due for 3rd Quarter 2006

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

October 16 - Final Deadline for extended Individual, Corporate, Estate and Trust Tax Returns

October 16 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for September issued payroll

Quickie QuickBooks Q & A
WG from LA asks:

Q: My preferences are set to automatically recall the last transaction for a vendor. Occasionally I may want to change the account or split accounts for a recurring vendor. How can I change the account and any memos or references?

A: Once you have the vendor and the recalled information appears, go to the account line and press the "ctrl" and "delete" keys simultaneously. The previous transaction will be deleted, allowing you to choose your account. If you have _splits_ account, you can simply follow that same process deleting each line.

Tech Talk with Tom...
Renaming Multiple Picture Files In A Directory

With summer coming to an end, many of us are left with sunburns, fond memories, and - oh, yeah - tons of unsorted, cryptically named digital pictures.

I can't do anything about the first, the second we will all carry with us for years to come, but what do you do about all those annoying dscpicxx.jpg files sitting in your "My Pictures" folder?

Here's a quick and easy way to rename the pictures so at least you will know which ones were taken where:
  1. Using the Windows Explorer, navigate to the folder containing your pictures
  2. Highlight the pictures you want to rename either by holding the left mouse button and dragging the highlight box or by ctrl + left-click on each picture.
  3. Press F2 or right click and select Rename
  4. Enter the prefix for the name you want (e.g. beachpic06)
  5. This will automatically rename the rest of the pictures beachpic06 (1).jpg, beachpic06 (2).jpg etc.
  6. Make sure you include the extension if you have the Explorer configured to show them.
So there you go, a fast and easy way to at least partially categorize all those pictures from your summer vacation. You can also use the same technique with any other file types on your computer.

One more tip: Next year, don't forget the sun screen!

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

Geek Jokes
Computer Experts
The function of a computer expert is not to be more right than the rest of us, but to be wrong for more sophisticated reasons.

Microsoft Boot Camp
One of Microsoft's finest techs was drafted and sent to boot camp. At the rifle range, he was given some instruction, a rifle, and bullets. He fired several shots at the target. The report came from the target area that all attempts had completely missed the target.

The Microsoft tech looked at his rifle and then at the target again. He looked at the rifle again, then at the target again. He put his finger over the end of the rifle barrel and squeezed the trigger with his other hand. The end of his finger was blown off, whereupon he yelled toward the target area: It's leaving here just fine. The trouble must be at your end!

Computer Age Aphorisms
  • What boots up must come down.
  • Fax is stranger than fiction.
  • Don't byte off more than you can view.
  • The geek shall inherit the earth.
  • The e-mail of the species is more deadly than the mail.
  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the 'Net and he won't bother you for weeks.

Call BEFORE you get to this point!

 
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.