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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do Small Business Fast and Smart with Microsoft Word

One of the issues that most small business owners overlook when starting out in business is the use of technology. Whilst computer technology may require a significant investment when starting out; Overtime, if your systems are built correctly they will in fact save you very large sums of money, in particular in the area of staff wages.

When I first started my business, One-on-One Personal Computer Training, I started out with a $3,000 Credit Card, which when you talk to any business adviser or business-coach is absolutely the worst thing you could do. One of the issues I have been most conscious of is the cost of having a large number of staff. The way I achieved a high level of efficiency in such a competitive market was to automate as many of the day-to-day tasks as I could. The best tasks for business automation are those that are repetitive.

As soon as I mention the word Business Automation, most technophobes will put up a barrier and go into a minor or major fit. Business automation can be as simple as creating just a few Microsoft Word templates. Business automation does not necessarily mean hiring a huge plethora of software developers and toiling day and night to build some monsterous and complex system. It can and should be simple so that you as a business owner can in fact do it yourself. Let me explain!

Online Microsoft Technical Help Canada for all its good and bad issues, has provided business one of the most awesome tools - Microsoft Word allows you to build templates that you can reuse as many times as you wish.

What Is A Microsoft Word Template?

Essentially, a Microsoft Word Template is like any traditional word document, the difference is that it is designed to be reused as many times as you require. Why not create a normal word document then. Well, the difference is that when you use a Microsoft Word Template, you can store the template under the New dialogue box, so that each time you want to use the document you go to that one point and it will be available.

Did you know that you can even create your own folders in the New dialog box? If you didn't know this, all you have to do is to simply create a new folder where all your templates are stored. On each of our company's computers we have a special folder called one-on-one where we store each of our templates for use by our staff.

What Sort Of Templates Might You Need?

This is one of the key questions I get asked the most. The most common templates I see small businesses require are items like Sick Leave Forms, Leave Applications, Order Forms, Sales Letters, Purchase Order Forms and so forth.

One of the reasons why I chose to build Microsoft Word Templates in my business was to ensure a level of continuity of contact with our customers. By building a series of Templates such as:

- A Company Letter Head
- A Company Fax Sheet
- A Company Leave Application
- A Company Thank You Letter
- A Company Weekly Timesheet
- A Company Sales Letter
- A Company Visitor Sign-in Sheet
- A Company Purchase Order Form
- A Company Order Form

By having these forms in a central place I have ensured that my staff does not need to be recreating these styles of documents each time they have to send a letter or fax. Further to this, I know that certain sales letters used by my staff will achieve the sales outcomes that I am looking for. By using a Microsoft Word Template, they know that when they get and enquiry that they can simply fill-in the customer details and the letter is done.

In our sales letter templates we use Microsoft Word Fill-in field to prompt our staff for key information like the Customers Name, Address and Company Name ensuring that the information does get put into the letter. Once they have completed that they simply press the Print button and its ready to go to the customer. As a business owner, knowing that all my staff have to do to achieve the sales makes me feel far more comfortable than them having to write their own customised letters each time a customer enquires about our training.

Microsoft Word templates are an incredibly useful tool in automating common documents that your staff maybe creating and I believe that this is the first process that all business owners should be using in automating their business.
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