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  • Customizing Tab Permissions in Method:CRM

     

    Every so often I get a call from a Method user who wants to restrict what screens a user sees.  The best way to accomplish this is to use Tab Groups specifically to define what screens individual users can access.  I have seen companies take advantage of tab groups to keep tabs, permissions, and screens organized.

    Today, we’re going to go through how to manage your tab groups by showing how to create a tab group, create tabs for your new tab group, and how to manage users’ access to tab groups.

    Step 1: Create a Tab Group

    Go to your Customize tab and click on the Tab Groups tab link.  Follow the steps for creating a new tab group. Enter a Tab Group name and click ‘Continue…’.  (You already have CRM, QuickBooks and Mobile Users as Tab Groups).  In the list, choose which Users you want to access your new tab group.  Next, choose the tabs you want to see.  If you have not created tabs for the tab group yet, select any tab as a placeholder tab for now.



    “Allowed to Integrate Accounting” and “Allowed to Design Reports” needs an explanation.  If Integrate Accounting is checked, any person assigned to the specific tab group can use their credentials to connect the Method Integration Engine.  It is similar with Design Reports.  If checked, anyone assigned to the tab group can connect the report designer to the Method account.

    Click Add Tab Group. For those users you selected, you should be able to see the New Tab Group in the top right.

    Step 2: Create a Tab

    Go to the Customize tab and the Tabs tab link.  From here, follow the instructions to create a new tab.  Enter a tab group name and click ‘Continue…’.  A list of Tab Groups will appear, allowing you to select where the new tab is to appear.  (If you skipped the step above and don’t have the Tab Group created, then keep all the boxes unchecked.) Once done, click ‘Add Tab’.


    Blog_create_Tab

     

    A pop-up will now appear asking you to create Tab Links (eg. My Account, Display, Screens, etc.) and assign screens to the tab. Here you can assign both default and custom screens.  To create a tab link, select a screen from the dropdown to use in your tab.  Next, enter a tab name.  Once done, click Add Tab Link.  The new tab link should appear on the list

    Once you have completed adding all tab links to the tab, click Finished Editing Tab Links.


    blog_Add_screens

    Step 3: Manage your Tab Groups

    To manage what Tab Groups a user can access, go to Customize -> Users and click Edit… for the user.  Navigate to Step 4 of 10: Access to Tab Groups.  Check off any tab groups you would like the user to see.  Also, set the Tab Group the user sees when they first login to your newly created one.


    blog_user_settings

     
    With these steps, you will be able to create tab groups that are designed specifically for a group of users.  It will allow you to exercise unprecedented control over how your users see and use Method!
    Greg 

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  • Importing Multiple Contacts into Method:CRM [Tutorial Video]

     

    Hello and Welcome to Method:CRM blog post by Errol!

    You may remember back in January when Ben wrote a blog post about Importing Customers and Contacts into Method:CRM.
    We decided that we would take that one step further and create a video for you!

    However, in this video, we’ve made a slight change. We don’t cover how to import Customers, because we have a whole video series on Importing Customers and Customer Leads.

    Instead, we talk about importing Contacts, and in particular, when you have more than one contact for a Customer!

     ImportingContactsVideo

    Import all the Contacts!


    And that’s it from me, which is surprising because you know how long I can talk for. However, if you are looking for more videos on how to use Method:CRM, remember to check out our Help Center where we have listed out all my videos. It spans for pages. That’s a lot of videos!

     

    HelpCenter_ListOfUserTutorials

    We sure have a lot of videos...


    Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great day!

    Bye Bye!

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  • 4 Apps to Organize Your Life

     

    Lately it feels as though I have two jobs.  

    The first, of course, is Content & Community Coordinator at Method. The second is Wedding Coordinator Extraordinaire for my big sister, Katie.  We’re really close, so I don’t mind the extra work, and truthfully, it can be a lot of fun.

    However, when I was reflecting on the events and tasks I needed to help organize for the wedding, I couldn't help but think “there’s got to be an app for this!”  And, low and behold, there are tons of wedding apps to help with the planning, coordinating, and even speech writing (phewf!).

    In the end though, I opted for more generalized organizational apps so I could use them for other events and tasks outside of the wedding.  

    Alas, this blog post is dedicated to the apps that keep me organized when I’m not at work, keeping organized within Method:CRM.  

    (Some Methoders even customize Method:CRM to keep their personal lives and events organized, like Jason who manages his annual Hockey Pool through Method!)

    1. Paperless Post 

    • Send customized, digital, special occasion cards, invitations, or a quick thank you note

    • Use the app’s free card templates or pay for “Coins” for access to more templates

    • Manage event RSVPs, review messages, and send reminder emails through your ‘Post Box’ dashboard.

    4 Apps to Organize Your Life

     

     I came across this when I was invited to attend an event and have been hooked ever since. So far, I have used this application to send out event invitations, digital birthday cards to family, and thank you cards to friends.

    When someone receives your invitation, they are prompted to RSVP right then and there, so there’s no excuse for slacking! On your Paperless Post ‘Post Box’ you can see who has accepted/declined your invite, and view any private messages invitees have sent you.

    In addition to invitations and managing guest lists, this application is also a great way to send a thank you card or beautiful birthday card, which is a little more special than an email or a Facebook wall post.

    2. Doodle 

    • Easy-to-use group scheduling tool

    • Create event/meeting, select date/ time options, send unique link to invitees to select when they prefer or are available to meet, view table to see best date/time to schedule

    • Sync appointments to your calendars

    4 Apps to Organize Your Life

     

    A few weeks ago, my mother tried to arrange a Sunday family dinner via email. After several back-and-forth emails between my siblings and I, my poor mum got so frustrated trying to coordinate schedules, she wrote “That’s it! I’m done!”.  

    If you have a big family and tend to be the one organizing get-togethers, this will sound familiar and may even cause a familiar eye twitch.

    With Doodle, if I need to find a date and time that works for a few people, I create an event in Doodle, pick a few date/time options and forward the link so that all invitees can check off their available/preferred times.  When all responses have been submitted, voila!  You get a visual display of the date/time that works best for everyone (or at least the majority).

    I used this application to find a day where I could guarantee a good turn-out for my sister’s bridal shower and this system worked like a charm. Next step --  providing a Doodle demo for my mom, because I refuse to have scheduling difficulties come between me and a delicious home-cooked meal.

    3. Wunderlist

    • Syncs across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, and the Web

    • Share lists and collaborate with friends and family

    • Create sub tasks to break down bigger tasks into smaller, achievable goals

    • Set due dates and reminders

    4 Apps to Organize Your Life

    Ah, the infamous to-do list. It’s funny how ingrained the to-do list becomes in how we organize our tasks and keep from forgetting items whipping through our heads.  

    And even with a beautiful Macbook here at Method, I still write out my to-do lists in a notebook, with a pen! (Confession: Sometimes I even add items that I’ve already completed for the pure satisfaction of checking something off the list. I’m seeking professional help, don’t worry).

    With my sister’s wedding events, there seemed to be an endless list of to-do’s, so I decided to move my list making into the digital world through Wunderlist.

    I wanted an application I could use for both work and in my personal life.  I also wanted an app I could have open on my Macbook at work that would sync with my smartphone.  I read great reviews of this product and decided to give it a go, and I am happy to report there is now more organization to my chaos.

    4. Pocket

    • Take anything you find online and store it in an organized way so it’s ready to view when you are

    • Organize everything you put in Pocket through tags such as “read later”

    • Save directly from your browser or from the 500+ apps that Pocket integrates with

    4 Apps to Organize Your Life
    Pocket_2

    If you’re like me and often have the thought “too many online articles to read, too little time!” then Pocket will become your new favourite friend (sorry Errol!).  

    You see, in my role at Method I’m constantly searching the web for helpful small business content, but I was finding that I was bookmarking way too many pages, and then I couldn’t review these articles unless I had my laptop.  

    When I heard about Pocket, I felt like my content overload prayers had been answered. I now use Pocket everyday at work to save research articles or cool resources, and I use it for fun stuff too when I’m at home or on the streetcar.

    Bonus App! Songza

    • Music streaming site featuring curated playlists made by DJs, musicians, music critics

    • Pick a playlist based on occasion, mood, activity or genre

    • Listen on a browser or through a smartphone app

    • No more creating Playlists for dinner parties - just pick something that fits the mood you’re trying to create.

    Songza 

    Okay, so I know I said 4 apps for this blog post, but I couldn’t resist -- I had to include Songza.  This suggestion may not seem as productivity-related as the other apps I’ve mentioned, but hear me out.  If you’re like me, and you enjoy listening to music while you work, having awesomely curated playlists saves you time. With an app like Songza, you don’t have to download music and create your own playlists or waste time looking for tunes on YouTube.

    This app has many uses in my personal life too.  If I need some energizing music to take on the treadmill - Songza.  If I'm throwing a party or having people over for dinner - Songza.  If I am wrapping Christmas presents under the tree while sipping hot cocoa and would love to listen to Bing Crosby, but don’t have Bing Crosby - you guessed it, Songza.

     

    That about does it for this post, but I foresee a follow up post on this topic because there are other apps that I would love to share with you.  Wow, I’m realizing how incredibly dependent I am on my smartphone.  Scary.

    Are you using any of these four apps at the moment? I would love to hear about the tools and techniques that keep you organized outside of your work life, so feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me.

     Until next time!

    Lynda

    Method Content & Community Coordinator 

  • Update to Method's QuickBooks Desktop Sync Engine

     

    Greetings Methoders!

     

    The new version of our QuickBooks Desktop Sync Engine is now out of beta, and we wanted to give you the rundown about why an update was needed, what this means, and how to make sure you have an updated sync engine.

     

    Why a new sync engine?
    • QuickBooks Desktop requires us to renew/update our QuickBooks application certificate every two years and we were due for an update.  

    • The certificate is needed for Method to integrate with QuickBooks Desktop via the Software Development Kit (SDK), and it identifies us as the creator of the Method Integration Engine (which we’re very proud of!)  

    What this means, and why this is great for Method users
    • The new sync engine runs faster and lighter – it uses QBXML rather than QBFC, which means faster download and execution.

    • You’ll need to download a New Application Certificate, called “Method Integration Engine 2014 for use with QuickBooks”.  This will replace your original application certificate and allow you to take advantage of the improved functionality!

    • For example, in cases where generating a report takes a very long time, a separate web service will be leveraged to improve response time.  That means less report lag and improved performance!

    • The new functionality includes integration with QuickBooks Enterprise Advanced Inventory (which means you’ll have access to Lot numbers, Serial Numbers, and Locations).

    • It also features improved User Interface and integration with both QB 2013 and QB 2014 fields!

     

     What You Should Expect 

    • The main QuickBooks Administrator for your company needs to update the sync engine when prompted (since s/he is the only person with the authority to do so within the system).
    • The Method Sync Engine Certificate is like a permission slip that allows Method to access and mirror the information in your QuickBooks file.  Because our new Sync Engine Certificate has the new name “Method Integration Engine 2014 for use with QuickBooks”, QuickBooks sees it as a new application and needs you to permit Method access to sync.

     

     Steps to Update Your QuickBooks Desktop Sync Engine

     

    1. Login to QuickBooks Desktop as the Main Administrator in Single User-Mode. Other staff can remain on Method during this time and their work will sync over to QuickBooks once the certificate has been updated by the Main Admin.  If your staff need to be logged on to QuickBooks Desktop during the day, we recommend performing this update during after-hours so it does not interrupt their work day.
    1. When you’re logged in as Main Administrator, accept the update that pops up.

    1. Run a full Method:CRM sync so that all staff are operating within QuickBooks Desktop with updated changes.

    1. If you were on the beta of this engine, which was delivered via an installable .MSI file (rather than an automatic update), we encourage you to uninstall it and use the regular download from the QuickBooks tab.
    NewQBDSyncEngineCert

     

    NewQBDSyncEngineAccessGranted 

    If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our Method Community Support team - they’re always happy to help :)

     

    Toll-free: 1.888.925.6238
    Local and overseas: 1.416.847.0400

     

    Lynda
     
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  • 5 Lies You Hear About Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

     

    Good day Method users!  

    Once again it’s Alex, your friendly neighbourhood documentation man-about-town, stepping out from behind the editorial desk to bring you some food for thought for your small business.  

    I’ve talked before about how companies leverage their social media platforms into leads and customers, and since it’s a pet topic of mine I’m going to address the wide world of the World Wide Web once again today.  

    There’s a lot of misinformation that gets spread around about what social media is and isn’t, and more importantly, what it can and can’t do.  My years in advertising taught me how to avoid many of these pitfalls, so I am passing the savings on to you.  

    Behold: the 5 lies you’ve been told about social media marketing, and better advice from yours truly!

    01_Adam

    A great deal is made of the “organic” nature of social media interaction, and some self-proclaimed gurus will tell you that your marketing plan should be equally organic (also known as “not planned out in advance”).

    To plan a campaign is seen in some circles as cynical, and a misappropriation of the medium.  Not so!  

    While it’s true that social media campaigns have to be more flexible than traditional marketing (because you’re interacting directly with your potential customers in real time), having no plan whatsoever is a good way to lose focus, direction, and ultimately, potential business.

    You don’t need to pre-script every Tweet, but you do need to know what your goals are and what assets you want to leverage to reach those goals.  And on that note... 

    02_Kinza

     

    Of course the whole point of owning a business is to make money, but the correlation between social media marketing and sales isn’t a 1:1 ratio, nor should it be.

    Unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing is less about guaranteeing sales (in fact, the more you push the self-promotion angle the less effective your campaign will be!) and more about developing relationships with potential customers, networking with complementary businesses, and showcasing your customer service.  

    Remember: in a Web 2.0 environment, conversation equals conversion, so start talking! 

    03_Danny

     Okay, so you have a website, a Facebook business page, a Twitter feed, maybe an Instagram to highlight relevant photos, and if you’re really enthusiastic you might even have a YouTube or Vimeo channel for video assets.  

    That’s a lot of real estate - good for you! Now, what are you going to do with it?  If your answer was “nothing; I’ll let my customers come to me”, you need to reassess your strategy.  

    Online communities don’t build themselves, even though it might look like it sometimes.  Reaching out to existing customers and leads means making them aware of your social media activity (think about adding your Facebook and Twitter to your business cards, for example) and then providing relevant content to keep them coming back.  It’s a relatively minor investment in time that can increase your visibility and open your door to more customers.  

    04_Phuong

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



    All right, I think we’ve determined that social media marketing is a valuable tool, but don’t listen to the gurus who’ll tell you it’s the only tool your business will ever need again.  

    Particularly for certain types of businesses, an online presence in place of all other marketing can be a shot in the foot rather than a shot in the arm.

    Remember that print advertising and other traditional forms of marketing will target a demographic that won’t necessarily be reached through the internet.

    In modernizing your business, you don’t want to alienate customers and leads who favour a more traditional approach.  Find the balance that’s right for you and run with it.

    05_Naeem

     Even after all the years I spent working with clients in my advertising days, this one still baffles me.  I don’t know who is running around telling business owners that a Facebook page or a Twitter feed is going to totally overhaul their business overnight and that by morning a ravenous host of new customers will be beating down their doors, but if I find them I’m going to kick them in the shins.

    Social media, like any other form of advertising, is both a gamble and a long-term strategy.  

    Yes, it allows you to connect with your customers and leads in a more meaningful, human way than a billboard or print ad might, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a lineup out the door inside the first day, the first week, or even the first few months of a campaign.  Invest in solid social media real estate and cultivate it, and like a tilled field, you will reap the benefits in due time.

    So I turn it to you, business owners - what have your experiences been in using social media tools to promote your business?  What’s worked?  What’s failed spectacularly?

     Let us know in the comments, or you can find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, watch our great instructional videos on our YouTube channel, and check out my regular stomping grounds at the Method Help Center

    06_Alex

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Alex

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  • How to Create an Invoice in QuickBooks

     

    QB101

    So far in our QuickBooks 101 blog series, I've answered a few high-level QuickBooks questions such as "Why is QB a good accounting software for my small business?"  
     
    Now I'm happy to help answer user-based  QB questions starting with "How do I create an invoice in QuickBooks?"  
     
    I will also include the 'how-to' documentation notes (thanks Alex!) and video tutorial link (thanks Errol!) for creating an invoice within Method:CRM, since everything you do in Method will sync with your QuickBooks file (yay, no double entry!).

    What is an Invoice?

    An invoice is a itemized bill issued by a seller (you!) listing the goods or services supplied to the buyer (your customers!), containing individual prices, total charges, and the terms.

    How do I create an invoice in QuickBooks?

    1. From QuickBooks homepage, go to Create Invoice.

      HomeScreen_Invoices_1
    2. From the Invoice Templates drop down menu, choose an invoice template.

      Invoices_3
    3. From the Customer:Job drop down menu, select a Customer from the list.

    4. Enter the correct date for the invoice.

    5. Click the first line in the Item column. From the drop down arrow, select an item. 

      Invoices_4
    6. Enter the quantity.

      Invoices_5
    7. Change the description and rate, if necessary.

    8. Enter a customer message, if required. To print or email the invoice later, click the To be printed or To be emailed check box.

    1. If you have more invoices to enter, click Save & New. Otherwise, click Save & Close.  If you chose to print the invoice later, choose File > Print Forms > Invoices when you're ready to print.  To email the invoice later, choose File > Send Forms when you're ready to send it.


    How do I create an invoice in Method:CRM (that will sync with QuickBooks)? 

    1. From Method CRM, go to Customers > Invoices.

    1. From the Customer: Job drop down menu, choose a customer or lead with whom to associate this invoice. This will auto-fill any address information Method has on file for this customer or customer job.

    1. From the Account drop down menu, choose an account to associate with this invoice. The only option available out of the box is Accounts Receivable, but you can add more in your QuickBooks account!

    1. From the Date drop down menu, choose a date for this invoice. The default will be today's date.

    1. In the Line Item grid, choose the items that will be included for this invoice by using the Item drop down menu(s). You can include as many items as you want; if you run out of space, click New Line Item to generate further lines.

    2. Choosing these items will auto-fill the Description, Quantity, Amount, Cost, and Tax fields in the grid. You can change these, as well as the other options, as you desire. Click Update when you're done filling in line items to generate a total.

    1. Clicking Save at the bottom of the screen will save this invoice; when you reload the Existing invoice grid you will see it there. If you have clicked Email notification when saving, the button below will appear as Save & Email, and will generate and send an email to any contact on the account who has Opt out of billing unchecked (please see our documentation on Contacts for more information). If the Email notification box is left unchecked, this button will appear as Save & New, which means it will save the fields and clear them in preparation for a new invoice.

    TIP: The above fields are the only required fields on this page and represent the minimum amount of information Method needs to create an invoice. However, the more information you provide, the more comprehensive your invoice will be! For more information on the remaining fields on this page, please see our full Documentation page for Invoices.

    Can I turn an estimate or work order into an invoice in Method?

    Yes!

    If you've created an estimate within Method:CRM, that estimate can easily be turned into a work order, which then can be turned into an invoice!  There is really no reason to be entering in the same info more than once when you’re busy with small business.  

    In this video, found within the Method:CRM Transactions Video Series, Errol shows you how to do just that.
    Watch the video here!
    Screen_Shot_2014-03-05_at_5.09.21_PM
    Until next time,

    Lynda

     

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  • Managing Multiple Currencies in Method:CRM

     

    Hi there again, this is Adam from the Support team!

    For this blog post, I thought I’d talk a bit about incorporating multiple currencies into Method:CRM.

    In QuickBooks, you can enable a feature to allow for transactions in foreign currencies. This works great for businesses who have customers in the U.S and Canada, or overseas. But how does this work in Method, you may ask?  Can I log transactions in a foreign currency? The answer is yes, and it’s actually fairly simple to utilize.

    To take advantage of this, you must first enable this feature in QuickBooks. See here for information on how to do that.

    In Method, there is a Currency dropdown field available in the Customer table. This field is one that syncs with QuickBooks and holds the currency of the customer. Our stock Edit Customer screen does not have this field available, but with a quick customization, you can drag this field onto the screen.  

    Here’s how:

    First, right-click the current stock Edit Customer screen to create a copy of the stock screen, and edit it (if you’ve already customized this screen, you can simply edit it).



     

    Next, simply drag and drop the Currency field from the Field list on the left to the screen designer on the right. You can put the field anywhere on the screen; I chose to put it underneath the Price Level dropdown for simplicity.

     




     

    Something to look out for is the Account Receivable account (AR account) set for the invoice. The AR account must match the currency set for the customer.  In Method, the default AR account is set to the last one used in a transaction. If this is not the correct account and the invoice is saved, a conflict will be created and prevent the invoice from syncing to QuickBooks.

    Now, you could potentially stop here and be done.  With this simple customization, you can now see the customer’s currency and can set it for any new customers entered into Method. You can also enter transactions in Method that match their currency. This will give you basic functionality.

    However, there are other customizations you can do for multi-currency.  You can place actions to set the AR account on the invoice screen according to the customer selected, as well as add the BalanceRemainingInHomeCurrency field to show the balance in your home currency. If you have a customer overseas, you can also change the currency symbol on the transaction screens and reports to show the customer’s currency code.

    Finally, you can set currencies for Vendors, accounts, and various transactions. There are many other areas in which you could potentially utilize multi-currency.

    I hope this article provided a glimpse of what Method can do with this QuickBooks feature. If you’re unfamiliar with customization, I would suggest going through our Customization Webinars first. If you have any questions about multi-currency, please ask about it in our Forums.  We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Adam
     
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  • February in Small Business

     

     

    Wow, it's hard to believe we're at the end of the month already!  Was February a productive one for you and your team? Did you hit any milestones in your business or are you ramping up for a busy Spring and Summer season just around the corner? 
    Last month was the kick-off to our new blog series "This Month in Small Business" where I recapped some of the interesting, and often helpful, resourses I shared throughout the month with our social media community.  
    If you missed these, no problem! Here is a selection of what I came across during February that includes a video, an infographic, and two articles:  
     

    Shawn Anchor: The Happy Secret to Better Work [Video] 

    If you're not already a TED Talks enthusiast, I'm going to make a fan out of you with this one!  The Happy Secret to Better Work talk is given by Shawn Anchor, the CEO of Good Think Inc, where he researches and teaches about positive psychology. If you're having difficulties with low team moral or just need a good laugh, check out this talk.  

    (To my delight, Shawn Anchor even thanked Errol when he shared the video with his own network!)

    Screen_Shot_2014-02-28_at_12.35.35_PM

    10 Body Language Tips Every Speaker Must Know [Infographic]

    Speaking of great presentation skills, here's an infographic that offers a few easy to implement tips for improving your skills as a presenter. (Note: To zoom in on the infographic for better reading press Command and + on a Mac or Ctrl + scroll mouse wheel on a PC)

    The Miracle & Mystery of Sleep: 12 Remarkable Psychological Studies [Article] 

    This article features the results of sleep tests that are quite amazing.  Who knew our sleep was affected by a full moon?!

    “The data show that around the full moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30 percent. People also took five minutes longer to fall asleep, and they slept for twenty minutes less time overall."

    The important take-away from this article is the importance of sleep, especially for those of you running a small business. It may seem like a good idea to sacrifice sleep to continue working, but it's about working smart, not hard. You'll be able to think with more clarity and creativity if you're rested, so go to bed! (Eeks, I sound like my mom!) 

    How to Train Your Brain to Stay Focused [Article]

    I may not be willing to sign up for those brain-training services, but I thought the notion of training your own brain through productive work habits was an excellent idea.
    If you're interested in becoming more focused and productive in your daily work routine, check out this article from Entrepreneur Magazine.
    I hope you enjoy these pieces and if you've come across a great article, video, infographic, or cat pic, please share! You can always tweet me at @MethodCRM
    Have a great weekend everyone!
    Lynda
      

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  • Intuit Reseller Rally: Method’s Adventure to Silicon Valley

     

    For many, the start of a new year means resolutions to get fit, eat healthy, time with family...I could gon but will spare you. For some of us at Method, this new year kicks off a new round of annual conferences.
    By now there’s a lot that is routine in attending conferences -- airport delays, long nights and early mornings -- while other parts are fresh, bold, and totally new, like the product features, innovations, announcements, and new faces. For 2014, Method decided to be fresh, BIG and bold!

    2014_IRR_(1)

    Intuit Reseller Rally

    Our first trip took us to beautiful San Francisco for the annual Intuit Reseller Rally, bringing together some of the top Intuit Resellers. Together with sponsors like Method:CRM, the event provides Intuit Resellers, many of whom are a part of Method Partner Program, with an opportunity to see the latest showcases and innovations in the marketplace.

    Additionally, it provides an opportunity to interact with other Resellers to share their own best practices and to also learn from others to help their own clients to be more successful.

     

    Silicon Valley - the Mecca of Innovation

    During the trip, we made sure to stop in at the Intuit Headquarters, where we were greeted with apps (short for appetizers...not tech applications) and a small tour around the Innovation Center.  During the Intuit Gallery Tour, we were treated to demos of some pretty exciting technology - here are a few:

    2014_IRR_(2)

    GoPayment by Intuit

    For those small businesses that provide services on the road, Intuit’s GoPayment is a way to accept credit card payments on the spot. Instead of sending a customer an invoice for a product or service and then waiting days, or even weeks for payment, the GoPayment card reader and app allows you to either swipe, key-in, or snap a picture of a customer’s credit card and process the transaction immediately.  

    To provide authorization for their credit card, the customer signs right within the app and receives a receipt of the transaction by text or email.  The transaction syncs up with QuickBooks and Intuit Point of Sale products, so everything is in the system before you even get back to the office. How cool is that?!      

    SparksRent by Intuit

    Intuit created SparksRent because handwritten, post-dated rent cheques are outdated and landlords need an alternative to chasing after payments.  This is how SparksRent works:

    • Landlords create a SparksRent account and add rental units, tenants’ info, and their own banking info to receive  payments

    • Each tenant will receive a welcome email from SparksRent where they are shown how to pay rent through the application and even set up automatic payments

    • Each tenant can see all their payments on their dashboard, which is an easy way to make sure you haven’t missed any

    • When a rent payment has been made, the landlord receives a notification email with the payment confirmation and can also view all tenant payments on his own dashboard.


    A Quick Stop Off at Google

    Before the start of the Intuit Reseller Rally, Paul and Danny left the Toronto winter weather behind for an extra day in Silicon Valley to meet up with an old friend, who not only works at Google HQ but who was kind enough to show the guys around.  I was told it was an amazing experience and that both Intuit and Google had pretty incredible offices and corporate cultures.  Here are some pics from outside the Google office and what Paul and Danny had to say.

     
    Paul and Danny at Google HQ

    “Google and Intuit are both highly innovative companies that have been very successful at building products that have won the hearts of both consumers and small businesses. I enjoyed getting a peek into their environments.  Key takeaway: Google has a better staff coffee policy!”

    - Paul Jackson, Method CEO

     
    Paul at Google HQ


    “Visiting Google and Intuit's headquarters provided a sneak peak into what makes each of their workplaces unique. This was also a perfect time to do some self reflection into what makes Method's work environment unique and special. While we aren't there yet, if I were to sum up our workplace it would be a perfect blend of both companies cultures. Creative/playful (Google) and structured/organized (Intuit).”

    - Danny, Method COO

     
    Danny at Google HQ

     

    (Danny forgot to mention that Method HQ also has a fantastic Friday afternoon beer policy!)

     
    If you'd like to see all the pictures from our trip, follow us on Facebook and stay tuned!
    Val
     
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  • If an Olympic Athlete Applies to Your Small Business, Hire Them

    So far the 2014 Sochi Olympics have been incredible to watch.  The victorious wins, the heart breaking falls, and just knowing millions of others are sharing in the experience is pretty incredible.

    While I am no Human Resource expert, I truly believe athleticism produces so much more than strong muscles and Olympic medals.

    If your team is expanding in the coming months, look out for those applicants who have a past in sports.  In fact, here are 3 reasons small businesses should hire an Olympic athlete, (if they are ever so lucky) or anyone who has trained in sports:

     

    1. They Know How to Take Risks

    If anyone saw me watching the 2014 Winter Olympics they would think I was watching a horror movie, but in fact I’m clutching a couch cushion and gritting my teeth because I’m watching athletes whip down ice tunnels at over a hundred miles an hour.  Don’t get me wrong - I will take on the scariest of roller coasters if presented with the opportunity, but I salute those athletes brave enough to take on a sport like the Skeleton.

    Knowing when and how to take intelligent risks is an attribute I always associate with small business owners and those who work for them, especially in the early years. So if you own a small business and someone like U.S SIlver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace wants to join your team, I suggest you shake her hand in acknowledgement of her bravery (and her recent silver!) and then ask when she can start.

     

    2. They Have Impeccable Work Ethic 

    So, Kaitlyn Farrington shows up at your small business with her resume (and her gold for Half Pipe Snowboarding) but she doesn’t have the same level of experience in customer service as the next applicant - do you give her a shot?

    When you consider the long-term benefit of work ethic and intelligence in comparison to experience, it might be worth giving the Olympian a place on your team.  Sure, the other candidate will have a shorter learning curve in the the beginning, but if the role is not technically based (e.g. computer programming) I would bank on the ROI in hiring someone with a proven record of initiation, discipline, and a world-class work ethic.

    In fact, in the article 5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees, Ryan Caldbeck (founder of CircleUp) makes the comparison between the benefit of intelligence over experience:

    “An intelligent candidate can quickly learn a job and frequently ends up doing it better than someone (less intelligent) who has been doing a similar job elsewhere. Experience is certainly valuable, but brains are the horsepower that drives the business.” 

     

    3. They Have Endurance and Persevere

    There’s no question - the best sports to watch during the Winter Olympics are the speedier sports.  But what about those athletes who train in sports that rely on endurance?  They may not be the most thrilling spectator sport to observe, but anyone who trains for a sport like the Biathlon sure knows what it means to keep on trekking even when you feel like you’ve been running uphill for days.  

    The world of small business is not always glamorous, so there’s value in hiring those who will stick it out with you through the rough times as they’re able to visualize the end goal. Take sales roles for example: as more industries move away from the cold-calling tactic, salespeople are now required to do more research, investigate the needs of their leads, and - well, persevere!

     

    I hope you enjoy the watching the rest of the 2014 Winter Olympics and if you are indeed hiring this winter, I hope these tips help you score high on new hires.

     

    Until next time,

    Lynda, Method Content & Community Coordinator

     

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  • Updates From Method's Video Guy

     

    Hello, and welcome to another Method CRM blog post written by me, Errol!

    I haven’t written a blog post in a very long time. Lynda has favourites and I’m not one of them. Ha! I’m kidding.

    Anyway, I have so many things that I want to talk about. For example, did you know that in our Help Center, I have listed out all my videos? You did? Did I already mention that? Well, it’s good to have a reminder regardless.

    And this is growing!

    Did you also know that Jason and myself have been at Method for a year? That’s right, it’s our one year anniversary and we wrote a song. I don’t know why we’re sharing this song but we are giving you full permission to mock us.

     

    And finally, I have two video series to give you and that’s the Google Gadget Plug-in, as well as the Outlook Plug-in. If you are not aware that you can use these plug-ins to help integrate Method more into your CRM workflow, well now you know. Check out the documentation that Alex has updated, and then take a gander at these videos.

     

    And that’s it! I hope you have a great Valentine’s day. Speaking of Valentine’s day, here’s a photo with my officemate, Lynda. She LOVES Valentine’s day… a little too much in my opinion.

     

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  • QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online?

     

    QB101

    Hi Method friends!

    Today, I'm taking a high-level view of the differences between the QuickBooks Desktop and Online versions. 

    In the last installment of our QuickBooks 101 blog series, I answered the question "Is QuickBooks a good accounting software program for SMBs and startups?"  Check out the post here!  


     QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online?

    There is a misconception that QuickBooks Online is just the cloud-based version of QuickBooks Desktop; however, this is not the case.  While there are common functions in both programs, there are also functions found in the Online version that are not found in the Desktop version, and vise versa.  

    So, it’s important to evaluate what you need out of your accounting software to determine which version would best suit your business. 

    Both programs have common features such as accepting credit card payments, bank reconciliation, company snapshot, printing bills, online banking, and more. But let’s compare the differences in the two QuickBooks options. Oh, and the QB Desktop version I’m referring to is the U.S Windows version, not the Mac version.

    QuickBooks Desktop 

    • offers Webex Remote Access as a remote accessing solution, but doesn’t allow simultaneous access for multiple remote users.

    • integrates with QuickBooks Point of Sale

    • offers QuickBooks Bill Pay

    • offers complete job costing

    • allows more freedom to customize forms and reports

    • syncs with Method:CRM by installing the Method Integration Engine

    • requires you to purchase a new desktop version of QuickBooks software every year with some free update releases throughout the year

    • does not include support - that’s an additional cost 

    QuickBooks Online 

    • is accessible anytime, anywhere for up to 5 simultaneous users

    • includes all upgrades and there’s no need to purchase a new version of QB Online every year

    • includes free support

    • tracks inventory (Online Edition Plus)

    • easily integrates with Method:CRM since there's nothing to install

    • does not integrate with QuickBooks Point of Sale

    • does not offer QuickBooks Bill Pay

    • does not do complete job costing, but it does track expenses by job

    • is less flexible with regard to customizing forms or reports

     

    If you’re looking for a really detailed breakdown of the differences between the QuickBooks versions, I recommend taking a look at these two Sleeter Group articles:

    QuickBooks Online vs. Desktop: Is One Better than the Other?  

    Comparing QuickBooks Desktop with QuickBooks Online  

    That's it for the third installment of QuickBooks 101.  If you have any questions you would like answered in the next post of this series, leave a comment below or send me a tweet at @MethodCRM

     

    Until next time,

    Lynda

     

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  • 3 Massive Website Mistakes to Avoid

     

    Unless you have the wonderful problem of a phone that’s always ringing, as a small business owner, you rely on your website to pull in new leads.  This is especially true outside of business hours.  So how do you get your website to be a digital version of your top salespeople?  

    Avoid these 3 common mistakes and you’ll be on your way to making your website a sales superstar.
     

    1. Lacking a Clear Value Proposition

    A new visitor should be able to quickly scan your homepage and immediately understand 1) what your product or service does, 2) who it’s for, and 3) how it will benefit them.

    Imagine you know absolutely nothing about your company (yes that’s hard to do!).  Now take a look at your homepage.  Would you understand the benefit being offered in 30 seconds or less?  That’s how much time you have to communicate your offering before a potential customer bounces from your website.

     

    2. Failing to Build Trust

    It’s so easy to talk about how great your products and services are; after all your business is your passion!   But wouldn’t it be so much better if your customers did that for you?

    Prospects respond best to social proof like:
    • Real customers giving short testimonials on how your product/service benefited them.
    • Reviews on other sites (we do this on Intuit Apps.com).

    • Customer Success Stories.

    If you have any or all of these trust signals, that’s great!  Feature them prominently on your website.  We’re going to run an experiment in the coming months to see if interspersing short customer quotations with headshots on our Tour page helps or hurts our conversions.  I’ll update you on that in a future blog post, or hit me up on twitter @jamilaljabri

     

    3. Too Many Hoops in Your Conversion Funnel

    Einstein said it best: “Make things as simple as possible and not simpler.”  
    So true when it comes to your funnel.  Here’s an example: in my last role at a travel ecommerce company, the biggest improvement we made to our conversion rate was changing from a multi-page check-out process where we made buyers click through many pages and decide on extras like car rentals, to a single page where we captured only the required info to book their flight.  Not only were bookings higher, revenue was also higher despite not getting cross-sell sales from car rentals and hotels.
    Maybe a conversion on your website isn’t a purchase -- it’s a lead.  How many fields are in your form?  I think you only need 2: name and email.  When you keep it simple, you’ll get more leads, and you can get all the other info when you follow-up.

     

    Measuring the Results

    So how do you know if the changes you made to your website are helping or hurting your conversions?  If you aren’t already, you can track your conversion rate with a free tool like Google Analytics, which is easy to add to your website, and you can run A/B tests with a tool like Optimizely.  We applied the learnings above to our website redesign, and the results have exceeded our expectations.

    If you have a question, comment or story of your own, please leave it in the comments section below or tweet us @MethodCRM.

    Until next time,

    Jamil

    PS - In my next post I'll cover 3 more website mistakes to avoid so your redesign isn't a train wreck.

    Illustration below is by Ron, Method's Admiral of Awesome Design.
    Train_Wreck-1 


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  • New Field Services Documentation

     

    Welcome to the new year, Method users.  Alex here again - documentation specialist and sometime-sidekick to Errol the video guru. For those of you who have been asking (and from what consulting and support have told me, it’s been many of you) I’m pleased to report our next section of documentation is up and running.  

     

    It is with the greatest pleasure I announce the launch of the updated Field Services / Scheduling and Invoicing documentation (with nine dedicated Errol videos to boot for those of you who consider yourselves card-carrying members of Errol’s fan club - which I am beginning to suspect is a real thing). 

     

    The breakdown is similar to what you have seen in this section up until now: under Field Services in the Help Center you'll find some A-to-B walkthroughs including how to set up field services, customization suggestions, and more.

     

    But what we’re really pleased about is the Field Services Center, which you can find as another tree under Field Services. There, you'll find an exhaustive breakdown of every screen and function associated with field services, supplemented by Errol's videos where appropriate.  Need to know how to turn a work order into an invoice?  It’s there.  Questions about how to set up time tracking?  Oh, we’ve got you covered.  Want to schedule a work order using the Calendar?  Now you know how.  

     

    And if you’re looking for a little more context relevant to your business, check out our three-part Day in the Life series, found under the Tutorial section.  Here we’ll cover three standard days in Field Services life from the perspective of different service industries.  If your particular industry isn’t included, don’t worry - there are a lot of similarities between how different businesses use Method, so our examples will likely apply to you too!

     

    Feel free to take a look at the new material, and as always Errol and I would love your feedback.  However!  We have changed our contact information.  Moving forward, if you want to contact Errol or me, please refer your emails to education@method.me.  Because from now on, we are educators!  

    Alex the Method Educator

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    That’s all from the documentation camp for this week, Methodites. 

    Excelsior, et cetera!

    Alex

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  • This Month in Small Business

     

    Happy Friday Method Friends!

    Today's blog post initiates our new "This Month in Small Business" blog series, where I will recap some of the best  resources I have stumbled upon throughout the month that are small business and leadership focused.

    Here are the most informative and thought provoking articles from the past month

     

    To Keep Your Customers, Build More Moats

    There are great articles and blog posts on attracting more leads and increasing conversion rates (which is very important, don't get me wrong), but keeping your current customers happy and loyal also needs to be part of your strategy.  This Inc.com article provides the 3 C's of discovering and developing the "moats" that matter most (say that 3 times fast!)

     

    "...I call this basic business strategy "knocking on old doors," which means working harder to deepen your connection to and your involvement with current customers. This will increase their average spend ("share of wallet") and lock them in for the long haul."

    - CEO Howard Tullman

    For the full article, click here

    No Managers Required - How Zappos Ditched the Old Corporate Structure for Something New

    No more job titles and no more managers: this is the 2014 goal for Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.  If alternative org charts are something of interest, this FastCompany.com article is for you.

    "Holacracy is a little known organizational management system that’s is gaining a toehold in the business world. Zappos, so far, is its biggest adopter."

     For the full article, click here

    14 Things Successful People Do on Weekends

    I love a good list, don't you? This one, found on Forbes.com, recommends 14 activities that successful people have been known to take up during their days off.
     
     “Even when I’m technically not working, I’m always processing in the background and thinking about the company. Weekends are a great chance to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.”
    Spencer Rascoff, CEO at Zillow

     

    For the full article, click here

     

    If you've written an article yourself, or have found a great piece that you would like to share, tweet me at @MethodCRM

    Until next time,

    Lynda 


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