There are many pitfalls in making websites and one of them is the belief that you can pay somebody (or something – as it tends to be software that does generic SEO) to improve your visibility in search engines.
Colour is manipulative, controlling, enchanting and beguiling. It follows, then, that it pays dividends to learn the basics of what makes colour work and how to effectively use it in your design and branding projects. Not everyone studies colour theory at school nor has had the pleasure of reading Kandinsky’s work notes on its psychological and spiritual effectiveness.
I just discovered, however, a rather spiffy website that goes far in visually explaining the basic fundamentals of colour theory as well as providing some links to some very useful tools.[button link=”http://www.rocket-design.fr/color-template/” size=”medium” newtab=”on”]Click Here to Visit[/button]
My office is far from spacious and as such the paper mountain is just simply not an option. Despite most of the world going digital, so much of our lives is still paper based.
Until companies, governments and our employers get with the programme we still have to an accumulation of dead trees.
This is where technology can really play its part in simplifying your life and streamlining how you handle your paper work.
The first thing you should think about is investing in a really powerful scanner. Not the kind for scanning photos but the kind that can scan quickly and two sides at the same time. The Fuji Scan Snap range of scanners are pretty flawless.
The Scan Snap ix500 is the latest from Fuji and packs many brilliant features but the most interesting is the ability to scan straight to you ios devices.
It is certainly not cheap but its super speed double side scanning and the fact it handles all different sizes of paper at once means you can fill it with invoices, bills, business cards and receipts and in a couple of seconds the whole lot is digitised.
There are lots of services and software out there for the storage of your docs. Here are some links to some that you might find useful.
Evernote – The ever useful and ever free evernote is superb for scanning to and is often integrated into the scanners software.[/one_half_last]
Paperless – I use this software as its very similar to the Finder you have on your mac and it has basic OCR (optical character recognition what this means, in a teeny tiny nutshell, is that the documents you scan are converted into searchable pdfs, saving time in tagging and naming files as all the text is searchable.
Yep – This little gem is great for those of you that like to use tags to organise your world. You can download a demo from their website.
One of the other elements of my near paperless life is the ability to make reasonable scans with my iPhone. I only have an iPhone 4 and yet the camera is more than suitable enough to scan documents. There is an app that makes things very simple and that is Genius Scan.
There are hundreds of scanning apps for iPhones and I have tried many of them and this one is heads and shoulders above the rest.
The main trick for me is its ability to auto crop and size your snaps as well as converting to High Contrast black and white which means that those wrinkled up thermal printed receipts that are normally so difficult to capture are made super clear and easy to read.
Genius Scan – An iPhone app I simply can’t be without![divider]
What do you use? do you have any gems to share? If so please leave a comment below
Web apps pop up and disappear all the time, mostly over promising and under delivering.
Open Brand, however, is very different.
When one begins the arduous task of building a company brand, it can be a messy undertaking. You end up with PDF, Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign files all over the place. This does no favours for the streamlining and improvement of your brand over time. Open Brand provides a neat little spot to put all of these files as well as buildings a digital style guide to your companies image.
The great thing about Open Brand is it allows you to make your assets public, so if you require that the press or partnering companies use the exacting standards that you have used yourself, there really is no excuse for them to mistype a tag line or get the spacing wrong on a logo.
Best of all its free for up to 15 assets (which is more than enough for the vast majority of companies).
I can see this being very useful for designers who create brands for other companies (a la me!) and looks like they are constantly improving things.
Do take a look!
There are many pros (and cons) to becoming registered as a limited company but the process itself can often have many pitfalls. One can, of course, submit all the relevant documents yourself to Companies House but the risk of rejection due to errors and omissions is high unless you really know what your doing.
golimited.co offer an integrated and simple way of registering your company and at the princely sum of £4.50 (I paid over £75 for mine years ago!).
Please do check out their Web site for more information.
Many people are unaware that if you are new to the world of self employment or starting up a company you can attend very useful classes in the basics.
Here are some Workshops you can attend for FREE!
- How to register your business with HMRC.
- Understanding what is meant by employment status.
- Different classes of National Insurance contributions.
- Basic record keeping.
- The tax return cycle, payments to HMRC and penalties.
- Where to go for further help and advice.
How VAT works
- How to tell the difference between inputs and outputs.
- The different rates of VAT and what they apply to.
- How to add the right amount of VAT to any amount of money and work out how much VAT has been included in any amount of money.
- How to work out how much VAT you owe or are due back.
- How to access VAT Online.
- How to identify what goes where on a VAT Return.
- How to use the Standard Method of accounting for VAT.
- Where to find further help and guidance with VAT issues.
You can get more info and book by following CLICKING HERE
Wufoo is stunning.
It allows you to design and deploy detailed forms that can be used to gather inforamtion, as a contact me page, for research, maintaining a mailing list and much much more.
What is extra spiffy about wufoo is that it will generate reports on your responses for you that you can also export as excel etc. Also it will host and generate the code for you to link to or even embed the form on a website made with iWeb via HTML Snippets, as well as myspace etc.
On top of that there is a theme designer which means your forms can look great and appear branded (by uploading your own logo or image)
A free account will give you up to three forms and up to 100 responses with premium accounts starting at a very reasonable low sum….Most people, however, shall probably never need more than the free service (unless its for business etc).
Well it needn’t be so.
Sipgate.co.uk provide a completely free service for incoming calls. Their plans and tariffs for outgoing and international calls are pretty amazing too. Best of all, there is finally a simple application from the mac app store that makes setting it up a cinch.
There are lots of terribly ugly “Soft-Phones” like X-lite etc and to be perfectly honest I have never once managed to set one of them up without problems or needing a telecoms expert to change something or other.
“Telephone” by Alexei Kuznetsov is a whole different story,
It has a beautifully minimal interface and does not complicate things with features you will never need.
Once set up it integrates with your mac address book or you can just type a number in the box. Best feature of all, though, is that via sipgate.co.uk you can set up voicemail for free. When someone leaves you a message when your either busy or do not have Telephone running, the message is sent to you via email as a sound file, so you can keep the voicemail and use it in audio applications etc (i store mine in itunes).
So if your looking for a communications solution for your small business this setup works beautifully for me, so it should for you too.
Start Up Britain launched recently in an attempt to make the early stages of business creation that little bit easier. Many have sought to deride the website as an example of Tory tokenism, but have failed to mention that this is an independant organisation that doesnt have to tow the party line.
Having looked through the resources and offers on there, it is a very useful website indeed.
I can very well imagine that this will become THE web portal for startups and young businesses in the not too distant future. I urge anyone starting up to at least have a quick look as there are some tools and links to resources on there that are gold dust!
Intellectual property legislation can be a minefield and for those just entering into the wonderful world of business, can be the difference between being ripped off or being protected. Fortunately for us there is an organisation that aims to offer some help with issues relating to IP.
Own-it.org are a part of the University of the Arts, London and provide various services including telephone advice, contract template purchase and free events and lectures which are always extremely useful and cover a varied range of topics from Fashion and Design to Jewellery production and Photography.