EFG Consulting Quarterly Newsletter

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Updates and Articles from EFG Consulting

December 2013

To view this newsletter as a web page, click here.

Happy Holidays!

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2014

We are in the middle of the holiday season and I would like to wish every one of you a great end to a very busy year and lots of success in the new year. This year has been very good for EFG Consulting and I expect great things for 2014.  I know I have been very much out of touch with everyone this year, but I plan to make more time next year to reconnect.

Announcement:  This is the Last Newsletter

I know I haven't sent a newsletter out in a long time, so this is more than a little bit overdue. I have been working with Charles Gaba of Brainwrap Web Design for more than a year now.  His business has been growing well beyond his capacity to manage it alone. We talked last year and agreed to merge our resources and focus on Brainwrap Web Design. This means that I will only be focusing on programming and web design contracts for the forseeable future. I am not going out of business - quite the opposite in fact - but the nature of my business has changed dramatically. It does not make sense for me to continue marketing EFG Consulting as I have in the past.  I will only be doing business consulting and project management on a case by case basis going forward.

I will be doing some marketing for Brainwrap Web Design, however, and sending out newsletters from there.  If you are interested in receiving those newsletters, please let me know and I will add you to that list. 

Blog

I will continue to update my blog, but the content is going to be much more wide open going forward.  I may blog about weight loss issues, programming best practices, how to make lasagna with no tomato sauce, business development or anything else that I feel like talking about.

Company Spotlight

Brainwrap Web Design has been designing, developing, hosting and maintaining websites for businesses throughout Michigan and beyond for over 12 years.  Their clients include Mercy High School; Regina High School; the City of Oak Park, Michigan; Anton, Sowerby & Associates and Grosse Pointe South Baseball among many others.  Brainwrap also produces BrainwrAPPs, an outstanding app product for small and mid size companies.

For more information, contact Charles Gaba at (248) 545-7570 or check out the website.

About Elisabeth Garbeil

Elisabeth Garbeil is the owner of EFG Consulting.  She helps businesses grow by creating opportunities through IT and web design.  Elisabeth has over 20 years of experience in IT working with a wide variety of companies from small retail chains to some of the largest companies in the world.  She also has an MBA from Wayne State University, is a certified project manager (PMP), has been a certified DBA and Systems Administrator. For more information about Elisabeth, visit http://www.efg-consulting.net/about.

Creating Business Opportunities, October 2012

To view this newsletter as a web page, click here.

Happy Halloween!

Wow, it's almost Halloween already and the Tigers are in the World Series.  Pretty amazing, huh?  Pretty cool too.  It's really great to see how busy everything is and how much the economy is picking up here, regardless of what the news says.  I, for one, will be very glad when the election is over. 

We are heading into the holiday season now, and I would like to wish every one of you a great end to a very busy year.  I look forward to reconnecting with you in the coming months as my business stabilizes.  Crazy busy is great, but consistently busy is much better.  Call me if you would like to get together and catch up, if I don't get to you first. 

I also want to hear all the great things you've been up to too.  Business has been much better for everyone this year.  I'm excited to find how I can help you grow or connect you to someone else I know.

Spotlight - Responsive Web Design

What is responsive web design?  In a nutshell, it means that your site has been developed to look good and work well, no matter what device it's viewed on - iPhone, Android, iPad or computer. It also means you hide functionality that won't work on an iPhone or iPad when someone is viewing the site from that device.  There's nothing more annoying than trying to do something on a website and it just doesn't work.  I tried to pull up a list of not so scary movies for my son on Family Education Network on my iPad and it just didn't work.  I was really frustrated. Considering that I do most of my surfing on my iPad or iPhone, not my computer, this is a real problem.  I'm pretty typical of most people too. 

Responsive web design also means you don't have to maintain two or more versions of your site.  Pretty cool, huh?  We've got several projects using responsive web design coming up, so I'm hoping to have some examples to post early next year. 

It's also a lot cheaper and easier in the long run because you're only maintaining one site.   If you're interested in finding out  more, give me a call at 810-560-7181.  Drupal, the content management system (CMS) we use, has some pretty elegant applications for responsive web design that I can discuss with you.  I'm only familiar with Drupal's responsive web design, but if your site is done in Wordpress or Joomla, I'm sure there are solutions.  Talk to your web developer if you don't have a mobile version of your site already.

 Blog

What are Apps Good For?

This is another way of saying - 'Don't create an app as a mobile version of your site.'  Apps are great for lots of things, just not a mobile version of your site.

Read more ...

Introducing

 Brainwrap Web Design

Brainwrap Web Design has been designing, developing, hosting and maintaining websites for businesses throughout Michigan and beyond for over 12 years.  Their clients include Mercy High School; Regina High School; the City of Oak Park, Michigan; Anton, Sowerby & Associates and Grosse Pointe South Baseball among many others. 

For more information, contact Charles Gaba at (248) 545-7570 or check out the website

About Elisabeth Garbeil

Elisabeth Garbeil is the owner of EFG Consulting.  She helps businesses grow by working with them to create opportunities through business and IT.  Elisabeth has over 20 years of experience in IT working with a wide variety of companies from small retail chains to some of the largest companies in the world.  She also has an MBA from Wayne State University, is a certified project manager (PMP), has been a certified DBA and Systems Administrator and is a licensed facilitator for “Get Clients Now!™”  For more information about Elisabeth, visit http://www.efg-consulting.net.

 

Creating Business Opportunities, July 2012

To view this newsletter as a web page, click here.

Introduction 

 A Lot of Changes Add Up

I realize this is the first newsletter since May.  I've been very busy working on  IT and software development. I haven't said a lot about this part of my business, so this issue addresses IT.   I have been focusing pretty much exclusively on software development in 2012 and it has been going pretty well.  I am just now getting to updating my own site and newsletter to reflect the changes in my business.  It's the shoemaker's children syndrome, I realize, and there is no excuse.  Okay, maybe one excuse - I don't do much web design. 

So what the heck do I do, you ask?  Primarily, all those other systems that you need to run a business like accounting software, membership databases, inventory, etc.  There are very big companies that do what I do, or companies that have their own staffs to maintain their systems, but not very many people who work with mid-level and small companies.  The big companies will say they work with you, but they charge like a big company and there is no such thing as a small project.

You can check out more (including my 20+ years of experience in the field) on my site under IT Development. 

  Spotlight

Inventory Control For a Small Company

How do you decide what to do about inventory for your company?  What you decide to do regarding inventory should fit your company's budget, industry, workflow and skill level.  If you're a one-person company working out of your house, you really shouldn't be spending thousands of dollars on managing your inventory. 

On the other side, you do need to manage it.  For one thing, you may need to insure it in case of loss or theft and you can't do that if you don't know what you have.  If you routinely only have  a couple of products, then a spreadsheet is probably fine.  If you sell hundreds of items, a spreadsheet is not a good choice.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about inventory:

1.  What exactly do I need to track?  This may sound obvious, but if you manufacture or make items, it's not that clear-cut.  Make sure you can identify everything you need to track from the beginning of your manufacturing process to the sale and delivery.  Your accountant or a good consultant can help with this.

2.  Do I sell items I don't own?  This is pretty common in retail, where you may be acting as an agent for someone else.  It's an important distinction as well, because you can't really include these items in your inventory valuation because you don't own them.  But you could be liable for the value of these goods if something happens to them before they're sold.  The inventory software you choose needs to be able to handle this. 

3.  How much time do I want to spend learning to use this system?  If you're not very computer savvy, then you may want to make sure you get a system that's very easy to use.  It may not have as many features, so this can be a trade-off. If it's too complicated though, you won't use it.

4.  Do I need to have a good interface to my accounting or billing system?  Another part of this question is are you planning on billing out of your inventory or accounting system?  Do they need to work together?  It may be as simple as a file you can load into Quickbooks or maybe you need a lot more detail.

5.  What do I want to do with this system (billing, tracking clients, etc.)?  This one is pretty clear.  Basically list out exactly everything you want to be able to do through your inventory system.  That will help you identify the features you need.

There are tons of inventory packages out there, from free to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There are also a lot of industry specific packages that may be very helpful and affordable.  If you can get a good inventory package specific for your industry, that's the best way to go.  The good ones are built to industry best practices and may provide you advantages you haven't thought of yet.

 Blog

Some Basic Options For Inventory Control Packages

Here are some options for inventory packages:

Read more ...

Introducing

 Brainwrap Web Design

Remember that I said I don't do web design?  That isn't one hundred percent true.  The correct answer is that EFG Consulting does not do any web design.  I do some web design, including maintaining my own sites, through Brainwrap Web Design.

Brainwrap Web Design, on the other hand, does a lot and does it very well.  Brainwrap Web Design has been designing, developing, hosting and maintaining websites for businesses throughout Michigan and beyond for over 12 years.  Their clients include Mercy High School; Regina High School; the City of Oak Park, Michigan; Anton, Sowerby & Associates; among many others. 

For more information, contact Charles Gaba at (248) 545-7570 or check out the website

About Elisabeth Garbeil

Elisabeth Garbeil is the owner of EFG Consulting.  She helps businesses grow by working with them to create opportunities through business and IT.  Elisabeth has over 20 years of experience in IT working with a wide variety of companies from small retail chains to some of the largest companies in the world.  She also has an MBA from Wayne State University, is a certified project manager (PMP), has been a certified DBA and Systems Administrator and is a licensed facilitator for “Get Clients Now!™”  For more information about Elisabeth, visit http://www.efg-consulting.net.

 

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