BEYOND BUSINESS BASICS
Vital Technologies and Tools for Your Business
By
Sylva Leduc

Welcome to the first issue of the Beyond Business Basics column. This column is dedicated to helping you, our readers, get beyond the basics. Whether you are a business coach, leadership, corporate, or executive coach, the WABC and I want you to benefit from my personal knowledge of the tools, technologies and systems for managing a coaching business more efficiently and effectively. 

Before we can go beyond the basics, however, we need a foundation--the "must haves" for a coaching business. You probably have most of them in place already. If not, then now is a good time to get started. The following are what I consider to be vital to managing an efficient business.

Bring your computer and operating system up-to-date. Is your computer five years old or older? If you have an older computer it may not have enough memory to run newer programs. It's probably "as slow as molasses," as my grandfather used to say. In addition, you may not be able to open documents that clients or colleagues send to you. How embarrassing would that be for you?

Establish a (web) presence. Register an internet business and get your name out to the world. Two of my favorite domain name registration companies are www.godaddy.com and www.1and1.com, where you can purchase domain names for less than $9.00. 

Do you have a website? Even now, in 2005, I've met many coaches who do not have a website. Sometimes they registered a name but that's as far as they've gotten. With the number of website template companies increasing there's no excuse to be without a virtual online brochure (i.e. website). With www.1and1.com you can create a website quickly. You do not need to know html or any programming language. The cost? Less than $10 a month for hosting.

Create a business e-mail address. Using AOL or other free online e-mail services creates the impression you are not serious about your coaching business, are not tech savvy, or that you are not willing to spend money on a branded e-mail address. Set up your e-mail address to match the name of your domain name and website.

Protect your computer & e-mail system with anti-virus software. Remember the MyDoom virus from the summer of 2003? People with virus protection programs were able to avoid the heartache of lost data. However, virus protection only protects if it's updated. Update regularly. Note that the latest version of XP has a built in firewall to protect your computer even further.

Backup, backup, backup. Do you regularly backup your computer and all your data? As coaches, our information--knowledge, client notes, programs and other intellectual property--IS our business. Years ago, I made the mistake of not doing backups regularly. And my computer crashed. Needless to say, I made this a habit. You should, too.

 
Those are the basics: a good computer, a web presence, a "real" e-mail address and protection for your information.

In future issues I'll talk about other technologies. Want to know more about automating the payment process, hiring help or creating a website? Those are a few examples of what I'll be exploring. What technologies would make running your business more efficient and effective? I'd love to hear from you.

 
Sylva (Syl) Leduc, MEd, is a Leadership Coach who has worked with business owners, executives, and coaches for over 14 years. She is the President of www.TheLeadershipCenter.com and www.ClientCompass.com, a custom software program for coaches. Read more about Sylva in the WABC Coach Directory. She may be reached by email, at: info@TheLeadershipCenter.com.

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