Running a Business With a Mac – Gig Line Your Business Direction With What a Mac Can Do
By Kevin Cullis
If you have never been in the military, a gig line is used to describe how you are dressed. A gig line is lining up your shirt, belt, tie, and your pant “lines” so that you look professional and sharp.
In your personal world it is preparing yourself and lining up your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional self to handle the rigors of the business world. In the business world, you line you line up your resources, money, time, and personnel effort selling a product/service to a customer and making a profit. So, let’s see if your Mac gig line can be done.
Over 95% of the businesses that I have consulted with can switch from using a PC to using a Mac for their business with very little issues involved. The other 5% need to run Windows because they have a few applications where there are no Mac equivalent types of software, such as an anthropological, forensic, or other niche industry solution that there is little to no Mac solution.
So, how is a business run using a Mac? Well, there are a few things that need to set the stage to use the Mac.
1. Type of business determines the solution. Your business determines what hardware and software solutions that you intend to use. A dentist will use different software than a graphic artist or a writer, however, there are some similarities to all of them.
2. Switchers can do it. If you are switching from a PC there is a way to finding the answer to switching. Write down all of the Windows applications that you use, define what they are (such as word processor, photo editor, etc) and then find the Mac version of that type of software that you use. If there are no Mac solutions that you like, you can run Windows under Apple’s Boot Camp or virtualization software Parallels or Fusion.
3.Type of solution depends on capability. If you are a writer you’ll need specific tools to be able to write for multiple customers and vendors. If you are a graphic artist you’ll need other tools.
So what software solutions are there for a startup business or an entrepreneur that nearly all of them could use?
Marketing using iWork and iLife ’09
- Garageband – allows you to create your own music, but more importantly, create your own podcast or audio file to be incorporated into iMovie.
- iMovie – allows you to create movies of how to build a storage shed, an interview of a local celebrity that endorses your product, or even a product/service testimonial of your business.
- iPhoto – putting your digital pictures into iPhoto gives you control over product pictures using keywords, putting together a monthly newsletter using seasonal pictures and keeping track of them, and even doing minor editing of them in iPhoto.
- iWed – creating a web or blog site describing your company
- iDVD – creating a full blown DVD of all of the above files to hand out to customers.
- Pages – to write your marketing copy, create Request For Proposals (RFP), or create flyers or brochures to give to potential customers.
- Numbers – create catalogs or quotes for customers.
- Keynote – create a presentation to give to customers or have them download them off of your web site.
- Business documents – using Apple’s iWork is a great start in using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote to handle your startup business documents.
- Contact Management – keeping track of all of the vendors and customers whether you have 100, 1000, or millions of contacts the various Mac solutions an handle it. Apple’s Address Book is a start to begin tracking this information, but the more you track the more you’ll need a larger application.
- To Do List– we all have tasks to do to get done. Apple’s iCal can handle simple To Do lists, but other solutions are available to handle more difficult tasks.
- Calendar– making sure you schedule your time and priorities means that you keep your calendar free of non critical stuff and schedule only those things that are most important, such as family and friend time. Again, Apple’s iCal can handle a Solo Entrepreneur’s calendar of events, but you may need a better solution of the numbers get too big or it gets to complicated.
- Sales/POS (Point Of Sale) – keeping track of your sales and the accounting of your income is extremely important to know whether you are successful or not. See below for a suggestion.
- Billing and Accounting – billing is about sending out invoices to be paid and accounting is about tracking all of your business expenses and income for tax purposes. Get an accounting package such as Quicken rather than doing things by hand or using a spreadsheet such as Numbers/Excel since it makes things much easier to recalculate and “slice and dice” the data to determine taxes and information for paing bills.
- Business Tasks – such as mailing for invoices or newsletters, etc. These will vary according to the type of business you are in.
If you’re starting a business, let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.
If you have any other ideas, visit MacGetIT.com for more ideas to how to use a Mac in a business.
I have been using Macs since the Mac 512ke days and currently use a MacBook Pro to run my Mac Consulting business and my wife runs her Real Estate business using a Mac. I have helped thousands of small businesses getting them set up using a Mac and helping them get the most out of the use of their Mac.
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