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BGM Home | Bill's Bookmarks

Bill's Bookmarks

As I surf and travel around the net, I come across various tools I think you need to know about. So I'll give you the links and a comment or two about them.

PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS

Quik! Forms Library

The Quik! Forms Library is a program that lets you quickly fill in the many forms that dominate the service side of this industry, using the basic contact data from your Gorilla® database.

Using Quik! Forms Library is easy. As you download and set it up on your computer, you just choose "Gorilla 2.x" as your database. Once the program is set up, at the top of its window you see "Step 1 – Choose A Client." All of your Clients and Prospects are available alphabetically by Contact Group from a drop-down field. You choose a CG, then any address and Individual in it (or let it use its default).

If you even suspect that anything has affected the data that Quik! picks up—for example, someone has moved or married—simply choose the "Refresh Data" button at the top of the window. (This is also how you remove a CG from the Quik! database.)

For Step 2, you select one or more forms to print your data on. And if a form you need is not among the huge number in their Forms Library, the company offers to add it!

The final result is the Gorilla information you need on the form(s) you want in a PDF file.

Additional processes, such as adding forms, may take some getting used to. But the basic flow is easy and saves you time.  To read the e-Gorilla article I published on this topic, click here. You can also check out their website at www.etiforms.com.

Laser App

Laser App Software® helps you quickly fill out “the tedious and redundant fields in securities, annuity, clearing firm, and broker/dealer forms” that dominate the service side of this industry. The plug-in we offer is a way of adding this capability to our program and allows Gorilla® to provide basic contact data for Laser App. This plug-in works for Gorilla 2.2 and 2.3.  For more information on our Plug-In for this product, click here.

Quik! Forms Library is a competitor to the Laser App Software. But unlike Laser App, it cannot store additional information for each Contact Group beyond what you copy from Gorilla.

On the other hand, Quik! establishes a dynamic link to Gorilla. To update a record, you just click that record’s Refresh Data button. Although we’ve made re-import to Laser App as smooth and simple as possible, it still takes significantly longer than clicking Quik!’s button.

If you do not already enjoy the productivity savings offered by this report, you can check them out at www.laserapp.com

Windows Desktop Search

Let's start with the Windows Desktop Search. You can download it at http://toolbar.msn.com.

I have used the Google® and Copernic® toolbars, both of which are excellent products. But I love the Microsoft® product because I can tell it which hard drives to index, and which file types I want to search for.

Once it has finished its indexing of those hard drives, which can take some hours in the background while you work, you can find anything on your desktop or network in a few seconds.

Your free download will install three toolbars.

  1. Internet Explorer®. I closed that one because I prefer the Google toolbar to search the web.
  2. Outlook®. I left that one because I will sometimes use it.
  3. Desktop. This one installs in your taskbar at the bottom of the screen. I closed that one because it takes up too much valuable screen real estate and I now trigger all my Desktop searches with ActiveWords®. So I don't need the toolbar.

ActiveWords®

I wrote about ActiveWords (activewords.com) in my productivity issue last year. I am even more in love with it a year later.

It does the following:

1) Substitutes text. If I type "123" and then hit my hot key, F8, it types: 12393 South Gateway Park Pl, #600. That's the street address for Bill Good Marketing®. When ordering things online, I frequently need just the street address. There it is in four keystrokes.

2) Launch a program. I no longer have to click Start>Programs>Bill Good Marketing>Playground to launch the Playground database which I use a lot in designing campaigns, Speedbuttons®, etc. I just type "Play+F8." Boom.

3) Navigate to a website. If I need to see my e-Gorilla archives on the web, I just type egor i+F8. I have defined about 25 active words for Internet sites I use frequently.

4) Open a folder. I have set up about 50 active words for folders on my computer. If I want to see "My Pictures," I just type pics+F8.

Those of you who have followed Dr. Good's medical advice and set up electronic Client files can of course access the file from Gorilla's URL Field. (See e-Gorilla, Vol. 6 no.40 item #14 in the fourth article.)

Or you can define active words for those Clients whose folders you need to see frequently. "Olde+F8" could open Velda Oldebucks' folder.

5) Send an email. I send many emails a day to my executive assistant, Mindy VanVleet. Her active word is just "e." When I type e+F8, Outlook opens an email form addressed to execasst@billgoodmarketing.com.

6) Execute a script. Every day, Mindy sends me a PDF copy of my Gorilla Schedule. I normally work from home in the morning, and while I could access it remotely from the network at my office, I just like to have a copy in case I'm not attached to the network and want to check it. It arrives by email. When I have looked at the schedule, I normally save it to "Bill's Schedule" on my desktop.

That's five or six steps to navigate to that file and save over the previous. But if I type "save s+F8," BOOM, it's done.

Scripting is a bit nerdy, but if there are repetitive actions you perform that take time and thought, a little time invested in figuring out ActiveWords' scripting adds up to HUGE time saving gains.

Combining ActiveWords and Microsoft Desktop Search

ActiveWords has created a special set of ActiveWords for the Microsoft Desktop Search toolbar. To download these, you will want to download an ActiveWord "agent." Click Free Add-In Applications here or on their website. Scroll down, find AWMSN in the table and follow the directions.

Some of the special ActiveWords are:

  • SE—Search emails.
  • SP—Search presentations, such as PowerPoint.
  • SD—Search documents.
  • Sfolders—Search for a folder name.

So if I were you, I would hike over to ActiveWords and download the free 60-day trial. While you are there, pick up the ActiveWord agent for MSN® Toolbar.

Copytalk® Mobile Scribe

Last year in my productivity article, I wrote, "I am so excited about Copytalk that I can hardly contain myself."

Well, I am even more excited this year.

Copytalk is a dictation service that allows you to call in meeting notes, dictate e-mails, and dictate instructions for your staff from your cell phone.

At the end of a call, I will typically hit a hot key on my cell phone, dial Copytalk, dictate notes, actions, and any letters or e-mails that need to be taken care of, and I've got it wrapped up in less than 4 minutes.

I have no clue how Copytalk is making money for unlimited 4-minute dictations at $59 a month. Hopefully they are. They are good.

Perfect? No. I have set my preferences so that when a dictation has been transcribed, a copy comes back to me and then one goes to Mindy. She proofs it, and then sends it on its way. That proofing step is important. Don't just send it directly to a Computer Operator who may not have sufficient knowledge to get things exactly right. Someone needs to read it who knows what's going on.

One of my clients uses Copytalk at the end of an interview with his Clients as follows:

As the interview is wrapping up, he explains to the Client, "I'm going to dictate a letter that will document what we discussed."

Out comes the cell phone, the hot key, and then he dictates a letter. The Client is suitably impressed. The documentation is impeccable.

Time required: Generally less than 4 minutes.

As I mentioned, Copytalk does place a 4-minute limitation on each e-mail or dictation. You can buy a different service. I keep my eye on the clock and try to stop before I hit the 4-minute mark, because it will cut me off.

For example, this article took more than four minutes. A few minutes into the article I pressed #, the pound key, which ended that first dictation and then started a second. So I was able to end it when I wanted to.

My assistant will put these together, proof them, and get them on the way to my technical editor.

You can subscribe to Copytalk by going to their website at www.copytalk.com/sales/billgood. By using this link, you can take advantage of a $10 per month discount that we have negotiated. You can also call Dan Yarbrough at 1.866.267.9825, extension 418, and mention my name.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking®

I have been a user of Dragon NaturallySpeaking® for years. Version 8, released in 2004, is the first version I have ever recommended.

I don't use it as much as I did because I have replaced short dictations with Copytalk.

However, when I have a long document to do, and especially if I want to see the text on screen, I will use Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

You will need to spend some time training the program. I also recommend you go to the Dragon NaturallySpeaking website by clicking here and check the recommendations for different microphones. The little $10 microphone that comes with the program is insufficient.

David Pogue, who writes technology columns for the New York Times®, recommended a microphone called Andrea® USB Headset. It can be purchased from eMicrophones.

If you take the time to train the program, and especially if you are a $2-an-hour typist, this will be a huge enhancement to your productivity.

Most of you can buy the cheap "Standard" version, which I believe can be found for $49. If you are nerdier, go for the Preferred edition. The speech engine in both is the same.

Mindjet® MindManager®

Make information more visual!

A new addition to my sheet of productivity programs is Mindjet® MindManager®. It's the type of program that you can use to help yourself and perhaps your Clients visualize the structure of information.

I use it for planning. I also use it in analyzing large batches of information.

For instance, a team at Bill Good Marketing spends a couple of hours most Friday afternoons going through some huge archives of information that is not necessarily conveniently available to you. We are building "mind maps" of this information so we—and you—can see it.

To get an idea of what you can do with MindManager, go www.billgood.com/plan.

This is a landing page I built for an article I wrote for Research Magazine on planning. You will see a Mindjet MindManager map in the article. By following this link, you can download a mind map viewer and play with the program without actually having to purchase it. This will give you an idea of whether or not this is a tool that you can use.

You will also find links to download a free trial copy of the full program.

I am told there are some copies of the program available on eBay®. So you might take a look there and see if you can get Mindjet MindManager 6.0.

Google Earth

For some time now, I've been paying very close attention to what Google® has been doing with Google Earth. With Google Earth (free), you can get a satellite view of anywhere on the world. With Google Earth Plus ($20 a year), you get a better picture. I have subscribed to Google Earth Plus.

Google has released programming to anyone who wants to add their own address data. Real estate is a natural. This site is one of just three real-estate sites I've been able to find. I cannot imagine any city without one. It's just who gets there first.

Such maps are (or should be) of great interest to seminar providers, especially seminar presenters and direct mailers.

For more information about using Google Earth with your System; see my e-Gorilla article on this topic.




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