Are You a Small to
Here's How we can Improve your Business for You:
- Train your staff on PCs, particularly the
more advanced areas of Excel and Word (see
- Improve your staff efficiency with Maximizer
Customer Relationship Management and Productivity Manager (see
- Increase accuracy by connecting Maximizer
(and other packages) to Pastel Accounting (below)
- Locate software for you (if it already
exists) or, if not,
- Write custom software so that you can do
things your way (see below)
- Create Templates to enhance your corporate
identity (see below)
- Enhance your business by registering your
- Make your Internet connection independent of
Telkom, with an M-Web cell phone modem (below)
- Give you free business programs and spreadsheets (bottom
Develop Your Business's Skills
Knowledge is Power – it is one thing that cannot
be taken away from you as long as you live! Most Personal Computer users
use 10 - 20% of the power of their programs
your users amongst them?
How much time could they save if they knew their
PC programs really well? For example, let's say you wanted to transpose a
100 by 12-cell range in Excel that was filled with formulas: You could do
it manually cell by cell, but if you know a little bit about Macros, you could
do it in a fraction of the time!
Here are some red-hot tips that can
improve your productivity right away! Click on the program that suits you
(a new window will open – just close it to return here):
Windows and other
hands-on training to companies
in South Africa and neighbouring states on Windows, Microsoft Office, Maximizer,
and Productivity Manager. Our specialised courses include programming
Microsoft Access and Excel Macros, and Spreadsheets for Engineers. If
you're not in Southern Africa, don't despair, we are also willing to sell our
manuals and examples disks.
Does everyone in your office keep having to
change the formatting of documents they create? Or retyping formulas they
set up elsewhere? Or reopening old documents to change and save as new
ones – and sometimes forgetting to change the name until it's too late?
What you need is a
template. All of today's word-processing programs (e.g. Microsoft
Word and Lotus Word Pro) and spreadsheet programs (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Lotus
1-2-3) let you save templates. The idea is to set up a document with all the
standard stuff –formatting, formulas, logos, even signatures– and then
save it as a template: Click File > Save As, in the "Save As Type" list
choose "Template" and click Save or OK. It's a
good idea to check where the Templates are being saved: some non-Microsoft
programs won't automatically save into a Templates folder.
To use your template, you then click
File > New (note: In Microsoft programs, you must use the menu, the
"New" toolbar button by-passes the templates). You may have various
choices, for example there may be "Tabs" at the top of the dialog box that allow
you to select different categories, but you should be able to find your
template. Click on it and click New/OK. The template should
be created identically to the document you based it on.
However there is a surprise: When you click Save,
the program will ask you for a new file name –no chance of overwriting the
There is a lot that can be done with templates.
You can protect the parts that you don't want people to change. You can
add programming so that you can be filled in from a customer list, etc. etc.
If you find the idea of setting up templates
daunting, we can do it for you.
We program and
for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and Maximizer CRM.
Get a Domain – Get an Identity!
You've spent time and money on branding your
company, with letterheads, logos and corporate identity development. So
why are you still @mweb/icon/worldonline etc?
Ever wondered why the web site for South African
Airways (SAA) is
www.flysaa.com and not the more obvious
www.saa.com? Because Southern Auto Auction of Connecticut, USA, got the name
first! Don't let this happen to you!
Take your branding through to your own domain so
that the company is www.mycompany.co.za with email addresses that reflect your
brand as well: email@example.com.
As part of our service, we will do a search to
find out if your company's name is available for domain registration or, if not,
what is the nearest to it.
Another advantage of your own domain is that it
belongs to the company forever and you are independent of your ISP. Later,
when required, mail spooling can be set up so that the number of internal
addresses is control by the company as well, instead of paying for additional
mailboxes. This is usually cost effective from 12 mail boxes onwards.
Connect to the Internet via M-Web!
Do you know that
you can connect via M-Web using Vodacom 3G HSDPA or iBurst? Either of
these modems connect to your PC or laptop via a USB cable. This lets you
have internet access anywhere, anytime so long as there is a Cellphone tower in
reach. 3G Download speeds are faster than ISDN and currently the 3G
package costs from R249 including VAT for the connection per month. The
modem costs R1194 including VAT once off, and the SIM card and setup cost R220
including VAT once off. Additional download packages are available.
For the above M-Web
will become your ISP, and, hey – no Telkom! Contact
for more information.
If you do use Telkom
ADSL, M-Web will handle your internet connection and mailbox from
R219 inclusive per month.
Pick 'n Paste
If your employees keep typing the same thing over
and over, why keep doing it? Some
Microsoft programs have a clipboard that holds up to 10 items, but it only works
between certain programs, and loses its contents when you shut down.
Here is a nifty little tool that acts like a
permanent multi-item clipboard: Paste text onto it and it remains permanently
available until you delete it (or exit without saving). You can also make
items available to your whole team:
Is it at all possible that you are losing sales
because your salespeople are not following up when they said they would (we
won't mention Webmail/Interface Media), or are
harassing certain customers too often because they don't know that someone else
did it just last week? (Samsung, are you listening?) You need a Customer
Relationship Management (CRM) program. This can be as simple as a
spreadsheet with the columns "Company", "Contact Name", "Phone No.", "Fax",
"e-mail", "Last Contact date", "Contacted by", "Gist of Conversation", and "Next
Contact Date". You sort on the "Next Contact Date" column to find out who
to contact next.
If you have Microsoft Office, you already have a
rudimentary Contact Management program in the form of Outlook. You can
keep a list of addresses, and set reminders of when to contact people. You
can also download free programs like Digita Organiser.
A drawback to the above programs is that they are
not easy to share amongst several salespeople. For several users, you are
much better off with a database. In Microsoft Office Professional and
higher, you already have a database –Access. Access will create a simple
Contact Management database with very little work on your part –except that you
have to ask someone to write it! (tell
For better solutions, you need to look at paying
for good software to do the job! For example...
Maximizer is the
solution for Customer Relationship Management. This product is now in a mature
version 10.5, and comes in two versions,
Entrepreneur and Group. The
latter has special tools to maximize your return from sales campaigns.
Contact us for more information.
If you are an employer, you'll have realized a
sad thing: Your employees are not as dedicated as you are. If you are really
lucky (or have a good eye for choosing staff!) you may have people who work hard
and are worth their salaries, but so very often there will be the loafers, the
coasters, the 9-to-fivers (who are really 9:20-to-four-thirtyers) and who are
protected by the unwritten employees' code that "no-one tells the boss".
We've all dealt with businesses that needed a
dictionary to find out the meaning of the words "Customer Service"! (We
won't mention Telkom or SARS) Is this happening in your business?
No-one can monitor all the staff all the time, so
what do you do? You get the staff to monitor themselves, and you then
pull reports on where they spent their time. For this you need a program
that forces accountability:
It may be that neither Maximizer nor Productivity
Manager quite suits your business. If so we can develop a custom solution
for you in Microsoft Access or Visual Basic.
Contact us for more information.
are you using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package? (if you aren't,
you are losing sales!) Maximizer is the best CRM package and. using the MaxPal
add-in. it can be
easily linked to Pastel Accounting, the program "9 out 10 Accountants recommend"
(but don't use themselves). There is also an add-on to link Maximizer to
QuickBooks, the program your Accountant does not want you to use because it is
That means no more retyping a
whole list of contact details when the potential customer you have been chasing
in Maximizer, finally becomes a real customer and requires billing from Pastel.
You just mark the new customer in Maximizer and the next time MaxPal runs,
the Customer will automatically be created as a Debtor in Pastel, and the
account number is automatically filled in for you in Maximizer.
What is more, vital details
chosen by you, such as Account Balance and Credit Limit, can be brought back
from Pastel into Maximizer. This lets your sales staff decide whether a
sale should be made to that customer, while keeping their sticky fingers out of
the Accounts package – good security!
we have ported the MaxPal code that communicates with Pastel, into other
applications, notably Microsoft Access and Excel. Your own
in-house-written database or customer list spreadsheet can be interfaced with
Pastel. Again, no more double entry, and fewer unwanted sticky fingers in
the company’s Pastel! This is already running at a prominent Optometrist’s
Thirdly, what about
invoicing? When the salesperson makes a sale, don’t they have to either
(a) go into Pastel anyway to generate an invoice, or (b) get someone else to do
it, thus tying up the accounting staff?
No more! MaxPal (and
of course custom code developed from it) can post an invoice directly into
Pastel – into an open batch. All that the Accounts department has to do is
print and post the batch.
MaxPal can do two types of
invoicing into Pastel: Recurring, and what we call “casual”. Recurring
billing is set to take place at a specific time of the month, either monthly or
annually. Casual billing takes place whenever someone asks for it, using
parameters you set up and, if required, looking at Pastel’s Inventory itself for
Oops, did I say “Invoicing”?
In fact MaxPal’s “Casual billing“ can create any type of Pastel
document: Quotes, Sales Orders, Credit Notes, Debit Notes and yes, of course,
Fact sheet and downloads for MaxPal.
Free Software for Your Business:
The software and spreadsheets below may be downloaded free of
In the case of
Shareware, if you find the program useful, we ask for a small
contribution (shown below in Rand (R) if you are in Southern Africa
(a SADC country), otherwise in US$). You may pay by cheque, Postal
or Money Order (postal address
here), or by
If it's not labelled "Shareware", it's CareWare
CareWare is free, but we ask that in return you do something to
improve the planet: You decide what and how much
Some suggestions: Give away something you've made; help
someone else; watch an hour less television; plant a tree; say
encouraging words to young people, make them feel welcome on Earth
(many do not)... More about
File Types: Windows programs will run on Windows
Excel files require Microsoft Excel 2000 or later.
Windows programs are zipped. Unzip the file to a suitable folder
(e.g. C:\Temp ) and run Setup.exe.
To get WinZip, click here.
All free programs and spreadsheets are supplied "as is" and without
warranty of any kind. Under no circumstances will Communication in
Action cc trading as Software Africa or any of its staff
accept liability resulting from the use of, or the inability to use,
these programs. If you find any bugs, please
To start downloading, click the Download Link (first column) below,
or go to the download page link:
Program & Download
Size & Price
Excel Spreadsheets (some with macros)
Quotation System with Bill of Materials
Spreadsheet for producing general small
business quotations. You can enter your own price lists. Output can be
personalized with your company name and details.
To download, go to Quotation
818 KB (zipped)
Register (also free) to personalize the output.
the "Big 4" South African Banks
Excel spreadsheet into which you can paste from the on-line
statements of various banks. Reformat selected data into single-line
entries for ease of sorting, with columns to check your running total
against the bank's, and available balance.
Click here and SEND the resulting
e-mail, and you will receive the
file within minutes by return e-mail.
More about the Bank Account
KB zipped to 100KB. Free
Fuel Consumption Excel spreadsheet together with sample
data. Enter your kilometre readings, litres, and amount paid.
It will work out fuel consumption and cost per litre:
Click Here and SEND the resulting e-mail.
Allow a few hours for a response.
More about the Fuel
75 KB. Free
Water Meter Readings
Water Consumption spreadsheet with sample data, web address
and instructions on submitting water readings to Johannesburg Water,
with 2006/7 rates for checking your water bill:
Click Here and SEND the resulting e-mail, and
you will receive the file within minutes by return e-mail.
More about the Water Meter Readings Spreadsheet
70 KB. Free
Electricity Meter Readings Spreadsheet
This works like the Water Meter Readings spreadsheet and lets you enter your
monthly power readings (3 phases). It contains Eskom's latest Johannesburg
Domestic Tariff charges for checking your bill. To get it,
Click here and SEND the
More about the Electricity
Meter Readings Spreadsheet
61 KB. Free
Mattress Turning Schedule
Certain mattresses require you to turn them on a regular basis. If you
don't, your guarantee may not be valid. This spreadsheet solves the
problem with a ten-year turning schedule including pictures of how the mattress
should be placed. To get it,
Click here and SEND the e-mail. Allow a few hours for a response.
More about the Mattress Turning
104 KB. Free
What will we think of next? What's your greatest challenge?
Let us know...
General Tools for Windows
Windows File-Matching Utility, useful for selective backups.
Compare two folders, automatically mark newer files, user may
change selection, copy files in either direction. Version 1.8 of 8 March 2006 allows file lists to be output to
a Tab-delimited file for use in Excel, and has code for setting the
scroll bar on a list box.
1. 7 MB
Source code is
Shareware (R25 / $25)*
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