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I recently read an article written by Dropbox titled the top ten tools for any new startup.  I’ve removed the redundant word “new” in my title. However the reason I am writing this article is to to both lightly criticise that article and to give you an alternative set of tools with some practical startup business reasons why my reasons make sense.


First of all the Dropbox article does make a lot of sense functionally. Each of the tools they suggest contain functional requirements for any startup and most businesses as well. So, understand that my criticism isn't of the functionality requirements.

Their top Ten apps – and broad or main functionality are:

  • Squarespace - Website
  • Xero – Accounting
  • Mailchimp – email lists
  • Trello – Project management
  • Segment – Customer data tracking
  • Slack – Team communication
  • Rapportive – Gmail plugin to connect Linkedin
  • Dropbox Business – file storage and collaboration
  • LinkedIn Solutions – premium networking
  • Streak – Gmail based CRM

My reason for criticism is based on the independence and thus lack of interdependence each of these apps have with each other. Each has their own authentication process and sign in, each has their own data set or information gathering component, and most of them don’t talk to the others. Yes I am aware there are workarounds and that you can join things together with the right tech skills and APIs but that is another whole layer of tech and complicated.

Why is this important? Imagine your startup is just you and a mate, and then you find a developer or a team of developers, start working with a marketer for content development and maybe you then employ a sales professional. Now you have a team of people – maybe several teams, and you need to get them all authenticated in every one of these systems – each with its own process. the more layers of complexity the more time and money is sucked out of you to onboard every new person, and the more complex it it to setup in the first place.

I’m going to focus on the primary items in this list and suggest that Microsoft Office 365 does them all better than the apps in this list, with one sign in access to everything, collaboration in each of those spaces that knows about all of the spaces, security already in place for access to data and so on.

Lets look at my alternative list:

  1. Email
    - Missing from Dropbox’s list is email. Love it or hate it, email is the centre
    of the communication workers world right now. Even if we have better internal
    tools we still need to communicate with our partners, vendors and customers,
    and email does this. Note: for small mailing lists exchange email can be used
    for email newsletters but you will need Mailchimp or an alternative at some
    point once that list gets over say 100 recipients.
  2. Mailchimp – I agree
    with Dropbox this application is critical for managing mail lists. Fortunately
    the entire team doesnt need access to it, probably only a couple of key people.
  3. Skype for Business
    – Instant Messaging, Video conferencing, Webinars, Presence, Unified Comms.
    You name it – this tool is invaluable for any team to communicate together.
    This replaces Slack – which
    also has an aggressive pricing model – if you want access to your archives
    after 10,000 messages you have to buy in. Skype for business is free inside
    Office 365, has integrated presence and IM history stored in Exchange.
    UPDATED: Microsoft Teams is replacing Skype for Business, has a massive amount of integration with external apps and Slack like communications.
  4. Planner
    – the Microsoft Planning hub is a fantastic light team based project management
    system that is comparatively similar to Trello,
    free inside Office 365, and has security tied in. It connects seamlessly with
    your data and Email - Trello
    doesn’t do either of these. If you need a heavier solution Microsoft Project
    isn’t free but available inside Office 365 and does the heavy lifting for
    project management. If you do want to use Trello which integrates nicely with
    Microsoft Teams then read
    this review
  5. SharePoint
    and One Drive for Business. Free inside office 365 SharePoint makes Dropbox
    look childlike. All the same basic functionality of storing files, version
    control and syncing to local machines are there. However SharePoint contains
    team tools like workflow, Delve,
    content meta-data tags and tight integration with the whole Office 365 suite.
    Security and authentication are the same so no extra logins required. The
    power of SharePoint may not be obvious to the causal user but there is far
    more capability for extensibility.
  6. Accounting. I wont specify a specific accounting tool here, though there
    are some reasons i don’t prefer Xero
    as a cloud accounting application. Price and price of plugins is one reason.
    Financials for Office
    is one option. Others include MYOB
    and QuickBooks Online.
    Ensuring your system has hooks out (APIs) for data analysis with tools like
    Excel, PowerBi
    or PowerPivot
    will make your accountant happy (Quickbooks
    does for instance).
  7. CRM. Microsoft
    Dynamics CRM
    can be integrated with Office 365 and can include the same
  8. Website – Squarespace
    or WordPress are good
    starting points for a cheap and easy to create and manage site. Drupal
    is a much better option for long term scalability and growth.
  9. LinkedIn
    – i’m going to leave this one here for the same reasons Dropbox
    suggest it
  10. PowerBi
    – Data analysis – for everything. From Google analytics data to accounting
    data to CRM data to just about anything else you can think of.

To Summarise

I have suggested my list on an assumption that the primary authentication anyone needs for everything is email. You need an email account to create an account anywhere else. A start up, like any established business wants and needs to control information and data flow for security and potentially legal reasons. Having one place to manage as much of your security as possible limits the exposures and risks of data leakage. This is especially important in a startup who maybe be working with new technology or an advantage that needs secrecy.

Microsoft Office 365 provides that Email account, authentication and security. For no additional cost or signup requirements and with one single download and install you then get access to all the productivity apps of Office, Instant Messaging, High Def Video Conferencing, Planner, SharePoint and One Drive for Business and even PowerBi with some licences. There’s 5 of the ten straight up, though I would argue the tightly integrated combined power of these is far higher than the non integrated combined power of Trello, Dropbox, Slack and Rapportive. Add PowerBi and Dynamics CRM with the same authentication if you need them.

The only separate items are accounting, Mailchimp and LinkedIn, each of which your entire organisation doesn't need access to anyway.

With Office 365 you have now dramatically reduced cost, simplified your onboard and offboard process for employees, gained tight edge control security. All your data is in one authentication space and not constantly bouncing between several.

Do you find the idea of writing content for your website daunting, impossible, or even just don’t know where to start?

Welcome to our 31st Newsletter – wow the numbers are starting to add up! I take approx. 2 hours a fortnight to write this newsletter. During the 2 weeks prior I stash articles and news I think might be good for the newsletter in an email folder ready for when I sit down to write. This means that I have in the last 15 months created 31 blog posts on my website that all contribute to my SEO and are great for marketing as well. And I can point customers to some of the frequently asked questions answers there as well.

You could adopt the same strategy. I am sure you could write 300-600 words about something you do or know like the back of your hand that you wish your customers knew! Talk to us about how to get your website working harder for you.

SharePoint Changes Coming – New Document Library

SharePoint Document Libraries are changing. The new User Interface includes:

  • New Quick Launch menu on the left
  • Updated Library Search that shows results almost instantly
  • Removed the Ribbon for a simpler and actionable menu
  • Added document “Pinning” to always have them at the top of the library
  • Easier wording for sharing content with “Get a Link”
  • Users can Right-Click to bring the contextual menu up
  • Library Views management added in a menu via an ellipsis
  • Save your current filtered and displayed columns as a View with the click of a button
  • New Details pane shows information like properties, versioning and more
  • Quick access to manage the properties of documents without navigating to a different page or form
  • Versioning shown as activity
  • Alert Me button put into evidence
  • Move or Copy files within the library
  • A new Grid View
  • Create Links to other files or anywhere really and have them available as a “file” in the library
  • A new image viewer to quick preview them from within your library

We can help you understand and use these new features, and take advantage of the benefits of using the libraries online in a browser rather than just opening in a synced folder on your desktop. In fact, there are many, many features that are just not available to you on your computer you can access online.

Get more detailed information about the new SharePoint interface.

Talk to us about the Office 365 Features you are not currently using and How you Can Benefit from Them

Get Access to Our Digital Producer


Do you wish you had your own Digital Producer with over 10 years’ experience to look after your website? Why not borrow ours?

Our expert consultants will review your website, create a high level report and provide prioritised recommended actions to help you create a more effective website.

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  • How to optimise your website as an effective sales tool for your business
  • Ways to ensure your brand is reaching the right audience
  • If you are getting a return on your marketing investment

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Office 365 Updates

Over and above the SharePoint library changes these recent updates were rolled out:

  • A new tool for migrating your Evernote notes to OneNote
  • PowerPoint Designer enhancements
  • New language support in Office for Mac and Skype Translator, plus collaboration and Power Pivot updates
  • For business users, Skype for Business meetings experiences and voice services are being expanded
  • Video viewer statistics are rolling out in Office 365 Video
  • A new reporting portal in the admin centre is rolling out
  • New update options are available for Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Connectors is here
  • The redesigned OneNote Class Notebook—designed and built with teachers—is available worldwide
  • And for devs, there’s a new site for keeping up with the latest news and resources.

Coming soon:

  • Enhanced Automatic Replies (out of office). When users set an automatic reply (Out of office) When users set an automatic reply (out of office) message with an end date in Outlook on the web, Outlook can now automatically decline meetings for that period of time as well as decline any future invites that the user receives for a date in which they are away.
  • The new admin centre will get improved search, additional user list management functionality and enhancements for the mobile admin app.
  • Microsoft is updating the default Office 365 portal experience for users to make it more intuitive and consistent across devices. The new home page simplifies access to your services and recent documents, while making it easier to install applications with 1-click.
  • Microsoft is delivering a new sync client for OneDrive for Business that will provide a faster and more reliable sync experience. You’ll begin seeing this change starting May 15, 2016, and rolling out over the coming months.
  • New Safety tips in Outlook. Exchange Online Protection (EOP) already protects your organization with industry-leading spam and malware prevention. However, these attacks are so well crafted that they look legitimate. Sometimes putting messages into the Junk Email folder isn’t enough. Over the coming weeks, we’re going to provide additional information when users check their email in Outlook on the web, and in Outlook. Moving forward, as an example, a red Safety Tip in an email will mean that the message received contains something suspicious. We recommend deleting these types of email messages without opening them. We’ll continue to add more features to Safety Tips to ensure users have the best, most protected experience.

More Office 365 Update information online.

If you want any more information on any of these features, how to use them or how they might affect you please contact us

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As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces, then connect with me:

Choose great images for your Facebook ads

Facebook have been creating some great content helping business owners better utilise their business pages. This latest article talks about how to choose great images for your Facebook ads that pop out in peoples feeds, ensuring you get seen and hopefully clicked on.

And of course the whole point of Facebook advertising is to drive customer engagement, attract visitors to your website and make sales or inquiries you can convert. So that first impression is vital.

The photos should have single focal points, visual consistency, work for mobile and be eye catching.

Why should you be running campaigns on Facebook or your website even?

Jeff Bullas says:

Marketers need to realise that a strong trend is emerging called continuous marketing. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t run “campaigns”. The reality is that being found online (found in

social network updates, Twitter streams and in a Google search) requires constant SEO activity and content creation, publishing and marketing.

clip_image006Creating, curating and marketing content that is fed into the jaws of the social media beast needs to be relentless or you will be left behind and you will be lost in the web noise.

To do this well requires implementing marketing automation that leverages your time and resources.

If you need help choosing your photos, creating your ads, running campaigns or just better photos then talk to us today

Office 365 Updates

There are a lot of updates in the last 4 weeks since I last reported. Most are admin or backend updates. The major one being the admin panel has been completely updated. If you login to office 365 as an administrator you will see the new admin panel now by default. Ask us if you have any questions about navigating it.

SharePoint and One Drive for Business sharing invitations now last 90 days. If you share a document or folder with an external user, the email invitation link now lasts for 9o days before it automatically expires.

The One Drive for Business website has been upgraded to a new clean, intuitive, and beautiful interface. You can switch between tile or list views while easily organizing with drag-and-drop functions, and many other improvements. You can switch back to the existing “classic” experience, with a link on the bottom left of the screen. Eventually the “classic” experience will go away, but not until Microsoft has listened to feedback and ensured everyone is ready for the change.

Talk to us about the Office 365 Features you are not currently using

Is Your Website Working For You?

Do you receive good quality inquiries that you convert to sales? Are you selling products through your site?

Many businesses have websites that have sat idle for years. What is known as brochure ware sites are simply nothing more than an expensive business card or flyer about a company with an about page usually out of date or information that isn’t really relevant to selling anything, maybe a products or services page and hopefully a contact page with contact details.

We have surveyed hundreds of websites for 7 main components that we believe are essential if a website is actually going to sell anything, attract new customers, or even get enquiries coming in. Most unfortunately fail in 5 or more of these categories.

We can analyse your site for $99 and provide a full report of what your site is doing badly.


CONTACT US NOW FOR your Site Analysis

Understanding Power Management on Surface Devices

Surface is in a class of devices that uses Modern Standby rather than traditional S3 Sleep. This allows Windows to manage power consumption right down to the individual hardware components. The net effect is near instant resume times and more efficient power consumption (read longer battery life!) Modern Standby also helps keep devices protected by installing latest Windows Updates even when users are on the move and the device is in standby.

Microsoft recently released two videos as part of the Microsoft Mechanics series to help you learn more about Surface power management with modern Standby and how to troubleshoot and pinpoint issues by creating and analysing sleep-study and energy reports for affected devices.

Microsoft also released recent updates for Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices including a set of Microsoft and Intel driver and firmware updates that help you make the most of Surface power management options.

ask us how if you need to know more

Follow Us On Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces, then connect with me:

Website Health Check


Do you wish you had your own Digital Marketing Manager with over 20 years’ experience to look after your website? Why not borrow us?
We will quickly and expertly review your website against a set of 7 major criteria and 26 specific points, create a high level report and provide prioritised recommended actions to help you create a more effective website.
For only $99* you can find out:

  • How to optimise your website as an effective sales tool for your business
  • Ways to ensure your brand is reaching the right audience
  • If you are getting a return on your marketing investment

*Some terms and conditions apply.

Contact us by 15 March 2016 for your Website check. Mention this newsletter and get it for only $49

Choose your Communication Method

These are some guidelines for communicating at work. There are now so many channels to contact each other, but how do you choose to one – and what is right? Of course there is no one right answer but the following diagram gives you some ideas depending on the urgency of the message.


Remember, although email is usually best for when you need a digital “paper trail", the downside is that some people’s emails are overflowing with unread messages. In many email programs, your message may end up in the junk mail, social or promotions tabs, or clutter.

If that happens, the person might never see it.

Bottom line, if you have an urgent matter to discuss, email may not be your best bet.

Instant message tools such as Skype for Business not only give you a great paper trail with all conversations recorded into your outlook mailbox, but can also show presence – indicating someone’s availability for a quick chat or call. And in Outlook if you start an email that persons presence will also appear give you a clue they might just see the email more quickly.

Talk to us about improving your communications with staff, customers and suppliers

Cutting Business Costs

There are many ways to cut business costs, but today I just want to focus on some less obvious and often hidden costs.

Review your Web and email hosting services.

Many businesses “set and forget” these services. Often that means paying for capacity or utilisation that is not realised or needed. If you host with Jethro we regularly review this for our clients. If you don’t, why don’t you ask us to review your current arrangements and costs. We may be able to give you a better deal. Even if you do feel free to ask us if you have the right service for your current situation.

Insurance costs can be cut by comparing and shopping around

Business insurance costs can add up easily to a hefty annual amount with public liability, vehicle and other business insurances. If you manage this yourself, then shopping around can easily get you a better deal as insurers will often give you a deal to keep you or acquire your business. Or consider using a broker to do the hard work for you and get the best deal for you.

Utilising Technology Better

Technology improvements are often a great way to reduce your costs by being more efficient and using cheaper services. Cloud based services are generally cheaper than on premise services, and reducing overhead costs is always good for business. Automating standard process, matching accounting information automatically, improving customer communications though some automation and workflow tools is very simple and a great way to reduce staff overheads.

Of course this is just scratching the surface. Here at Jethro we have spent over 20 years helping our customers find expense leakages and drive down costs.

Talk to us about how we can reduce your overheads and improve your profitability

Follow Us On Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces, then connect with me:

Today I thought I would update you on all the services we offer. Often people are surprised at just what we can do and outsourcing jobs to us is often a way to get things done more efficiently and cheaper. I have also included some Office 365 news as usual.

Outsource Your Tech Today


We have been in business here in Australia for 20 years. Some of our staff have more than 25 years’ experience in computing and business. We have been active in the web since 1995. As a result, we have a significant skill set that you can take advantage of.

First some reasons why.

Can your business afford?

  • Missed sales and opportunities
  • Negative feedback – people talk about your business in social media
  • Wasted money

Common Mistakes of DIY

  • Buying unsuitable equipment on “special”
  • Incorrect licensing of software
  • Making the assumption the cloud is free
  • Untested backups, DR and BCP
  • Leaving it to untrained Gen Y staff
  • Inappropriate use of social media for business

Some of the products and services we can offer you

  • Advice – we employ professionals in these areas:
    • Business Architecture and Digital Strategy
    • Web Development and Design
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
    • SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
    • SMM (Social Media Management)
    • Reputation and Brand Management
    • Photography and Graphic Design
    • Sys Admins and Database Experts
    • Office Productivity Gurus
    • Writing and Content Development
  • Hardware:
    • Computer sales, repairs and upgrades – from basic business PCs to high end graphic design and gaming PCs
    • Mobile devices (phones, tablets) – sales, upgrades and connection
    • Internet connection – ADSL, NBN and Mobile Broadband
    • Wired and Wireless Networks – design, installation and security– design, sales, installation and configuration, racks and data storage
  • Software
    • Office 365 connection, setup and installation
    • Data migration – office accounting systems into the cloud, data storage into cloud
    • Website development, new sites, upgrades, ecommerce platforms, integration to store
    • Social Media - policy, setup and account management
    • Excel VBA development – spreadsheet design, automation, reporting tools and budgets
  • Training
    • Microsoft Office training – productivity and efficiency gains guaranteed
    • Website management
    • Social Media Use and Management

Talk to us about significant advantages to your business by OUTSOURCING YOUR TECH

Office 365 News

Using Skype for Business? If not why? Either way here are 8 features you didn’t know you needed for online meetings.

New Feature: Filtering common malicious attachment types in Email. Learn more about creating organisation wide settings to limit attachments of malicious file types. Ask us if you want this feature enabled.

Upgraded feature: The People Profile experience is being updated in Office 365. We are already using the new profile pages and it is a definite improvement when working with Delve. Ask us about how to improve your organisations information usage and sharing.

New feature: Integrate Dropbox into your Office 365 online experience. Ask us to talk through and plan this upgrade if you are heavy users of Dropbox.

Office 365 is changing all the time, schedule your free 6 monthly audit with us to see how you can take advantage of the tools that are available in your subscription

Follow Us On Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces, then connect with me:

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What people say..

Enjoyable and helpful information. Great introduction - made me want more info.

Feedback from Free Business Seminar Jan 2013

— Kathie - Business Owner