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A Musician’s Appreciation for Neat

July 11, 2014

When I’m not spending my time working for Neat and writing this blog, I like to work at playing music. Music has been a passion of mine for my entire life, and I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some pretty fun projects. It may not seem like a natural fit, but Neat has been an important part of my musical endeavors.

Musicians, at least the ones I know, tend to have a reputation for being less than organized. Blame it on the quirks of the creative mindset. But being organized helps make me a better musician – and Neat is a great part of that. I have a folder in Neat for music, with subfolders for my various projects. I’ve got lyrics and chord changes for all of our tunes, which makes it easy to practice new material. Whether I’m scanning in something that’s been written by hand, or creating a digital copy of lyrics I pull from a website, Neat helps me keep my musical resources organized and efficient.

But for the gigging musician, organization isn’t just a nicety, it’s a necessity. There are a lot of times when a musician has to step into a role where he or she only has a practice or two before the show. In situations like this, having easily accessible sheet music or chord charts onstage is a life-saver. Using Neat’s mobile app on my iPad makes this easy. Because Neat lets me search all of my files by keyword, it’s easy to find the right song when someone calls out a tune I’m not quite confident on. As one of my musician friends once said – looking at a chord chart isn’t cheating, it’s doing the audience a favor!

Neat is great for small businesses and home offices, but it’s such a flexible system that the possibilities really are limitless. And if it can help a flighty musician like myself stay a little bit more organized, who knows what it can do for you!

Shipping Tips for Small Businesses

July 3, 2014

So you’ve made a sale from your online store. Congrats!

Now, you’ve got to get your product into your customer’s hands safely and quickly. At the same time, you don’t want to overspend on postage.

Stamps.com shares a 3-step process – complete with tips to save money – that will streamline your small business shipping program.

Step 1: Decide on a shipping carrier

If you always use FedEx or UPS, try using USPS.

In fact, Stamps.com conducted a study that evaluated the three shipping carriers on tracking, delivery times and overall costs. The USPS outperformed FedEx and UPS on delivery times and costs.

For small packages in particular, the USPS offers significant cost savings.

Compared to other carriers, with the USPS, there are no fuel or residential surcharges, which can quickly add up. Moreover, the USPS free Saturday delivery feature means 52 days additional delivery days.

Also, when your package needs to get to its destination quickly, remember USPS Priority Mail typically delivers packages within 2 business days.

Step 2: Determine costs

The cost for shipping your package depends on the size and weight of the item along with its destination.

Here are some of our shipping tips on saving money when shipping your products…

Tip #1: Use First-Class Package Service for Small Packages

If you’re sending a small package that weighs less than 13 oz., the cheapest, quickest way to ship it is with USPS First-Class Package Service. The service provides next-day delivery to local destinations and includes free USPS tracking.

Tip #2: Try USPS Parcel Select for Heavy Packages

When cost savings are all-important, USPS Parcel Select is your best option for shipping heavy items. You can save up to 42% compared to Priority Mail rates and ship packages that measure up to 130″ in length and girth.

Tip #3: Media Mail works great for Books, CDs and DVDs

If you regularly send books, CDs or DVDs, USPS Media Mail is a cost-effective mail service. Rates are based on the weight and size of your mail piece, not the distance to the destination. This makes Media Mail particularly valuable for packages being sent long distances.

Step 3: Protect your shipments

Attention to packing is an absolute must, and your buyers take notice when you take extra care to ensure that their purchased items reach them in good condition.

Use a new, preferably corrugated box that’s spacious enough to accommodate both your item and plenty of packing material on all sides.

Start with at least 2″ of cushioning material before you even put your item inside the box and if you’re sending multiple items in the same box, make sure to wrap each separately.

Finally, before sealing your package, close and shake it. If you hear items shifting, add more filler until everything stays in place. And you’re all set!

How Stamps.com can help

Now let’s talk about how Stamps.com can save you time and money.

With a Stamps.com account, you can completely eliminate trips to the Post Office. Print your labels and schedule carrier pickups from the comfort of your office.

Stamps.com’s BestRate Shopping Engine identifies the optimum mail class and shipping rates for each package, based on your pre-set requirements. In addition, Commercial Base Discounts are automatically applied.

You can also easily batch print labels that pull information directly from all your e-commerce stores, whether it is Amazon, eBay, Etsy or another site. The automatic USPS Address Verification also enables you to send your package to a correct address every single time.

Looking for more features that can further streamline your shipping process? Visit www.stamps.com.

How Will You Get Neat?

June 20, 2014

Neat is giving away three NeatConnect Wi-Fi scanners, each with a full year of NeatCloud! This is your chance to win the most incredible Smart Organization System around!

To enter, all you need to do is comment on this blog post with how you’d use Neat to help organize your home, office, or small business – in 100 words or less!

 

Contest Rules
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited by law.

1. ELIGIBILITY. This sweepstakes (“Contest”) is sponsored by The Neat Company (“Sponsor”). Contest is open only to legal residents in the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who have reached the age of majority in their state of residence at the time of entry (“Entrant”). All others are ineligible to enter and will be disqualified. Employees of The Neat Company, advertising and promotion agencies and the immediate families (spouses, parents, children and siblings and their spouses) or individuals living in the same household of such employees are not eligible. 
2. HOW TO ENTER. One entry per entrant. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. The Sponsor is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries. Entries received by telephone, fax, courier or personal delivery will not be accepted.
3. PRIZES. Winners will be chosen at random. Winners will be notified within 2 business days of drawing. The winners must claim their prize within 48 hours of notification. If the winner does not claim the prize within 48 hours, the winner forfeits his / her winnings. Prizes will be shipped within 4 to 6 weeks after winners are selected. No prize transfer, assignment or substitution permitted in whole or in part, except The Neat Company retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. Winner is solely responsible for any local, state, federal or other taxes, and any other expenses, fees and costs connected with any prize. In accepting the prize, the winner, and any guest(s), acknowledges that The Neat Company may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. Approximate value of prize may vary. All NeatCloud subscriptions given away in this contest will be Home & Office level plans.
4. GENERAL CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION. By entering this contest, the information you provide may be used for advertisements or announcements. The Neat Company respects your privacy and will not share any of the information you provide with outside parties. The Neat Company reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice.

A Neat Makeover for Engine Co. #2

June 16, 2014

I took a moment to speak with Mark, Treasurer of the all-volunteer Fairmount Engine Company #2. This volunteer firehouse was the recipient of a “Neat Makeover” – here’s what Mark had to say about the way Neat changed his job.

My life before Neat

Stepping into the role of Treasurer for a non-profit volunteer fire company was a daunting task for me. I had held other positions within the organization, but never one that had as much importance. The resigning Treasurer made sure I was trained, pointed me to the filing cabinets containing our records, and my official responsibilities began.

As my first tax season approached, I had to take on the task of going through records kept before my term in office. I can still remember opening up the “Treasurer Filing Cabinet” for the first time and seeing stacks of bills and statements in envelopes, out of envelopes, in order, out of order, rubber banded, paper clipped, stapled, and piled. I found what I needed, and survived my first tax season… but I can’t say it was easy.

As my first year in office progressed, I swore I wouldn’t let my records fall into disarray. I would keep them organized and accessible for anyone who needed them! Soon December was upon us… and I remembered that solemn promise as I rummaged through my box of records, completely devoid of any organization. I knew all my records were in it, but God help me if someone needed something quickly.

I managed to improve upon my box method by organizing bills and statements into piles, and by signing up for electronic delivery of those statements where possible. Still, my records were largely unorganized and inaccessible. Some were in my box at home, some were in my desk at work. Others were saved electronically on a zip drive, and others still were saved on the laptop assigned to me by the firehouse. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I didn’t feel like I was living up to my job responsibilities. Looking around, I realized others were having the same issue. There are filing cabinets galore, all filled with documents and paperwork concerning differnet aspects of a firehouse, and all important to someone.

I remember thinking, “there has to be a better way”.

Sitting at home watching TV with my wife, a revelation came to me in the form of a commercial advertising Neat. What is this “Neat?” I said aloud. Soon the commercial explained and I was more than a bit excited. I had a scanner in hand within a week, after reading the directions I was up and running. A few hours of work, and all my records from the year had been scanned. With our subscription to the cloud, and the ability to sync devices, I could now access all our records online, from our computer, and even on my phone!

Setting up our account was a breeze and getting the appropriate people access was simple. Now instead of rummaging through my box of paperwork, I can simply open the appropriate folder in our Neat Account and sort through any documents I want. I can run reports to determine costs associated with specific vendors. I can share files with other members of the firehouse in a heartbeat.

We have many more documents and records from years past to scan, but I know we will get there soon. Neat guarantees us quick and easy access to all our records for the foreseeable future, and I can only imagine the sigh of relief future Treasurers will exhale when they see this organized and easy-to-maintain system!

 

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THE NEAT DIGITAL FILING SYSTEM

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Organize your information, simplify your life.