Newsletter for Third Quarter 2007
(July - September)
September 2007 - Issue 3
In This Issue
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This quarter we're talking about problems you can get into on the internet. The article below addresses your business computer but, if you have a home computer, there are some additional things to consider. Don't use public computers or public wireless networks to conduct personal or financial business. Watch what your kids are doing online and talk to them about the dangers associated with social networks like MySpace---child predators love those places. Only download software or files from web pages that you're sure you can trust. The free stuff often comes with a virus or spyware. And one last piece of advice: Don't use the office computer to visit any web pages that you wouldn't want your boss to know about. We've had to help clean up several computers that were so bogged down with spyware they couldn't run. And nobody was happy when the web pages they came from were identified.

More and more of us are getting broadband connections and going online. It can, quite literally, open up a whole new world. But that world is not without it's dangers. You'll be a lot safer online if you take a few technical precautions as well as use a little common sense.

Viruses. This is the one we hear about the most. It's important that you install anti-virus software and that you update it regularly. It's not good enough to just put the anti-virus software on your computer and think you're protected. Hackers are constantly working to develop a new virus that can get around your anit-virus software. The anti-virus folks, at the same time, are working to identify new viruses and update their users with new code before that new virus gets to you. They do a great job of staying ahead of the hackers. You've just got to be sure you've got their latest update.

There are many software packages from which to choose. The September issue of Consumer Reports evaluates these packages and makes recommendations. There is also free software. Check out AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition from free.grisoft.com or Avast Home Edition from avast.com. Be aware that any of these programs could slow down your computer. At least a gigabyte of memory is recommended if you're running anti-virus software.

Phishing. There's no software to protect you from this one. This is basically a scam that comes to you through email. It might appear to have come from your bank and tell you that there's a problem with your account. It directs you to the bank's web page and asks you to enter information about your bank account. Don't do it. It's not your bank's real web page. You'd be amazed at how good these guys are at making fake web pages look like the real thing. And they're getting better all the time because they're making money at it---lots of money.

Delete the email. If you want to contact your bank by email, find their web page from some independent means---a Favorite you've saved, from an ad, or a search engine. Or, look up their telephone number in the phone book and give them a call. Be suspicious. Reputable firms don't ask for personal information by email.

Spam. According to the September Consumer Reports, spam now represents 94% of email. No wonder it's driving us crazy. The good news is that most internet service providers now offer a spam filter. These filters can stop spam before it gets to you. You may be able to set the parameters you want to use to identify spam. They may store the spam so you can review it if you wish. Whether you have a filter or not, delete any spam that you receive. Don't reply. Don't try to use their, "Take me off your list" link. That just confirms to them that they've got a valid email address. And whatever you do, don't ever purchase anything from spam.
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Yield Management is a hot topic in many industries. Airlines and hotels raise their rates as their supply diminishes. That's why an airline ticket bought months in advance is cheaper than one bought the day before the flight.

Self-storage facilities can do the same thing. NX.gen's Flex Rent option provides automatic rate management for new rentals, according to your occupancy levels and the time of year. The rates go up if you have fewer vacancies in that size and go down again if vacancies increase. Or, you can just allow temporary discounts when you have a lot of vacancies instead of reducing the rent.

But, in self-storage, it's just as important to manage rent raises for your existing customers as they represent the bulk of your income. That's why NX.gen offers dual rate management, one for new rentals and another for existing customers.

Automatic rent raises avoid many of the problems of scheduling rent raises. Do you raise rents when the weather is bad so renters won't be inclined to move their stuff out? Or do you do it in the summer when you're likely to re-rent any vacated spaces? Because any time you do an across-the- board rent raise, you're likely to lose some customers who don't want to pay the higher rate.

And, even though you want to raise rates one year after move-in or after the last rent raise, that 12 months can stretch to 15 or more months if you only raise rents once a year. Because you don't want to raise the rent of someone who just moved in a couple of months ago. And, by the time another rent raise occurs, it's been more than a year. The lost income adds up.

NX.gen's Automatic Rent Raise will let you raise each renter one year after their move-in and each year after that. Since you will only be raising 1/12th of your customers each month, you won't get mass move-outs. And renters will get rent raises exactly one year after move-in and every year thereafter, automatically.

Are you in a competitive market? Some of our users who are use the Automatic Rent Raise to keep their move-in rates low. They schedule the first raise after move-in to be at six months and at 3%. Then the rext rent raise is one year after that. Some companies schedule the first rent raise to be after three months. You choose the time periods and percentages yourself, of course.

This increases your income by allowing you to attract more new renters with lower move-in rates while increasing your income from these rentals after a few months. Given that most tenants stay around 8 months, you'll be well ahead of the game.
That Nx.gen can track your Petty Cash transactions? You can activate the Petty Cash option in Maintenance\Accounting\Petty Cash. Choose whether you want to add cash to the account periodically or whether you want the expenditures to be deducted from that day's cash on the Bank Deposit. The first option is for managers who want to keep petty cash completely separate from cash collected from customers. The second is for managers who feel, "there's already cash in the drawer, why send more cash."

While you're in the Maintenance Program, decide which Users can handle Petty Cash and set that up in Users and User Functions. They will have to enter their User ID and Password to get into the Petty Cash part of the system. So, other users won't be able to view these transactions.

Then, each time you pay for something out of Petty Cash, go to the Utilities\Petty Cash menu and add that transaction, including comments about what was purchased. Nx.gen will keep all your petty cash transactions forever. You can select From and To dates to view the transactions from a particular period. Your current Petty Cash balance is shown at the bottom of the screen.

Hope you enjoyed your summer. We got so relaxed that we missed one edition of our newsletter. But it's back to work now that fall is here.

Ramona Taylor
Space Control Systems, Inc.

phone: 1-800-455-9055

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This email was sent to rtaylor@spacecontrol.com, by rtaylor@spacecontrol.com

Space Control Systems, Inc. | 206 Providence Mine Rd. | Suite 118 | Nevada City | CA | 95959