this is just a quick one. I found “Wix” and although i know there’s a bunch of these ones out there, as previously discussed; this one looks kinda simple, and easy to set-up.
this is just a quick one. I found “Wix” and although i know there’s a bunch of these ones out there, as previously discussed; this one looks kinda simple, and easy to set-up.
I’ve made a post already about setting up a facebook page. If you’ve done that, and am interested in customising the page a little – then here you are.
Like most web publishing nowadays, its more about content than technology. (somewhat) gone are the days when it takes tens of thousands to build a customised Content Management System – or perhaps more readily – have someone sell you one they’ve already made for lots of bucks…
Nowadays, the problem is almost more sophisticated – it’s about the more traditional skills – telling stories, taking pictures, putting together videos, creating identity – formatting content, in a uniquely compelling way to engage your communities.
When thinking about page-tabs – how can this web-environment be developed to better assist your business, brand or cause?
We’ll i’ve been searching for solutions. The main topic here, will be about page tabs. In a page, there are a few boxes – where new content can be added to your page. The Page-Tab function, brings more than simply a new page – it is a place for applications, that can interact with the community using your page.
Facebook has a function where people can search for applications. In that area, there are a bunch of applications already; but that’s not all,
Interestingly; Oracle has a site with some great apps…
Pam’s site gives some more info about pages for business. It’s good information, but there is heaps out there about it. I suggest you have a good look. Depending on the size of your existing audience, i’d suggest you go out there and experiment a bit before spending too much (if any) money.
Hope that’s helpful.
Well, You might think – what does events have to do with anything – but have a good think about it…
When you get your first customer group all put together, wouldn’t it be nice to put on a nice event for them. If you can’t produce one – perhaps send them to one, or participate in an existing one – like a tradeshow or something…
Events is part of professional representation – of the business. Have you had a think about how you could do this?
An event done well, can be the best form of advertising for your business. An event done poorly, can be worse than receiving nails for your businesses coffin, voluntarily provided from your patrons.
The “secret” to events; is about good preparation, pre-production and management. I was recently challenged to consider how many events i had done.
As i never considered myself an “event manager”, i never really thought about before. It almost seemed like a distractions. Yet, in the face of volunteering to a community event – with so many contributors – but some massive problems due to the leadership of the event (an inexperience) i had to think about it. Perhaps a hundred, perhaps many more. It’s not really what i think about overall….
Organising an event, is kinda like setting-up a dinner party or a teenagers house party; or even, a company meeting… Within each of these events, people take different roles. It’s important to identify what you do have experience in doing, and what you do not. People, with events, are generally rather helpful. If their not helpful, don’t bother (well, in my experience anyhow).
People who know events, know both that events hardly ever run without a problem of somekind. this is not to suggest they are all at risk of falling over, but rather – even events professionally planned – will have some sort of “hiccup” once it’s started. The difference really is; what doesn’t go wrong, because it was planned properly.
As always, templates is always a good-place to start when your thinking about how to set-up an event. It could be a digital event, it could be a wedding, it could be just about anything – if it’s too complicated to remember in your head, and have it sorted – a list, a template, can help.
Beyond the bigger problem of attempting to manage the delivery of the event – the next part, which is somewhat more professional in nature – is return on investment.
This is where the art of being an event manager comes into play.
What a day it was, when i found out about stock content…
Stock Content doesn’t appear to be on wikipedia… In simple-terms, it is the name given to pre-produced content (image, motion image, sound, etc.) and owned by production library and licensed to customers for use in their own productions, on a range of licensing terms; rather than, the production of content for exclusive use within a specifically produced product, services or greater work.
The purpose of Stock Content – is to acquire content, more cheaply than producing it yourself.
In some instances; a user can download the images with existing watermarks, and use them to figure out what their going to do with the item their trying to produce – prior to making purchases.
There is a world of content out there. Sometimes, it’s just wiser to acknowledge someone else’s good-work, rather than trying to do too much yourself.
That said – i think we’ve all seen some of those images that are completely over-used. I guess, try to find something a little unique and contextual… just a suggestion…
Creating an online presence may sound easy – but in reality – it’s time-consuming.
There are some basics that you’ll need – like a website. Honestly, if your setting-up a business nowadays – it’s better to try to manage some of these things yourself, whilst getting someone to help you, do it.
The internet has evolved, it’s a simple fact. In user-terms, the biggest growth market is likely to be the elderly; as most kids already use the internet – as natives – and adults increasingly grew-up with it. Yet, the elderly, our elders – are slowely becoming more and more isolated as their telephone and fax machine (if they’ve got one) continues to become as outdated as their love of writing letters, and sitting down with their family – to look at family photo’s, printed at the local chemist.
There’s a moral to that story; the tools available to set-up and manage websites, is becoming easier, and easier to use, modify and promote.
A good technical person, acting with honesty, should be able to point you in the right direction – and help you set-up your site. The reality is, WordPress and other related tools – many of which i’ve discussed on this site; do most of the work for you. It’s most often, almost as difficult as using microsoft word – probably easier than word-perfect (for those who remember those days) and certainly much easier than putting some tape into a machine, to start a computer – or two floppy disks, for that matter…
The difference really is; that although it’s easier, more strait-forward – you still need a helping hand to get onto the right path to begin with – as well as, someone to hold your hand when you get into trouble.
So; assuming you’ve decided that you’ll set-up your own presence. The first place to start, is probably with a mindmap. Once you figure out what kinda thing you want to say, and what headings / subheadings you want to use (otherwise known as “information architecture“) then your ready to think about making some pages on a website.
Websites nowadays link into all of these (still emerging) social-web portals. These portals, described here. all want different information, in-order to maximise your potential in those environments. There are different philosophies around different sites, and how they should be used. Generally, start with whatever your most comfortable with, make a plan, and go step-by-step.
One of the most important things really, is content.
Years ago, i / we (can’t remember) coined a term or rule – “the three c’s” – Content, Cash and Customers.
If you’ve got enough to get two of these, then it’s often viable to obtain the other. With only one, then you have to think about how to get the second – and if you have none – then well, Good Luck!!!
Content, in essence – is intellectual input, formatted into some-sort of “digital” presence; which can be presented to customers.
Cash, is financial resource – the ability to present to a customer.
Customers – people who want to pay for your services. They’ll pay cash, if the content is right. If you don’t have the right Content, but you have cash – then you can always use that cash, to develop the right content – and secure the customers.
Creating an online presence, is more than just a presence explaining what the business does. People like to explore, and a presence is a type of portal in itself, moulding all these different forms of threads, in all there different areas – into a coherent “space” or “network” that can attract customers, attract engagement and help generate more cash, more content, and more customers.
What’s a Logo – well that’s an easy question, which is somewhat pointless answering.
What’s a Style-Guide? Well, that’s more complicated.
A Style Guide is a document or set of specifications outlining how to set-up the “look and feel” of documents, publications, websites and other materials produced by your organisation. A Style Guide can either be set-up by a graphic design professional – or developed overtime.
There are many templates to figure out what types of things are necessary for a style guide. a quick google-search for the topic will come-up with some options.
One of the more annoying facets of producing a style guide; is the standardised formats in which the logos and related artwork needs to be produced.
There are a range of different shapes, sizes, and on digital – pixel density measures which are appropriated to logos – when applied to publishing environments.
This is much like advertorial guidelines, for submitting advertising artworks into 3rd party publications.
logo’s need to be simple. If their not simple, that is a style in itself, but equally – there is still a need to help a user – simplify the logo, so that it can be used in a versatile and transportable manner.
Many hours can be spent in developing a logo; and related basic corporate identity artwork. in a start-up, if you do not have the skills to do this yourself, or perhaps – not the time – there are a range of 3rd parties who provide basic services, which can easily get you off the ground.
When starting a new business, the need to figure out identity is an important factor.
All businesses end-up with their own identity. The Australian Corporations Act, states that a company – is it’s own legal entity in the eyes of the law. In most cases, an ABN is sufficient to start a business – stepping up the process to a business name, which later down the track – if the business is successful – turns into a company.
Considering the businesses objectives is always a good starting point when considering how to provide a new business or company, identity.
– What is it that the business seeks to achieve?
– What does it provide that is valued to current and potential customers?
– How will the business scale?
– How does the business – make money…
I often mindmap out the solutions i’m developing, and trying to structure my thought around it. There are often a multitude of reasons why someone decides to go start a business. These underlying reasons change the nature of the start-up, the purpose of the business and the aspects in which the founder of the business, focuses upon developing the business.
In many cases; it’s simply an idea of generating revenue. People decide it’s a “good idea” to start a business, so they decide they’ll have a “crack” at it. In These cases, i often find it almost more important to explore the underlying personal reasons for setting-up the business – what is the purpose of doing this action – why a business?
What are the critical things the business is expected to provide its founders – and what is the business designed to provide an audience – of customers. There is obviously a difference between the needs of a business operator, and a business. By exploring these needs, both personal and professional alike – a business model is more easily established around the skills and needs of its proprietors.
In other cases; a group, or individual has identified a “business opportunity”. This business opportunity is often a far more calculated start-up process, where the businesses establishment has less to do with the personal identities of the founders – and more to do with establishing a path for successful commercialisation of a product or services, for which the founders of the business have some sort of unique relationship to; as required, to facilitate the undertaking of setting-up a business.
In both cases, mindmapping is a powerful tool to explore and visualise the very different, alternate and interwoven aspects to a business. To get a 15,000 foot view on the needs of setting up a business, providing it identity – and ensuring your work with it, encourages the growth – to fullest potential – of both the new business, and the participants involved in establishing it.
If your looking for some other perspectives on mindmapping – check-out the youtube search.
In one of my other posts – i’ve describe a bunch of web-services, used more for internal and/or project management – but how about marketing?
Marketing a business, a group, an offering – is where it all starts. So, how can web-services help?
I’ve already discussed CapsuleCRM – a basic CRM Platform. However, this is only one-part of the broader opportunities. It’s difficult to identify which solutions suite a customers requirements – without having a good-look at the business, the business owner – and their needs.
Wherever you see an business orientated webservice – you’ll see a link to Mail Chimp. Mailchimp – helps with sending email marketing messages to users.
Another really important thing – is figuring out how to leverage forms.
A Form is part of a webpage, where users fill-out details to make an enquiry, pay for something – all that kinda thing. One good option is JotForm It’s free to test-out, and integrates with FreshBooks, FaceBook, MailChimp and a bunch of other Web Services.
Perhaps more essentially; Businesses can really benefit from setting-up links, pages and exposure for your business across the social network sites and other related places on the net – as appropriate to your website.
Some of the basic sites to consider include; Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Twitter, YouTube and other similar sites.
Each industry has specific types of sites that support specific industries. These sites can include Ebay and other sites that help business owners sell products; other industries, such as travel, accommodation and professional services have specific solutions that help to resource customers and make sales.
Most of these services need Professional Media Services to be facilitated by appropriate professionals – for your business. Whether you need strategy, photography, video production, graphic design, copyrighting or some-other form of professional services – to get your content in-order – it’s a worthwhile consideration, prior to setting-up these marketing-tools for your business.
There’s this whole ecosystem developing around how to interact with projects, customers whilst figuring out how to track payments / costs, etc.
Battling away with getting rid of the shoebox method for managing reciepts; whilst considering how to improve the methods in managing customers, projects and invoicing.
I’m in Apple Land – with a Mac, and IPAD. Still setting-up the Communications platform – to it’s optimal configuration – i’ve been setting-up methods to enhance the way i engage customers – and manage projects.
I started out by setting-up Freshbooks. Freshbooks is an online invoicing system. It’s rather cheap (cost me less than most accounting packages would otherwise), and connects to my iPAD – with a few nifty functions such as being able to attach or take a photo of a receipt and assign it to a customer – as well as a “stopwatch” (which is more designed for iphones) that means i can sit-down, start the stop-watch, do something on a project – then stop the stopwatch, and track my hours.
I can also put in expenses, manage project costs, add customers and a host of other invoice related functions – accessible both via an easy to use online interface – as well as on my iPad (or iphone).
Perhaps one of the best bits – which i’m just starting to explore – is the ability to send an invoice; and, the ability for a customer to pay that invoice online (when appropriate banking details have been set-up).
Freshbooks made it much easier – saved me heaps of time in admin – sorting out project costs, quotes, estimates, etc.
There are a few different types of systems, and solutions – but i really did like freshbooks – and have settled on it – mostly, due to the cost and application design.
But – i didn’t stop there.
after becoming a little frustrated by more complex project management processes i’m trying to streamline (for a growing business) – i then found CapsuleCRM.
CapsuleCRM integrates with Freshbooks. Making it much easier to figure stuff administrative out…
As well as integrating with the Invoicing systems – it also connects to Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. I’m not a twitter user – i feel as though i’ve got enough going on already – But depending on what type of business you’ve got – i can see how these functions can and are really useful.
CapsuleCRM for a relatively low-cost – enables the management of teams, multitude of projects, sales pipelines, and all that “crm” type stuff which is generally difficult to set-up, let alone manage overall.
Again – Much like the options available when considering an invoicing system – there are a multitude of options out there for CRM too…
The other interesting platform is Teambox. TeamBox is a relatively new start-up business. I got in-contact with them, as i set-up an account soon-after they were established. I was really impressed by the team – giving me useful support, and advise – in a really time-effective manner.
Their platform has developed quite a lot since they first started. I haven’t used it for a while, mostly because i haven’t needed to… I’ve logged into my account again, as i write this blog-entry… The interface has developed substancially, since their early days. I can link the account to my dropbox account – for sharing files. It’s also got a helpdesk, and a few other functions. I can link it to facebook and a bunch of other apps. I’m thinking i’ll ask them about linking their platform into CapsuleCRM and/or Freshbooks – as that would provide a complete project lifecycle management platform – we’ll see how it goes i guess…
Oh – now Dropbox – I think i’ll cover that in a different section, more focused on communications generally; but the simple bit is as follows,
Dropbox is an online storage provider – it links to your devices, stores files, and makes it easy to share files on a permission based processes controlled by the account holder.
One of the most important things to look-at, when considering any of these “web-services” is an exit strategy – what happens if you want to use something else – how do you get your information out of these systems, and into something else that is useful.
These types of problems can be figured out through a growth-planning process, where your software choices are put into a lifecycle management process.
Beyond simple lifecycle management – scaling cost is also an important thing to consider. If your thinking about hiring staff or collaborating with others – how can that be done? what’s needed – how is your “knowledge capital” effectively managed, throughout your businesses sales cycle.
Another good-thing about these “web-services” is that a great-deal of the more complex problems – have been thought out for you, and a well-designed site – will ask simple questions, for functional outcomes.
It’s worthwhile having a look-around at your options – seeing what can be done, and thinking about the cost/benefit to the available options, most appropriate for you and your business.
When starting a new “digital business” – It’s important to get the right “tools of trade”, ensuring you understand the technology from a user-case perspective – and become proficient in undertaking the tasks your expecting your customers to undertake as part of finding you, with the digital resources your developing.
If it’s too difficult for you, that’s a good indicator it’s going to be difficult for customers – which at a minimum, is going to reduce your “traffic”, and therefore also – your sales potential.
Tools of Trade in any digital business, should include devices that provide you access to the resources you’re planning to provide your customers, in the method your expecting your customers to access your offerings.
Other tools of trade include Accounting, Customer Relationship Management and other internal resources – to help your business or project, best manage timelines and expectations both internally, as well as externally.
Tim, of MediaProphet, formerly used Windows PC equipment for almost two decades. Over this time, computers were built – set-up, and used for a host of different activities. In more recent time, a transition has been made to Apple Equipment. Although more expensive in terms of hardware cost – i’m continually amazed by the lowered cost of operation, both in terms of the cost of software – as well as the usability of the system and it’s immunity to the vast majority of viruses and other nasties out there on the net.
On Workstations (and laptops) the Operating System – Called “OSX” is based on Unix or Linux – a different type of programming to windows, that means viruses and such written for windows – just don’t work on the operating system…
Perhaps more importantly – The “brave new world” is now very much into “internet connected” devices. Internet Devices are envisaged to take-over the way most people do most things – computer based – when not typing a letter, writing or designing a proposal – or those other more “power-user” type applications.
Therein; The Apple Environment, has a complete eco-system – connecting TV’s, with iPAD’s and iPhones – with Computers, Back-up storage devices, etc.
Although these types of things can be done much “better” (or rather, with more flexibility) using alternatives – apple just makes it work for the layman.
On the flip-side – PC’s, Windows and increasingly – Google – do offer a range of very good solutions – which do, make-up most of the total user-base out there in the market.
Considering the solutions is an important step to setting-up a digital presence.
We can help you figure out something that might work for your organisation, and we’ve developed a few other outlines to think about – how to get yourself off the ground and into sales.