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Archive for the ‘Random’ Category


Choosing the Right Office Space

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Whether you are looking for office space for a new business, or have outgrown your present space there are some important considerations. You should start by checking with letting and estate agents to find out where there is available office space. Check out the area and get as much information as you can.

Whether yours is a large business, a small or medium enterprise, or a new business it is worth making a list of what you need, what is non-negotiable, and what you might like. Once you have some idea of what you actually want, searching for the right office space should be easier. Some of the most important considerations are listed below.

Demo Area
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikecogh

Location

Think carefully about where you would like your office space to be and how convenient the location is for your staff. Check out public transport in the area as not everyone drives to work.

Location is also important when it comes to your business image, rent office space in an unsafe or down at heel area and this could reflect badly on your business. Parking space is a necessity, particularly if you have a lot of clients and competitors visiting your place of business.

Research Area Amenities

What local amenities are there? Some people like to get away from the office at lunch time, or find somewhere to buy lunch in. Very often people will use their lunch break to run personal errands. Is the office near amenities such as a bank, supermarket or post office?

Journey

What sort of journey or commute will the office move involve? Staff may be unhappy if they have to spend more time travelling to and from work. The new office may not be too distant, but it could be very busy traffic wise, which is not what you or your staff may want.

Space

How much space you need will depend on what sort of business you run. If you are setting up a call centre then you may find that you need more space than if you are simply running a general office. Take measurements so that you can assess whether the office space is large enough for staff and equipment.

If you entertain clients, host virtual conferences or generally have visitors in your office then you may need boardroom and reception space. Other people will judge your business by their impressions of your business premises, so bear this in mind when you are searching for the right office.

Clients and Competitors

If staff regularly visit clients or they visit your offices, you may want a location that is convenient for this.

You may not want your office space to be too near any of your business competitors so you need to research the businesses located in that area.

Office Amenities

What extra amenities are provided for the office? You may want a managed telephone and reception area for instance. Depending on your type of business you may also require onsite security systems. Some offices now have work stations and computers already installed for business use, would you want this type of service?

Not everyone wants the same thing for their office space. Use these ideas to help you decide exactly what you want from your business office.

This post was written for Foxhall Business Centres by Crispin Jones – serviced and managed offices for Nottingham.


My first ebook

Monday, July 12th, 2010

The_Internet_is_Blue

Friday, June 25th I published my first ebook. The book is call “The Internet is Blue: How Democrats are winning online and what Republicans can do about it”. The book sounds (and is) aimed at a political audience but I think that plenty of markets could still find it a useful read. So I wanted to write a post about it here, to let you know what its about and how you can get it.

Why I’m telling you about Politics

About a month ago I decided to combine my professional and political presence on the web. I’d been doing it on Facebook for almost a year, and since I volunteer and openly speak about my beliefs I decided I might as well let it extend into all areas of my online life. Many marketers say never talk politics in your business space. I used to agree, but as I’m obviously political, I figure its best if people know up front. That way if my beliefs bother or offend them they know not to work with me up-front, instead of finding out about it later.

Plus, this book is less about politics and more about understanding your market and how to reach them online.

Why I wrote this book

This particular ebook came out of a discussion with my grandfather, who was very ill and expected to die from cancer at the time. I was upset after reading multiple emails from Republicans which I thought sounded like spam. (These emails can be found at The Internet is Blue.) I complained to him that politicians don’t know how to market. My grandfather suggested I write a book about it. So I immediately set out to write the book. My grandfather is doing much better now and the book is dedicated to him.

How this ebook relates to online marketing

This book mostly shows three things:

1. What Republicans have done wrong online (examples)

2. What Democrats have done right online (case studies)

3. What Republicans can do to fix things (action plan in nine parts)

Each of these sections deal with specific areas of online marketing in the realm of politics. Most topics are touched on from design and messaging to social media and web development.

What YOU can get out of this book

Many companies do the same things things wrong as the Republicans, ignoring important demographics, valuing the sale over the customer or even not being willing to pay for exceptional web development. We can all learn something from Obama’s whirlwind online campaign. And of course there’s the discussion of up-coming trends at the end of the book as well. If you are a developer or even just a business interested in doing better online marketing, there are plenty of great tidbits of knowledge in this ebook. (Or course, if you are interested in politics then you should certainly get a copy!)

Where you can find it

Hopefully I’ve sold you on my book, now, here’s how you can get it.

The ebook is for sale at TheInternetisBlue.com for $15. Right now it is only available as a pdf from the website but we should soon be releasing a print copy as well as a version for amazon.

If you are press or a blogger who would like to review the book, please contact me directly.


If Social Media was a Superhero…

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Which superhero would each platform be?

This post is inspired by the mobile superhero post from Big in Japan and by a conversation with @Jax989 about what 3 superpowers I’d want (in case you’re curious, they are teleportation–to avoid traffic, telekensis–also to avoid traffic and telepathy).

Facebook: Superman

4538444605_79961252eb

Who can leap building in a single bound? Facebook can. Its the all-performance, all powerful social media platform of choice. If you need to connect with someone Facebook is the first choice. It also offers every app imaginable (for great justice!). It exists in every time and place, it allows you to tweet, blog and show pictures. It is the website of steel. However, like Superman, Facebook has its kryptonite: privacy. Unfortunately all the awesome things that Facebook offers can be instantly over-shadowed by a single brush with its single?Achilles?heel. Privacy issues have continued to plague Facebook’s massive growth, threatening to strip the social media giant of its powerful grasp on the internet. Hopefully Facebook will overcome this evil (or it might be reduced to MySpace’s social media superhero persona: Aquaman—in other words, still have followers… they’re just fish.)

Twitter: The Flash

the_flash

Need to connect with others at the speed of sound? Find Twitter and find it fast. Always on the go, always getting the most news and conversation in quick bite-sized servings, Twitter has all the powers of the famous Flash. It also latches on to some of The Flash’s best and worse qualities including witty sarcasm and a sense of arrogance (its okay Twitter users, we all know you think you’re better than other platforms). Most serious Twitter users converse in real time with a application like Tweetdeck or Seesmic. Or they connect on their phone. Either way they except all their news and conversation right now. The problem is, Twitter as a company might be too caught up in how wicked fast they are to notice their need to catch up with their users.

Linked-In: Professor Xavier

professorx1

Solid, thoughtful and constantly in your head, Linked-In keeps all your contacts in line so you don’t have to. If a social media platform could be psychic, this one would take the cake. Professor Xavier had a much tamer ability than other X-men, but was the leader and the most powerful. Linked-In offers the same, while not offering the same robust social?atmosphere, Linked-In calmly offers professionals what they need most, tools and connections. It does this without forcing you to log-in every day, and allows you to download or interact as needed. While often overlooked, Linked-In is an immensely powerful networking tool. It certainly leads the charge for unruly mutants.

What super powers do your social connections give you? Tell me in the comments!


Why Companies Don’t Adopt New Tech

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

WhyCompanies

Here’s the graph:

TechnologyAdoption

Glad to be back!


The Internet Owns Your Business’ Soul

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Your brand is not in your hands anymore.

The internet possesses powers that can turn you into a celebrity overnight. But the great god that giveth, doth also taketh away. In other words, deal with your business honestly or you won’t own a business anymore. Think this sounds dramatic? It’s true.

Take the example of Brian King. Brian is media editor (video mostly) and also a podcaster. He’s a freelancer. He lives in LA and does great work. Brian had the opportunity to help someone who needed, more-or-less, a quick and dirty video done. Cheap, fast, you know the drill. Brian had some connections and offered to work on the project. After multiple editing rounds, the client paid. Well… kinda. Brian got a letter from Bank of America saying the client in question had stopped the check. It wasn’t for a whole lot of money, but Brian had paid out of pocket to use facilities and now he was in the hole. Of course, the amount isn’t what matters, its too small of a check to bother hiring a lawyer, but its the principle of thing. So Brian decided he wanted payment, and he was going to do what it took to make that happen.

Brian turned to the internet. First he bought a domain. It just so happens that his client does not own his-name.com: philconti.com Then he promoted the page to his blog. Then he posted it to twitter. Within 2 days he had over 100 retweets and dozen of people making comments on their own blogs and personal websites. If you now google performers Phil Conti & Marlene Arden, mostly negative press shows up.

I found out about Brian’s plight from a webcomic I read: Candi by Starline X. Hodge. She posted about it in her daily update because,

“He’s a good friend of mine, so when he posted it on his blog, I decided to help. I just didn’t like hearing that he got ripped off. Figured if more people knew about it, then maybe they’d pay him for his work.”

I contacted Brian and asked if he’d tell me a little bit about why he chose this course of action (putting pressure on the client through the internet). He said

“They’re entertainers, and I know that entertainers’ web presence is extremely important. If they realize that the internet dislikes them, and their google/twitter/whatever search results are negative, they’re going to have problems.”

Which I agree, it’d be a problem for anyone! I asked Brian what kind of outcome he hope for. He said he’d just like to make up the difference, if they pay in full, he’ll pull down all the pages he wrote mentioning them.

Brian is just one freelancer in California and he completely changed the personal brand of Phil & Marlene. So the next time you deal with a customer or hire a company, be above board. Make sure you hold the keys to your company’s image. Never underestimate the power of the internet and what that means for your brand.

So what do you think? Do you think smearing someone’s brand is justified? Is it too much? Not enough? Have you seen the internet eat another business alive?
If you agree with Brian’s approach be sure to spread the word, ReTweet, blog, link on Facebook. Show his site some love. And Starline too!

Image by AndYaDon’tStop


Love to London

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

(Make sure to leave your link-love in the comments!)

Just a quick update. I’m now writing for a UK-tech blog. So if you are a fan based in Europe you may want to subscribe over there! The blog is a little less web design-based and will have more “tech” writing (which should be fun since I’m no IT pro). It will deal with online media based on the UK market and also fun techy news. Please check it out and leave some love.

Let’s make it a link-love day. Got a blog? Share it in the comments.

Image by 13bobby

A Younger, Sexier Twitter

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Twitter made some subtle design changes recently and I couldn’t help but comment on them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about sleek designs. Except the new bird is kinda weird. But here’s my problem: why is Twitter spending money on a redesign when they could put that cash towards greater/smoother functionality or finding a monetization strategy? Or, you know, adding a “ReTweet” button, like other apps have (TweetDeck, Tweetgrid, so on…). That’d be cool. Hello?? Twitter? Are you listening?

What awesome feature would you have spent Twitter’s money on?

(Also, go rate that video. I lost the password to my YouTube account and I can finally get on it after a year! I need some love.)


The Newly Famous

Friday, July 31st, 2009

I got some great feedback on the post Want Free Advice? Join a Freakin’ Meetup. Most of the feedback didn’t show up as comments on the post but showed up on Facebook, in my inbox and even over the phone. Its probably been the most discussed post I’ve ever written.

One of the best comments I got came via email from someone who you should know if you don’t yet. I met him at Word Camp Dallas, where he was a speaker, he’s also an active member of the WordPress Meetup, and gave a presentation there in April. Lovely readers I’d like to present to you the Now-Famous Randy Hoyt!

First, I’d like to tell you a little bit about Randy and then I want to share with you the most FANTASTIC link he sent me! (Seriously, if you read any business blogs and want to get spotlighted, email the blogger the video I’m about to share, its like omg-I-peed-my-pants good.)

Randy gave me a little bio when I asked about him: “Randy Hoyt is a web developer and myth enthusiast living in Dallas, Texas. He offers his web development services through his freelance company Amesbury Web. He studies mythology and literature in his free time, editing and writing articles for his online myth magazine Journey to the Sea.”

What Randy means by all this very nice, demurely written information (its okay, he’s not used to being famous yet) is that he is a seriously ROCKING programmer. Like to the point where I’m gonna say if for some reason you don’t want to pay us, you should pay him to do your work. In fact, we’re hoping Veribatim will be able to use Randy in some future projects because its always great to know someone who creates user-friendly plug-ins. Randy gave the most technical presentation at WordCamp without scaring everyone. And to top it all off, Randy has this mythology site which is awesome. As a former creative writing major, I am crazy about this site of his. And let me tell you, a programmer who enjoys writing in any literary capacity is a rare find indeed.

So, GO CHECK OUT HIS SITE. Do it! Do it now! (Or, at least right after you watch the clip.)

Now, let me share with you the main reason Randy earned his spotlight. After I ranted about clients expecting things for free he sent me this youtube video:

If you are in business and that didn’t make little rainbows come out of your nose because you were laughing so hard you are just. not. human.

Now, go! Go check out Randy and give him some love! Here’s a post of his that I enjoyed, you might like it too. Leave him a comment and let him know where you’re from!


Sharing: Mom always said to do it, so it must be a good idea

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009


I’ve got this really bad habit of gushing about things I love: WordPress, Twitter, kittens… well I have a new and brilliant tool I want to share with you. The problem with many browser plugin/apps/downloads is that they clutter and aren’t very user friendly anyhow. But not Shareaholic! Observe:

Before Shareaholic.

After Shareaholic.

But what does this wonderful and non-space hogging button on my browser do?? you may be wondering quietly to yourself. It might as well be a portal to the end of the universe as far as I’m concerned, its just that spectacular. No really, it lets you share stuff… everywhere! You know how it goes. You’re on a site, or reading an article and you are like “Wow, this is brilliant. Everyone should see it.” Then you have to copy the url, open an email or Twitter or Facebook, paste it and hit send. And you have to do that for every place you want to share it to. No longer! Just click the Shareaholic button and a drop down menu appears, select where you want to share your info and bang, done. All that’s left is customizing and waiting for all the feedback. (Random Tip: you don’t have to just share publicly, Shareaholic will let you link to your email or to private Facebook messages as well.)

I know what you’re thinking: “Okay, I’m sold, how do I get this amazing button of awesomeness?” Easy. Just go to Shareaholic.com and pick your browser. (It even works for those shameful people who don’t have Firefox.) Then download, and the happy little green icon will appear on your browser. Note: downloading this will not hurt your computer, not spyware or anything like that, your hard drive is safe!

Not convinced yet? Shareaholic works with about 50 services already and there’s even a video I found on their lovely blog:

Are you using Shareaholic? What are your thoughts? Did this post make you go download it? Why not SHARE your experience with us?

Images/Video for this post were either mine or came from Shareaholic’s awesome blog by Jay Meattle.

Want free advice? Join a freakin’ Meetup.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

p>Let’s say, for sake of example, that you are a baker. You spend hours slaving over the most fantastic chocolate cake known to man. You gently place it in your display window. Sooner or later a customer comes in. “Could I try that cake in the window?”

“Well, the cake costs twenty dollars.”

“But I want to taste it first,” he repeats adamantly.

There’s no way you are cutting into that cake unless someone coughs up some cash. “I can’t give you just one bite.”

“Yes, but how do I know its any good?” replies the customer earnestly. “Can you give me the recipe? Maybe I should try to make it on my own first, and then I’ll know if it’d be any good or not.”

“Well, I could give you the recipe, but unless you have all the tools that I use in my kitchen–“

I bet you know where I’m going with this story by now. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying you should pay up-front for every service and never ask for proof of results. That’s not what I mean at all. But the expectation that things should be done for free seems come up more and more often. I’m not just writing this for myself either. Before I typed this post, I did some research. These are all examples of people who get asked for free advice in their field:

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Photographers
  • Editors
  • Coaches
  • Business Consultants
  • Accountants
  • Political Campaign Managers
  • Programmers

The basis of this post is why you shouldn’t expect your marketers to plan a strategy for free, but go ahead and apply it to any business you work with. Point to Remember: Everyone has rent to pay.

Each person on the list above is a professional. They have credentials, experience or both. Their ideas are valuable. Also, they have rent. Someone pays them because they are GOOD at what they do. And they will probably give you tons of great advice. Many will go above beyond their price tag to give you awesome service. That does not mean you should take advantage of them. Lots of them do give out freebies. They do a cake-tasting just for you by blogging honestly about their industry, speaking for free at events, and sharing tips with you over coffee. However, they aren’t going to hand you the entire cake and say, “Well I hope you enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed making it!” (That’s your mom, not your lawyer.)

I think one of the reasons I’m seeing more of this give-me-free-stuff mentality is because of the economy. People are looking for things they can do cheaper and faster. I totally understand that, but let me level with you a little. THE ECONOMY SUCK FOR EVERYONE. Yet, I feel, that’s all the more reason why you should pay someone for their time. It keeps the economy going and makes sure one more person gets to have a job and feed their family.

Most of you reading are probably cheering quietly from your office, knowing you are the baker in the story. We all want to think we would never treat someone that way, but its hard not to have the “what can you do for me today?” thought in the back of your head. Really search yourself. Are you always the baker? Who are you using? Are you trying to pull extra time out of a good service? Do you expect to be catered to? I know I’ve done it in the past, when I was just getting started I met with an accountant and he gave me a ton of advice (way above and beyond) in good faith. I really did plan on using his services. But time passed and I ended up just cutting corners and doing things myself. Later, I tried to send that person 20+ referrals to make up for it but I still believe I did him wrong. Take a moment to consider when you’ve taken advantage of someone. If you do catch yourself doing it, at least don’t get angry when someone draws a line in the sand and says “No, you have to pay for that.”

So let me conclude with this. There are lots of ways to get free advice. One of the absolute best ways is through a Meetup. Seriously. Get on Meetup.com and just search for whatever you want for free and go learn it. People are more than happy to share. If you have the time to do everything yourself, that’s a great way to do it. Maybe you get lucky and land someone willing to work for crumbs at those events. I’ve seen it happen. But don’t expect me to draw up a five year marketing plan for your business and teach you all the basics of WordPress in an hour and then not even pay for my coffee. Buy the whole damn cake.

If you’re willing to share, who have you not bought a cake from and how do you plan to make up for it?

*** Update ****

Sent to me from a friend in reference to this post. Just had to share. Possibly, the most awesome and true video I’ve ever seen.