Wednesday, 23 December 2009

You have a fan page on what?

So you have created a new fan page on Facebook and you have about a dozen 'fans' but how do you know they are the correct fans? Have you a strategy in place that will get you more fans that will buy your products or services? Do you know how to spot a real fan and someone who just connects so they aren’t ‘Billy no mates’?

This doesn’t just apply to Facebook, this applies to all social networking sites that can bring your business increased sales or exposure.

Over the coming weeks I will talk you through how to spot the real fan and maybe get a little piece of the action for your business, but the bottom line is if you don’t have a sound strategy or goal in place then it will just meander on into oblivion.

photo creadit: davynin

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Crashes and other disasters

On Monday I had the mother of all crashes, my computer not car, I have everything backed up from previous experiences but it got me thinking that if we applied this to our clients and business where would we be without a backup?

If you lost one or even two of your major clients today what would you do to replace them and have you even given any thought to it? Well it happens to all of us at some point and you have to have a ‘plan b’ in place or you are well and truly sunk!

Most small businesses run on maybe ten to thirty clients, dependent on your type of business of course, but let’s say you run a retail business my guess is that you will have a handful of ‘golden clients’ that keep returning week after week and year after year, but then disaster strikes and you get a phone call to say they no longer require your services. Panic sets in and then you think what can I do to make up that shortfall? Well in most cases you will be nurturing other ‘warm’ clients and if not you should be. Just like I back up all my content just in case, you should also have a ‘just in case list'.

You may have other ways of doing this, please let me know what they are?

Photo credit: lordog

Sunday, 15 November 2009

What inspires you?

I was asked a question the other day “what inspires you?” now sometimes I have to think about this one as a lot of things have inspired me over the years some of them being people, painting, music and the main one family, as without them I wouldn’t be what I am today.

But thinking about it we can all draw inspiration from lots of different places without ever really knowing it. My web background started about twelve years ago from a painting and design background and just seeing some great work really inspired me, and still does today. But I think as we all move forward on this exciting journey of ours lots of things and people will continue to inspire me and hopefully you too, if we look at it logically lots of people do great things but the web has given rise to groups having more of a say than ever before and really influencing politics and decision making, we saw the first political online vote not so long ago, and this trend will continue and you have to use it to you’re advantage in whatever it is you do.

So again I think the new pioneers really inspire me and long may it continue, let me know what inspires you?

Photo credit: nicasaurusrex

Friday, 13 November 2009

What do you do that’s so different?

After reading a post by Seth Godin, [link to post] it got me thinking what do we offer that is so different, a product a service, well yes that could be the thing but I think it is more likely to be ‘you’.
Lets face it in this ‘fast paced’, ‘in your face’ and ‘hyper speed’ world we can sometimes offer a very similar service to another company and then it comes down to what you offer as a person, as we are told ‘client’s buy people not products’ and I believe this to be true so when looking at you’re competitors yes you may be similar but I bet you are not similar people so get out there and show the world just how good you are at what it is you do.

Photo credit:  pshutterbug

Monday, 2 November 2009

Do you know where you're headed?...part two

If you had the choice or chance would you change anything? If you could go back to the very beginning and start again would you? I ask this question because as business people we like to reshape and progress things as much as we possibly can, always looking for new things and avenues to explore.

After watching an old program about Peter Jones, from Dragon's Den, last night it suddenly struck me that we reinvent ourselves regularly to survive and stay ahead of the game and this can either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Personally I thing it's a great thing and I try to look at the business at least once a quarter, maybe even sooner if I get the chance, and decide if its headed in the right direction. Watching Peter Jones I get the feeling that he likes a challenge and to experiment in new things, now this might be ok when you are a millionaire but what about the rest of us, well it doesn't cost anything to look at the business and its direction every once in a while.

I would urge you to take a little time out of your schedule and write down where you are and where you would like to be, it might just help you realise which path you are on and is it the right one for you and your business.

photo credit: д§mд

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Do you know where you’re headed as a person and a business?

Well it could be that you’re on the path that was chosen for you or it could be that you chose the path yourself. Sounds deep doesn’t it but I will explain.

I met a guy the other day who came to me with an idea, a good idea, and we talked it through in some depth and I thought here’s a guy who has a plan and will probably see it through, he seems to have the conviction and the drive, go for it I thought.

Now to me he seems to be on his chosen path, or will be soon, and that got me thinking, how do we know when we are doing what we truly enjoy or love and I think it has to be both, we as human’s need to be satisfied and content. Do you know or even care that we are doing something that we love that also brings in money and satisfaction.

I see many people who would love to do their own thing but the moral of the story is, don’t follow but lead, yes you can take a little bit here and their and then add your own ‘spin’ to it but make it yours. I think it was Tony Bennett, the great jazz singer, who said “steal from one and you’re a thief, steal from everyone and its research” a fantastic sentiment.

For a little bit more on this read Mikes thoughts on this here

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Do we still speak to each other or not?

So how do we filter all the noise that’s out there vying for our attention with the likes of Twitter, FaceBook, blogging and all the other platforms we can ‘speak’ to each other on a meanigful level. Well I have a radical theory that maybe the time is fast approaching when meaningful conversation is best done face to face. Goodness who would have thought it?

Example, I was in Edinburgh on Thursday for a seminar…but that’s another story, let’s just say I won’t be forgetting the sat nav again!!! Anyway I had spoken to Robin a couple of times through email etc regarding some work I wanted him to do for the company and I have to say I am a little old school when it comes to working relationships, I like to shake their hand and look into their eye to get the measure of the person and if its something we can do together.

Anyway great first meeting and we will definitely be doing future projects together and I guess it will work out good for the both of us.

The point of all this is social networking is great and as a company we use it a lot plus we give clients help and advice on how to best use it for their company, not all companies benefit from it though, its not a one size fits all scenario. But at the end of the day I still think it best to meet and shake hands and my feeling is that great and meaningful relationships are always done this way…do you agree?

Photo Credit: MariSheibley

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Do you have a rock’n’roll lifestyle?

Is being an entrepreneur the new perceived rock’n’roll lifestyle? It seems to be in vogue at the moment. In a way I feel that’s misleading as it’s still as risky as it’s ever been.

But having said that, we live in a society where people value being in control of their own lives and destiny’s and starting a business is the single one thing anyone can do to achieve that. It can also be a very good way of making money and immensely satisfying, you just have to go about it in the right way. Remember if you, in the first few years, enjoy working long hours and having very little money then this is for you, if not don’t do it! That said I enjoy every moment of it even though its been tough at times.

There are lots or ways to become an entrepreneur and online is no different from the traditional 'start a coffee shop' scenario except you don’t have a coffee shop! You can start an ecommerce business selling to customers in the UK and across the world, it’s never been easier, social networking, we all know about this one as its so ‘high profile’. Have a look at ‘becoming an expert’ and work out for yourself what you are good at and what could make you money, there are lots of great resources out there in the sea of self employment so jump in, but be careful of the sharks!

Let me know how you get on?

photo credit: dubassy

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

How to become an expert!

The definition of an expert is:
“Someone widely recognised as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability in a particular area of study.”

Dominating a sector is also extremely cost-effective and we are far better committing all our time, energy and money to a specific target, than trying to accommodate everyone in that sector.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Why do companies self harm?

So you have a multi million pound company and no social networking policy in place, hello what are you thinking, they can do what they like, when they like, who are we talking about? You're staff!

If you run any sort of company at all , regardless of size, you need a policy in place especially if your staff have access to social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook as this gives them licence to say what they like when they like instantly. Nothing can kill a brand or company quicker than disgruntled staff.

So what do you do about it? Review your policy and if you don't have one or your not sure what you need to include in it we can help so don't delay. The longer you leave it the worse it can and will get.

Imagine the scenario you just let one of your staff go, even worse they could still be working for you, and the next thing you know your company is being 'dissed' all over the web and how do you rescue that reputation, not as easy as it sounds.

This might all be a little scary and you're sitting reading this thinking "that's never going to happen to me", but don't be so sure and how do you know it isn't!

That's the best way to kill a company...?

photo credit: the|G|™

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Your Connections

How many of you our there keep any sort of record about the people you meet in a business situation and what do you do with that information?

If you do how do you do it, and if you don't...why not?

Its the best way to make new contacts and keep in touch with what is going on. I personally use Salesforce, its the free personal version, yeah some of the bells and whistles aren't there but hey its does for what I want it to do. The best thing it does is keep everything all in once place so I can change details at the drop of a hat. Now you would be forgiven for thinking "big deal" but look at it this way you attend networking events, you attend seminars you even meet people in the street and do you keep a record of who they are and what you might be able to help them with?

Business cards are a great source of information and most people don't even look at them regularly never mind act on them. Categorise them into hot, warm and cold leads and work to make the warm ones hot and the cold ones warm, move them up the list. If you keep a contacts list make sure it's up to date and being used.

Let me know what you use and how it works for you?

Photo credit: digitalTool

Monday, 28 September 2009

Community Spirit

Do you belong to a community?

I was thinking the other day, after a conversation with a friend, that isn't it strange how we all belong to different communities and never really know it, or there again maybe we do.
Here's an example of what I mean. As I sit typing this post I am aware that I can upload photos from my Blackberry to Facebook and Twitter, this can also be done from an iPhone or any other smartphone.

My point is that whether we use a Blackberry or iPhone or any other device for that matter we use them either because that's all we have ever used or we have asked our 'community' which is the best one. For all of us, depending on which community we are in, this can be an emotive choice.

I have an iPod which I listen to constantly, now I am not saying that my iPod is any better or worse that anything from another manufacturer but its strange that I chose that particular brand and model, I think this is all to do with communities and which one we belong to and how it makes us feel to belong to that community. There is something special about owning an iPod or an iPhone or a Blackberry and belonging to that community.

Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saachi and Saachi started a community called Lovemarks (link to site) and this is all based on making your brand 'lovable' by your clients, a fantastic concept and a great way for your clients to 'spread the word' for your company.

I would be interested to know which community you belong to?

photo credit: amsterdammed

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Unlocking the future

Having just read Chris Brogan's excellent blog on 'No locks No Gates' (link to blog) I was reminded of when I started my design business, KMiDigital, and the amount of people who said, "did you know such and such has a very similar company?" No I didn't and to be honest I wasn't really that bothered as this was MY company and MY ideas on how it would operate and function.

So with this in mind are all businesses the same, churning out the same dull things day after day or has individuality came to the top and entrepreneurs are now the ones setting the standard, or has this always been the case.

Just like some of the art work Joshua Davis (link to site) has produced using flash, who would have thought this possible 5 or 10 years ago? Or that Hillman Curtis would transcend from designer to filmmaker (link to site) or has he, it could be that they have both just taken their chosen medium to greater heights and if these guys can do this then why can't the rest of us?

Photo Credit: cogdogblog

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Are these the new evangelists...?

If you had to choose...!!

Now I am not saying that these guys are the new Billy Grahame's for this new and exciting world but after watching Bob Proctor on YouTube

and taking a look at his website and what they tell you they will give, sometimes for free you I am not so sure?

It seems that when the world is finding things a little difficult, the business community especially at the moment, these types of 'evangelists' come to the fore, now I am not saying this is a bad thing and what they seem to offer seems credible and might work if the testimonials are anything to go by but should we believe everything they say or is it just smoke and mirrors?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Future of Newspapers

A good friend of mine Colin Gilchrist wrote an interesting article on the future of newspapers. Now some of you might know that I spent a number of years in the newspaper industry so here are my thoughts on Colin's comments and some of my own.
I agree that the BBC does seem to have the monopoly on international news and how we read and digest it but I also think that most of the newspapers have had it good for so long and their reaction to change so slow that they are genuinely not sure on the course of action to take to combat this. The newspaper industry is centuries old where the Internet, in comparison, is a mere baby so getting to grips with this is a little daunting for them.
Take into consideration the current 'file sharing' issue and the fact that over 60% of the younger audience think they shouldn't have to pay for anything online, other than through Amazon and eBay etc. File sharing is becoming the norm and free information is also the norm so getting people to pay for it other than buying the printed edition is going to be difficult. Mr Murdoch can squeal all he likes but I doubt it will change in the near future.

Lets face it the array of sites that give away free information is growing by the day.

So what do the newspapers do? Well two routes they can take immediately are, hyper local just concentrating on their local area and become all things local or they can reverse publish, which means only publish the newspaper when its subscribed to, making the print runs shorter and cheaper.

Advertisers are also becoming more Internet savvy when it comes to their advertising and with the advent of social marketing again the routes to market are growing. I don't think it helps when newspaper companies, and they are all the same just follow the link from Colin's blog to the new Glasgow Herald website and notice the crappy blurry newspapers in the ad column in comparison to the national ads and you will see what they are up against. If the newspapers and advertising agencies do not realise that sub standard doesn't work the more chance they have of attracting advertisers.
The website that gets it right every time is The Guardian.

It's a good point that Colin makes in that the BBC have advertising throughout their sites other than in the UK and we do fund it through our licence fee so is it time to change for the BBC, should it be more like a news or newspaper site and have to fund it through advertising like they do? I for one think it should and the sooner the better but I am not sure if it will ever happen and in there lies the imbalance and injustice.

For what its worth I am of the old school and I like to read my local paper to find out whats going in my area on but for the national stuff its the BBC or The Guardian and I can't see that changing if I am honest.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

So what do you do when the block comes?

Creative block and what does it mean?
I think for most creative’s this can be a serious condition, especially if your livelihood depends on it, so what can you do?

Well I once read a book by Hillman Curtis and in there was a quote which said something along the lines of “rediscover a master” and in that they meant go back to a master painter, writer, sculptor, in fact anyone who first inspired you to do what you do.

When I was painting in watercolour two artists really did it for me, Turner and Rowland Hilder and I think even though I didn’t know it at the time going back and reading their books and looking at their work did inspire me to try new and different things, so when I started KMiDigital I always held that thought that when the ‘block’ came I had a look at some of the designers who inspire me and see what they were doing.

So then comes the question are you stealing or copying their work, not at all as everything comes in cycles and to ‘borrow something then put it back’ is fine all the greats have done it.

How do you deal with creative block, we would really like to know?

Monday, 24 August 2009

Why wouldn't you...?

Why wouldn't you blog, well first of all it’s free and it’s one of the quickest ways to promote you and your business.
What should I say? Well it’s a great way to let visitors know what you are doing and thinking, you need to think of it as is a diary that you keep online, its just everyone can see it so be careful what you say and who you say it about.

As a creative company I find it a great way to keep clients and potential clients up to speed on what’s happening, not only in the studio, but in the creative world in general.

So what you waiting for?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Do you find Twitter useful?

We all know that Twitter and other social networking platforms are changing our lives and the way we do business but how do you feel its changed over the past couple of years?
Let me know and maybe we can start a revolution?

Here is some more 'meat on the bones'

This is for all those businesses out there who find the current crop of business social networking sites, such as, LinkedIn, ecademy and a host of others just too damn difficult to use

At KMiDigital we like to make life simple, in fact so simple you don’t really have to think about what you are doing and when you are doing it. It becomes so routine it becomes part of your daily routine. It might be me but some of these social networking sites drive me up the wall, they are either to complicated to use and something that should be as simple as finding the business or area you want is either very difficult or not there, ring any bells?

So why is it we all love FaceBook and use it regularly, could it be that it is so simple to use and administer that you don’t need the attention span of a nuclear scientist to use it, it might well be.

Twitter is relatively new but has taken hold like a house on fire and everyone seems to be using it, are you, and if so why.

The purpose of this exercise is to find out what you think, as a business, about the social networking sites you use and which are you’re favourites and which are you’re least favourites and don’t forget to tell us why.

It could be that we are well on our way to helping you achieve if not all, then some of your business goals and ambitions.

Please add your comments below…and thank you for your time.