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Mar 1, 2010

Where to get cheap stock photos for your website.

Feb 16, 2010

I wrote out a new article this morning. It was one that I have thought about writing for awhile now but never got around to it. So, this morning I forced myself to open up a word document and at least start it. I found that I had written three paragraphs in no time. I did get on my soap-box a little though.

Hopefully this list of free software will help someone out there to be more productive.

Feb 15, 2010

FREE Business Owner's Network Event - Wed February 17th, Bewleys Hotel, D4

Feb 12, 2010

Have you checked out Google Buzz yet?

Feb 5, 2010

I've added a new article about measuring an IT project and how to move it from being a cost to an investment.

Nov 23, 2009

I am often asked by business owners to recommend a good Customer Relations Management (CRM) system. I have used a few different ones now like SugarCRM, Zoho. One thing you want to look for is that it is webbased, this way you can access it no matter where you are.
The most important thing when starting a new CRM system is to plan in advance how you want to configure the software to your needs. Don't just open it up and start creating accounts, leads, categories etc...
I have come across Javelin which seems to me to be an excellent CRM system. A feature that I love is when you are sending emails to your clients, Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) your the emails to your Javelin "dropbox" and it will associate it with the correct contact. You can then view all communications with your contacts without having to copy and paste them into the system.
I would give it a 7/10

Nov 20, 2009

I have been noticing a lot of business events popping up around the country. Some of them free others incur a fee. I started to lose track when the next event was coming up and where it was. I was actually missing events because of this. So, I decided to set up a Google calendar and started tracking them on there, much better.
But then I thought I'm sure others are having the same issue. So I integrated the calendar into my website but It started to get a little crowded as I started adding in events from other counties. I then split it up into a few different calendars, one for each county.
Hope this helps someone out there. http://dakor.ie/news/irish-business-events/

Nov 2, 2009

I just came across an online business directory on a well-known website owned by an Irish association that has members from small firms, good enough hint ; ) I was shocked to see their business directory is classified in letters, not categorised in business types or even industry, no, it's classified in LETTERS. Are you serious?

If I need to find an Accountant, I actually have to search under O > Other Business Services then I find Accountancy Solutions. It's obvious, I can't believed I missed it, of course Accountants are going to be under O!! Here's an idea, if you are going to classify something in letters, then at least put Accountants under A!

This has got to be one of the most user-UNfriendly facilities that I ever came across. Please people, if you are going to create an online feature think outside-in and not inside-out. Think of your customers first, how will they interact with your directory?

Rant over!

Oct 22, 2009

What a day! Congratulations to the Sunday Business Post for putting on a great event for a good price. I would welcome more from you.

The highlight of the day was definitely the Sean Gallagher speech. I was really surprised by it, I really did not expect such an insightful and motivating speech and on top of it a nice fella to talk to. Other great speakers were John Crawley, The Profit Mindset and Krishna De, BizGrowthNews.

Sean Gallagher's speech focused on staying positive, focus on fundamentals, take action to reduce fear, take a risk and above all be grateful for what you have.

Excerpts of his speech:

"Change requires leadership"

"Failure should be a badge of honour and not frowned upon"

"Success in the next 12 - 18months is about survival"

"A customer acknowledged is a customer half served" - I love this one

"need to offer value for money"

"taking action, kills fear"

John Crawley had a great stage presence, he discussed funding, cashflow, and budgeting.

Excerpts of his speech:

"zero based budgeting"

"Funding the GAP"

"Look for ratchet back deal when talking to investors"

"If you are not going to have a cash surplus in the next five years, then you shouldn't be in business"

Krishna De also had great stage presence and confidence, she discussed online and offline PR.

Excerpts of her speech:

"Research current customers and how life has changed for them in the past 9 months"
"model for good promotion: good headline, good image, and strong call to action"

"93% of people go online to research products"

"33% go online to purchase products"

Other comments that I picked up:

"More people are setting up businesses due to necessity" - Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland

"A lot of research is sitting in Universities, not being used" - Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland

"25+ new businesses grew out of the 320 job losses from Motorola in 2008" - Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland (not sure if I have the facts right on this one though, maybe Julie can correct me)

"Business Plan reduces options, helps to maintain focus" - Alan Gleeson, Palo Alto Software

"I haven't failed, I have found 10,000 ways that don't work" - Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming

"Pick Shareholders carefully" - Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming

"Celebrate small victories" - Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming (he was discussing staff morale)

"You can't run a branch office remotely" - Deborah Lee Marlow, The business whisperer

"Stay out of debt" - Deborah Lee Marlow, The business whisperer

"20% of customers provide 80% of revenue" - Vincent Reynolds, Rapport Consulting

"20% of your products/services provide 80% of revenue" - Vincent Reynolds, Rapport Consulting

Oct 19, 2009

I am looking forward to the "Out on your own" conference at the RDS this Wednesday 21st. They have some great speakers on and the programme seems to be well organised. The only one I wouldn't be interested in is Franchising. But of course, it does have a position in this conference.

The talks I will be most interested in will be

  • Focusing on the strengths that will encourage growth
  • Issues involved in sustaining a business in the current economic climate
  • The art of sales forecasting
  • Top tips for a Killer Business Plan
  • You ARE the business TREASURER – how to do it well
  • The four pillars of your marketing plan
  • Essentials tools for your marketing kit bag
  • Case studies of new businesses and how they marketing their business on a micro budget
  • What is the ‘compelling value’ of your product or service?
  • How to create the infra-structure that will allow you to ‘save’ your business when things get ‘tight’
  • Critical steps to stay in POSITIVE CASH-FLOW
  • Growth of Angel Investment, and how HBAN can support you!
  • Recognise that all revenues are not equal
  • Cut cost but not value
  • Invest wisely in new projects
  • Question everything
Another reason I am going to this conference is to meet other business owners, maybe make some friends, maybe make some partners, maybe make some business.

Oct 13, 2009

Do you want to know what people are twitting about in your country? I love this app: http://trendsmap.com/ once loaded zoom into your country. Or search for you company name to see what people are saying about it.

Oct 10, 2009

I'm busy preparing for the Kildare Business Expo Fair to be held on October 9 - 11. This event is organised by John Kelly from the Johnstown Business Centre in Naas.

If you are attending the fair and you would like to discuss how to manage content on your website, come by and talk to us. We will have Internet connection so that we can view your website and make suggestions.

There will be approximately 120 business showcasing their products and services.It would be well worthwhile to come by and check out other local businesses.

Call 045- 844080 for more information.

Oct 5, 2009

Whether it was through fear of our downward spiralling recession or that we didn't want to upset the powers that be in the European Union, or maybe we just thought that we are stronger with others, either way, we said Yes to the Lisbon Treaty. But, what now?

It is obvious that the majority of us think that being part of the EU is a good thing. Will our influence remain the same or maybe even stronger now, will Europe somehow punish us for delaying this yes vote? or will they welcome the prodigal son back into its arms with a sacrificial lamb? What do you think?

hhhmmmmm, we'll have to wait and see.

Sep 23, 2009

I have recently started writing articles for a local newspaper. Of course, the main reason I am doing this is to expose my business to the local community, secondary reason is to share my knowledge. This is a great free marketing tool to reach customers and clients.

It's not easy though, the paper I write for expects a 900 word article every month. I have written four articles so far, each article tends to get better than the last one. The article layout is more structured now, information is categorised into segments, and the articles are a little more comprehensible. My advice would be to write out about 10 articles before committing to write for a paper. This would take the pressure off a little.

Unfortunately, I haven't had any new business from my article writing, maybe they are really crap : (

oh well, patience is a virtue.

Apr 18, 2009

After talking with a few people who are setting up their own business, I found most did not have a clue what is involved in setting up a website. They knew what a website is, they knew how valuable a website is to a company, but they didn't know what would be needed to purchase or what was needed to have a website built. So, I thought it would be a good idea to start an Articles section on my website. The mission is to have a set of articles that would give a broad overview of what is involved in owning a website and possibly other related articles. I have added two articles and I will be adding others in the future. If you have any ideas of topics that I should cover comment on them here.

Apr 9, 2009

Google has done it again with Google Wave. Google Wave is an open-source real-time communication tool that can be used to collaborate on documents, images, polls, even maps. They have applied their usual mantra of 'easy to use application'

I love some of the ideas that they have included like 'Playback.' For example, if four people were to colloborate on a document in real time. They could make make comments on sections of the document which the other three would see real-time. Then another person could later view the wave and play it back to see how the colloboration progressed into the final document.

Their spell check on it is very advanced. Not only does it spell check an incorrect spelled word but would also look at the context of the word and suggest other spellings. So, no more excuses for typing "Is you're document complete?"

I can't wait to play around with this API.

This one is 1:20 long, but well worth watching:

Feb 9, 2009

I have been very busy lately, written up quotes, finishes off websites, researching SMS technology. All very exiting stuff. However, I also managed to write a few articles for the Maynooth Newsletter and published shorter versions of them in my articles section.