Monday, April 27, 2009

Do you have what it takes to Blog?

Our company is called MondayMorning. This has no direct relevance to our working timeline apart from that it represents the start of the working week, for some a burden and to others a complete joy. Given it is Monday Morning right now it is appropriate that we should post a blog to recognise its arrival and within the hour, its departure. 

Blogging is about posting information that is relevant to your target market. It is a great medium because it can be more relaxed and conversational than other forms of business writing, but that is no excuse for being unprofessional, discourteous or too controversial (unless that is your goal in life then disregard everything I’ve said and go away). We have to be aware that this is a public forum and therefore accessible to known and unknown readers. This comes with certain responsibility and risk

This risk is not just to your personal image, but that of your colleagues and your brand. Just because it’s your opinion, or you think you are being clever doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to make it public (Remember the very recent incident with the Pizza franchise and the YouTube video). The great thing about Blogs (and most other forms of Social Media for that matter) is you do have the right of reply, administrator’s permissions and authority may apply of course and in some cases thankfully. If you like what someone says, tell them. If you disagree then say so too.

We are seeing evidence that Blogs are replacing traditional newsletters, and in time perhaps newspapers and other media. I follow about a dozen blogs currently. I use Google Reader to keep track of them so it saves time having to visit each one individually. I choose blogs because their content is relevant to me. I learn new things, I am entertained because I like the writers style, or I am keeping track on what a person or an organisation are doing from day to day. When they are no longer relevant I will remove them from the list and move on. 

If you’ve got something to say and you want to share it, start a blog now. Try to keep it populated with regular updates (once a week is fine). You will grow in confidence, and find your unique writing style, and eventually someone may even read it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Facebook Manners And You

I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I'm looking at Social Media for ways to improve on my, and on others business - I'm just not convinced Facebook can deliver any real purpose.

I guess that may be the point, Facebook is about having a bit of fun, there’s certainly lots of time wasting ways that you can dump in your friends inbox or on their walls. Perhaps I should just relax and let it be what it is.

On that theme, given it is the weekend and all - take a look at the fun video on Facebook etiquette, Getting it Right

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Synergy and Teamwork Expedited by Web 2.0 Tools

I'd like to share my experience of the last few months working with the MondayMorning Team, Helen, Craig and Rus. I'm the least computer / web literate of the team, (although I'm good with certain software life Project and Excel) in a previous life I was a Civil Engineer and also project managed large capital intensive projects. I've spent the last 8 years working with business owners, helping them to earn more money, enjoy more free time and create valuable assets. I'm a really lucky guy, I live in a wonderful country, have a great family and fantastic friends and I've worked with many outstanding individuals.

I have never been part of such a strong team, let me take a few lines to explain why... We have four individuals who have totally different backgrounds and skill sets, we share a high trust relationship without ego and most importantly we have the same values. I'm sure you will all agree that this is great in theory, well for the first time in my professional life I know what it really feels like to experience true synergy and teamwork. It is exciting!

Well you may say that's all well and good but so what! This is why MondayMorning is able to add so much value to our client's businesses and lives. Or in marketing speak some of our competitive advantages are...

We are children of the sixties although Helen isn't quite a baby boomer like the rest us, this means that we have been around for a while and remember life without computers and cell phones. Conversely we are young enough to have worked with computers and the internet since they were invented without fear or reservation.

We have had several diverse careers and understand change. We have all owned and run our businesses and also worked in management positions for large companies. We understand both bigger business and SME needs.

We have all had significant challenges in our lives so we don’t sweat the small stuff.

Craig and Rus are the web and computer experts ( a term I don't use indiscriminately) and have the ability to work in this dynamic environment, Helen and I are bring the project management and hands on approach to business training and we are indicative of our target market so all the MondayMorning products are self tested on us first.

Finally using whatever personality testing model you choose we are all different and to tie this whole blog together please ask yourself if you have ever been part of a team where four different personalities really did work together? If the answer is yes then you’ll know, see, understand and feel the same way as I do... if not we have webinars and workshops to help create this for your business. Don’t get me started about the huge range of training that I’m itching to roll out.
MondayMorning is not just about Web 2.0 training, it’s about using Web 2.0 tools and the most effective business training to build business capability and increase profits.
Come along with us, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride!
PS if you really want us to prove what we say set up a face to face meeting with the four of us! We are real people, really.

Just what your business needs right now is a dose of Social Media

I’m falling in love with technology again thanks to Social Media. My first affair started with a green screened Omega that had about 250 kilobytes of RAM, about 1/4000th of what the standard desktop ships with today. It was expensive, it was frustratingly difficult to operate and it lacked any real functionality – I loved it.
My next great moment came when I got my first Mac, any Mac user will know what I mean so no further explanation needed. I embraced desktop publishing using Photoshop version 1 and have been an advocate for the World Wide Web since it was commercially viable, all those years ago.
As a business person today you need to embrace technology not by choice, but because your business will struggle to survive. And yes, I am aware there will always be exceptions to the rule, these will be few, and not in my field of interest, and chances are not yours either, and therein lies my point.
Technology comes in many guises, much of it now so integrated that it is now invisible to us. Hardware, software and emerging cloud forms are the pulse of business, its the way we manage our systems, it is how we communicate, and now, how we are perceived by out communities, whether that be our peers or by our customer base.
In the early days of the World Wide Web, pre and post bust, I invested a good portion of my professional life teaching and guiding business people in the benefits of email and websites even at a time when modem speeds were just barely topping 14.4k (that was when WWW meant World Wide Wait). It’s hard to believe that even today people are still using dial up connections and our business owners are still trying to decide whether their business needs a website. Quick tip here, get broadband now, and yes, even in the web 2.0 era, you must have a website.
As business folk we now have the dilemma of catching up to and embracing the social media wave. Sure you’ve got this far without it, why not stand back and see what happens you might say. It’s just not going to work that way; this is not some youth fuelled novelty we are witnessing in Facebook and Twitter and in the growth of the Google empire. Stand back too long, you and your business will miss out on something incredible, oh and you’ll potentially have the angst of watching your competitors sail off into the sunset with your customers in tow.
My message to you is this; start now in creating a social media presence for your business, the timing is perfect. Watch others and learn from their success, establish yourself as an expert in your field and be a positive contributor to the global community so others can learn from you. It is then you will start to see the time and energy convert to cash and opportunity.
In an age when we think everything has been discovered and there’s nothing left to do we can become idle and distracted. Before we know it we are left standing in the dust of the “on to it” crowd and we start justifying that we are happy with the simple life. I’m sure the same was said for the pony express, the telegraph, the telephone, the fax, email, websites and now Web2.0. It is just progress and nothing to be feared, as business people we need to keep pace with change and embrace and adopt new ideas.
Finally there is one thing I’ve found true in all successful business people, they cannot and don’t do it alone. Learning about and understanding Social Media is no exception, some things will work better for you than others and the way we use them will vary. MondayMorning is a community of real people sharing real experience. The choice is now yours - stand back, or be the global contributor.
Our free introduction to Webinars is a perfect starting point, click here for a date that suits and register today.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

To be seen or not to be seen

Social media is out there, really out there. The great advantage of a good online profile and ensuring you manage your content effectively is obvious, people see you, and if they like what they see they will do business with you. If you don’t manage your profile and content people will see you, and, well, see for yourself in the clip below …

This comes from a social experiment in attending an interview “22 ways to nail an interview".

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who is Susan Boyle – an inspiration to us all.

We take our lessons from the most unlikely sources at times. Our kids are a great levellers for a start. You be the judge of the lesson Susan Boyle has given to the world recently. Unless you have had your head in the sand there are two names that were once unknowns and thrust literally overnight onto the global stage as a result of social media. Thanks to reality yawn “Britain’s got Talent” another star is born, we all marvelled at the now seasoned Paul Potts, now its Susan Boyle’s turn to step up and take the limelight. And thanks too to social media, we no longer have to wait for the discretional news item, we can watch it happen online via mediums like YouTube. The clip here alone (and there are many others) has been viewed already 31,185,670 times (N.B. They have blocked the embedding feature so you will have to click here if you want to watch the video). Now that’s market reach. A recommended watch if you haven’t already, it will make your day.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Social Networking is news and not just for Twits.

Good Monday Morning from the MondayMorning team.
Stories on social networking and its influences are becoming more common place. It is worth noting that for many journalists it is still brand new, and they are on the same learning curve as the rest of us. Do not take their attitudes toward this medium as gospel, they may love or hate it, its how we use it that makes this medium powerful or problematic.
Our kids have been at it for a few years and the "older" generations have ignored it as a passing fancy. The
Herald on Sunday story this week dedicated a few pages to the subject yet was light on substance but illustrated the point that it’s being used by a huge cross section of out community. TV presenter John Campbell had 688 followers on Twitter according to the story, this morning, just a day later, he had 859 so the news story must have created some interest in his random thoughts, and created some random followers for him. By the way “to follow” is a term used by the Twitter fraternity for bookmarking the said persons page so you can read their “Tweets” which are random messages of up to 140 characters. These can be read online or downloaded directly to your cell phone as txt’s for your instant gratification
If you don’t understand this “Web 2.0” environment and engage without a strategy then it will soon become an annoyance to you. Use it effectively and it will be the best and most cost effective marketing tool for your business since the invention of the telephone.
MondayMorning’s online business training is designed to help you understand these products better. More so, it’s about networking with others and knowing how to use these tools effectively. We will be launching our first series using another online tool that will change the way our businesses will think about communication, webinars. All you have to do to get on board is send your expression of interest via our website and we’ll send an invite to the webinar series. The first is free of charge and without any obligation, nothing to loose but 30minutes of your day and perhaps your old ways of thinking.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Networking is important when it’s real and useless when it’s fake

I had to post this video simply because it’s two of my favourite people talking together, mega-marketer Seth Godin and mega-entrepreneur Richard Branson
Seth Godin is everywhere on the Internet. He has established himself as a brand and knows social marketing inside out. Seth commented recently in answer to a question “is social networking any use to business?” he replies “networking is important when it’s real, and useless when it’s fake”. The concept of trying to get as many followers on Facebook and Twitter is only beneficial when you are establishing real and useful relationships. 
This is no way a discouragement for using either Facebook or Twitter, they are not a waste of time for business, it is how we use the tools that will make the difference.
Anyway, for the sheer indulgence here is Seth and Richard having a chat about branding…

And one more
(Added by Russell Holland)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Virgin Elevator Pitch

Richard Branson is giving entrepreneurs an opportunity for a little bit of fame, if not fortune, through a new production that will air on Virgin Atlantic flights. The billionaire is launching PitchTV, which asks entrepreneurs to submit video elevator pitches for their business. Users then get to vote on their favourites, with the top 5 being compiled and shown on Virgin’s in-flight entertainment system. This guy is the definition of an entrepreneur, what a great idea... See more on Richard Branson's Blog