Information Technology

Documents represent your business as well

Have you opened the post to find a letter from a company and thought how terrible it looked? Maybe it looked like the letterhead was photocopied or the paper was cheap and like tissue paper. Or it could have been monotone (black print on the paper no colour). The print looked like the ink or toner was low.

Whatever it was you may have tossed the paper without reading or just gave a cursory glance. Any business has many faces, the people, the website, if there is a shop how the shop looks. People spend a lot of money on those things, but what about the paper that is send out or the presentations that are created?

What does your documents and presentations say about your business? Think about:

  • Letterhead
  • Reports
  • Quotations
  • Invoices
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Proposals

Internet rage – is your business at risk?

My website was hacked recently. I’m really quite ignorant when it comes to all things about my website, so when I received an email from my host telling me that they’d had to pull the site down until I fixed it (me, fix it? are you kidding?) I confess to being quite shocked and upset. Particularly as the wording of the email went along the lines of “you agreed when you signed up to being hosted that you would not cause any disrepute to our site”. Of course I agreed that and was rather upset that they felt I had knowingly done something that would. Anyway…

I duly spent a small amount of money to subscribe to a security firm in the US that was affiliated with the host, then a larger amount of money to pay to have the malicious code (“malware”) removed line by line, which apparently wasn’t part of the smaller subscription.

Two days after I had been assured that it was now over and I could breathe a sigh of relief, I received an email from a young guy in the UK that he had sent through the “contact us” capture on the website. Let’s call him Josh, since that was his name. His email went along the lines of, “stop sending me emails” and signed off by referring to me as a “c*!%”.

Most language doesn’t offend me, I’ve worked in heavy industry for too long. Of course when it’s directed at me it’s never pleasant, but the “c” word really does bother me whenever it’s used. So, I duly responded to Josh, asking if it was really necessary to use that language and apologising that he had received spam but my website had been hacked.

Can video actually make money?

I was recently asked what video could add to a marketing campaign. As anyone who knows me knows, I like to cut to the chase; and so I told them how I’d provided a recent client an increase of almost 3.5 times their pre-engagement monthly income.

So what I could’ve said, before jumping to the all-important ‘return on investment’ that I’ve generated for my clients, is that video can do the following (amongst other things):

  • Build awareness
  • Increase traffic to website
  • Increase engagement through social media
  • Improve Google rankings
  • Increase visibility
  • Provides PR opportunities
  • Provides positive image opportunities
  • Creates lasting impressions of you/your business
  • Provides another way of communicating with prospects, edging closer to the sale

With the help of a well-constructed and produced video, all of the above is possible.

Top 5 Things VOIP Can Do For Your Business

VOIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in more common terms phone service over the Internet. If you have a reasonable qualityInternet connection you can get phone service delivered through your Internet instead of from your local phone company.


1)With VoIP, you can make a call from anywhere you have broadband connectivity. Since the IP phones broadcast their info over the Internet.

2)They can be administered by the provider anywhere there’s a connection.

Residual income – are you missing an opportunity?

Computer with booksThere are lots of people who talk about ‘making money while you sleep’, usually network marketers, but there are other ways to make money without exchanging your time for money.

The top five myths of safe web browsing

There are  a lot of misconceptions out there about safe web browsing. Without the facts it’s impossible to stay protected against today’s changing threats.


Myth: A strict browsing policy that only lets users visit trusted sites keeps us safe.
Fact: There’s no such thing as a trusted site and users may be easily bypassing your policy

Myth: Scanning downloaded files for viruses keeps us secure. 
 That won’t help you against drive-by infections,

Does your website pass the 3-legged stool test?

You have a website to promote your business, but how well does it perform?

A good website needs three strong and stable ‘legs’ – these are:

Traffic – without people coming to your website it doesn’t matter how well-designed or compelling your message is
Design – if people take one look at your website and categorise it as ‘amateur’ they’ll just leave again
Message – no matter how many visitors you get and how beautiful your site is, without a powerful message to get their interest you might as well give up.

Why are some people successful using Social Media and some aren’t?

This is a question that I have been pondering for a while now and cropped up again in conversations last week so I thought I’d share my ideas and thoughts with you.

I think there are several obvious answers.

When a business comes to me and says that they aren’t getting the return from Social media that they see others (and in particular their competitors) getting I usually assess what they’re doing by asking the following questions:

Do they have a specific strategy for what they want to achieve?

Ever wondered what the benefits are of investing in a server for your business?

Have you ever wondered what the benefits are of investing in a server for your business? Are you ready to take the leap but aren’t sure what benefit it will bring?

1. Get a comprehensive, all-in-one solution.
Windows Small Business Server 2008 takes the guesswork out of selecting software for your network. It brings together the Microsoft product technologies that businesses need most into a single solution.

2. Stay connected to your customers, vendors & Suppliers
With access to contacts, appointments and files from any internet-connected PC or mobile device, you can be responsive to customers, vendors and suppliers even when you’re not in the office.

What’s your “Disaster Recovery” plan?

Disaster recovery as a concept developed in the mid to late 1970s as computer centre managers began to recognize the dependence of their organizations on their computer systems. Wikipedia

New solutions enable not just large organisations but small and medium sized businesses to protect their critical data against unplanned business interruption for a fraction of previous costs.

In today’s world, organisations are increasingly aware of the threats to business continuity. These range from virus attacks, power outages and natural disasters, through to less evocative but equally serious challenges such as equipment failures, network interruptions, or simple human errors. Small and medium-sized organisations are particularly at threat from such risks. As a result, it is vital that SMEs formulate a business continuity plan that mitigates their exposure to risks. From an IT point of view, the plan should include protecting against the effects of data loss or corruption and should provide a practical and cost-effective path towards protecting critical information.

Top 5 Reasons you should have a disaster recovery plan:

Keeping up with the Jones’, is it really necessary?


Know someone who always has the latest gadgets? Thinking of Whether to spend a lot or the newest technology? Whether it is the newest iPad or HTC phone or a high end projector for meetings are you automatically buying the most expensive?

In business you have to weigh up the costs with the benefits. Say we are talking about a projector. You give presentations to clients or prospects. You may think that a flash projector will make your company look like its doing well. to be honest more people are concerned with content as long as the technology works without notice. That means it there are no problems or glitches and it does not take an age to setup then it will help your presentation to flow and give something positive for them to remember.

Technology is a wonderful thing

We are lucky that we live in the age we do. Technology, although abhorred by some, has given us so much, and certainly made my life richer.

I think back to when I first started working, okay perhaps not quite as far back as my dishwashing job when I was 12, but to the first office job that I had in the late 80’s.  The computers in the office had huge heavy monitors with green writing on the screen.  They only ran bespoke systems which managed stock for us or generated an invoice.  There were different computers for different tasks, there was no such thing as integration, and you had to go to the right terminal, wherever that was located, in order to carry out each task.

Mobile phones resembled portable car batteries with a handset on top.  In fact I don’t think I had even heard of the internet back then.  If I wanted to write notes I used a pen and paper, and stored all the ‘memory aides’ on little index cards in a plain blue box.

I’ve been fortunate that during my lifetime I have seen a real revolution not only in the way that we work, but also how we learn and communicate with each other.  Yes it can have disadvantages in this permanently connected world, never truly feeling like you can switch off, but just look at the advantages it has brought to us.

How to Write a Winning Funding Business Plan

Part 2: Getting Started

This month’s blog is going to concentrate on how to get started when writing your funding business plan. Staring at a blank page and trying to get inspiration is often very daunting, especially as most people have never had to write a funding business plan before.

Does technology help or hinder your business?

We all assume that smart phones, tablet pcs, netbooks, even laptops will make us more efficient in our businesses. But is that really true? Have you ever added up the amount of time you spend checking messages, facebook page updates, LinkedIn status changes, tweets and of course grabbing for the phone every time it beeps.

I’m a huge fan of technology when it can help a business owner or employee. But I’m not so sure that our reliance on these devices doesn’t produce a negative effect on our businesses.

The Unexpected Outcome

I know social media still has such a buzz about it in the business world and when I joined twitter it was purely for business reasons as I was looking at developing business opportunities. However as I was new to it I played with it a little before I sorted out a business twitter account.  The unexpected outcome from this is that it really has had an impact on my personal life as well.  All for the better.

I have been using twitter for quite a while now after much persuasion and encouragement   from @EssexSocial I have grown a substantial following resulting in some great friendships and business opportunities.  In fact I have found some people I actually feel closer to online than some people I know offline.

This last month has been an interesting time for me with lots of positive outcomes, some of which were totally unexpected. This has been both on a personal and professional level.

C’mon I Want to Know Now!