Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some real website crackers!

I always love to see websites that make you scream in horror!

In these days of templates and easy to use web generators you can't really believe that stuff like this is still around.

Anyway enjoy these www's - (woeful web wonders)

Ohh, The bucket's over there in the corner by the way.

If you want to make sure your customers feel comfortable and happy when they visit your website contact me at Alloy CRM and I'll help you sort it out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thanks is always appreciated isn't it?

Those of you who know me well also know that I really get a kick out of helping others and, like most people, I feel good if someone thanks me for it too.

Working in business networking circles it's just part of life that you would sincerely thank someone for giving them a referral, great advice or some old fashioned help. I wouldn't even dream of doing anything else and most of the business people I know work in the same way.

It's a shame everyone doesn't think like that.

Here's three situations that have arisen over the last six months. I'm sure you won't have been guilty of these but it's easy to let them pass by without realising the effect on the other party.

> I changed my car towards the end of last year and it had previously been fitted with a bluetooth mobile phone device that tapped into the radio. When I changed my mobile phone in February I just couldn't get it link despite internet searches and re-reading the manual.

The next day I saw a van in the traffic queue next to me advertising the system fitted to my car, so I jotted down the phone number. I called them and spoke to a guy out on a job. He was obviously busy but within just a minute or two was able to tell me how to fix it. I thanked him, apologised for disturbing him and told him how appreciative I was.

I was delighted when the fix worked and I'm connected up now. So I found them on the web and sent them a message telling them how helpful their man had been and how grateful I was. In return I offered to find a way of promoting his business within my networking contacts with no charge simply to repay their kindness.

And the result? Nothing, zilch, zero. Not even a 'Sorry we're out' message. My positive feelings towards that business have all but drained away now.

> I have an offline spam filtering system that sends me a message each morning with a list of, and a link to, all of the trapped emails from the previous day. Most of it is of course rubbish but one came through early in the week that looked like it was genuine but was markered as having a virus.

Now this is important to know if you are the sender as you don't want to be either sending out a mail with a virus in it or having most of your mails binned before it reaches the recipient. So I took the trouble to investigate the mail without jeopardising my own security and sent all the details to the sender (a genuine company with a good product to sell). There were some other issues with the email that would potentially stop it working for them and offered some sound advice to overcome them.

And the result? Nothing, zilch, zero. Not even a 'Sorry we're out' message.

The third example I'm not going to go into detail as it involves me helping a member of my extended family who I helped with a business opportunity. Don't really see or speak that often, but I was happy to help and use my contacts to make things happen.

And the result? Nothing, zilch, zero. Not even a 'Thanks for helping' message.

It doesn't take much to maintain contact and you never know what it might lead to.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Self Assement Tax a nightmare?

That's certainly how it seems to me!

I've had my forms drop through the door recently and already they're at the bottom of the pile in the hope that they will go away.

Simon Clarke of HWCA , a really business focused accountant, has passed me a useful Tax Guide which takes the mystery out of those Self Assessment Tax Return forms. You can download it here:

If the very thought of even opening the envelope fills you with dread, or you always have good intentions but inevitably leave it longer than you should, perhaps you could benefit from a free initial consultation with him as he is a proactive, forward thinking business advisor / qualified accountant.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How did you choose your business name?

Choosing a business name always seems an exciting time and loads of ideas run around your head before you finally settle on 'The One'. But there's a few things that you should consider before those ideas run wild.

1. If the business is not going to be a global player, and potentially a household name, then including something that indicates something about what you do can help potential customers decide if they should be calling you or not.

Clever is ok, but if it leaves them mystified, it hasn't really helped the cause. Would Aviva, Corus or Square Giraffe say anything about your business?

If your business is really local I would even consider making it blatantly obvious what you do - Suffolk Management Training or Norfolk Plumbing Repairs.

2. Next on the list is to find out if your chosen name already exists. A search on Companies House and Trade Mark listings will show up whether your new business 'McDonalds Take Away' might get you into deep water with their legal department or simply get you confused with others of a similar name.

3. Finally you need to consider the Internet.

You really do need to have a domain name that matches your business name. Without that people will struggle to find you. If you have got this far and the domain name isn't available then I would go back to step one and start again.

If you are a UK based business then you absolutely need to have the version of your business name but I would also buy the .com .net .tv .info and .biz versions too. Just think of the consequences of a competitor setting up in the same business, taking one of those domain suffixes, marketing it like mad and taking half your business. Just allow enough in your budget to buy all of them to be sure.

If we take one of the business name examples above I would also buy the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions - suffolkmanagementtraining as well as suffolk-management-training. The second version is easier for people to see, understand and remember when it's on your physical advertising.

Hyphens can help too if the words could be mis-read when put together. There are some famous 'howlers' in this department which must have horrified their owners once they realised:-

therapistfinder - 'therapist finder' or could be 'the rapist finder'
expertsexchange - 'experts exchange' or 'expert sex change'
whorepresents - 'who represents' or 'whore presents'
penisland - which is actually 'pen island' apparently

Advertising the hyphenated version of each of those domain names would have saved a great deal of embarrassment!

If you are choosing your business name, then choose it wisely.

Needs some help getting your business up and running? Just call me. Sales & Marketing Strategy with AlloyCRM