In common with many bloggers, especially those of us who earn income from our blogs, I use this time between Christmas and New Year to examine the previous year and set my goals and objectives for the coming one.
Summarising 2011 falls into several categories, so I’ll spread the information out over a few days, otherwise we’ll end up with a book rather than a post. Things we’ll cover include: read more »
I was 24 years old, a newly appointed manager and I was sitting in what felt like a very grown up meeting where we were being presented with a new marketing plan and strategy by an agency. I was the most junior person there by miles.
As the Powerpoint presentation ran, a feeling of dread came over me. Every fibre of my being was telling me that the agency had completely missed what the brand was about, and that the strategy was miles off in terms of speaking to our target audience.
Imagine you’re at a cocktail party. You’re introduced to someone new and after some general chit chat you ask “So what do you do for a living?”
They answer. “I’m sorry, I can’t discuss that here. This is a social occasion.”
So you move on.
The next day you have a meeting with a young lady who’s interested in buying your product for her company. During the conversation you notice a photo on her desk showing her hitting a drive on a golf course. You say “I love golf too, I’m trying to get down to a single figure handicap. What do you play off?” read more »
Businesses and the people responsible for marketing them have been trained for years that marketing is a “broadcast tool.” There’s a message you want to get out to the world (usually how good or how cheap your product is) and a need to give them a call to action – “Buy now!” “Book a test drive!”
Those same people now realise that they have to “get into” social media. The whole world’s there, and it’s free! What could be better? read more »
British Leyland were probably the first, and most notorious brand destroyer in the 1960’s. The once proud logos of Vanden Plas, Riley, Wolsely and even MG suddenly adorned an assortment of Allegros, Mini’s and what were originally Austin 1300’s.
Despite the lessons from that era, manufacturers, in their desperate quest for market share and a self destructive desire to be represented in every niche, are still risking brand reputations which have taken years to establish. read more »
A blogger, like any small business owner, can easily end up trapped by the inconsistency of their income. It’s especially true in the early days when income can be all over the place, and it becomes worse when you start to make substantial money, because you just get used to having more around and therefore you spend more!
The problem with treating your business income as your own income is that you never save money or put money aside for future capital projects. And that’s why I advise paying yourself a monthly (or even a weekly) salary and treating income from your business completely separately from your own personal spending money. You don’t even have to be a full time business person to do this – the same rules apply if you’re part time.
Here’s what to do:
You’ll find you start to live within your means, but at the same time, assuming all is going well, your business should be building some liquidity with the 20% you’re saving each month.
Once a quarter, review the actuals – if you’ve struggled to save the 20%, then you may have to adjust your salary downwards. Conversely, if you’ve been able to save much more than you thought, then reward yourself with a pay rise!
Finally, and again each quarter, you need to make a business decision about what to do with the money that has accrued in your business account. You might choose to allocate it to a capital purchase like a new computer, or pay yourself a “Dividend” or bonus, or just leave it there to build up. I tend to “sweep” anything over into a savings account that earns some interest and make a decision about what to do with it once it’s built up to a decent amount.
Following on from my previous posts on the subject: Livedrive, don’t use them and Livedrive, are they in trouble? it’s time for me to move on from this and concentrate on more important stuff, so I need to write a final post updating everyone on where we are.
On 3rd November, a full eight weeks after my initial support request, I was called by Ian Burge, who heads up sales for Livedrive. As I previously reported, Ian was apologetic, acknowledged my bad experience and told me he’d do whatever he could to help.
Within a couple of days he’d come back to me to tell me that 280 of the files had been restored, but there were some that couldn’t, as for some reason they hadn’t originally uploaded correctly. He told me that the support department had no idea why that would have happened. Bear in mind that these files should have been uploaded to the system more than a year before, and we’d never had any indication there was a problem.
Once again Ian was honest and straightforward to deal with and is a credit to his company. If only he had got involved earlier, it might have saved so much aggravation, but ultimately it isn’t his job to placate unhappy customers. He told me that Livedrive had underestimated how much support would be needed in their market. It seems they have a large number of customers who are not very technically minded and who need more help and support than planned for. The company are reacting to that as fast as they can, but it has meant their support has been very slow in the meantime. read more »
Update 03/11/2011 At Last! Someone from Livedrive has called me. Ian heads up Livedrive's sales (the poor old sales department always seems to get lumbered with these things!) He was very honest with me, didn't make any attempt to feed me any BS, and admitted that the service I've had simply hasn't been acceptable. He's going to talk to the techie guys and find out what can be retrieved and what went wrong in the first place. I appreciated the fact that he didn't make any promises other than to get back to me over the next few days with some answers. It must have been a tough phone call to make and I appreciated him doing so. I'll update here as soon as I have more news.
If you didn’t read the sad and sorry story of my problems with Live Drive, then this would be a good place to start: Livedrive – Don’t use them!
Incredibly, I still have not heard a word from them about my problem. Whoever runs the Twitter account for them is ignoring me, and I’ve lost count of the number of emails I’ve sent them, none of which have received a reply.
There is one update, which is almost amusing. Having obviously taken a decision that they don’t care about my problem, and they can’t be bothered to try to deal with me. they still managed to charge my credit card €10.95 yesterday for this month’s service!
I started wondering if it was just me. Was I the only person having problems? Maybe they think I’m just some kind of trouble maker.
So I decided to do a quick Twitter search to see if I could find other people with issues. The last few days worth of tweets provided some insight:
It’s interesting how much debate is sparked at the merest mention of the Toyota Prius. Everyone seems to have an opinion and most seem to be polarised at either the “love it” or “hate it” end of the scale.
A case in point is my old friend Jeremy Clarkson, who clearly hates the Prius. Who can forget his “road test” of the car, when he followed a Prius, in a BMW M3, screaming around a race track at top speed for several laps. He then expressed surprise when the BMW’s fuel consumption was less than the Toyota’s. The only thing the segment proved was that JC never lets good journalism get in the way of a good story, and that the Prius isn’t the best car to buy if you want to go motor racing.
This is a guest post from Alvina Lopez
A few months ago, when Google updated its search algorithm called Panda, many webmasters were experiencing huge differences in traffic, some of them losing enough traffic to take away their internet livelihood. By now, many people have adapted, and the Panda update is no longer considered an issue in the blogosphere. However, I think it's important to note what Google seems to think is good content, so that when future algorithm changes occur, you will be in the clear.
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