Newsletter 21st February 2011

If it seems just five minutes since you had the last newsletter, it’s because we’re back to our usual every-other-Monday slot after recent upheavals brought about by Life, that thing we all do when we’re not on the internet.

Are you a Start-Up, or do you know someone who is?
Much of our recent activity has focussed on organising a drop-in Start-Up Clinic, an evening event for anyone interested in setting up in business on their own or who has recently. We’ll have a number of specialists on hand who can provide advice in all the main areas a start-up has to cover. Details to follow, but it will be in mid-March in Leominster. If you’re interested in providing your services, please get in touch, or, supplier or start-up, leave us a comment below.

Accidental IT
Did you plan your IT set-up when you started your business, and do you have a plan now for maintaining, upgrading or expanding your IT provision? Do you know when your domain expires or your hosting contract is up? Are you sure your hosting contract provides the best service for you and supports your plans? We’ve met many people who are struggling with a network that has expanded in fits and starts, often set up by “someone in the office”, often someone who’s long since moved on and left everyone else in the office afraid to touch anything. We’ve also come across numerous examples of companies locked into less-than-ideal contracts because a contract or domain name is on the verge of expiry and there’s no time to shop around for the best deal or most suitable supplier or to review the best approach. We’re all familiar with business planning (whether we give it much time or not – look out for a Neil Rose workshop on this soon), but IT planning can save you hassle and money, and give you a far smoother and more productive working set-up. We’re currently running a promotion offering an IT MOT, so please get in touch if you’d like to take advantage of it, or for some advice on establishing an IT plan.

Other bits and pieces that have caught our eye recently include:

* Share the Love – the Free Software Foundation Europe exhorts us to demonstrate our love for open source and the advantages it gives us
* The Hereford Tweet-up – come and join us at Saxty’s in Hereford, 8pm on Tuesday 22nd Feb – BBC H&W radio will be there to cover the event and personally we plan on making best friends with the reporter – a friendly media contact is a must-have for anyone growing a business and planning events
* A shocking 28% of micro-business aren’t online according to this article about the unloved BusinessLink website. What stops these businesses going online, and how do we make it an attractive and cost-effective option? Not least, just how on earth do they manage?? What’s your opinion on the BusinessLink site? Leave us a comment.
* And the other extreme – the spot market in excess computing capacity, via Babbage in The Economist. A very interesting look at how to both profit and benefit from unused capacity. Is this the very essence of what the cloud is all about?

And finally:

The cardboard computer – yes, really. Sustainability with style.

Are you easily distracted from work? Sorry, what was I talking about? If so, you need Self Control for Ubuntu, a program that locks you out from those distracting social media or gaming sites for as long as you’ve set it to, and NO going back til your time is up, however much you plead or threaten.

Both ‘and finally’s this week from the rather splendid OMG! Ubuntu.

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