The OpenSure Free Press 13th June 2011

I hope you’re sitting comfortably to read this; as Prince Philip once said, “the mind cannot absorb what the backside cannot endure”.

Things you should know…

Repeat after me: I do not have to be an expert computer user to use open source software.

That’s my favourite line from this article by Jack Wallen entitled ’10 things you should know about open source before you use it’. Point 10 is very significant too, and should you have any concerns that good old tried-and-tested Microsoft is a better bet than open source, you might want to read this blog post.

A local company, for local people
Do you rely on your local area for your business, or could you make a great deal more of the market locally? ITDonut has written an article about the difference between SEO for local rather than national appeal.

Little things like…domain name email
I’ve just read Merrie Marketing’s excellent weekly MerrieZine, which this week focussed on the impact of small details, both positive and negative. Immediately my beef with businesses running on non-domain email sprang to mind.

Every sector will have its own pet hates and appreciate that which the rest of us will barely register. There must be those, for instance, who swoon with horror at my business cards (to use one of Kim’s examples) as they aren’t printed on both sides, aren’t half an inch thick and don’t have a photo on them. On the other hand, they’re supplied by a local company, printed onpaper from managed woodland, and they’re clean and without dog-ears. They have a QR code on them, which other tech-minded people will notice and excitedly go ‘oooh look!’ and fire up the barcode-reading app. Joking aside, our cards are smart, up-to-date and professional.

Can the same be said of a company operating via a Hotmail, Gmail or – perish the thought – a btconnect email account? I’m distinguishing here between a company promoting itself and its services, and someone making tentative first steps and using their existing arrangements. We forgive the latter (aren’t we generous?), but a company using a generic email account on advertising, business cards and their website is broadcasting to the world that they aren’t at all concerned with projecting a professional image, and that instantly makes me wonder where else their professionalism falls down. This is the problem with lack of attention to detail – it immediately raises doubt in your potential customer’s mind as to where else they might meet that in dealing with you.

Note the reference there to a website – the number of websites sitting on a small company’s domain but using a generic email account is quite shocking. If you’re in this position *please* ask us for help. We’re happy to explain how to set up email using the domain name you already own. It’s yours – use it. It will do wonders for the impression your company makes, and once you’ve done it you’ll wonder why you ever waited.

The Green Bit

  • The Carbon Trust has published its Green Guide for SMEs, to help smaller businesses benefit from the green goods and services industry.
  • Do you blog? If so visit 350Challenge and find out how your blog can help to fight climate change (see the badge on our blog)
  • GreenLite is the name of a new local group we’re in the process of setting up for businesses who’d like to ‘green up’ their business practices. There will be no fees, agendas, pledges, targets or reporting, just other business people with the same idea who are happy to share their experiences and offer support. We thought once a month down the pub was ideal – what do you think? Please let us know if you’d be interested.

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

  • Playing golf with lobster balls
  • The Ideas Fund Innovators competition is accepting entries til 20th June. If you or someone you know falls into the 16-25 age range and has a creative project that would benefit from £1000 then why not enter?
  • An office essential – ears that match your mood

And finally:

From @WiredUK on Twitter:

Dick Powell on 11-year-olds’ response to being shown a typewriter: “Cool, a laptop that prints as you write and doesn’t need a plug.” #tvc11

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