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Recently I have been thinking hard about the best way to help businesses in South London.  For me, it is about working in collaboration with small management teams to inspire them to change, adapt, and achieve new goals.  I do this through working with individuals and in workshop environments.   Often having an external facilitator who is not close to the day to day running of the business can provide a clarity and focus which it is difficult to find on your own.

Feel free to contact me to discuss how I work and could add value to your business at any time.  More information is also available from this link.

 

Norman

Still a little bit of sunshine in the big smoke!!!

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Naked Element

For a while now I have been working much more in the on-line space.  Many of my blog posts have shared experiences I have gained by working in this more entrepreneurial environment.  Over the last decade it has been fascinating to watch start-up businesses adopt tools and techniques primarily developed for the software industry and bring these into practice for much wider business development and product development needs.

In this context I was delighted to get the opportunity to become a Director at Naked Element.  My role is to offer clients a combination of project management and business management services that complement our core offering of software development.  This enables me to offer entrepreneurs and start-up organisations a cutting edge service that integrates software and business development.

We are currently looking for new opportunities to work with businesses across the UK, so please get in touch if you have a project you feel we may be able to help with.

 

 

Norman

Is it ethical to charge for CMS when it is driven by WordPress?

Over the last couple of years I have learnt a lot about building web-sites and seo techniques to raise the profile of a web-site once you have it. One of the most important factors is content and keeping that content fresh. With this in mind I can see why people would want a web-site that has its own content management system so that they can regularly update information, add news, and fresh content as and when they have it. This all seems sensible to me.

I personally love using WordPress. It is very flexible in terms of layout, what you can add, how you can adjust images, the look and feel of posts, and then on the more technical side how you can optimise posts for seo purposes and for easy navigation within your site. It’s also very easy to use and requires no technical knowledge. Another thing that is great about WordPress is that it is FREE, or open source and people call it. You can host a blog on the WordPress web-site in which case the domain name will be yourdomain.wordpress, or you can download the software and install it on your server. Once you have done that you can even receive updates without having to do any technical stuff at all.

The reason why I mention this is that recently I have noticed several software developers offering low cost web-sites which have a full content management system. When I look at these, I realise that actually what they are offering, is a slightly customised front end to WordPress (which is free). Now if a company says “we take free / open source software called WordPress – design a front end for you – and there you have a web-site” and charges a price accordingly I think this is fair and transparent. But what about if a company uses WordPress, changes its name to something different, and then charges you a price, is that fair or transparent?

Open source software is often cutting edge and able to give as good a solution as expensive software. The people who write the software and develop it are not motivated by cash, but by having the credibility of saying “I wrote this, and look how many people are using it”. I do think that the people who have created this kind of software, perhaps without earning a salary for doing so, deserve a fair deal and recognition for their work. So, if your content management system looks like this, then it is almost certainly WordPress.

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If everyone knows this, then I think you are probably using a great product, but if you haven’t been told this, perhaps you should ask your web-developer why not? And if you are buying a new web-site, don’t be afraid to ask, what am I paying for, who has done this, where does it come from, and why?

Business Coaching

I am sometimes asked about business coaching. I think the phrase covers a wide range of support services and tools for personal development and means different things to different people. I think the best coaches have a set of personal characteristics that enable them to connect with people, to motivate them and build confidence in them, to empower people, and to enlighten them with new knowledge and learning’s from experience.

When I work with clients, I do in some cases take on a coaching role. It is important to listen, to be open, to ask open questions, and help facilitate the client make sense of their problems or challenges.

Through Saturday Kitchen I have come into contact with people who after an initial workshop have wanted to continue a dialogue with me. Whilst my experience is clearly marketing orientated, my MBA has given me a much broader working knowledge of the full range of business challenges. By being open with people and working to listen hard to what they say, I can often tease out the real issues and help clients to come up with creative solutions.

If you would like to see if we may be able to work together, why not try a Saturday Kitchen session?

Saturday Kitchen – relaunch!!!

sunday-muffinIt is about 18 months since I first developed my Saturday Kitchen programme. The idea was and still is to offer people an affordable, focused, and individual session to help their business move forward through better marketing and business management. What is better Marketing? Well it is different for every organisation, but in essence, it means a clear sense of strategy led by insight, a clear plan which is affordable to the business, and a clear idea of what returns the marketing activities should bring into the business.

The sessions have proved very popular and there are a number of recommendations on my linked in profile. After speaking with some clients over Christmas I have decided to relaunch the product as a set of business services Norwich based organisations can tap into. I have tried to consider the times when an individual is likely to need help and support and develop specific agendas or themes to help them.
Please take a look at the page about Saturday Kitchen, and do get in touch if you think it could help you or a business you are familiar with. People can also buy these services on-line which is ideal if you want to buy a Saturday Kitchen session as a gift for someone else.

As always, the sessions involve a Saturday morning when clients are away from their business day to day focus, some good food and coffee, and around half a day one to one. At the end clients get a summary of the key outcomes along with any support materials required to help them move things forward.
See you in the Kitchen!!

Developing your web-site!

wwwIt’s over a year since I first started to build my web-site and since then I have learnt a lot. – It is a never ending piece of work, always building, trying to do more, adapting to new ideas and new technology. Keep an eye on my site for some new pages coming soon.

The key themes or considerations on first build are always about “key messages” and getting your points across, but then with time you start considering other factors such as usability, search engine effectiveness, and how to use social media . It all takes time, needs patience, and a long term view.

Being a Norwich marketing consultant I am often asked about how new media fits into the marketing mix – I actually think the question should be how does new media fit into your customers media mix and therefore what is the opportunity

People we are working with right now!

Sometimes when I get talking to other people about business, I am often asked who is engaging a Norwich marketing consultant at the moment.  Getcomfortable has always wanted to be active in different industries with marketing and business challenges and so its exciting to be able to say we are working in tourism, in organic food, and in low carbon technologies & renewable energy.  All the businesses we work with have at least some operations here in Norfolk.

logoRecently we have been working on a cross media marketing campaign for Cottageline, a network of 16 cottage letting businesses representing nearly 4000 Cottages in the UK.

paragon1We are working with Paragon Motion, an innovative low carbon technology business, assisting them with business strategy and brand creation work.

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I cant mention the brand, because we havent launched yet, but during the summer we have also been developing an entirely new marketing strategy for an FMCG organic food company based in North Norfolk.  It is always great fun to be working with food!!

It is terrific to be working on such a diverse portfolio of projects when at the same time all the same principles of good branding, well executed marketing strategy and planning still apply.

Add all of this to my work as a Director of Buy Local, and Future Radio, both focused on Marketing Norwich and it’s an exciting time at Getcomfortable!

Web-site Update & New Media Push!

Social Networking PlatformsYou may have noticed some improvements to my web-site over the last few days.  Over the last few months I have been learning lots about building a wider network of business contacts through using tools like twitter and linked in, along side more conventional ways of networking such as attending “Network Norfolk” and “The Norwich Business Group”.

It seems to me that more and more people start their search for both products and services on the web so clearly it is essential to be there.  The real skill however, as with any media channel, remains to convert a large network or internet presence into tangible business.

Over the next few months I am going to be experimenting with some other tools to build my business, including Facebook, Digit, and trialling some PPC activity as I received a free £30 voucher from Google! Don’t forget if you want to see my latest news, special offers of marketing & business support for your business, and my latest thoughts about norwich business services, follow me on Twitter or join my Linkedin Network! Watch this space!!