Focus and Grow Your Business

focus on customers, products, quality and grow your business with the help of the Internet “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.” – Mike Markkula

This simple statement can help you gain clarity on where to begin to create your web, mobile, social and email presence and marketing. If you are wondering who Mike Markkula is, he wrote the first business plan for Apple and owned one-third of the company for providing capital, business and marketing expertise. He became a father figure to Steve Jobs, a man I greatly admire for his ability to focus and create brilliant products.

In 1997 when Steve returned to Apple to focus on saving the company it was making dozens of versions of the Macintosh. After a few weeks of meetings he declared that what was needed was to focus on one desktop and one portable computer for the consumer and one desktop and portable computer for the professional. All other products were to be cancelled.

At first there was push-back, but Steve told the board “I can make it work”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Facebook Places and foursquare – Can your mobile customers find you there?

facebook places I just completed a workshop on Facebook Places and foursquare for business people at the BizConNH Social Media Community Monthly Meeting in the Monadnock Region of NH. Although people are not as mobile/social savvy here as say Boston or Manhattan, our group was engaged and could see the potential for mobile users to make shopping choices “on the street” and learned new ways to connect with customers. It’s important for these business to be found by “flatlanders” that come to town for the quaint towns and villages experience in Peterborough, Keene and surrounding towns, and as well as local mobile users. Mobile users share more in social media and can of influence others to come with their comments, photos and reviews.

Although Facebook Places with the Facebook user base of 750 million people is definitely the “Place” to be, there are other players in the geolocation market allowing customers to actively check-in to your business on their mobile devices. Do you know who they are? Are you doing anything to delight them? Local businesses that get involved can get ahead of the competition or at least stay in the game by doing so.

foursquare geolocation sharing service with checkins and 10 million usersFoursquare recently reached the 10 million user benchmark and Brian Solis gave an overview of their progress in his blog post Foursquare Now 10 Million Strong: Has Your Business Checked-in? Their growth rate has out-paced Twitter. Does this give you an idea of how important the mobile user engaged in social media is to your business? Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons from: (Reuters) – The hacking of Sony Corp’s PlayStation Network has earned a place in the annals of Internet crime

A man walks on a floor advertisement for Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 game console at an electronic store in Tokyo April 27, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A man walks on a floor advertisement for Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 game console at an electronic store in Tokyo April 27, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Internet crime is on the rise and companies where you do business are reluctant to talk about it. There is a code of silence because victims want to avoid  embarrassment, public scrutiny and falling stock prices. However, it’s hard to hide when this effects 77 million people worldwide.

Be aware. The Reuters article on this topic mentions that a study done by MacAfee showed that the networks of 85% of some 200 power producing companies had been hacked and 1 out of 4 of those were victims of extortion. The 28 page PDF report In the Dark, Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks is available here. They are recommending that these industries move beyond passwords to tokens and biometrics indicators, use of network encryption and monitoring for anomalies, increased oversight of how the network is accessed, and effective partnerships with government. What should you do? Read the rest of this entry »

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New Facebook Pages – What’s Good, Great, and Slightly Annoying

Facebook Pages for business have got a new look. If you have received an invitation to upgrade you can click Preview and Take a Tour. Here’s what happens when you do:

new facebook page upgrade

You can see you can upgrade the Page you are on, or if you are admin for multiple Business, you can upgrade all. I like to take them one at a time. Here’s what the new Business Page looks like.  While you are in Tour mode, you can see what your Page will look like, but everyone else will see the old version of your Page until you Upgrade.

preview mode - what a new facebook page looks

You can switch back by clicking the “switch back” link at the top of your Page, but once you have upgraded you cannot switch back. Also, the switch option is only for a limited time. Beginning March, 2011 your Page will be automatically upgraded.

are you sure you want to upgrade now?

Let’s start the tour to see what you get. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Mobile Website Vistors Love Your Web Design?

Mobile internet use is growing rapidly, with about 205 million mobile data users in the United States1. In recent years mobile devices have become much more sophisticated, and frankly, much more useful. The mobile web is no longer a novelty.

Three years ago we took our first steps in making our own site “iPhone friendly” by adding an alternative to the Flash-based navigation, to be used when a browser doesn’t support Adobe Flash. This simple change made our site usable, but zooming and scrolling in two directions isn’t an ideal experience.

We’re usually so busy working on clients’ sites that our own site gets neglected, but recently we took the next step and created a simplified version of our site that’s optimized for mobile devices. If you go to www.consensus-technology.com on any of the popular smartphones you’ll be automatically redirected to this optimized site. It has the information we think mobile users are most likely to want, presented in a very straightforward way.

The footer of each page contains a large “View Full Site” link so users can easily get to everything, but the things they’re most likely to want are now much easier to find. For instance, the mobile contact page lets them ‘tap’ to call us, and includes a link that opens the Map application to find our location and get directions. (If a particular phone doesn’t have this feature then it will open Google Maps instead.) As we gather statistics on how the site is being used we may make adjustments to its content and design.

What Are People Saying About Your Mobile Website?

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The Art of Collaboration

2d or not 2d - art inspired by poetry exhibit at sharon arts center, peterborough nhProducing a website is an exciting time to engage in the art of collaboration and reaching consensus. Our focus in this post is on our client, the Sharon Arts Center , a non-profit organization, and their exceptional work in reaching their mission “to support and serve artists and craftspeople, to engage our community in the artistic process, and to foster the relationship between artists and the community through education, exhibitions, the promotion and sale of art and craft, as well as through special programs and events.”

Today’s opening of the exhibit, 2D or not 2D: Art Inspired By Poetry, is no exception. Not only does the Sharon Arts Center fulfill on fostering the relationship between artists and the community in exhibitions and the promotion and sale of art in this exhibit with their collaborative efforts, the exhibiting artists are also 2 different collaborative groups of local and regional artists.

The Left Bank artists include Evelien Bachrach Seeger and Kim and Scott Cunningham, all of Hancock, as well as Peterborough residents Sue Callihan, David Dodge, Soosen Dunholter, John Sirois and Daniel Thibeault.

Three Squared artists include Kitty Cloud, Lulu Fichter, Erick Ingraham, Colette Lucas, Erin Sweeney and Pashya White, all of Peterborough, as well as Leah Kristin Dahlgren of Temple, Marcia Herson of Bedford, Jordana Korsen of Harrisville, Jane El Simpson of Dublin and Thomas Meyers of Hancock.

If you live or are traveling through the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire from now through December 31, 2010, take time to visit this exhibit. You can also help the Sharon Arts Center by becoming a member and liking them on the Sharon Arts Center Facebook Brand page, created and managed by the Sharon Arts Center.

The Art of Collaboration in Website Design, Development and Marketing

Reaching consensus is something that is so important to our process; it is why I named my company Consensus Technology. After years of working in the corporate world where authority was mandated from above or you could kiss your job goodbye, I left that world. One key reason was that the customer’s interests were sacrificed. My goal was Read the rest of this entry »

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Celebrating the Arts on Facebook

lawrence siegel, music composer, best of new hampshire

We’ve always embraced artistic endeavors and have many clients and friends in the arts. Recently we started a ‘celebrate the arts’ feature on our Facebook page. Each Friday, as we wind down our work week and look forward to some recreation, we celebrate the creativity and hard work of an individual or group involved in the arts. This week we’re focusing on our friend and client, “Best of NH” composer, Lawrence Siegel.

Larry is currently in Houston preparing for a major concert: on November 23rd the Houston Symphony and Houston Symphony Chorus will perform a full symphonic version of “Kaddish”, Larry’s oratorio which draws on the actual words of Holocaust survivors. “My intention in writing it is to make common cause with those who survived the Holocaust. I want the audience to feel some shadow of what the survivors felt and feel. I want us to carry in our hearts, and, metaphorically, on our backs, those who perished.” says Larry. The work is powerfully direct, never more so than in the resilient, defiant, and joyful closing movement, “So Here I Am”.

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To Really Live, Learn and Thrive in Social Media

You Need to Understand When 2 + 3 = 25

metcalfe's law illustrates the exponential value of add new devices (in social media that would be followers) to the network

Graphical representation of Metcalfe's Law for networks

How does a business gain critical mass in their social media network and get a return on investment? Let’s start with understanding social media beginnings. In a recent interview¹ with Jonathan Gourlay at the Monadnock Ledger –Transcript, we talked about Social Media, when it began and how it relates to business. In electronic media there were listservs where professionals could easily interact in a group discussion via email. Then there were online forums where communities could discuss the topics of the day.

Really the change from traditional to social media occurred when communication was not just broadcast or printed for many individuals to hear or read. It started when the audience could interact with the originator of the content. When that happened we went from a one-way to a two-way conversation. Talk radio was therefore an early form of social media. But the real power in social media occurs when communications go beyond Read the rest of this entry »

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Why you’re website doesn’t have a second

do people stick around on your site when they find you in a google search?

In the days of AMC’s Mad Men, it was said everyone expected problems to be solved in an hour, because television shows lasted an hour. In today’s world we all want everything done in  seconds. Guess what? This means your website doesn’t have a second to spare. Impressions are made about your website and your business in less than a second. Clients want to know much more about you before they trust you and choose to do business with you. Does your website stack up? Read the rest of this entry »

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Independent Film Distribution Transitions and Social Media

IFP Independent Film Week 2009

IFP Independent Film Week 2009

Independent film is one of the passions that unite Gerard and I.

Social media has now for the first time made it possible for filmmakers to connect directly to their audience. This was not possible before. Our clients, Buzz and Kris McLaughlin and Aaron Wiederspahn of Either/Or Films made us aware of changes in film distribution in the spring of 2009. We had invested in The Sensation of Sight, starring David Straithairn, Ian Somerhalder and Jane Adams in 2006 for several reasons. We were aligned with the vision and mission of the Either/Or Films, it was being filmed in our town, and finally Read the rest of this entry »

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