If you have been following this series on Taking Your Business Digital, you will know that this series has been inspired by the 30 Day Blogging Challenge created by Sarah Arrow of Sark Emedia. Write 30 Blog Posts in 30 days!
About a year ago I signed up for this challenge and didn’t even get started. There was always something more important for me to do. Truthfully I was terrified of the commitment. If I didn’t start I couldn’t drop out and fail.
This time I had a real incentive. I wanted to produce a guide to help those who are afraid of technology, to learn to take their businesses into the 21st century. I needed something that would force me to focus on a goal that was not too long, term as I tend to get bored and/or frustrated when I hit a problem.
Welcome to part 26 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Once you have your website in place and you set up a couple of relevant Social Media profiles for your business you need to integrate these into your whole marketing strategy.
Marketing in the 21st century is all about building relationships with your customers and prospective customers. We are an instant gratification society. If we like something we want it now.
If we are unhappy about something we have no qualms in telling the world, via Facebook or Twitter or a comment on your website that a product or service stinks. It may or may not be valid but often by the time we as the provider gets to see the damning comment it may have been seen by millions of people around the world.
Human nature sadly dictates that we are more prone to complaining than praising. Even if your company is not on the internet there are websites where people will complain and villify you regardless. So avoiding Taking Your Business Digital to avoid abuse is not the answer either.
Welcome to part 23 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Which online presence is right for your business?
You have a limited budget, you are not very clued up about technology, and everyone is telling you that you need a Company Website and you need to be on Social Media. To complicate matters there are many different Social Media Platforms and it is impossible to be active on all of them.
Welcome to part 22 of the Take Your Business Digital Guide for Those Afraid to Brave Technology. If you have missed any of the previous posts, click here to read them. Don’t forget to subscribe to future posts at the bottom of this article.
This is also day 22 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge and the challenge for today is all about growing traffic to your blog. As I mentioned in Keeping Your Audience Interested there are more than 400 million blogs out there longing for your attention. A website without visitors is worse than no website at all. At least if you don’t have a website or blog you won’t have invested time and money in something you are not going to grow and nurture.
Let me introduce you to the concept of a Linkup
Welcome to part 21 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Well, the name pretty much speaks for itself. It is presenting information as a single image or a series of images so that the reader can absorb the information much quicker than reading a whole article.
This challenge has presented me with the perfect opportunity to share via an Infographic how I helped a client who has a Training Business prepare to take their Company Digital.
Welcome to part 20 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
This post is a bit different because it is also Day 20 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge and my challenge today is to explore and try Content Curation.
Welcome to part 16 of Taking Your Business Digital For those afraid of Technology Series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up by clicking here.
Before the internet we conducted all our business face to face. Whether it was in the boardroom, a breakfast meeting, or on the golf course, we concluded business deals in an environment where we verbally communicated and physically met one another. We made judgements about people on what they wore, how they spoke and the company they kept. We could see what their business premises looked like and physically interact with the products and services they were trading.
As the internet has evolved we have completely changed the way we communicate and do business. Who wants to fly for 12 hours and suffer from jetlag and get upset stomachs from foreign food? For sure if it is a pleasure trip we can put up with inconveniences but rushed business trips are exhausting and time wasting. Instead, we now communicate via Skype, E-mails, WhatsApp, Conference Calls and Social Media with anyone no matter where they are. You can wear a smart top and your pyjama bottoms if you like. Just, don’t get up and walk around during the call.
We can watch videos of products that we are interested and even print them using 3D Printers. Once we have made up our mind that we want to purchase a particular product we fill in our credit card details and we can either download the product or it is (hopefully) delivered to our door within a short while.
But … how do we know we can trust the people we are interacting with over the internet?
Recently I attended a free half-day workshop on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) because I am always keen to learn more about technology which changes at the speed of light. Before you immediately think “geek speak” and click away please read a bit further.
The delegates were small business owners and 37 were women and only 3 were men. We were all there to learn how to improve our websites so that Google would put us on page 1 when anyone searched for the types of products and services that we offer.
The speaker was knowledgeable and entertaining and I picked up a number of tips that I am going to use. As a supplier of tech services I always learn from the other delegates too.
An enormous amount of information is shared at events like these and can be overwhelming. It is tempting to buy into the hype and open your wallet and imagine yourself on page 1 of Google Search next week.
There is no magic bullet to making money from your blog. It requires a plan just as you do for any business. It also requires a great deal of commitment, consistency and hard work to produce quality content that is useful and interesting to your target audience.
From choosing the right domain name, finding a niche audience through to creating content and sharing it on right social media platforms, this infographic clearly and simply lays out a great formula for you to follow so that you can work towards monetizing your blog.
Are you thinking of having a blog? Here are some principles for your blogging that I have learned. I hope you find them useful too.
1. There are zillions of blogs out there and it takes time and persistence to get noticed. You need to blog a minimum of once a week preferably more. Before you decide on your blog see how many topics you can come up with to write about.
How do your Customers find you? Who are your customers? Why do they buy from you and not from your many competitors? Why are you getting the "wrong sort of customers"? Where do these customers come from? Are they businesses or are they individuals? Perhaps they are a combination.
These questions are hugely important when planning your marketing strategy. Whether you use print, tv, radio, a website or social media you need to understand your customers and the journey they take to buy from you .... or not!
We help you to understand how to integrate technology into your business and we provide training and support to help you achieve this.
Regardless of your type of business, you have little choice. Technology is here and you have to use it.
Attending a computer class is all very well but what so often happens is that the class moves so fast and you get lost. Frequently the content is also not relevant to your particular circumstances.
When you have a technology problem to solve you want it solved NOW. This is why we are offering you the opportunity to have one on one sessions and/or Skype, FB Chat, Google Chat etc on an adhoc basis so your specific problems can be addressed as you come across them.
The products we provide training on include:
Cost: R260 per hour for individuals or R225 / hour per person, for groups of up to 4 people
We provide internet connectivity but you need to bring your own laptop.
We teach you what you want/need to know and we teach you at your own pace.
This is what Braving Technology is all about. Helping the Technology Challenged and Technology Scared to overcome their fears so that they can grow their businesses and be more productive.
Have you wondered how you are able to search for a website or topic using Google? Google Search and other Search engines “crawl” your site looking for specific Keywords and phrases that are repeated either in the headings, or the content which includes images so that when people are looking for what you are offering they can find you.
This is part of the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Process.
A young man recently posted on a Facebook community site that he is struggling to find employment and all the Recruitment Agencies he had contacted wasted his time and no-one ever came back to him.
I know how hard it is to get a job especially when you don't have experience. This particular gentleman said he was looking for a job in "copywriting, editing, social media, marketing, IT, admin or HR work". He had studied Philosophy and English at University.
Having been in business for many years, I too have come across job applicants who arrive for interviews not even knowing what job they had applied for. All they wanted was a job so that they could earn a monthly salary. There is such fierce competition for jobs that recruiters and employers are looking for applicants who have specific skill sets. Yes, you need to be multi-skilled but you need to have a plan about where you are going and the route you want to take to get there.
How do you find the time to be on Social Media so much is a question I am frequently asked? When I reply that it is my job the next question is, “but what does sharing socially on Facebook and Twitter have to do with your job?”
Business is about building relationships. There are many ways of building relationships which can include, having a round of golf, attending networking meetings, holding or attending a conference or in the good old days being a door-to-door salesman.
Are you avoiding Social Media because of privacy issues?
Spying on others has been around probably as long as prostitution which is regarded as the oldest profession in the world.
Neighbours checking on neighbours to spice up dull lives, countries at war trying to outwit each other, industrial espionage to gain a business advantage have been acceptable throughout the ages.
Everything is fine and dandy until you get caught.
Promotion of Access to Information Action in 2000 which required public companies and private businesses to make information about their organisations publicly available.South Africa introduced the
In 2001 in South Africa FICA (The Financial Intelligence Centre Act) was promulgated to:
"To establish and maintain an effective policy and compliance framework and operational capacity to oversee compliance and to provide high quality, timeous financial intelligence for use in the fight against crime, money laundering and terror financing in order for South Africa to protect the integrity and stability of its financial system, develop economically and be a responsible global citizen.
As law abiding South African citizens we have no choice. If you want to retain your bank accounts, credit cards, store accounts, municipal accounts, buy a home or car, rent a property etc you have to be prepared to provide on demand, proof of where you live, your identity document, bank statements, tax number, payslips and/or any other such documents the service provider deems necessary "according to the Act".
We have no guarantee of the security of the information we provide "in terms of FICA" as our documents are taken, frequently by the most junior clerk, to be copied, stamped and "filed". How many of you, reading this article, have had to re-submit FICA documents because the Bank has lost them? Where did those documents go?
These are the same financial institutions which provide online banking services and have done away with almost all brick and mortar based customer service. We live in a world where it is no longer an option to not have a bank account so we comply with any and every requirement put in place by our bank. We have no choice and rarely any comeback should our details be made public in error or our bank accounts compromised.
Our privacy was further limited with the introduction of RICA (The Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act) in 2003 which regulates the interception of communications and associated processes such as applications for and authorisation of interception of communications. This law requires us to provide the same information required in terms of FICA, to the clerks and sales people at the cell phone companies. Most of us are not prepared to give up our cell phones so we comply. Who knows where that information goes.
Should you wish to travel to a foreign country you have to be prepared to provide bank statements for 3 months, letters from your employer, details of your investments and assets and reams of other documents in order to obtain a visa. Your choice is to stay home or be compliant.
We have made "legally" available information about where we live, what we earn, where we bank, what we buy, what we look like, what assets we own available to a huge range of people who may or may not use this information to steal from us, blackmail us or profit from us in various ways.
We have a choice whether we have a company or personal website and we can choose what information to display. We can choose to sell our products and services online and therefore increase our market share.
We can also choose whether we want to buy books, music, movies, software, groceries, clothing, flowers for our friend in hospital using the various online options available. It is our choice whether we hand over our credit card information to the service provider.
We do not have to join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and the many other networks out there. If we do join these we have choice about what information we provide and whether we are making this information available to people we know or the public at large.
For many of us it is a great way of sharing photos and information with friends and families who are far away. Most of us also like to snoop a little on others and enjoy gossip about celebrities and others who have fallen from grace.
Yet it is Social Media and the internet that get the blame for our loss of privacy and theft of our personal information.
Why are we not standing up for our rights and refusing to provide personal information to our governments, foreign governments, financial institutions and other organisations? We have allowed our rights to privacy to be removed with barely a whimper of complaint.
Meanwhile governments and big business in cohorts with them are not happy that all of this information that has been obtained is now being used against them.
What is good for the goose is not good for the gander. Julian Assange and the Wikileaks scandal, Andrew Snowden and the leaking of information from the NSA, News Of The World Phone Hacking Scandal and of course closer to home the spying on South African officials at the G20 summit in 2009 are just some of the problems governments are dealing with.
On the positive side for ordinary citizens is that we now have information about corruption and white collar crime that is so rampant in our government and corporate businesses. The collusion in the construction industry, the bread price fixing disgrace, and of course Nkandla are just a few that come to mind.
It is thanks to modern technology and freely available information that these crimes are now in the public domain.
Our government is now running scared and has introduced the Protection of (State) Information Bill and is able to cover up wrong doing by declaring reports "top secret".
As ordinary citizens you and I have to keep our noses clean, use passwords that are as secure as we can make them and choose carefully what we share on social media.
I know I won't be putting up a webcam in my bathroom and I don't post pictures of children without their parents permission.
However I will continue to be an active user of social media and other technology.
Are you part of the Twitterverse?
Twitter – what are you going on about? I am not into bird watching thank you.
Perhaps you have heard of Twitter the Social Media platform but dismissed it as yet another time-wasting occupation.
I would like to tell you why I am such a Twitter fan and perhaps give you a different perspective.
Social Media has swept the world like a giant Tsunami and South Africa has not escaped. Despite so many people living beneath the poverty line it is difficult to find anyone over the age of 10 who does not have access to a cell phone.
Mxit, WhatsApp and BBM have replaced SMS and e-mails (proper face to face conversations are so last century) as the medium of communication for the young and the not so young. Even Childline is using MixIt to communicate with the children and teens who call in for help. They have realised that children and teens are comfortable to speak to someone about their problems using a medium that is anonymous and therefore they don't feel judged.
I help you to use technology without fear to streamline your administration systems, connect with your customers and suppliers and close more sales.
From helping you to understand your business and creating a detailed plan to ensure you don't make costly mistakes, I will help you implement the right systems for your business.
Understanding why you need a website, what the purpose of YOUR website is, how to create a marketing strategy using newsletters, the need to have new great content, interacting on the right Social Media platforms and then analysing what does and doesn't work is how I can help you.
Using Google applications and Sage Online Accounting to streamline your administration and financial systems and ensuring that your files and data remain safe.
Training your staff to use these systems is vital to the successful running of your company. I can assist you with training via Skype, or if you live in Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa, one on one sessions or small group workshops.
I started Braving Technology after numerous technololgy challenged friends and family asked for help to set up blogs, websites, and to help them with all their basic computer questions.