You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2009.

Last night saw us off to Banbury, to what I believe was the first ever BT Tradespace networking event.  We had assumed there was going to be a presentation on getting the most from Tradespace, but sadly that wasn’t the case. 

Although WORD-right is signed-up to BT Tradespace, we’ve never found the time to actually set it up properly.  So come on BT, get your people out there into the real world and help us all make the most of what appears to be a great Internet marketing platform!  

The virtual world seems to have crept up on us, almost unawares.  In the past month we’ve LinkedIn, and even got so far as looking at the world of Twitter.  Internet psychologist Graham Jones, warns of the danger of damaging your business by spending too much time on these social networking sites in his blog: ‘Twitter could kill your business – take care’.  In another post, ‘Hardly anyone actually uses social networks’, he gives some interesting statistics about the number of business people who are in ‘this scene’.  And guess what?  It would seem most prospective clients or customers, yours and mine, have never social networked in their lives. 

So where does that leave the small business?  Should we go with the flow and link and tweet for all we’re worth, or put our heads in the sand and hope it will all go away?  Call me a Luddite if you like, but I too can see a real danger in spending so much time on Internet social networking sites that your business suffers.  If we want to figure out how to get the most from them, we have to spend time investigating them in the evening and at weekends.  For this copywriter, there’s no time during the working week to tweet, let alone twit! 

So how do we get round this problem?  Well, we’ve got people organised to talk at our FBBC networking group on how to make the most of things like LinkedIn, Twitter, and now BT Tradespace. At least that will cut out the lengthy learning process and perhaps we’ll be well enough advised to to reap the rewards, without crippling our businesses in the process. 

I could be wrong (who me?), but I suspect the highest number of Internet social networkers are people who are employed, rather than working for themselves.  What better way of passing the time (when the boss isn’t looking), than to twit, tweet, and link until it’s time to knock off for the day.  I’m also temped to wonder if this is why we’ve had such a significant drop in those interminable email jokes which were doing the rounds.  Perhaps they’re now being written on Facebook walls or twittered about instead of clogging up the email systems. 

Of course, for some people, social networking might be a useful skill to learn … will the day come when we start to see job adverts saying ‘Internet Social Networker Required … inexperienced twits need not apply?

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Finding the right CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system isn’t easy.  Like many small businesses, we recognised the need for a system which would meet our individual requirements, not just here and now, but for the future. 

I cut my teeth on ACT in the days of DOS systems.  But as some of the WORD-right team works remotely, having a PC-based CRM wasn’t going to be easy to use or manage.  So after much deliberation, we decided to investigate online CRM packages. 

The word ‘minefield’ springs to mind!  There is a vast array of packages out there, with set-up fees ranging from a few pounds or dollars to several hundred.  I was dazzled by all the available bells and whistles, and in some cases, by the dazzling prices too! 

When I arrived at iport4business, I had worked out what bells and whistles I wanted from my CRM system, and which ones were just going to be an unnecessary added cost.  iport4business met all my needs, was easy and intuitive to use (even for little old me!), and … very important in these credit crunch times … had no set-up fee. 

But our decision to invest in the iport4business system wasn’t based on the cost or even on its range of bells and whistles.  So if we weren’t swayed by prices or ingenious features, what did prompt this buying decision?  That’s easy … good old-fashioned customer service … that’s what! 

After we’d set up our free 14 day trial to get familiar with the software, I had a few queries.  After all, this was a big decision for a small business, and I wanted to be sure the system worked for us.  Not only did I get an  impressively fast response from the company’s Airdrie office, I also received the first of several emails from the iport4business CEO, Chic McSherry! 

Iport4business counts many huge organisation as clients, both in the UK and ‘over the pond’.  Names such as Spar and Virgin Trains clearly demonstrate the stature of this international company.  Needless to say, I was very, very impressed at getting fast, chatty, and really helpful replies from the CEO himself.  

There is no doubt in my mind the world would be a better place to live and work if more companies took this attitude.  We’re probably one of the smallest tiddlers in the iport4business pond, but we feel welcomed, cared for, and valued.  That, for me, is what customer service is all about. 

So sorry Chic … if you find yourself knee deep in emails after this post, you’ll know who to blame!

10 February 2009

Lynq Logo

Lynq Ltd Software House

Lynq Ltd (http://www.lynq.co.uk), the UK-based software house which is an Exact Reseller and Partner, will be making the trip to Nashville to participate in Engage, the Exact Users Conference (http://www.exactamerica.com/engage/).  The 2009 conference, which is being held between 22nd and 25th March, gives Exact customers the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas with other users. 

Lynq will be exhibiting in the Vendor Showcase at Booths 24 and 25 and will be demonstrating a range of software solutions designed to reduce costs and streamline operations.  In particular, the recently launched Visual Planner and Hyperlynq are expected to take Engage by storm. 

These applications, developed by Lynq and available from both Lynq and Exact, have been designed to work straight ‘out of the box’, providing a fast ROI (Return on Investment). 

Lynq will be demonstrating the power of these applications to delegates attending the Engage conference at their booth in the User Showcase.  Interested parties will be able to see live demonstrations there and then, or book online demonstrations for after the event. 

Visual Planner

Visual Planner is the Only Production Planning and Scheduling Tool to fully integrate with Exact Macola Systems.  With Visual Planner, production teams can be trained and up and running in a matter of days, saving time and costly implementation fees.  It has been developed to satisfy all the criteria of a busy manufacturing operation.  Its wealth of benefits include substantial time savings, a reduction in labor costs, and lower stock levels: essential for Lean Operations. 

HyperLynq

HyperLynq is a powerful and dynamic toolset which unlocks the information stored in an Exact Macola system.  HyperLynq consists of a System Manager and an extensive range of Lookups and Plugins. 

HyperLynq allows the user to manipulate and look at data quickly, build standard and one-off reports, and interrogate Macola data in novel and sophisticated ways. 

John Grima, Lynq’s Business Development Manager says, “We launched Visual Planner’s pre-release version at Engage last year and had a constant queue of people at the booth.  This year, with the launch of the full versions of the software, we are already being inundated with enquiries.  Visual Planner and Hyperlynq are solutions which help businesses reduce their costs quickly and easily.  These applications will help many manufacturing and distributing organisations survive this recession.”

Anyone interested in finding out more information about Visual Planner can visit Lynq at Booth 24 & 25 at Engage 2009 between March 22nd and 25th.  Alternatively, they can contact Lynq on +44 (0) 1329 800000 or Exact on 1.800.468.0834.

– ends –

Note to Editors

Founded in 1988, Lynq Ltd’s head office is in Hampshire, England.  The company has offices and software support teams in Europe, Ukraine, and US. 

Lynq’s experienced team has worked with Exact Macola for over 20 years.  The company has an enviable reputation as one of the best suppliers of Exact Macola products in the market today.

For more information, please contact:

John Grima, Business Development Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 1329 800162
Email: john.grima@lynq.co.uk

Joy McCarthy, WORD-right
Tel: +44 (0) 1608 642845
Email: joy@word-right.co.uk

Launch of  Free Copywriting Audio Seminars

WORD-right (http://www.word-right.co.uk) copywriters based in Oxfordshire, has today launched a new series of free audio copywriting seminars.  The audio recordings, which will build into a complete library of copywriting tips, are one of the features of the company’s new website, also launched this week.

Joy McCarthy, WORD-right’s principal writer, is a Tutor with the Institute of Copywriting.  She has used her skills and knowledge to create a series of 10 audio seminars on a wide range of copywriting topics: from how to write about benefits rather than features to writing effective website copy. 

When visitors sign up to receive WORD-right’s newsletter, they will be sent the link to the first audio seminar in the series.  One online seminar will be added to the new website each month, building into a comprehensive library of copywriting tips and tutorials.  Links to each seminar will be published in the company’s monthly newsletter.  There is no charge for the online seminars and no credit cards or other financial details are required when the visitor signs up on the website. 

Access to the online audio seminars will be exclusively for those who have signed up to receive the company’s newsletters.  Joy McCarthy says, “Good copywriting is essential to the marketing of any business, particularly in the current economic climate.  These seminars have been designed to help small business owners and anyone interested in copywriting, to write powerful and effective copy.  We are expecting an avalanche of sign-ups on the site.” 

Anyone wishing to listen to the free copywriting audio seminars can sign up by visiting http://www.word-right.co.uk

– ends –

Notes to Editors

WORD-right is a trading name of IDEAS-right Ltd.  The company has been providing copywriting and marketing services to UK companies of all sizes for the past 3 years from its base in Chipping Norton. 
WORD-right employs husband and wife team, Joy and David McCarthy as well as two part-time Associate Writers.  Joy McCarthy holds a Diploma in Copywriting and is a Tutor with the Institute of Copywriting.  She also holds a Diploma in Distance Tutoring and is currently working with 45 student copywriters. 

For more information, please contact:

Joy McCarthy
Tel: 01608 642845
enquiries@word-right.co.uk
http://www.word-right.co.uk

Networking is a popular means of generating leads for many small business owners.  FBBC (Faringdon Business Breakfast Club) has seen a significant rise in numbers over the past few months. 

This begs the question: is this due to the economic climate, or are numbers determined by the speaker or activity on the day?  I’m not sure we’ll easily find the answer to this one, but FBBC had a record turnout on Monday 2nd February, despite all the snow and ice. 

Hard at Work on the Elevator Pitch.  Photograph by Graham Light

Hard at Work on the Elevator Pitch. Photograph by Graham Light

The ‘standing room only’ attendance was recorded for posterity by Graham Light of Abbey Studios.  A big thank you has to go to Graham, a highly skilled professional photographer, who brought along his camera to add to the fun and has allowed us to use the photographs here.

Nigel Morgan presenting - Paul Brame (Morgan Cole) delivering his 1 minute pitch.  Photograph by Graham Light

Nigel Morgan presenting - Paul Brame (Morgan Cole) delivering his 1 minute pitch. Photograph by Graham Light

February’s big attraction was PR guru Nigel Morgan, who presented his ‘Networking Nirvana’ Workshop.  Some 30 people braved the elements to brush up on their networking skills and were amply rewarded. 

In a lively and entertaining session, Nigel took us through setting and achieving networking goals, and how to present that all important one-minute elevator pitch,  A skill many of us previously lacked!  Nigel Morgan has made networking into an art form, and we were privileged to have him share his skills and experience.   You can check out his Networking Nirvana blog here. 

So … will we continue to see an increased attendance at networking events as the year progresses?  With more and more events being planned by different groups and organisations, it would certainly seem networking is becoming more popular than ever before. 

As for FBBC:

• March: we’ll be finding out about free mentoring for businesses in Oxfordshire
• April: another great workshop on making the most of LinkedIn, presented by Mary Thomas of Concise Training
• May: back by popular demand … Maypole (possibly Mayhem) Speed Networking!  If you’ve never networked round a maypole with business cards in one hand and a ribbon in the other … you’ve never lived!

Some of the Delights of FBBC - Photograph by Graham Light

Some of the Delights of FBBC - Photograph by Graham Light

See you there!

With the Lewes Pound being so much in the news of late, its popularity suggests barter could be a big advantage to small businesses struggling to survive the recession. 

An informal barter system could be adopted easily by small or micro business owners who are cash-poor, but time-rich.  Many self-employed people are in the position to offer a skills exchange with other members of their network.  It would allow access to services which they could otherwise not afford in the current climate.  While producing a ‘currency’ would involve more work than was needed, a simple one to one skill-exchange would only need mutual trust and respect. 

We’ve recently done something similar.  Last year we made contact with Nikki Cooke who, along with her partner Jean, is in the early stages of setting up ‘The Word Well’, a copywriting and Internet marketing business.  That contact has grown into friendship and, although I would hesitate to use the word ‘mentoring’, we have been able to offer some help and support. 

We’re currently in the final stages of developing the new WORD-right website and are producing a series of 10 ‘Audio Seminars’ on copywriting.  Jean, who is a very talented musician, has his own professional recording equipment.  When he heard of our plans, he offered his services. 

Jean De Villiers

Jean de Villiers

The result?  The first two recordings in the series have been made (despite a sore throat and nerves!) and the rest of the series will follow in the forthcoming weeks.  We’re delighted to have professional sound quality on our recordings and will continue to benefit from each other’s mutual support and expertise.

The Federation of Small Businesses is telling us we’re the people who will help this country out of recession.  Perhaps by working and supporting each other, we’ll be better placed to do that, and create closer links within our community.

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