Are You Social?

I have been going through the proposed webcast videos from our Digital Forum in March social-media-management1and I am reminded again that nearly 2 out of 5 Western Canadian entrepreneurs do not participate in social networks. Are you one of those entrepreneurs? According to BDC many entrepreneurs aren’t sure of the benefits and leery of the risks associated with digital technology. Perhaps they just need some guidance on how to approach it. I receive a regular email newsletter from BDC called Smart Tech. The latest newsletter is ‘7 ways to turn social media fans into customers’ and it has some pretty good tips. They also have a free eBook called ‘Social Media a Guide for Entrepreneurs’ that you can download and it looks to be fairly comprehensive. It might be time for you to consider building a social media strategy.

According to this article another industry is falling to the digital movement. Sales for point and shoot digital cameras declined by about 30% between 2006 and 2011. What are they being replaced with – smart phones of course. I talked about this in my March 6th blog post Is Digital a Threat to Your Business? In my mind this just highlights once again the importance for every business owner to take a look at what they offer to their customers and ask the question – how is digital technology going to impact this?

Have you read the book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff? I just read a preview of it. For those of you that are interested in trying to understand where your business fits in the future maybe this book can offer one more perspective to consider.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Digital Technology with Your Customers in Mind

SEO Perfect CompanyOne of the presenters at the Digital Forum we did in March presented on SEO (search engine optimization). As we heard optimizing your website can be a daunting task especially since the algorithms the search engines use change on a real regular basis. I came across this article ‘How to do an SEO Audit of Your Website’ this morning that may help with that. This article looks at the common sense stuff like checking for broken links or dead pages or making sure your website loads reasonably fast. I really believe that no matter how the search engines are designed you can’t lose by just being authentic and designing your website with your customers experience in mind.

Have you thought of doing You Tube videos for your business?  I have You Tube videos that I put up 4 years ago that I am still getting views, over 198,000 to date and people are still subscribing to them. Videos are an excellent way to engage customers and help them with your products. Looking to figure out how to get started with that? You might want to check out this article ‘10 Questions to Ask When Creating Your Company’s You Tube Channel’. For those of you who might think putting up commercials for your company would be a natural first step – it probably isn’t the best thing to do. People look to You Tube videos to be entertained, educated or informed not to watch commercials. How would you use You Tube to entertain, educate or inform your customers? After you figure that out You Tube can help you with analytics. For example I find it very interesting that my videos’ are viewed mostly by men (89%).

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Productivity Through Apps

Apps are causing huge productivity gains in some companies as this apps1article in the Wall Street Journal points out. In some cases they are replacing employees as customers become their own bank tellers, checkout clerks, restaurant order takers and even insurance adjusters. Apps are even giving companies a way to give customers directions and answer questions without paying concierge staff. This all points to a change in customer expectations, customers are now quite happy to be part of the entire experience not just be ‘served’. Even Wal-Mart is looking at a self-checkout app that lets customers scan items with their phone as they place them in the shopping cart. What about you – are your customers part of the experience or are you just serving them and does that make them happy?

Speaking of Apps I found this Infographic that highlights important apps for running a business with a smart phone. The list includes; financial apps, cloud storage, customer service and even apps for money transactions among others.  One highlighted free app is the Square Card Reader. It comes with a free card reader for your phone that allows you to take credit cards from your customers and have those funds go into your bank account the next day. More and more being digitally savvy allows us to be productive in ways we never thought possible.

Last week we held our first ever Digital Forum and from the feedback we received it was a definite success! The event was videotaped and the intent is to turn it into a series of webcasts so those that were unable to attend can still benefit. Those webcasts will be hosted on our website in the next few weeks. I will keep you posted.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Digital Learning

classroomBecause of the availability of online courses and my love of learning I regularly take courses in whatever interests me. One of the places I go for those courses is https://www.udemy.com/. Udemy offers online courses from experts. I can take courses on absolutely anything that interests me at a very reasonable price. Topics range from web design, creating social media videos, financial modelling, and designing a logo to even health and fitness courses. Through Udemy I have finished a course on Facebook Marketing and I am currently taking Photoshop Training both of which were free. You can even take courses from famous authors such as Jack Welsh (leadership) and Eric Ries (entrepreneurship) and several University professors.

With all this wonderful training available how do employers know whether or not someone has the digital technology skills they are looking for? As this article in the Chronicles of Higher Education explains Educational upstarts across the Web are adopting systems of “badges” to certify skills and abilities. Interesting to note the biggest push for badges is coming from industry and education reformers, rather than from traditional educational institutions. Mozilla, the group that develops the popular Firefox Web browser, is designing a framework to let anyone with a Web page—colleges, companies, or even individuals—issue education badges designed to prevent forgeries and give potential employers details about the distinctions at the click of a mouse. The digital badges outline specific skills that employers might look for, such as experience with HTML or social networking. Mozilla says that more than 600 organizations are already participating in Open Badges.  Wouldn’t that be good if our local educators had a system like that?

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 tomorrow, March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Are You Embracing Digital Technology?

This week I am going to open with the same question that I asked last week; Are you embracing Note Anytimedigital technology? Did you know there are businesses out there that are seeing significant benefits from taking advantage of the opportunities found through digital technology. This Forbes article ‘The DNA of Digital leaders’ states that “technology is reaching into every corner of the business world – every industry, company, process, decision, job – and bringing deep changes that create a new playing field with new rules and new winners and losers”. The article cites a two-year study on over 400 companies world-wide done by Capgemini Consulting released in November 2012 suggesting companies that adopt digital technology can be up to 26% more profitable! It’s interesting to note that this requires more than just investment in technology it also requires leadership. While today adopting digital technology is a competitive advantage I believe tomorrow it will determine survival.

Now here is a tool that will help you get digital. There are a few apps out there for sketching or to help take hand written notes and then convert them to digital. The article ‘The Best Digital Handwriting Tools for Businesses’ gives a few suggestions for the different apps depending on operating systems and what exactly you are going to do with them. I downloaded the free app Note Anytime and I am amazed by the quality and readability. I am looking forward to using it at my next meeting.

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Is Digital a Threat to Your Business?

threatAre you embracing digital? Or is digital a threat to your livelihood? I’m not much of a music buff so it didn’t occur to me how much the digital age was destroying the record industry. From digital advances with the creation of CD’s causing an explosion in sales, to a few years later and what looked like a terminal illness from an inability to adapt to a new business model embracing the digital age. Well perhaps the music industry has it figured out now based on this article in the New York Times but I suspect there is still need for some ongoing innovation. What I take away from this is that at the pace things are moving today we better be looking at our current business model and exploring how digital is affecting our business. Being innovative with digital technology might be a tool for survival.

Did you know that there are some pretty good apps out there that capture your handwriting digitally? This article recommends at least five that vary in price from $5 to free. So now there is no excuse not to get on board this digital train!

Do you offer Wi-Fi to your customers? I see signs in our local coffee shops offering this service for free and I know while I am there I appreciate it. But I didn’t realize that offering this service could be a competitive advantage. I came across this article in which an independent grocery store in Ontario is positioning themselves to be a community hub rather than just a place to get groceries. Just one more way that digital technology could make your business more profitable or productive.

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Growing the North Digitally

Last week I didn’t post because I attended the Growing the North Conference. The conference was excellent and a great value but I couldn’t help thinkingmain-pic there was some room to get better with the digital technology that was being used. It didn’t start out that way though. The first presenter was John Scott the President & CEO of Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. John used cloud based software called Prezi , now that is an awesome way to lead the audience on a visual journey.
I strongly encourage everyone who does presentations to adopt this very entertaining and visual approach. The second best way to do a presentation in my mind is a Pecha Kucha style PowerPoint. Daniel Pink has a good example of this which is not only a Pecha Kucha but also gives some background and rules on how to use this format. I have asked all presenters at our Digital Technology Learning Forum to use this Pecha Kucha format to not only impart knowledge and information on digital technology but to entertain as well.

Another highlight of the conference was the technology panel, although their presentations could have used some Prezi or Pecha Kucha influence there is some great work being done in our area and in the province of Alberta using digital technology. Making decisions with real data in real-time is something 96% of Canadian companies say is important but unfortunately only half of those companies have that ability. Unmanned vehicle systems, geomatics and even the innovative software that allows the capture of that data in real-time for making those decisions, is being developed right in our own back yard. All the more reason to be aware of what digital technology can do for you and your business.

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Digital Learning

digital-learningWith our Digital Technology Learning Forum coming up March 20, 2013 I thought I would have a learning theme this week. One of the websites I have found helpful is Digital Learning Environments. This website has ‘Tools and Technologies for Effective Classrooms’ but as anyone connected with this digital world knows we are all students and constantly learning. The articles on this website are quite comprehensive, not only do they give good suggestions but there are links to how to do it as well. I checked out the article on ‘How to Become a Blogger’ and if you are thinking this might be something you want to do, this article is excellent. Not only are the various platforms discussed but there is even a section on how to offer comments.

Do you use Twitter? I don’t because quite frankly at this point I find it a little overwhelming and I am not alone. The stats suggest among entrepreneurs in Western Canada Facebook is far more popular than Twitter. Sooner or later though I will want to at least have a better understanding of it and a good place to start might be this article on ‘What I wish I Knew Before Using Twitter’. From there the ‘Top Secret Tips And Tricks For Getting The Most Out Of Twitter’ might be the next article I read. Look out after that as I could be tweeting as well as blogging!

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Are you thinking of selling online?

After my suggestion last week that businesses need to explore the idea of e-commerce e_commerce_manI thought it was only appropriate for me to do a little research around that. First off it’s important to have a website and I came across this article ‘10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Webmaster’, which I thought was quite comprehensive. What I liked about the article was it suggested to ask for examples of the Web designers work and also ask for a list of current and past customers. After that suggestions like; who will own the website, and asking questions about copyright and security issues make this article a good one for everyone with a website to read.

Did you know there are many e-commerce solutions out there including some that are Canadian based? This article ‘Small businesses offered easy e-commerce options’ on itbusiness.ca offers a couple of solutions for those that are serious about having online sales. Shopify helps businesses create independent e-commerce sites and take orders online. ShopLocket on the other hand is an e-commerce component to which sellers can direct potential buyers from their Web sites, blogs, or Facebook pages. ShopLocket is free until you sell something while Shopify has a monthly fee that starts out as low as $29.00 per month.

Still confused by it all? Why not attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum? To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. Look for more information in the upcoming blogs.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

How Much Time do You Spend Online?

Canada onlineIs anyone out there that is looking for more statistics to convince people this digital age is here to stay, grow and prosper? I love statistics as you may have noticed. I just came across the CCRA’s (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) 2013 Fact Book. This little gem contains some interesting information like – there are now over 240 billion domains online and the .ca is one of the fastest growing domains worldwide. Did you know Canadians spend an average of 45 hours per month online? That is almost double the global average. Also interesting to note we are at the back of the pack when it comes to broadband speed and price even though in 2010 the internet economy was at 3.4% of GDP.

Well the holiday season is over and according to itBusiness.ca and the MasterCard SpendingPulse Report Canadians spent $2.8 Billion online in December 2012. That’s an increase of 26% over December 2011. What I find interesting is that more and more Canadians are moving from researching online and then buying in stores to outright shopping online. One more reason businesses need to explore the idea of e-commerce.

Finally today I would like to leave you with this article on Social and Digital Tech Trends. Just more ammunition for those of us trying to convince others that as Courtney Sheldon Hunt puts it ‘the Digital Era is not coming, and it’s not just getting started. It’s HERE’.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/