Another new day, yet another new Social Media platform for us to get our Small Business teeth into!
Pinterest is the latest website to really gather some impressive momentum in recent weeks and months…..but is it to everyone’s taste?
More importantly, have some people been a little too hasty in jumping to the wrong conclusions, and dismissing the entire concept as a waste of valuable time?
When I first mentioned to Josh, our newest designer, that I was researching a new Blog article based around the possible Small Business potential lurking within Pinterest, he snorted into his glass of weak lemon cordial.
“Pinterest?” he exclaimed. “Waste of time! No marketing potential at all in that. It’s just a website for women. It’s all flower baskets and baking recipes. No scope for marketing in there, unless you’re a florist or a cook.”
Hmmm. I think that young Josh might be going through a bit of a funny phase at the moment, though. He seems a bit too keen on trying to appear all tough and masculine, with an apparent disregard for anything remotely feminine.
It’s ever since we caught him trying to knit that cardigan in his lunchbreak last week.
He actually went to get a tattoo done the other day. He was supposed to be coming back with a bold new image of a dragon eating a tiger fiercely emblazoned across his chest.
He reckoned that he changed his mind at the last minute, as he wanted to save the money for some new bodybuilding equipment instead.
I think we all know that he ran out screaming in terror at the very first sight of that needle.
But coming back to Pinterest…….is it really aimed predominantly at women simply wanting to share recipes? Or is it actually a fabulous new platform with which anyone at all can effortlessly raise their Small Business profile? Just how does it all work anyway?
Let’s take a little look at this intriguing new Social Media channel and try to pin down this platform for ourselves….
Just how far would you go in search of thrilling new adventures and amazing new opportunities?
Some of my own recent epic groundbreaking voyages of discovery have included buying my grocery shopping from a slightly different store a few yards further down the road and trying out a new breakfast cereal that I’d never even heard of before.
Sadly, both experiences ended in tears , regret, gnashing teeth, a pining for the old-fashioned ways, and a solemn vow never to do anything so absurdly outlandish ever again.
That’s just me, though.
I’m happy to report that the vast majority of people that make up the truly great Australian workforce have a much bigger sense of adventure than I do.
But is that thriving adventurous Aussie spirit about to prove dangerous to the National Employment market?
A new study from Randstad has thrown up some surprising results, and really given Australian Business something to chew over in the opening quarter of 2012.
Randstad, a specialist recruitment and HR services company, have revealed that nearly half of the Australian workforce would give serious consideration to uprooting themselves from their homeland, and moving overseas in search of brighter opportunities, higher salaries, bigger long-term rewards, and interesting new accents.
It’s not all about the money, either.
The words alone are enough to strike a chord of terror into even the bravest of hearts!
I often feel that it doesn’t really matter which side of the desk you happen to be sitting, the whole experience can be equally uncomfortable for both the candidate and the interviewer!
Of course, if you’re in a position to be taking on new staff for your Small Business, then it can also be a pretty thrilling and potentially game-changing scenario…..if just a little bit daunting.
How do you prepare? How do you create a professional but welcoming environment for your candidates? How do you squeeze out every last drop of useful and insightful information from every interview?
Most importantly of all, how do you ensure beyond any doubt that you end up choosing the perfect candidate to jump aboard your enterprise and start making a big difference to your Small Business?
Here in the Martin Print office, I’ve had my fair share of weird experiences when it comes to conducting interviews for new positions within the team.
I’ll never forget the time, way back at the dawn of history, when I first interviewed Old Bert for the caretaker job.
Well, actually, that’s not quite true; I’d completely forgotten most of it by the very next morning.
I just have very hazy memories of Bert turning up to the interview with several bottles of rum.
I seem to vaguely recall lots of singing and dancing and talking about the olden days, and then waking up at my desk the next morning to find a collection of empty bottles, a chicken, a pounding headache, and a signed permanent contract for the caretaker’s job with Old Bert’s name on it, written in crayon.
Just how long did it take you to embrace the incredible marketing power of the internet and get your Small Business well and truly online?
Some of us were very probably excited about the whole concept right from Day One. Some of us may have taken just a little bit longer to see the light.
Some hesitant souls may have needed a friendly poke of encouragement, whilst others may actually have been dragged kicking and screaming into the vast arena of Cyberspace marketing.
Well, here’s some good news which proves that Australian Business is certainly being nudged along in the right direction.
A groundbreaking initiative developed by Google and MYOB aimed at encouraging Australian Small and Medium Sized Businesses to get online and into the 21st Century, has already pulled in some pretty amazing results, despite the program only being launched just one year ago.
Google and MYOB teamed up to launch the Getting Aussie Business Online partnership, which is proudly delivering free nifty tools and full access to the MYOB Atlas Website Builder to thousands of Business owners right across Australia, ensuring that every Small Business can now have their first polished website up and running in just fifteen minutes!
So far, a whopping THIRTY THOUSAND people have taken advantage of this smart-thinking initiative, and have bravely made that quick, easy, and cost-free leap into Cyberspace, with this number expected to mushroom over the coming months as the program continues to rise in popularity.
Profit! Profit! Profit!
That’s what Business is all about, right?
Chasing the dollar, generating revenue, creating a big financial splash, and then spending it all on flashy cars, holiday homes, slightly silly office furniture, and exotic cocktails.
Hmmm. Well, that’s what it said in my Wonderful World of Corporate Business book from 1988 anyway, but I’m starting to suspect that it may have been written by a complete idiot. Not entirely sure why the whole thing was written in crayon, either.
Of course, the smart-thinking Entrepreneur and proud owner of a cracking Small Business will already be acutely aware that there’s a lot more to business than blindly grasping for as many dollars as you can before your luck runs out.
In particular, I’m thinking of the passion, the drive, the innovation, the determination, the dedication, the fresh challenges on the horizon, the sheer hard work, the sense of achievement and triumph, and not forgetting the hundreds of cups of coffee that get us all through an average working day.
But where does it all begin? Are we really all inspired by a burning motivation to follow our dream and simply do what we love every day?
Does Local Business still actually mean anything anymore?
Have we developed into such a happily interconnected planet that the very concept of Local Business has become hopelessly outdated and pointless?
Or is Local Business on the brink of making a dramatic comeback, and all set to become more important than ever before?
I was having a chat with Old Bert about this very subject just the other day, and he was fondly reminiscing about the olden days, when local business meant everything. (Rumour has it that Old Bert is about 142 years old, but he remains very tight-lipped about his real age. I reckon he’s actually just a little bit older.)
It used to be the case that every great local business would proudly receive unswerving support from their loyal customers for life, and the very thought of anyone trying to find a slightly cheaper deal from that nasty bigger place outside of town would send shockwaves throughout the community.
But it’s an entirely different world that we live in today.
After all, when you have the entire global marketplace at your very fingertips, and the power to quickly compare worldwide products and prices from the comfort of your swivelly chair, it could well be argued that most contemporary consumers just don’t care about the local angle anymore.
If they can get their desired product a few bucks cheaper by ordering it from the other side of the planet rather than buying it from just down the road, then local business looks set to lose out on that particular deal, right?
Have you discovered what Cloud Computing is all about yet?
I always found the idea of Cloud Computing to be a particularly appealing prospect, as I tend to spend a lot of my time flat on my back, staring up at the clouds, for one reason or another.
In fact, the inspiration for this very article came during a very long stint sat under a palm tree on a deserted island, where there was actually very little else to do apart from gaze up at the clouds, and try to make friends with a couple of passing crabs and a jellyfish.
But Cloud Computing doesn’t just sound all nice and pretty – it can play a pretty powerful role in the day-to-day running of your Small Business, too.
If you’re completely new to the concept, or haven’t quite had the time yet to fully get to grips with the idea and how it might benefit your business, then you may still be wondering what the fuss is all about.
So, what exactly IS Cloud Computing?
Well, in truth, Cloud Computing is nothing new at all.
In fact, we’ve all been doing this stuff for years!
Every single time you’ve ever used Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube, Gmail, or even the Martin Print website, you’re actually using Cloud Computing, even if you might not have realised it.
It was my Birthday very recently.
I got a fairly mixed bag of presents ranging from the thrillingly unique and pleasantly surprising, to the downright awful and deeply mystifying.
I’m still not quite sure what exactly I’m going to do with the novelty clip-on beard and the police siren, but I’m sure I’ll find a use for them eventually.
It’s interesting to observe though, how some people seem to have a knack of getting presents and gifts just right, and some people just seem to be so spectacularly bad at the whole thing.
Now, this doesn’t really matter too much when it comes to fun birthday gifts and surprises, does it?
I mean, we can all force a smile and pretend to be thrilled to bits with that bottle of terrible wine that your friend has insisted on buying you every year since the beginning of time, even though you can’t even bear to sniff it without coming over all nauseous.
But what about the much more important matter of Small Business gifts?
In particular, I’m talking about those explosively powerful promotional goodies that you send out to your favourite clients, so that you can treat them to a very welcome gift-wrapped surprise whilst discreetly flinging your marketing messages as far and wide as you possibly can.
Well, I’ve recently heard rumours of a legendary Golden Small Business Strategy, which reveals the true secrets of getting it right with your promotional products, and outlining the hidden pitfalls that must be avoided at your peril.
I’d heard that this strategy was etched onto a Scroll, and buried deep in a secret location somewhere over the forbidden side of the jungle – so I hurriedly changed into my explorer’s outfit, grabbed a compass, a pen-knife, and a pickled onion sandwich, and bravely ventured out in search of the truth about marketing gifts…..