Financially mating the google grazer with the bone idle apathetic songbird.
Going alone in the world of financial planning is no bad thing, let's face it - there is a wealth of information, knowledge and general consensus online regarding what you should or should not do and It's a fair bit cheaper doing it yourself as well! So why wouldn't you?
Well there is the old adage that a "little bit of information is dangerous", no more so than within the realms of financial planning. The times that I have sat back and inner sighed at the decisions new clients had previously made. Decisions like taking an annuity from their pension provider without looking around, like telling me that gold is the best thing since sliced bread and one of the funniest for any adviser is to be sat with a client who says that they are adverse to risk but would happily plug a large percentage of their salaries into their employers share save scheme! (Any employee of a bank would be feeling this)
Why do we do this? why do we feel that jumping in with both feet is somehow putting our best foot forward? Yet not realise we are sinking whilst standing still? In my experience recently, it's down to the apathetic songbird and the google grazer!
The apathetic songbird
It's easier to sit back on our laurels and hope for the best, to put our faith within financial institutions in that somehow they know best and not review the status quo. Yet we blame others for our own inaction. I'm flabbergasted when new clients have known they should have taken a course of action but were too lazy to make a decision, because it's easier not too. This mainly down to fear of making the wrong decision. Ironically it's always someone else's fault that they didn't review their finances.
The google grazer
It's great to scour the internet for general facts and others experiences, any information on any given financial situation is available online. We spot some other persons situation within forums and force empathy upon ourselves in that "what's right for them, must be what's right for me, I can identify with that, I'll buy into that - that's the decision for me"! We put blind faith into our decision process without even meeting the person or understanding that persons real circumstances - blind empathy! No two people are the same when it comes to financial planning, we are all unique! So following the herd, because others do is plain barmy.
In short we can all but fail in our financial decisions, blind ignorance can usually sail us through yet not to a chosen destination without solid planning! But for those that understand that insight is the understanding of not what can be done, but what you should do given your current circumstance. For the ones that appreciate the difference between internet knowledge and the power of insight, I salute you.
Universal Broadband Delivery – Mobile Companies Role
According to Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, mobile companies have a key role in the delivery of universal broadband and that the Government is aware that the industry’s technology can help meet goals to deliver access. The Government has to ensure a good regulatory environment and that the improvement of connectivity should not be left to the private sector alone.
According to Ofcom citizens in the UK should be guaranteed minimum broadband speeds of 8Mbps. However, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK is working towards minimum speeds of 2Mbps – but this is considered too low. The difference in speeds leaves a “big gap” in usage.
There is some question as to what universal connectivity means. Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom was quoted “It seems to be the case if you have less than 8Mbps you just use networks less, so there is a really interesting question about what, in the longer term, we mean by universal connectivity”. According to Ofcom to enjoy a basic internet experience 8-10Mbps is required – What is meant by “basic internet experience”? Is it personal use down loading films etc. or business use and down loading documents and files needed to run a business?
It would appear that the figure of 2Mbps is now an inaccurate figure of the speed required.
Let your company media library tell the story of your business.
One of the things that social media and digital image capture has done is to make images ever more accessible to a wider and much more discerning audience. It’s a fallacy to believe that digital has killed photography – far from it – more people take more images and are more image literate than ever before. People, and customers, now expect to see great creative images of you and your business and so a quick headshot in the car park of the breakfast network venue isn’t going to stand up any longer. Or more importantly to you – STAND OUT. YouTube and Facebook have introduced the concept of grab shots and footage, perhaps of a lesser quality, as long as that content needed to be shot in that way. As all of these channels open up to you as marketing opportunities – start to think about how you tell the whole story of your business in editorial images.
And so your image mix will ultimately consist of top quality professional PR, product and advertising shots and video, funky logos, graphics and vectors complimented by instinctive grabs of events, fun and news or even customer generated content. The only time this eclectic mix looks “wrong” is when you misjudge the balance for a particular media. For example, on the company website, all the imagery should conform to the web development brief, quality and theme you set out with. This is the window into your business for potential customers who don’t yet know very much about you – providing poor quality, ill conceived (creatively)and poor quality images = disaster at the first hurdle!
But, your Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest sites will be completely different (but draw on the same library so there is no more work involved for you). On Facebook you’ll want much more of a two way conversation ideally created with clever images and a snappy caption rather than paragraphs of text. On image orientated sites like Tumblr and Pinterest you’ll want the images and video to be interesting and good enough for people to share and re-blog – you want to give them away! Never heard of these sites? Take a look as they are starting to fly now as news and editorial begin to adopt them widely, and on YouTube you’ll want your channel to be interesting, quirky and funny to attract views. All of these things have the potential to drive traffic to each other and, critically, to your website and contact page. Many image sharing portals permit post scheduling and automatic cross posting to your other platforms either within the site or via software like Hoot Suite so the workload is minimised.
You (or your marketing) need ready access to the library to because tweets and posts just look more interesting with an image or video and it needs to be second nature to post an image so start to think in terms of image and snappy caption rather than text and accompanying picture. I manage my own image library as well as image libraries for companies and organisations (either as a service or additional off site back up) and you would be surprised at how much storage is required for full resolution images. An essential tool at this level, which is often neglected in your own image collection (even if you have them all in the same place!) is key wording, ip protection and just being able to find an image among all the rest of your stuff.
Key wording: digital images can have data and information (called meta data) embedded in them but key wording is meant to be searchable by Google, search engines generally and you. It’s why a Google search for a picture of Elvis retrieves thousands of pictures of the “King” alongside various German Shepherds, goldfish and pianos! No reason at all then then why your website, company name, email and phone number aren’t included?
IP Protection: if the image depicts something that is your intellectual property, a unique design or logo for instance, this should be included in the key wording and other data. The copyright (but no other rights) for the image always resides with the image creator i.e. the artist or the photographer even if it depicts ip material belonging to you and so you need to ensure that there is a level of protection embedded within the image.
Searching: All of the above, together with a few other crucial bits of information, will help you find a particular image amongst all your stuff – you just run a search on something you know is in the keywords e.g. “factory, external”. News images all work on the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council - www.iptc.org ) convention, which standardises this information for users and you’ll find all of their requirements already built into the meta data sheets in digital cameras or editing software. It gives news users key information such as captions, any model releases obtained times/dates/ shot and image descriptions – very useful if you want to give your images away to editorial.
Accessibility is a crucial part of searching and if you buy in marketing services your images need to be shared, available and searchable. If you use, or are moving over to cloud and away from servers Google Drive and Office 365 still allow you to keep a folder of images available to anyone with the relevant permissions.
David is available to demonstrate and talk about these issues to interested parties and groups.
David Broadbent is a professional photographer with over 30 years of editorial experience now represented worldwide by the Alamy picture agency. As well as fully equipped location work, David also runs Summerhouse Studio, an informal small studio ideal for stills and video of people PR and products, from his home in the Forest of Dean. To see more of David’s work visit www.davidbroadbent.com or his folios on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Or to actually talk to another human call him on 07771 664973.
Wave Accounting in our opinion has really turned the world of web based accounting on its head, this is a truly fantastic application for small businesses that require a complete accounting application.
The internet is awash with invoicing services and trying to find one that fits your needs can be very difficult, do you want to subscribe to a service?, host the application yourself?, do you need to tie it into your banking system? or do you just need a very basic way of issuing invoices?
In the last few years services such as Xero and Freeagent have made a massive impact on the way small businesses work, and to be honest I didn't think that this model would change until I saw Wave Accounting.
What's different about Wave, is that this service is completely Free, no subscription charge, no trial periods, no limits on the amount of invoices or customers you can create per month, it is truly free to use! The service was always designed to be free from the start and paid for by advertising other business services, these adverts are really unobtrusive and do not in any way hinder the use of the service.
Wave Accounting may not have the VAT and other tax advantages that Freeagent has, but it has all the features that small business needs, you can track payments into and out of your accounts, produce great reports that your accountant can work with, the service also links to your bank account and imports all your transactions automatically making reconciliation of your accounts really easy to do.
As the user base grows and people’s confidence in this business model increase then who knows, perhaps in a few months this may be the way that all competing applications and services will have to follow.
Would we recommend this to our customers? absolutely, the only issue that we can see is the issue of trust!, will this service have the customer base to survive? and if not what happens to all customers data?, but there again this is a question that should be asked of all hosted services free or otherwise.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’
Watching the pictures of the floods in the news recently, I kept thinking of words from the Bob Dylan song, “Admit that the waters around you have grown, and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone”, Of course, Dylan wasn’t singing about the weather although the times certainly seem to changing in terms of our climate. More relevant, perhaps, is that for businesses of all types, the times are always changing and one has to be aware of those changes and try to stay one step ahead. That isn’t always easy. For one thing, the old maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a powerful one along with “make hay while the sun shines”. If things are going well, we see no need to change and often that stops us preparing for different trading conditions that are looming on the horizon.
Another reason that we avoid change, either consciously or sub-consciously is that it is stressful. Stress is the body’s natural reaction to change and to a certain extent is a good thing, giving us the drive and clarity of thought required to deal with new challenges. However, too much stress invariably leads to health problems. In the modern world, we are not good at recognising, accepting or dealing with excess stress and it is possibly the underlying reason why we try and avoid change.
In my work as a Complementary Therapist, I regularly deal with issues surrounding change and stress. People’s lives may have been affected by worry or trauma in various degrees or they have just reached a point when they realise that they need to do something about their stress levels. Indeed, it is estimated that between 75% and 80% of visits to a GP are stress related. Regular visits to a therapist such as me can not only reduce stress and improve your health but could save the NHS millions.
On a personal note, the times certainly are a changin’ but for me. I have moved from Aberdeenshire to the Forest of Dean leaving all my clients behind and starting again from scratch. However, more words from the Dylan song give me some comfort: “For the loser now will be later to win”. Those words could be applied to many business owners who sometimes have to take one step back to go two steps forward.
CAP BUSINESS CLUBS BLOG
Visit us on Facebook - We always appreciate any "Likes"
T: 01594 723120
M: 07811 981929
The Main Place
Old Station Way