3 things I learned at Next Step’s “How to Sell the Real Value of Your Solution”

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Consulting Business, Events, Startups

Here are 3 things I learned from Jennifer Vessels in Next Step’s workshop “How to Sell the Real Value of Your Solution” on Thursday, November 7.

  1. I need to align my sales efforts with my prospect’s success factors. This means that I need to figure how they are getting measured and how to influence and serve their basic needs.
  2. We had an interesting and lively discussion about selling to or around corporate gatekeepers, typically purchasing and IT departments.
  3. They recommended a book called “Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process For Discovering What Your Customers Really Want“, which I plan to check out and report back on in more detail.

The “Art of Rainmaking” at Art of the Start

Written by Francis Adanza. Posted in Events, Startups

On Nov. 8, I attended the Guy Kawasaki Art of the Start Seminar. This was the second time I have listened to Guy’s presentation. Guy is an amazing speaker and has given this pitch a hundred times. Even after 100’s of presentations, Guy continues to illustrate passion and enthusiasm in his Art of the Start pitch. A few techniques that he used to keep the crowd enticed and entertained were using current topics for examples and news breaking politics for jokes.

Three lessons that I took away from “The Art of Rainmaking” portion of the seminar include:

  1. Build Credibility
  2. Find the Influencers
  3. Don’t use Cheap Adjectives

Building credibility is difficult as a start up. Some obstacles you should overcome to help make you more credible include:

  • Closing paying customers
  • Developing strategic partners
  • Investor board for references
  • Advisers / industry experts who believe and will testify for you
  • Milestones- what is your path for success

Finding the influencers is key. Often start ups try to sell to executives, which means asking someone with a budget and an overwhelming amount of responsibility to take a gamble on unproven technology. As a first time CEO, you lack the credibility to be trusted to deliver on your claims. Startups would be better served to find prospects who are already looking for a solution to a problem they solve. Even if these prospects do not make the purchasing decision, they will influence the decision maker.

Cheap Adjectives are words like revolutionary, disruptive, culture altering, paradigm shifting, and change the way. Commerce has been taking place for over 3000 years: it is virtually impossible to come up with a new way of generating revenue. When selling, do not over state claims and bullshit your customers with cheap adjectives.

Two key things we try to help clients understand: their prospect’s perception of the total cost of acquisition, and initially its easier to close smaller companies.

  • What is the opportunity cost of implementing your software? How many guys must be pulled away from their day to day job to work on a special project? If you cannot tell the customer something that they do not already know about their business in two hours or less, you are wasting their time. Furthermore, your software must be installed, usable, and delivering results in a week. Finding the influencers is essentially finding your early adopters.
  • Most early adopters are found in small or medium sized companies. As a start up, it is too difficult to close a Fortune 500 company. Go after smaller companies, close business, and build credibility.

The Art of the Start is an amazing book and an even better seminar. They are definitely worth your time.

3 things I learned at Art of the Start

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Events, Startups

Art of the Start is one of the best workshops out there for startups. Here are 3 things I learned from it.

  1. Mary Hodder, founder and CEO of Dabble, reminded the audience of the saying “If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money!”
  2. One of the most important Guy Kawasaki’s rules: 10/20/30. It applies to all pitches whether to VC or prospects. 10 slides, 20 minutes and 30 point font size.
  3. I learned about an interesting new startup Slideshare. It allows you to share powerpoint slides. We will be checking this out soon.

KMWorld 2006 Wrap-up

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events

I did my profile in http://kmi06.pbwiki.com/SeanMurphy in the form of a FAQ

Q:Why do you come to KMWorld?

This is my third year, so it’s something of a triumph of hope over experience, but I believe that there are a number of techniques and technologies in the “knowledge management” space that are going to have a profound impact on business. This conference is one place to listen to bona fide practitioners and see vendors with innovative technology you don’t see in many other venues and certainly not all together.

Q: Are there specific technology issues that you are interested in?

  • How are wikis, blogs, and instant messaging (IM) tools going to merge into content management systems on corporate intranets?
  • How can the very powerful text analytics tools available for enterprises be scaled down so that they work for personal information management: I am thinking of a number of things like latent semantic indexing, recommendation and group lens systems for small teams and ad hoc groups, and e-discovery tools that I could use for my e-mail and IM (instead of by a corporate compliance officer or outside counsel).

Q:If you could merge this conference with another one which would it be?

Two choices: Techdirt Greenhouse and Office 2.0:

  • Techdirt Greenhouse (see also the wiki for the Jun-10-2006 event) fosters a level of discussion among the attendees that would be very energizing at KMWorld. Have 3 people come up and present a current challenge in their organization related to knowledge management. The group breaks into six teams, two each working on the three issues. There is small group discussion, a report back to the larger group by each team, and then a large group discussion
  • Office 2.0[1] had a number of vendors aimed at replacing PC based apps with web services, the net effect was to focus on enabling group process and communication. Many of these applications have a strong potential to enable much more effective knowledge sharing at least in a team setting than any of the “top down” enterprise class portals that make the same promise.

Q: Any sessions in particular you plan to attend?

I missed Tuesday because of a prior commitment but today I plan to listen to Dave Pollard, whom I find to be consistently insightful, talk about “Adding Meaning and Value to Information” in Session A203

Q: Did you see any new vendors on the Exhibits Floor that are worth mentioning.

The Abbrevity folks look like they have a very interesting and very scalable file classifier that is extremely low cost, designed to be run in parallel, and could scan an enterprise intranet and attached file systems overnight. It may form the basis for some interesting vertical applications when they find the right partners.

One under-appreciated company is Traction Software which offers a richly featured blogging / content management system that has seen uptake in environments with complex security requirements (e.g. a number of three letter government agencies). But they already ten years old, and may not be willing to make the changes (or perhaps take the risks) to gain wider acceptance.

I spent a lot of time in the adjacent hall in the “Streaming Media” show where there was an interesting mix of technologies for video and audio broadcasting that struck me as very applicable to enterprise training needs. One company that I was interested in there in particular was Blogtronix looks like it would be very useful for mid-size and larger corporations with rich internal blogging ecosystems that they want to keep inside the firewall (or perhaps only publish via extranet/VPN), it offers a mix of functions that others are sure to follow but I was still excited to see it. I chatted briefly with Dave Sifry last year after an AlwaysOn breakfast and asked him why Technorati didn’t offer an appliance for intranet blogging ecosystems: “off strategy” was his reply. Probably the right answer for his firm but there is clearly a need. (Update Nov 7: Intel seems to think so as well with SuiteTwo)

Q: Any advice for the Conference Organizers?

It sure would be nice if each session had a permalink and trackback function, if it’s available I haven’t found it).

Q: What else can you tell us about yourself?

I have a backgrounder here: http://www.skmurphy.com/about/

[1] Update Jan-18-2011: Office 2.0 website www.office20con.com has been taken over by spammers, links deleted.

Blogging From KMWorld 2006

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Consulting Business

There is a wiki for the conference at http://kmi06.pbwiki.com/ where I will also be doing some gardening (which I think sounds better than gnoming).

We are also helping out New Idea Engineering with their booth; if you get a chance drop by booth 200 and say hello to Dr. Search, who first appeared in Issue 6 of the Enterprise Search Newsletter (and bears a remarkable resemblance to Theresa, at least on the show floor). If your job involves the care and feeding of an enterprise search engine it’s worth subscribing. There is also a Yahoo group for Independent Search Engine Developers

A technical and business discussion group for developers, consultants, IT people and managers who work with Enterprise Search Engines such as Autonomy (now owns Verity and Ultraseek as well), Endeca, FAST, Google (Enterprise), IBM Omnifind, Nutch, Oracle Text, and Lucene. While some engines already have specific groups, most large companies own more than one engine; vendor selection and integration can be rather complex, and of course each vendor pushes their own solutions.

Full disclosure: New Idea is a client, I like wikis, and everyone remains fully clothed at all times while visiting Dr. Search on the show floor.

Tags:

JotSpot Dissolves Into Google Business Model

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Startups

As a Jotspot customer I am not at all excited by the portents around Jot’s announcement that they had been acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum and that, for the moment, no new accounts could be created. From Jot’s Home Page

New users:
We’ve closed off new account registrations while we focus on migrating to Google’s systems. If you’d like to be notified when we re-open registration, enter your email address below.

Why when you would probably have the most interest in your service would you not allow me to add any accounts or allow anyone new to signup. Because it’s going to pull a Writely and dissolve indistinguishably into Google Docs & Spreadsheets. I don’t think this is a good reason to add new clients into a GoogleSpot workspace. This is an experiment on Google’s part. Their business model is advertising driven, and private workspaces for confidential work with clients–which is our use case–are not amenable to having a crawler come through to generate context specific advertising. I certainly agree with the three challenges that Jot faced as outlined by Scott McMullan in their developer blog:

  1. Startups fail all the time — will you be around next year?
  2. This will be mission critical for us — do you have the manpower to support your service?
  3. We need fast, reliable, and scalable access — are you up to snuff?

This looks to me like an experiment on Google’s part, and large companies abandon experiments all the time, especially since they haven’t announced an acquisition price. Mission critical doesn’t require Google scale to succeed (in fact a wiki service based on Amazon’s EC3 would be as rock solid, something for some of the remaining 100+ players to consider). Not only that but Amazon’s business model is more conducive to charging me a small amount for good service on a pay as you go basis. There are other grid alternatives as well worth considering,more on that later.

Peter Thoeney, speaking from the Twiki perspective, believes that this is a good thing because it eliminates them as a competitor in the enterprise space:

I believe this is good news for the open source TWiki project because:

  1. It further boosts the awareness of wikis in the general public; and with this will bring more recognition to TWikis running at the workplace.
  2. With JotSpot moving to hosted only solution and staying away from software packages and appliances, other enterprise level wikis will get more traffic, such as TWiki, Socialtext and Confluence. I have not seen many large companies that entrust their mission critical wiki data to be hosted by a third party.

I am more sanguine about the possibility for hosted wikis penetrating the enterprise, but I do think it’s good news for Twiki.

Ross Mayfield offers a way to “Get Yourself out of a Spot” We may take him up on it, if only to reduce some of the uncertainty for existing clients. Atlassian has also announced a migration path for JotSpot Wiki Server customers (but not folks like me who I think Zoli characterized correctly as preferring to pay rather than have Google analyze all of my shared work product with a client; it would be an interesting exclusion in the non-disclosure agreement: we allow the Google advertising context spider to read everything we work on together).

I will have to browse through the http://www.wikimatrix.org/ and investigate some alternatives. We also use Socialtext and EditMe with existing clients. We also use WebEx Office, which now looks like it should add/acquire a wiki (without raising prices).

I am not knocking the execution and delivery of Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets (see for example an Oct-17-2006 PC Mag Review) I was an early Writely user (but wouldn’t commit to any customers when they wouldn’t give me a monthly fee I could pay to guarantee service) and we have experimented with Google Spreadsheets and was extremely impressed. It’s the alignment of the Google business model with my business needs that has me the most concerned for this application.

End Note: while researching this I was surprised to learn that the San Jose Mercury was podcasting. They posted a Feb 2006 interview with Joe Kraus to add context to their Nov 1 news story.

Carole Edman, HR Manager To Go

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Startups

I have had the pleasure of meeting Carole Edman at a number of networking events and been impressed with professionalism and expertise. She started consulting in 1986 as Carole Edman & Associates, and has been offering the following services to small and mid-size companies:

  • High quality interim, on-call, or part-time Human Resources Management consulting services, to prevent or resolve tough issues in hiring, retaining, and managing employees
  • Human Resources training, coaching, and guidance for HR team members, CEO’s, senior and mid-level managers, first-line supervisors, and employees
  • Development and implementation of employee handbooks, benefits, compensation, and performance management programs.

Her website has a rich set of resources on HR questions, one question that came up recently that she was very helpful with was how to determine whether a worker should be treated as an independent contractor or an employee. Here are some references to both Federal and CA rules that are with reviewing before you make this decision.

Carole offered the following advice

The FED & CA rules are not the same and many companies (including Microsoft, FedEx, many others) have had to pay huge fines for misclassifying workers as independent contractors (ICs). Audits occur when ICs who should have been employees make a claim for unemployment or state disability or are unhappy that you terminated their services, or just at random.  They also occur when the IC has only one client and one 1099 in a year, or gets a W2 and 1099 from the same company in the same tax year.  Several small clients of mine have been audited and it is a time-consuming, expensive process, to be avoided if at all possible. The EDD has become very aggressive in auditing for non-compliance, as it is a way for them to bring in $$ with fines and back taxes (payable by the employer, regardless of whether the employee/IC already paid them; they are double collected).

Carole has been very helpful to a number of folks I know. If you are a Silicon Valley startup I would encourage you to keep her HR Manager To Go website on your list of resources for when those thorny employment and human resources issues come up (or if you want to prevent problems consider being pro-active about an employee handbook).

Administrivia in Startups

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Startups

I had lunch with Sylvia Nessan, a veteran of Synopsys, CoWare, and several high tech startups and she made an observation that I thought was worth writing down: the founding team, and CEO in particular, don’t pay enough attention to how much time they waste on administrivia. Hiring an admin or other outside service providers to take care of the four to eight hours a week of work that they really don’t need to do–basic e-mail networking, taxes, finances, office management / operational issues–reduces the number of different balls they have to juggle at once and increases your effectiveness by 25-40% when you take into account that, although it’s an important set of tasks that must be done, the founders don’t have to do it.

Nancy Blachman’s Google Guide

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events

I’m late to the party on GoogleGuide, based on who else has written about it, this blog entry was triggered by Nancy Blachman’s upcoming talk, “What Google Can Do For Your Business,” Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:00 PM, at the IEEE-CNSV meeting at KeyPoint Credit Union, 2805 Bowers Ave., Santa Clara, CA.

This looks to be a good talk, but if you can’t make that Nancy has a schedule posted for other upcoming talks. And you can always just consult her Google Guide directly. Two sections I found particularly useful were on adwords and advanced commands. And as the Pandia Post Newsletter observed in January 2004

Take a look at her GoogleGuide web site. There she gives away a lot of web search information for free. Actually, if you print out the printer-friendly version of her site, you end up with a very useful book containing some 114 pages of Google tips and information.

Actually, as of Oct-23-2006, the Google Guide PDF is now 149 pages, so Nancy hasn’t been idle in keeping up with Google’s new features. With her very impressive resume (an MS from Berkeley in Operations Research and an MS in Computer Science from Stanford) she should be working at Google..say on an easy-to-use constantly updated guide to how to use Google for novices and experienced users alike. But she may happier running Variable Symbols and letting her husband work there–since 1999 according to this interview.

If you are a technical consultant in Silicon Valley, the IEEE Consulting Network for Silicon Valley frequently runs useful and informative events and is an organization you should consider joining.

 

Nusym De-cloaks 2

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, Startups

Some follow-ups to yesterday’s post on Nusym

  • Why de-cloak? Don’t most stealth startups emerge? Yes, at least according to Google and EET. But a good Star Trek allusion (or is it Harry Potter?) always enriches a blog post and the Duke “invisibility cloakdemonstration announcement had recently gone out over the mojo wire, so it was fresh in my mind. Technically I think you have a cloak of invisibility and boots of stealth, so a stealthy start would de-boot (debut?).
    • you might wonder how they could have been “on my radar” if they were in stealth, but think Jorn.
  • Quiet mode (stealth mode): I am normally in favor of this, but if you are advertising jobs for folks and identifying yourself as associated with the startup in public forums it can’t hurt to at least talk about the problem you plan to solve. Other opinions on “stealth mode startups”
  • Other “stealth mode startups” that have emerged in 20006 according to EE Times:
    • Gear6 (FYI their news page allows you to enter your E-mail to be notified of new developments).
    • Takumi Technology (they “emerge from stealth” here).
    • Micro Magic (reborn in stealth after being acquired by Juniper; their CEO believes “What separates Micro Magic from other EDA companies is that we are actually designers.”)
  • The Company page contains a paragraph that looks to be more appropriate for B round solicitation than a customer oriented briefing:
    • The company’s technology is based upon ground-breaking research done at Stanford combined with 60+ years of design and verification experience of the founders. The company has attracted funding from individuals that are legends in the EDA industry and Silicon Valley and from venture capital firms prominent in the EDA industry. We have assembled a team of outstanding technologists and a seasoned management team.
    • You have to be careful that you don’t base your customer briefing on your funding pitch and instead work from scratch on customer pain points. I guess the counter-argument is that it establishes their financial viability.
  • I got an e-mail from Howard Landman (he of the Law and Lemma) that pointed out Patterson’s Precept was coined by “David Patterson, co-author of Patterson and Hennessy computer architecture book, professor at U.C. Berkeley.” I have amended the original post to reflect this.

Details as they frolic in plain view but beyond understanding, like the invisible ineffable cues that a school of fish use to synchronize their movements.

A WACI Track at DAC

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA

From the Call for Papers for the WACI track

Wild and Crazy Ideas (WACI) at DAC 2007
Submit a paper to the new WACI track at DAC and demonstrate your long-term vision! The WACI track will feature novel (and even unproven) technical ideas that create a buzz and get people talking. The aim of WACI is to promote revolutionary and way-out ideas that inspire and generate discussion among conference attendees.

a quick perusal of the submission form shows the following areas of interest:

  • System-Level Design and Co-Design
  • System-Level Communication and Networks on Chip
  • Embedded HW Design and Applications
  • Embedded SW Tools and Design
  • Power Analysis and Low-Power Design
  • Verification
  • High-Level Synthesis
  • Beyond Die-Integration and Package Design
  • Logic Synthesis and Circuit Optimization
  • Circuit Simulation and Interconnect Analysis
  • Timing Analysis and Design for Manufacturability
  • Physical Design and Manufacturability
  • Signal Integrity and Design Reliability
  • Analog/Mixed-Signal and RF
  • FPGA Design Tools and Applications
  • Testing
  • New or Emerging or Specialized Design Technologies
  • Automotive Electronics

In fact, “Automotive Electronics” is a special theme of the show. Proof that a near death experience, in this case for the automobile industry in the US, can re-awaken a desire for innovation, or at least lower internal barriers against risk taking. Judging from his rather wacky website, the WACI track must be the brainchild of Sachin Sapatnekar, 2007 DAC technical program co-chair, who is quoted in announcing it:

“The DAC community is instrumental in enabling the development of all of the latest innovations in electronics and bringing the latest ideas to reality, enhancing all aspects of life. We are excited to provide a forum for the truly revolutionary and controversial ideas at DAC 2007 with this new WACI track.”

The submission deadline for regular papers and WACI submissions is Monday, November 20, at 5 p.m. MST. This looks like a good opportunity to submit some innovative ideas and trigger some fruitful discussions in San Diego next June.

Bill Trenchard at SDForum Startup SIG Oct 16, 2006

Written by Francis Adanza. Posted in Events, Startups

Last night, I attended an SDForum Startup SIG featuring Bill Trenchard, CEO of LiveOps.  Bill is a prime example of a serial entrepreneur.  In 10 years he has been a founder and CEO of three successful start ups.  One of which was Jump Networks, Inc., that was acquired by Microsoft in April 1999.

Bill said that he had learned to do the following things routinely:

  1. Do not be afraid to ask for help
  2. Learn from failure
  3. Understand your limitations

One experience Bill shared was from when Jump Networks started taking off.  He received a call from Microsoft stating they were interested in buying his company.  At the time, Bill had very little experience with negotiating.  He turned to his advisory board for help.  The most important thing he learned was, “no matter how big the deal is, sometimes it is best to walk away.”

Another experience Bill shared was trying to start a company that provides software for PDA’s.  After designing the software, he realized that the market did not exist.  The problem was, at this time, there were only 1 million PDA users.  Essentially, Bill had never failed before and he became depressed.  Bothered by thoughts of being a one hit wonder, he evaluated his experience, learned from his mistakes, and tried again.

“When you start a new company as an entrepreneur or a founder, you need to recognize that they are building something bigger than yourself.”  Good CEO’s can handle pressure and have experience in many aspects of business: Marketing, Finance, Sales, Engineering, etc.  CEO’s must have the ability to multi-task and make decisions.  “You need to ask yourself if you truly believe you are the one for the job, it is okay to be the inventor and not the entrepreneur.”

For more background: Bill has an extensive video clip set in the Cornell eClips collection (registration required, but this transcript matches last night’s talk pretty closely if you are interested); he was recently profiled by BusinessWeek as one of dozen technology entrepreneurs under 30.

Born with a Face Made for Podcasting

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Events

So we were up at Office 2.0 last week and Mike Masnick from Techdirt announced that a new offering, the Techdirt Insight Community, was in beta.

I stopped by their booth pedestal in the exhibit area and was surprised to see that I had been selected as a spokesmodel for their new service as I have only been blogging on business topics for two weeks. And yet there I was in the picture on the front cover of their brochure.

Mike assured me that I would be in the “Special Highly Interactive Techdirt” section of the community. I was taken aback because my mother had always assured me that I had a face for podcasting and I assumed that it was there I would ultimately be able to make my mark. It wasn’t until I was in the bar a little later drinking some ice tea, imported from Long Island of all places, that I was able to summon my marketing imagination and jot down captions that Techdirt should consider adding to the flyer when they exit beta. I put them in an e-mail to Mike and then realized I should share them with the four of you reading this blog:

Techdirt Version SKMurphy Version
Take part in interesting discussions with your peers “Maybe if this guy had written this monologue in a blog we might have had the last 30 minutes of our lives back.”
Interact with companies who want your opinion “Is this you, holding forth to a roomful of three people on an arcane topic? If so, you can join our blogging network and double your audience.”
Get paid for your insight “Ever feel like the guy at the whiteboard isn’t really capturing the depth and breadth of your insights? Our blogging network allows you to capture and expose all of your thoughts on a topic.”

Mike offered some clarifications on the program and it’s structure in the comments in response to some speculation by Anne Zelenka.

Details as they are stored in some post-Apocalyptic reliquary whose display case for the 20th century might house a fist sized chunk of the Berlin Wall, a charred fragment from Skylab, and the test tube that contains Edison’s last breath.

Mark Duncan on “New Tools for Increasing Marketing Productivity”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events, skmurphy, Tools for Startups

Mark Duncan gave an excellent guided tour at the October 9 SDForum Marketing SIG of several web based applications that marketing teams should consider taking advantage of in addition to (or even instead of) Microsoft Office. He opened with the observation that

The applications bundled into Microsoft Office—word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, calendar, and mail–are the only software tools that many marketing professionals have learned.

Appropriately enough talk was titled “Beyond Microsoft Office: New Tools for Increasing Marketing Productivity.” His slides were done in the “beyond bullet points style” that very effectively complemented his spoken presentation but would be hard to follow without his spoken linkage and counterpoint. So he also created an article to act as the stand-alone representation of his talk (see http://www.askmar.com/Marketing/Beyond%20Office.pdf )

It’s definitely worth a read. Three good ideas I picked up from the talk:

  1. Many marketing activities and deliverables involve collaborating on a document to reach a working consensus by a deadline. While Microsoft Office applications can make you productive as an individual, they don’t help you to leverage the Internet in gathering information or facilitate review and discussion at a team level. Once there are three people involved it’s no longer clear who has the most recent version of the slides or the pitch or the datasheet. Wiki and on-line workspace tools can offer a team dramatically lower friction and the ability to operate much more rapidly against a deadline.
  2. Read Merlin Mann‘s “43 Folders” blog and the group blog at “LifeHack.Org” regularly for practical personal productivity tips and tricks (christened “life hacks” by Denny O’Brien in a famous O’Reilly Etech talk). These are a gold mine of information for knowledge worker productivity.
  3. Two good sites for low cost digital stock photography: istockphoto.com and Lucky Oliver. Mark’s slides made good use of stock photography to complement his talk.

Mark is a marketing consultant who focuses on emerging technologies, assisting companies in entering new markets and developing new business opportunities.

Referrals

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in checklist, Consulting Business

referralsBuilding a strong referral base is critical to every entrepreneur. Three things you can do today to build referrals:

  1. Make a list of 30 people you have had a shared success with, go back to school, first job, etc.
  2. Contact those people tell them:
    • What you have been up to
    • Here’s what I am looking for, please refer me to people if they are looking for my services.
    • Please let me know what you have been up to and call if there is anything I can do to help.
  3. Write 2 testimonials for people you’ve had a shared success with in LinkedIn

“Tell everyone what you want to do and someone will want to help you do it.”
W. Clement Stone

SKMurphy E-Mail NewsletterRelated Blog Posts

Related Article: 10 Secrets to Getting More Referrals

Nancy Roebke offers details on these ten suggestions:

  1. Ask for them
  2. Reciprocate them: send business to those who help your business
  3. Reward them: from thank you letters to discounts to fees
  4. Give them to other qualified businesses
  5. Use testimonials in your literature and advertising.
  6. Give out more business cards.
  7. Community service.
  8. Sponsor a team or event.
  9. Be helpful.
  10. Join a networking group.

Office 2.0 Tools for Consultants

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Consulting Business, Events, Startups, Tools for Startups

Attending Office 2.0[1] in San Francisco, we discovered some useful tools for consultants and small teams.

What is Office 2.0? Office 2.0 tools are collaboration tools that you can connect to from anywhere. They are perfect for virtual businesses or small teams. Most are sold as software as a service (SaaS) and for a low monthly fee you get web access to the tools. All that is needed on your machine is a web browser.

Here’s what I found interesting:

  • Site Kreator – pick a template and get a basic website up and running very quickly. You don’t need to get a web designer or know HTML, Java, etc. It supports wiki, blogs, and forms. Everything is click and point.
  • Another way (and the one we selected) is WordPress. We did use a web designer, Dave Horner from Silicon Ridge. But we picked a template and he quickly built our website. I can build new pages, changes pages, or add blog post without coding.
  • Invoicing might be a consultant’s least favorite thing, but it’s impossible to get paid without it; check out FreshBooks.
  • Do you need a part time admin to put together conference material? Work on your website? Virtual admins are a great way to go. They charge by the hour and can answer your phone or perform other tasks you need.
  • One area we have been hunting for quite a while is a shareable calender. Our team is virtual and scheduling appointment used to take many emails. We have been using with WebEx WebOffice and quite happy with it. It is more expensive than many we tried but it fits us the best, so far.
  • Podcast/RSS for e-newsletters or training. Podcast and voice in general allows you to make an emotional connection with your audience or prospect. This one is still under construction for us.
  • We use wikis (e.g. from Central Desktop, EditMe, Jotspot, and Socialtext among others) with all of our clients. A wiki provides a private work space which we can leave behind after our engagement is over and they cut down considerably on having to e-mail attachments. We have used it for collaborating on datasheets, web site mock-up, backgrounder and other strategy and planning documents.

[1] Update Jan-18-2011: Office 2.0 website www.office20con.com has been taken over by spammers, links deleted.

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