Are Businesses in My Hometown Mobile Ready?

The use of smart phones in the US is reaching 70% of all cell phones.

arenskold-photoIn the target market of most Hudson businesses the percentage is doubtless nearing ubiquity. Yet, even a brief survey of Hudson businesses on my iPhone (if you are an Android user try this out on your device of choice) shows that very few are mobile ready. When people visit us they are using smart phones to find information. We need to provide them with smart phone experiences that will encourage them to come to our businesses. Most of our Hudson websites look like a completely worn out sign where the name of the business is barely legible – leaves the impression that maybe we aren’t in business.

What Does Mobile Ready Mean? 


If you go to a website on your mobile device and you have to pinch and drag to find things on the site, you are not on a mobile ready site. To see a mobile ready site pick up your smartphone and go to:
You will notice that basic information, location, hours, telephone number, are right at hand, The text is easily readable. Navigation is obvious and easy. In most cases, if you touch a telephone number the phone will automatically dial it. Now go to the business of your choice on your mobile device and see what you find. 

Getting Mobile Ready

HALphotoThe good news is that mobile ready sites are not hard to create. If you are running a WordPress site, there are responsive themes that do a good job and there are plugins – I use WPTouch Pro 3. 
If you are using a template driven site like those on Square Space you need to go back and choose a mobile ready theme. They have them. Finally, there are web companies that will reconfigure your site on the fly when a smartphone user comes a knocking. All of this should cost you from $50 to $250 or so depending on your solution.
BTW – one fun smart phone user factoid: 75% take them with them to the bathroom.


Mastodons and Customer Relationship Management

What might mastodons have to do with Customer Relationship Management?

In a recent discussion with the leadership team of a small engineering firm I listened as they reported on their progress working with a medium size firm on the second project they had worked on with a third coming down the tube. It struck me that they had progressed to a new phase in their marketing and sales work. They had finally reached the point where they are experiencing repeat business from larger firms. They occupy a fairly narrow niche in the engineering world, but they had found several customers for whom their services are now being called on with regularity.

mastodon and neolithic hunters borrowed from asked more questions about how they were thinking about these customers. Continue reading

Why Should You Develop a Business Plan for Going Concern, How to Do It, and How Do You Convert the Plan Into Action?

Why Should You Develop a Business Plan?

For every startup the development of a business plan is a  required first step. It is so obvious – business schools have course on writing the business plan and it is impossible to get funding without one. Teams coalesce around the labor. So, every startup has a business plan.

For the going concern, the ones that are now three or so more years old, the business plan (also called strategic plan -really the same thing) is forgotten, only stumbled on when a move forces someone to pick it up and wonder, “Should I just relegate this to the dumpster?”

This is not a good situation. A business without a plan is like a boat sitting in a pond just waiting to sink to the bottom for nature to compost it. Or, if it has the fate to be afloat in a stream, it will be carried along willy-nilly until it bumps into a stone or dead branch or reaches the ocean where nature will also send it to the big composter.

Every business exists in a world that is changing and filled with opportunities and threats. Your business plan is your set of oars to provide the means to pull in the direction you want to go in, to avoid the rocks. You might even row to shore and portage around the falls, to move to an entirely new river.

But, many people, even accepting the wisdom of having a plan, find it a painful exercise, all too easily avoided. This may be driven by the idea that a business plan involves dozens of pages of writing, lots of spreadsheets with numbers they really don’t believe (sometimes don’t understand). Business plans, strategic plans, these are just the exercises one does in business schools. Or it may be the folk wisdom that business plans are not a useful part of managing and they always end up on the shelf or hidden in a file cabinet only dusted off for display when in search of a bank loan.

However, shift your thinking to view the process of building a plan as a value in and of itself, and adopt a simpler more flexible business plan model you will find that building that set of oars for your little boat is fun and productive. Continue reading

The 6 New Management Imperatives by Bruce Temkin – comments

Bruce Temkin has published a free book on his blog((1)), The 6 New Management six management imperatives bruce tempkinImperatives – Leadership Skills for a Radically Changed Business Environment. Mr. Temkin sets out to define a “new set of skills” for managers. These are the 6 new imperatives:

  1. Invest in culture as a corporate asset
  2. Make listening an enterprisewide (sic) skill
  3. Turn innovation into a continuous process
  4. Provide a clear and compelling purpose
  5. Extend and enhance the digital fabric
  6. Practice good social citizenship

Lists like this one are very popular. I have been known to make lists of key practices and the like. But for the practicing manager lists are frequently tough to integrate into day-to-day work. Mr. Temkin’s six imperatives falls into this problem category. Overall, the six imperatives are reasonable enough as they stand. But I want to take a closer look at each and then suggest a more global approach. Continue reading

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Understanding Your Customers Comes Before “The Five P’s of Social Media”

In his posting The Five P’s of Social Media–Where Do You Start? on the Fast Company site, Lon Safko writes about where to get started in social media that:  “The Five P’s are; Profiles, Propagate, Produce, Participate, and Progress”. His discussion is worth a review.((1))

I might add a preface to to these “Five P’s” that is a fundamental precursor to success in web social media (as well as all other marketing).

Focus on your customers, clients, and prospects first – what is your value to them?

Focus on your customers, clients, and prospects first. What is it that they are interested in? What is the value they desire from you? What language do they use to talk and think about the problems you might solve for them? Use the proven tools of FABing to keep your focus on what your customers are actually interested in. Don’t fill up your web space with content that they are not interested in and which is not presented in their language.

FAB refers to Features and Benefits (some say Features, Advantages, and Benefits). This is a simple, powerful axiom of marketing (and sales) that proves elusive even to seasoned practitioners. Simply put: Customers buy Benefits not Features. Features are the physical, functional attributes of a product or service. Benefits are the values, as perceived by the customer, of using a product or service. Continue reading

  1. Thanks to Brendan McLaughlin at Westglow Technology Consulting for pointing this article out to me. []

Podcast – Increase Your Value Through Customer Perception in Professional Services

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