Tuesday, 14 December 2010

New member for Localventure : Wine For

Please find details of the new Wine For website :

I have set up a superb online wine company called “Wine for” The idea behind it is that whilst everyone likes a good wine, not everyone knows which wines to buy, they ask in specialist shops, or in supermarkets etc, but this cuts all of that out, all of our wines are chosen by a Wine Master and wine experts to be exactly right for certain occasions. We have started with Wine for Christmas – www.wineforchristmas.com Each bottle chosen by the experts to suit the time of year, the weather, the festivities, the food and the occasion in general. It is a great new idea, and we are being very honest and true to our beliefs, great value, great wines for a great occasion. 

David Bell
Director of Wine for... ltd

T:   07801 782725
W: www.wineforchristmas.com
E:   david@winefor.co.uk

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Update from Lighthouse printing

We have some free reams of paper to give away! Most of them are the
sort of textured, tinted paper used for posh letterheads.

It's nice paper but we've had them in our stock room for some time now
and we're having a 'sort-out' to make some space so we've got to be
ruthless!  Anyone that wants to come and collect a ream or two of
paper is welcome to give us a ring at Lighthouse Printing on - 029
2034 4899.

You can find directions to our office at www.lighthouseprinting.co.uk.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

E-mail marketing - UKBF post

I've just submitted as post on UKBF answering a question about e-mail marketing that I thought would be of interest.  here's a link to the question itself  and here's the text from my reply :


"I think with a mailing to existing customers it's a 50 50 call as to whether formatting the e-mail yourself as a simple document (perhaps including your logo) which keeps things looking 'intimate' or having something produced that might look very marketing orientated and/or more mass produced - depends on the nature of your clientele and the impression you'd like to convey. For a small mailing like this I'd go for the in-house approach personally. Perhaps consider a semi-regular professionally laid out newsletter as an alternative ?

As per other comments, be careful about the set up of your e-mail to avoid spam filter problems. You'll also need some kind of 'opt out' clause, so ensure their is a mechanism to remove people from your database on request.

However you route the mailing, make sure that the mailing list is sent in the bcc box - a few weeks ago I saw a large mailing list sent out in the cc box in error and it was a bit of a data protection debacle.

Last bit of advice and this will impact on content and layout - make it short and snappy. In my experience people will only ever take in one or two paragraphs if they bother to read the mail at all - make sure then that there are no more than one or two key messages and only one call to action - once you've rewritten your content for brevity, e-mail it to yourself in the final draft format - then if you can, take a step back and re-read it as a customer and assess :
impact, content, message, layout - does it tick the boxes you want the customer to get?

Hope that this helps

Phil"

Monday, 18 October 2010

Added value services in the insurance sector

Recently came across an old article on the Money Marketing website ("The Frill of it all") discussing the value of propositional enhancements like Best Doctors, RED ARC and Next of Kin.

It's interesting because the discussion of adding value to insurance contracts that benefit their policy holders in a non financial way really doesn't seem to have moved on since this article was first published in August 2005.

Whether it is a function of the recent economic recession or not, the major insurers are still largely selling their wares based on commoditised pricing and product elements and really not caring too much about 'giving back' to their policy holders. Surely however, when the pricing within a sector is tight and new business hard to come by, the time is right to offer enhancements. More surprising is the failure of mutuals, friendly societies and healthcare insurers to differentiate themselves by offering these kind of benefits more pro-actively.

Perhaps now is the time to re-do the research mentioned a couple of times in the article with a view to finding out if purchasers of protection insurance want value or commodity ?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

New member for Localventure - SS Bookkeeping & Accountancy Services in Sheffield

SS Bookkeeping & Accountancy Services

SS Bookkeeping & Accountancy Services is a small bookkeeping & accountancy service provider based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire specializing in small businesses. I work closely with my clients giving them a bespoke and professional service that is unique to their business, our rates are extremely competitive. There services I offer are:

Bookkeeping
Year End Accounts
VAT Returns
Tax Returns
Payroll
Corporate Tax Returns

The contact information and website address is :

Miss Samantha Nicholson – 07545 149 327

Monday, 27 September 2010

Localventure on Twitter

I finally got tired of getting nothing positive from Twitter - my problem had been that in the rush to get a decent following for my localventure1 Twitter feed and therefore to try and drive traffic to the blog I had been automatically following anyone who followed me and had managed to get over 550 followers but at the expense of racking up 723 people that I was 'following'.

Long story short I never bothered to check my Twitter feed as there was just loads of marketing rubbish that I didn't want to actually read. With a little judicious pruning I'm now following just 11 people whose tweets I am actually interested in and will be able to keep up with.

Interestingly my own follower count has already started to drop - from 554 this morning to 543 as I type - which just goes to show that the majority of transaction on Twitter are just follower gaining exercises in spamming.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Leeds Premier Karate Club in Yeadon, Leeds

If you're interested in learning karate (Shukokai, a style which emphasizes fast powerful strikes with a mixture of traditional basics, sparring and self defence) feel free to come along to Yeadon Westfield Junior School in Leeds at 6.00pm on Mondays and Wednesday to chat with Sensei Michael Tattersall (5th Dan) - a new beginners class started on Monday the 20th of September 2010 and the first four classes are free for new beginners.

Feel free to get in touch with me for more details and I can also pass along Michaels details if you'd like to contact him direct.

I'm an orange belt at the club have trained there for about six months and am enjoying it immensely (I have a second dan from another style and am enjoying the challenge of 'starting again').

Ages 7 to 70 basically !

Focused Hypnosis - update


The telephone number for Focused Hypnosis has changed. It is no longer 0800 2425686... it is now 0114 3520012.  

Friday, 10 September 2010

Changes to Localventure


The business/sales element of LV has kind of disappeared in the last few months - the business model I'd developed wasn't quite there and rather than ditch the blog and do something different I'm taking some time to lounge on my executive laurels and have some quality failure time.

However, I put a lot of time into the blog and twitter accounts and like having them around so I'll keep both open as my personal window on the world for now - please feel free to add comments  on anything I say and we'll see how it goes.

Phil.

Twitter Accounts

I currently have two Twitter accounts, one using the name 'whisky1' which is a holdover from the Prestige Whisky business that I closed down in June of this year and the one attached to this blog : 'localventure1'.

With immediate effect I'm stopping using the whisky1 tag - it's a shame because at one stage I had almost two thousand followers on that account (compared to the around 500 on the LV feed) but given the narrow subject matter and the fact that this blog has remained reasonably active I think it makes sense. Hopefully a few of the whisky1 followers may move across but either way I'm going to take the localventure brand on as my main personal blog and twitter focus although I am planning a couple of specific martial arts blogs as well in time.

E-mail marketing snafu or the stupid, it burns !!!

Last week I received an interesting marketing e-mail from a business I agreed (inadvertantly) to receive marketing and information e-mails from.

I've had about one a month, all above board, most of the content is of little or no interest but so far no problem. Then this company accidently forgot to bcc a portion of their e-mail data base - including mine - so I and around four hundred other people began to receive some very desperate looking sales and marketing messages from companies on this list who had decided that it would be clever to take the suddenly available information and use it for their own ends.

Now I wasn't surprised because to be honest, had I anything currently to sell I might well have considered doing the same thing, however, sitting and thinking about it for 2 nano seconds I realised that it was probably a bad idea, would look pretty sad and is probably illegal in someway.

Suffice to say others moral crap filters didn't work on that day and after about 25 of these unrequired sales solicitations I was getting pretty sick of deleting the e-mails from my Mac, Ipad and Iphone over and over again to the point where I almost deleted the venturelocal@gmail.com address from my e-mail clients. Eventually, one of the sick and tired receipients pointed out the exact legal position and surprise, surprise the deluge stopped.

New beginners karate class in Yeadon, Leeds

I'm currently learning a new style of karate and my club trains twice a week in Leeds at Yeadon Westfield Junior School.

The style is called Shukokai, the club is Leeds Premier Karate Club and the instructor is a fifth dan called Michael Tattersall. He's starting a new beginners class from Monday 20th of September 2010. New beginners can come along without obligation and have four free classes until the end of September to decide if they like it before paying anything.

If you're interested in coming along, the beginners class will run from 6.00pm to 6.45pm and it's in the main hall at the school whose address is :

Yeaon Westfield Junior School
New Road
Yeadon, West Yokshire LS19 7HW

If you want more information or to chat, feel free to drop me an e-mail at venturelocal@gmail.com - the training is hard but fun and suits both kids and adults alike - probably age seven or eight onwards.





 

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

My Nokia E71 is for sale on Ebay

Just to let you know that if you're after a decent second hand smart phone I'm selling my 12 month old Nokia E71 on Ebay - the auction ends at around 10.00am on 28th of July - bidding is currently at around £80 and may go a little higher.

Full details are on Ebay - search under either my user ID : pkn4395 or "Nokia E71 mobile phone to find it. The phone is a '3' handset and I haven't had chance to unlock it - so you'll either need to unlock it yourself or buy a 3 payg sim - phone is in great condition (never dropped unlike my new Iphone 4G!) and comes in original box with the faux leather case and a car charger - there's no mains charger (I managed to break it) but they're available on line for a few pounds.

The above is a picture of my actual phone, case and charger.

Hope there's a bit of interest - feel free to ask any questions

Cheers

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Martial Arts in Yorkshire

Not something I've ever mentioned on the blog before but I am a martial artist (mainly karate with a little judo) with about 30 years experience and I'm considering opening my own dojo in Leeds towards the end of the year - mainly as a recreational/hobby thing - I've taken a break from karate for a few years but have recently started another style and am looking to set up my own style incorporating some other ideas I've had - if it goes well I suppose it could become a viable business idea ?

Whatever happens I would be interested to know if any readers are into karate or martial arts and in addition do a search on Linkedin for 'Martial Arts Self Defence Forum' which is my group and you're all welcome to join the discussion there - total membership 1 at the moment (me!)

My Iphone 4G some prognostications

There's a lot of press at the moment about the problems on the new Iphone and the associated poor PR handling by Apple as they've scrambled to deal with the problem that either, they genuinely didn't know about or rather arrogantly chose to first ignore and then belittle.

There is now an emergency press conference scheduled for tomorrow and the likely result seems to be Apple announcing a free case to 4G owners affected by the signal drop - this is going to cost them around $1 dollar per unit sold (1.7 million approx in the first few days) compared to the $1.5 billion spend if they needed to do a full recall. Put it this way, with their quarter year financials due in the next couple of weeks I wouldn't really want to be Steve Jobs or his PR company right at the minute.

The above bit of housekeeping out of the way I wanted to quickly talk about my new IPhone 4G. I've had it for over two weeks now and although it 'doesn't change everything' in the way that for example my Ipad does - it is a game changer in a few key areas.

Firstly can I put the antenna issue to bed. Yep, if you're a leftie like me, then it is theoretically possible to hold the iphone in such a way that after about 20 seconds of quite firm pressing in the bottom left corner the signal will fall away to zero - it's quite hard to do that during a phone call and if like me you hold the top speaker to your ear and the mike a bit away from your mouth during conversations to prevent feedback then you're forced to hold the body of the phone in such a way that blocking the aerials or shorting them is hard to do - I've used it for hours of conversation and the worst I've done is manage to mute a call by tapping the onscreen icon accidentally.

Having used Mrs Localventures 3G a bit I can confirm that as a phone it performs better and the Ipadesque processor makes it fairly whiz along when safari - ing and itunesying - in fact all on-line apps work much better than say my old 8gb touch 1st generation -  the two exceptions being the Telegraph and Independent Apps which both crash and I know an OS4 patch for both has been released today which I'm hoping will fix the problems. There have even been occasions when the 3G coverage has proved better than public wifi and I've used the Iphone in preference to my trusty Ipad - on the East Coast mainline for example yesterday and Monday where the words 'free broadband wifi for all customers' should read 'slow assed connection with frequent crashes and it would be faster with a dial up modem'.

As I have now passed on my ipod touch to Miz Localvee (aged 10) and consigned my Nokia E71 to that great mobile phone graveyard called my loft I'm working with only one instead of two or three mobile devices and this is certainly a revelation - the 16gb iphone more than meets my podcast and audiobook storage requirements and as I mention above the phone works well.

Battery life is still a little challenging - anything beyond a 7 or 8 hour working day will tend to leave me fairly close to 10% to zero power especially if you're on-line a lot, I tend to save e-mail checking and surfing until my return journey but in terms of phone call and standby its about equal to my old E71.

The e-mail client including support for Hotmail (why not on Ipad I wonder) is a vast improvement on previous iterations and with the new improved camera/video I'm also nearly at the point of abandoning my 2 cameras as well.

So the iphone is a vast improvement on the Nokia, Blackberry and Ipod Touch combo that used to make nasty bulges in my jeans and coat pocket and as the old clich goes ... is like having an office in your pocket. As well as being practical and fun, Apple have also in my opinion knocked over one of the main problems with mobile phones - even the good ones and I count the E71 in that camp were/are pretty ugly contraptions. The iphone which I would describe as an industrial aesthetic victory is lovely to look at (shiny new screen tech etc) and feels wonderful in your hand. Even the addition of (really cheap £3.99) plastic bumper doesn't hide the powerful beauty of the phone as it hunches ready to pounce from where ever you left it - I always thought putting the 3G and 3GS in one of those plastic cases really did make them just like any other phone - not their big brother though.

In short, the Iphone 4G whilst not a game changer in the way that Apple (despite the bad press) might want it is proving to be more than the simple logical evolution beyond the 3GS. Let's all spare a thought though to all those other smart phone manufactuers (RIM included, as a regular Blackberry user their handsets and apps aren't even close to Apple) who aren't getting any coverage for their hardware or innovations. Maybe Steve Jobs really does think that any publicity is good publicity especially if it drowns out all of your competitors.

One last word of warning though - definitely invest in a cover that protects the glassware. All the metal bits are quite tough but the design does leave the edges of the screen a little vulnerable - I dropped mine only a couple of inches onto the ground while ferreting around in pockets and it bounced on the metal band - no damage but then just flicked itself over and ran its glass edge along the ground resulting in a tiny chip off the very edge of the screen. Not a big deal - phone still fully functional just not quite perfect anymore and with one year and fifty weeks to run on my Orange contract I need to be careful - ironically my £3.99 cover from Amazon (from the QUBits range if you're interested) got lost en route and I had to order a new one that very day and the cover totally protects the edge that was damaged and would have prevented it had the Royal Mail not managed to snafu the first order. Anyway - 4 quid protects it from most idiot slip ups - definitely worth it.

Oriss in Bradford welcome to the blog

Using only the best T-shirt Printing materials we create high quality durable printed products for all our customers to ensure you receive a well presented final product.  If you're looking for a friendly, professional and reliable service from your t-shirt printer you've come to the right place.




Tel: 01274 270 350
Mobiles: Vijay on 07921 713 878 or Manoj on 07958 315 990.
Fax: 0870 622 2184

Correspondence & Deliveries to: Unit 4a, 53 Arncliffe Terrace, Bradford BD7 2DG.
Come and see us at: Oriss Studios, 1st Floor, 15 Lingwood Terrace, Bradford, BD8 0BD

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Further to my post yesterday

Quick post as I'm about to go into a training course - really sorry to admit it but I snapped when i arrived in London this morning, found a Starbucks with wifi, logged on (using my Ipad of course!) and ordered an Iphone 4g from Orange and due for delivery next Tuesday.

What can I say ? I love Apple toys !!!

Will report back on course and the new Iphone when i get chance.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Ipad and Iphone 4G

My on-going love affair with my Ipad continues. As Mrs Localventure has said on more than one occasion - the Ipad now goes everywhere with me.

I downloaded Pages and Numbers and have a healthy supply of work doucments loaded onto the device so that in addition to all my music, video, podcast and browsing requirements I also can used it for work.

In fact I'm away in London on a course tomorrow and Friday and am planning to use it for notetaking etc. In short it really is a revolution and I can heartily recommend it to anyone.

What about the latest Apple innovation I hear you cry ! The new Iphone 4G which launches tomorrow. Well truth be told, I'm glad to not have one on pre-order. The stress and forward lookyness (sorry is that English?) of waiting two or three weeks from order to fulfillment for the Ipad was I thought exciting but really quite stressful. So although my current phone (Nokia E71) is due for an imminent change and yes, I will be going for a new Iphone 4G I decided to wait a few weeks until the furore has died down a little. So I'll be watching the reviews and features on the Iphone with interest but I'll be in wave two of early adopters on this occasion

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The future focus of Localventure

One of the ideas I have moving forward is to focus Lv more on consultancy for SME's. In particular I'd be looking at two main propositions :

1) Initial set up and post set up/growth phase - an area where I now have some experience
2) New media support - blogging, Twitter and Linkedin to mention a few areas where we've had some marketing success and I think I can be of help to other business owners

This would be on a reasonable hourly or retainer rate and would include short and longer term briefs as required by my client base.

In addition I'm also working on launch for our sister business - The Life Coaching Consultancy (at www.lifeandexecutivecoach.blogspot.com).

If you'd like more info or to get in touch please contact me at venturelocal@gmail.com

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

UK Roads, you'll never object to driving over a pothole again

In the previous winter, untold chaos was caused by the ice and snow for extended periods and of course now we're paying the additional price in terms of potholes and other significant damage to the road infrastructure. Add this to the likely freeze/reduction in council spending that will arise in the next 18 to 24 months and we have a recipe for a pretty bumpy driving experience in 2011 and 2012.

However, when you're thinking about filling in pot holes in roads give a little thought to Guatemala City town council :

 This pothole (actually a sinkhole that opened up suddenly during recent storms) is several hundred feet deep and has a diameter the size of a small city block.

The joys of a temperate northern European climate suddenly don't seem so bad !

Ipad update

Still loving the ipad - received it on Thursday afternoon and used it pretty constantly Thursday evening through into Friday - needed to charge it up on Friday night (takes around 3 and a half to four hours for a full charge from the mains). Since that first full charge it seems to be holding its charge very well, because here we are on Wednesday morning and it's still has 26% power left !

I'm out on appointments tomorrow down South so we'll see how it performs in the real world - I discovered that you can use power point presentations loaded via the e-mail client and although you can't do anything fancy in terms of presenting without keynote, you can display and scroll through ppt without it. So I'm hoping to be able to use it with clients tomorrow.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Ipad Review 28th May 2010

I received my shiny new Ipad yesterday afternoon, a little ahead of the release date this morning. So I've had a few extra hours to play before writing this review. With all the generally positive hype and the fact that I'm really a bit of an Apple fan already you can expect this review to be pretty positive - so I'm not going to disappoint !

I'm going to stick to my main few initial thoughts and perhaps revisit some of the more esoteric things about it later on. I'll try where possible to stick to business applications if I can too.

General Feel and user interface (UI)

As most people know this is a 9.7inch touch-screen device using the basic Iphone/ipod touch UI which is proven to work pretty well and enables software/application developers to use additional buttons that don't require the device to have lots of physical knobs and levers. The device then itself is a simple sleek metal and glass sheet with only an orientation lock, volume slider, power switch and home button as it's actual buttons. Every thing else is done by touch on screen.

The ipad weighs in at 1.5 pounds and is a little heavier than expected but sits well in the hands and quickly becomes quite immersive - more so than any laptop or net pad - this is possibly the Ipads first victory - in a few minutes, once you're used to the UI it's almost like you're holding the internet (if you're in safari) rather than looking at a device which is displaying the internet. To give an example that really happened last night - we needed a pizza takeaway menu and it really was quicker to go into safari and find their website and display the menu than to go and dig out the paper version I know we have somewhere. I was then able to put the tablet on a table and let the kids run through the options on the menu - easy, fun and quicker than paper.

The device has an inch thick black bezel running around the screen and a number of commentators have moaned about this. In fact this edging gives your thumbs somewhere to rest while holding it so you don't partially  obscure the screen.

It uses a 1Ghz A4 processor and as I'll discuss later it fairly whizzs along on the interwebs - I went for the 16GB wifi only model. There's a lot of discussion about memory size and wifi versus 3G on the interwebs and moy thoughts are that given this is a composite entertainment/productivity device I think 16GB is fine especially as each time you sync it with your pc or mac you can change the content to fit that days pleasure or work. It doesn't need 500GB of memory like my Mac or 150 gig like my laptop as it isn't designed to do the same things. On the question of 3g - I simply went for the cheaper option, rather than going for two data packages (i.e. phone and ipad) - I've managed on this basis with my ipod touch for over two years and think it won't be a problem with the ipad either. One option I'm considering for travel in bigger cities is a wifi deal with BT - they offer a pretty good wifi network in towns and cities for £ 5 a month.

Last thing, it quickly gets covered in fingerprints - really visible when switched off or looking at darker sites - I'd suggest investing in a good spectacle cleaning dry wipe as nothing comes in the pack to cover this issue.

Having read a lot about the device and viewing lots of You Tube reviews etc. I thought I knew what to expect but in real life the Ipad is more sturdy and user friendly than I expected - it feels real and built to last in a way that some net books really aren't.

Typing/practical use :

One of the main concerns I had was reference ability to type and I've quite quickly gotten used to typing in both portrait and landscape (the device has a similar accelerometer to the Iphone and Touch that enables you to rotate the device to see more or access different features in each of the orientations). As a pretty good touch typist I find it possible to touch type in both orientations - obviously this is easier in landscape but by no means impossible in portrait. A word of warning here though, between the machinations of orientation switch and a possibly uncomfortable typing position (resting on your knees on the sofa for example) it is possible to end up working in some silly positions. I invested in the Apple case for mine and it folds backwards on itself to provide a really comfy typing position in landscape mode - I used this to catch up with my e-mails yesterday evening and found no back aching type problems.

So in terms of tasking and fitting this into your working life I found the Ipad even better than expected.

E-mail

The email user interface is a variant of the current mac standard and offers a listing to the left with larger individual mail pane on the right which flips in portrait to show the whole email in isolation. I'm still getting to grips with the format but it seems to work well. Setting up accounts takes a couple of minutes, the main snag is that gmail isn't a push service but retrieval takes two or three seconds once you go into the app. Setting up MS outlook is also possible - at the moment however I'm leaving my OL account on my blackberry.

Productivity Apps

The main iworks apps are all available as £ 5.99 downloads and I haven't yet partaken although I do fancy a play with Pages which would then enable me to tie work in with my imac more easily.

In terms of productivity the notes app is perfectly acceptable, given the typing works so well as I outline above I've already converted my rather archaic paper To Do list onto notes on the Ipad given that I'll have it with me on all business occasions now.

Note taking in meetings

Notes (or Pages) I suspect may become the norm for the Ipad user rather than paper and I'm certainly planning to use the advent of my Ipad as a vehicle for using less paper in my office at home.

Safari

To me speed of access is important. Having played around at it for a couple of years with my touch I wanted a device where I can get on line instantly in the commercial breaks of House or Flash Forward and the Ipad does not disappoint. The 1Ghz processor fairly whizzes along and accessing mobile sites like google reader, Amazon Kindle etc is almost instant. Even large standard pages load within four to five seconds so it's virtually as fast as my imac. The UI works well here with Google search perching in the top left and as I mentioned it very quickly becomes a case of feeling as if the internet is sat on top of your hands - there really is no barrier between you and the web here.

Replacing Newspapers

I've been a rabid consumer of on-line media for a couple of years now and basically get my daily news fix from the net. The ipad enables me to hit the web over breakfast (my main quiet time) in a really new and exciting way. I've configured my home page apps to give me access to Sky News, The Telegraph and (sadly) comic apps (to pick up the daily releases of free content) instantly in the morning over my cuppa and cereal - something I kind of did on the touch but the ipad gives more speed of access, dimension and physicality to the process somehow. The BBC are apparently about to release their iplayer as an app and this will also give me extra options in addition to my daily BBC News e-mail.

Portability

Yes it's another device to lug about. This is a clear drawback and now with the touch (let's face it the ipad isn't going in my back pocket for random ipod playing is it ?), my personal phone, business Blackberry and now the Ipad i'm walking about everywhere with over £ 1,000 of consumer electronics to be robbed of. But lets be realistic. On business the laptop bag goes everywhere anyway. With Key Note loaded onto the Ipad you don't need the lappy which weighs three times more than the ipad. Blackberry diverts onto the personal mobile (or vice versa) if you don't want to take both and when I invest in the Iphone the touch gets donated to Little Ms Localventure (aged 10) and I'm down to iphone and ipad in most cases.

Just taking the ipad out on it's own to the coffee shop or out in the car on appointments makes sense - even without wifi connection it's still possible to be productive and one of my biggest bug bears for years has been arriving at a meeting early and either not taking the laptop or not being able to bother booting it up for the sake of 10 minutes of work is again sorted by instant access to e-mail, notes, pages etc on the ipad.

Cost benefit ad fun-ness

Well I spent £ 459 on mine including the case. I've used it for around 8 hours solid since yesterday and it's running at 21% power now so clearly it's not going to charge me out of house and home. I've found practical uses for it already (including whilst running on my treadmill at home which I haven't had space to mention here) and I can see nothing but positives so far. I suppose an argument could be made that I, like other fans of Apple tech are shoehorning a digital entertainment device into my productivity/work life but I think the immediacy of the Ipad and it's flexibility make this process of blurring the line between work and fun an exciting and interesting one.

I've only had mine for 24 hours as I type this up and already it feels like I've had it forever. Do you need one, well no, but then again technically we don't need anything but food water and shelter as a species, but when you get one I think you'll instantly forget the 400 odd quid you've spent and begin planning the fun ways you can invent to get the most out of it.

I'd really welcome comments and feedback - take care

Phil

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Ipad due to arrive today or tomorrow

My shiny new Ipad was due to arrive tomorrow. According to the Apple store it is now slated for delivery today. Just had a bit of a false alarm when a driver turned up at my house with an identically sized package which turned out to be something ordered by my wife - what are the chances ?

Still hope to get it today though before I burst with excitement !

I will report back later.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Ipad

I pre-ordered my Ipad on the 12th of May and hopefully it should be arriving tomorrow some time.

When it comes I'm planning to do a full general review here and then hopefully pick up on business uses and do a more specific work focused review later as I use it more for business purposes.

The way forward ...

In business you do things and sometimes they are mistakes or more particularly they're not mistakes but maybe a course of action chosen isn't quite exactly right. As I mentioned in a previous post I had a meeting last week with a business mentor to discuss a number of issues around Localventure.

In the run up to the meeting and certainly during the discussion one thing came into focus quite clearly and a second thing developed during the session.

Firstly and I'd been brooding about this for a while - LV is doing too much and there's a lack of focus in terms of what we do and how it can be monetized. In basic terms I think that the blog is trying to do too many things and be all things to all men and probably not quite succeeding in any of them.

The further thing was that I felt that the LV idea as developed didn't quite work - perhaps there's a nugget of a working business idea there but still I didn't quite have it 'right'

So having come to the above conclusions I've decided to take some time away from marketing LV quite so hard and have a think about a product or proposition that is focused on a key business service that Localventure can excel at - I have a training course in London in June which may help with this focus and this also gives me a month or so to begin jotting down ideas and trying other ideas on for size.

In the meantime I very much plan to keep the blog going and open for business to keep issuing my thoughts on business and related subjects out to anyone who is interested. Current members and interested parties are very welcome to submit guest blogs as and when they wish - business as usual in other words.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Localventure - The on-line community that gives small business : free blogging, support, cool articles and useful business services.


Who Are We ?

Simple ! A blog devoted to supporting SME's and entrepreneurs across the UK. Any business employing less than 100 people can advertise on this blog and our aim is to create a resource/ information centre which acts as a community for business owners.

Can I add the details of my business to the blog ?

Course you can, just drop us through a couple of paragraphs about your business plus a logo or relevant image you'd like to include and we will do the rest.

What do I get for free ?

1)Free blog post covering details of your business + an image and your contact information
2) Update with news, offers or any business relevant content whenever you'd like
3) Send through guest blogs as and when you create them
4) We will offer special services, discounts and business focused deals - as a member you'll be able to access these unique member benefits

What other fantastic things can I expect in the future ?

In time we will upgrade the website - news on this in forthcoming newsletters and blog posts.

Member Benefits

We will continue to roll out details of our growing range of member features and benefits - some will be free, some discounts and others unique business related offers - in each case they will only be available to advertising members of Localventure and all designed to make your life as a business person a little easier, cheaper or better.

Here's a brief list of what is currently on offer :

LV Exclusive - Localventure EAP
Operating in partnership with member Life & Legal we offer access to the counselling, legal, debt & welfare helplines of a full EAP for only £19.95 per annum per person. Aunique benefit for LV that is usually not open to the business below 50 employees.
LV Exclusive - Utility Bill Consultation
MJ Consulting Services in Calderdale offer a free service and take no fee unless they save you money on your business utility and telecoms packages. A free service you just have to use.
LV Exclusive - Localventure Marketing
25% discount on e-mail marketing
Accounts & Book-keeping Discount - RS Book-Keeping
25% discount on annual fees from RS Book-Keeping
The Dizzy Llama Restaurant -  Central Cardiff
20% discount on total bill
Reductions on Rare & Exclusive Whisky - Prestige Whisky
5% discount on all orders from www.prestigewhisky.com
LV Exclusive - Life and Executive Coaching
One free personal or executive coaching session with The Life Coaching Consultancy and then a 15% discount on a booking of any coaching package (face to face or telephone). 
The Sewing Directory
25% discount on all advertising
Software Discounts
Innesoft is offering a voucher on all purchases using the following unique Localventure code - *BOCO0007M* which gives 20% off all in-house products,and is valid until 31st May 2010. Members can use this an unlimited amount of times before that date.www.innesoft.com

For more information on any of the above contact us on :

venturelocal@gmail.com
07883 882064
via Twitter (localventure1)
or via a message/comment here on the blog

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

To EP or not to EP .... that is the question

When you first set up in business many people, rightly tell you to obtain as much free information from other business people and 'wise' contacts to basically learn from their mistakes. So you use the good stuff that they've gleaned via trial and error over their lives and therefore you don't need to repeat others mistakes - I suppose eventually you'll make a whole new load of them yourself regardless - but that's another story.

Since setting up in business I've tried to use as much information from others as possible and regularly learn new things when I thought I already knew best. I have a meeting tomorrow with someone whose opinion I respect and I think would qualify as a mentor. He's asked (suggested) me to work on my elevator pitch (EP) for Localventure and I thought it would be useful to discuss elevator pitches here and also share the current iteration of it with you.

To my mind the EP is not just the short hand for what your business 'does' but it also covers two other vitally important areas. Firstly, it should re-ignite the passion and fundamental 'idea' that sits behind the creation of the business in the first place for the owner. Secondly, it takes this passion and translates it into a sales message that tells everyone and in particular potential clients what you're about.

So if the elevator pitch doesn't excite the business owner (me) then it has no chance of passing on that excitement to the customer (you).

Below are several versions that that I have used in recent weeks to begin to crystalize my ideas from a fairly wordy set of jargon to hopefully something that works in the way I describe above :



Version 1, written to send to my mentor a couple of weeks ago :
Localventure is an on-line small business focused community offering free advertising/guest blogging for members; business interviews & general small business resource/comment to monetized via provision of business related services to members/SME database where service providers pay to participate."
Very catchy isn't it ? Kind of does what is says on the tin but it is neither elegant, memorable or anything more than pedestrian.
Version 2, total change from the above :
Localventure - local business, national support
At least this one was mercifully short. I'd tried to think about tying in the Localventure name into the EP in some way - I like this one but it doesn't describe the business except at a very high level and a reader would be left wondering ... what ?
Version 3, starting to get down to basics, quite elegantly simple and I've even been using this one in marketing literature a little bit :
Free blogging, support, resource and member services for UK small business
Version 3 - this is the current 'final' one :
The on-line community that gives small business : free blogging, support, cool articles and useful business services.
What this one does I think is to combine the ideas from versions 1 & 3 giving a bit more detail in a more fun way. This is the one I'm going to take to my contact tomorrow and see what he thinks - this will almost certainly change then and I'll let you know how it goes.