Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Millionty-one, gigantinormous & other made up words

Made up words

I found to my dismay that I regularly use the top 2 made up words. According to Merriam-Webster (an American dictionary) the top three Favo[u]rite words (not in the dictionary) are:

  1. ginormous (adj)
  2. confuzzled (adj)
  3. woot (interj)


Ginormous: Bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous. I also tend to find myself saying Gigantinormous, which I think derived from the child of a good friend. On a similar note I would like to offer a word for a large number. This one I am sure came from the previously mentioned good friend. Millionty-one: A large number. I bet that software is a millionty-one pounds.


Confuzzled: Confused and puzzled at the same time. I rarely get confused, but when I do I am always confuzzled.


Woot: an exclamation of joy or excitement. OK, so I don't regularly woot, but we do have a no whooping till we get in the car policy.

The full list of favo[u]rite made-up words can be seen at Merriam-Webster.

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Gordon Ramsey - Kitchen Nightmares

I like cooking and I don't have a problem with people swearing at me. As a result, I'd like to meet Gordon Ramsey. I'd love to eat at his restaurant(s) - have to keep working and saving for a bit yet though.

Gordon Ramsey and business

Duncan and I have both been watching the new series of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. It's on again tonight (9pm, Channel 4), but last week's episode was one that got Duncan and I talking.

In it, Ramsey turned around a struggling Italian restaurant with his usual blend of ideas, energy and invective - but what got us talking was the amount of business advice he gave. Of course he taught the guy how to cook - to use fresh ingredients, ditch the frozen stuff and pre-prepared sauces etc. - but a lot of the advice was about how to run the business.

  • Tell people about the soup - some options on the menu take very little of the chef's time and have low marginal cost while being popular at the same time. While you don't make your whole menu things like this, make sure you sell them - they're your bread and butter
  • Don't book everyone in at once - cycles come and go in any business, but where you can smooth things out and keep a steady stream of orders, do that
  • Update your look - keep with the times and differentiate yourself from your competition

There were a load more, and I'm sure there'll be more tonight. Keep it up Gordon - we're riveted.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

B2B London conference

Another networking event

Yesterday I went to the B2B London conference. All about businesses selling to other businesses, it seemed perfect for us to learn a lot, spread the word about our business and make some new contacts.

Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I was tied up in client meetings all morning on Tuesday and Wednesday (24th and 25th) so I only made it to a couple of the seminars. I was hoping to see Simon Woodroffe (founder of Yo! Sushi) and some of the other high-profile speakers. In the end, though, I only saw a seminar from Google on their adwords program, another from an email marketing firm (whose advice was so bad they don't merit a link) and a speed-networking event.

The Google advice was obviously useful, seeing as it was so relevant to our core business. I picked up a number of tips that could well be useful in the future.

How not to do email marketing

I couldn't believe some of the advice coming from the email marketing 'expert'. He was recommending sending an email to your database of contacts containing a link to a downloadable executable containing a brochure about your business. I have never heard such bad advice from someone who is supposedly in the industry and knows about the dangers of downloading executables (particularly those sent to you in emails!).

Speed networking

The speed networking session, on the other hand (a little like speed dating, but it's a lot easier to get phone numbers), was perfect for a business like ours. I think I can come across very well in a one-on-one situation and tell people detailed information about our business and our USPs.

In these kind of events I always try to show my interest in them first - by asking what they do and thinking about people I know or things I could do to help them. Many people open up a surprising amount and are generally a lot more receptive to what I then tell them about my business.

At this particular event, I met a number of people who do very interesting things that are aimed at companies bigger than WandD currently is. All was not lost, however, because many of our clients ask about things like team-building sessions and it is always useful to have a big network so you can recommend someone.

In the 'directly relevant' category, I also met a bunch of people who either need a website or need help with their existing site. Naturally, I took their contact details and will get in touch to see where I can help them more.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A use for the digital camera on your mobile phone

I've never really used the digital camera on my mobile phone despite having one on both my last phone (a Sony Ericsson whose user interface I hated) and my Nokia 6630.

Marketing - a challenge

We have deliberately started WandD on a shoestring budget and, while we're confident that our products and services can bring many benefits to small businesses in particular, we are constantly trying to think of new ways to make them aware of what we do.

Local is key

To start off with, we are focussing strongly on our local area in South West London. This brings benefits to us and our clients - we save costs by being able to visit them regularly and quickly and they gain through having us nearby when they need help or advice.

Shops, restaurants and many other companies have premises that make it easy to drop in and talk to the owner about their online strategy, but so many businesses don't have this kind of presence.

Using the camera

Recently, I have started taking pictures of advertising hoardings, delivery vans and other displays of business contact details in order to check out their online presence when I get home and get in touch if I think we can offer them services that will help their business.

While there would be nothing to stop me writing down all the details, it is far quicker to take a quick snap and record the business name, multiple phone numbers, email address and URL. Finally I am convinced that there is a use for the camera on my phone.

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