Tag Archive: entrepreneur


Techsnoops Helper Marketing UpgradesStep Up Your Small Business Game

So, you have a small business and need to increase your marketing presence. What actions offer the most “bang for the buck” or great ROI? If your marketing budget is small, start with the basics to increase your reach on Google Local Search.

First, if you do not have a custom domain name, buy one now. Your domain name and business name must be unified so that customers can find you quickly. More than 70% of customers do local searches on their smartphone when looking for services. You must be listed. And if you have not formally registered your name, do it now. You don’t want to have to change your branding later if someone else takes your name.

Next, if you cannot afford professional web design just yet, make sure you create an attractive LinkedIn company page using your business and domain name. Park a simple template landing page on your domain name with contact phone number and email so customers can connect with you. Although not optimal, a template landing page is better than not being found.

Webdesign Ninja Techsnoop

Professional Email

A branded, professional email is important to distinguish you between hobbyists and serious business professionals. In fact, without a professional email address, LinkedIn will not allow you to create a company page. There are also many services on the internet that won’t accept your registration with a generic email address.

Yet another reason for a professional email address; Yahoo mail has had over 54 outage issues since January 1, 2017. This means if you are using a Yahoo address for business, you are missing messages. Since timely response to customers is a major reason for customers to switch, you cannot afford this. Techsnoop loves Yahoo and has used them for years, but not for business.

Cheap Marketing Upgrades

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Use 2017 as the year you narrow the gap between your business and the big box stores. Create a seamless online experience for your customers.

Webdesign Ninja Techsnoop

Starting or updating a small business website? Interview your web designers like you would for employees. Here’s some tips.

Small business owners are busy wearing multiple hats running a business. So when it comes to technical solutions, most small business owners choose to outsource their website creation. To select a great designer or agency, you need to know some designer-speak. If terms like SEO, SEM, newsletters and list building are foreign to you, keep reading.

The purpose of your website is to increase your business income. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, bringing customers to your store or enticing them to call is the primary focus of a website. But if your site is not found by potential customers, no conversions can happen.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization; the process of having your site appear in search results high enough to cause clicks by customers.

SEM = Search Engine Marketing; the process of using paid search results to drive marketing activity.

To prepare for the web designer interview process, make a list of goals for your website. Decide on a color scheme and branding that you think reflects your business. Next, write a description of your ideal target customer. Having a picture of who you want to target helps direct the design process.

Does the designer communicate well?

Every tech person communicates differently. But when developing your website, the designer must be able to understand your goals and communicate how they will accomplish this. Is the designer clear, using normal English or do they use technobabble to make themselves sound smarter? This is a sign that working with the designer will be difficult.

Is there a portfolio you can review?

Does the designer have a range of work styles? Or do all their projects look exactly alike? It is ok for a designer to specialize in one area of design, but if your web site does not fall into their speciality, it won’t be a good match. Also see if the designer can do other things such as business cards to match your site. A web designer with multiple talents helps you to keep your branding consistent.

How will the web site be managed?

What platform will the designer use? Will you use an administration board to update the site or will the designer make updates for you? Will the designer train you to use the back-end? Most designers can offer a flat monthly fee for updating your site. But there are many options for making small updates to content, photos and prices yourself. Consider if you have the time to do this task.

Responsive Website Techsnoop

Will the Designer create a wire frame or mock-up of the site?

There are many wire frame or prototyping tools available so that you can get a good view of how the site will look and behave. Does the price include creating a wire frame or mock-up? If not, this is an important add-on feature that you should consider. You don’t want to be surprised with a difficult to navigate site that is not user-friendly.

How Much Will It Cost and What does it include?

Know what your budget is for a website and what features you need to accomplish your goals. Be sure to get a written proposal of the functions included and the total price. Understand that any changes will come at an increased cost.

Does the price include editing photos, uploading starter content and training? What about a logo? These are usually extra features that may cost more.

If the web designer is good to communicate with, offers the services you need and is within your budget, you are most of the way to your new website!

Need more help? DKemp Designs is always happy to help with a free consultation call.

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Superphone Evolution

Samsung clawed themselves  to the top of the smartphone mountain and have reigned King of super-sized smartphones for a while now. Their sleek looks and crisp specs managed to woo Techsnoop from the beloved HTC Evo line-up. Led solidly by the Galaxy and Note super phones, Samsung forced everyone, including Apple to up their phone game. Now Samsung finds themselves in an uncomfortable position. They still have premium phones, but many competitors have managed to improve their specs and catch up. And, at a lower price.

Note Evolution

Credit: CNET

The Note 4 is a premium phone and needed only minor upgrades for the Note 5. A faster processor and possibly a slimmer profile would have been great. The improvements to the S-Pen are solid. Why in the name of all that is tech-savvy would Samsung take a step back and have a non-removable battery? The Note line is not for the messaging-selfie obsessed crowd. This is a phone for multi-tasking professionals and we don’t want non-removable batteries and non-expandable storage. Ask HTC, as they lost this market to the Note when they adopted these features.

Techsnoop has several non-negotiable requirements for a phone. One is excellent camera, another is expandable memory, and a third is removable battery. Samsung has dropped the last two on the Note 5 and ensured that this phone is not on the list of considerations for upgrade. Phone makers listen to your customers; we don’t want cloud storage at the expense of expandable storage. It is not an acceptable trade-off.

The Note 5 has a great screen, nice upgrade features and the latest Android OS along with the upgraded S-Pen. The specs are a modest upgrade from the Note 4 and makes the phone a good choice for some who are not super users. But with both built-in battery and non-expandable storage, the Note 5 doesn’t make Techsnoop’s contender list for upgrade. Perhaps Samsung will wake up with the Note 6.

What are your deal-breaker features on a smartphone?

Superhero SEO Help

Are you a small business owner completely confused by SEO? Does the new Google algorithm keep you awake at night? Well this great infographic from VAYU Media should help sort out the confusion. While SEO is best left in the hands of professionals, your web designer should be savvy enough to get you started. And if you are short on budget, you can always hire an intern or recent grad part-time to get set up.

Once you are raking in the dough from your newly optimized, mobile-ready website, hire a professional to boost you further. And remember, DKemp Designs is always happy to give you a free 15 minute consultation on your web presence.

Questions? Post them in the comments and Techsnoop will be happy to help.

The SEO Puzzle

Working Freelance

Well, another year has passed and a lot was accomplished. Contacts made, family nurtured, skills expanded and I’m still standing! How great is that?

So, what next?

Many people use New Year’s Day to re-assess their goals and dreams, but I prefer my birthday. It is a more true measure of where I am in the universe. How have my experiences reshaped my moral compass? Maybe what was important last year is not as important today. After all, we live in changing times. So, forge ahead.

First, Access.

What worked in the past year? I make an informal list of where my biggest gains came from. For me, the biggest gains came when I stayed organized. Making a list and ticking things off is satisfying, but it also leads to rewards. Keeping focused on business expanding activities grows the business and creates income.

Next, be Ruthless.

Yep, there are some things we all do that make for false happiness but are a productivity drain. Sorry Facebook, time spent with you will be cut by 70 percent. Why? Although Facebook is the Monster in the closet we can’t ignore, it doesn’t bring the profits that other social media does. In less time per week, I get more leads and business generated from Twitter and LinkedIn than Facebook. It’s hard because I like being on Facebook, but chop, chop.

Wrap Up.

Decide on three objectives for the coming year and prepare an action plan. I have an ongoing objective to focus on mobile. Training, tutorials and development are all focused on mobile products. Mobile marketing is not going away and small business must adopt.

Also, entertainment is a key component of digital marketing so I am upping my animation skills. My website update will downgrade the giant slider and focus on animation and interactivity. Sliders are still important, but movement and fun are the keys now.

My last objective for the coming year is to improve my health. Smoothies, more homemade food and organically grown food (by me!) are all things I will be ramping up this year. And so far I am on track with my goals.

How about you? What objectives are you focusing on? How is it going? Let me know in the comments.

Techsnoop is a Web Designer. I live, breathe and love web design. Techsnoop is also a front-end coder and graphic designer. I read and dream code and pictures.

DKemp Designs Workspace

Because social media and SEO affect the usefulness of design, Techsnoop has had to become proficient in these areas. But they are not my passion. They are necessary tools to meet goals.

Enter Facebook. Undisputedly the wooly mammoth of social media, as Facebook goes, so do other platforms. Which brings me to; Facebook Sucks.

No one in web design expects the status quo to remain for any length of time, however changes should be geared towards usefulness, capturing audience and integration of new technologies. Facebook ignores all of that. Their changes are arbitrary and only direct energy toward making moolah. This means catering to Big Business and their desires. How to squash ads from small businesses and start-ups and make sure all you see in the feed is Big Business seems to be their new development mantra.

Techsnoop has more than one Facebook business page. Since the implementation of new FB algorithms (a word Techsnoop had hoped was dead after college), post reach has plummeted. Regular followers are not seeing valuable content from Techsnoop just because of FB’s pandering techniques.

Keep in mind that part of what drove massive use of FB was small businesses and start-ups creating pages and having lots of followers. Big Business jumped on board after they saw the results of small business usage. So, in effect Facebook says “thanks for helping us grow, now shove off”, to small business. Not a gracious thank you.

Techsnoop has no problem with any business making money. Hey, money is central to keep a business alive. BUT, turning on the audience who helped you grow and selling them out to come-lately followers with big pockets is bad business and, frankly, rude. This is especially true because small business cannot yet afford to leave FB.

Notice the “yet”. Yes, there are grumblings afoot in the social world to replace FB in the holy trinity line up (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) with something more small business friendly. Welcome Pinterest and Instagram. While neither has overtaken FB yet, they are growing. Even more telling, the youth market has largely moved to Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms to share with their friends.

So, what’s an up and coming entrepreneur to do? Fine tune your audience, know what social channels they use most for purchasing. Focus your time and marketing budget on the top two or three only. You may find that LinkedIn or Twitter are more profitable in ROI than FB. Don’t ignore FB, just don’t spend a lot of your time and money there.

And the most important thing you can do for your business is have a mobile optimized web site that gets customers to you. Location, contact information and specials need to be prominent on the home page for smartphone users. If your web site is not mobile ready, contact a great designer like DKemp Designs now. Google will not be forgiving of non-mobile ready sites after April 21. This means one URL, readable and clickable on all devices and no flash. Sorry, HTML5 video only. And don’t forget about the great customers who supported you when you were small.

Meanwhile, Facebook is making more and more work for less return, so Techsnoop is on FB, but if you want to really contact me, hit me on Twitter @dkempdesigns or @dkempanimations where I have great conversations with great people and, make meaningful (read; profitable) connections.

DKemp Designs Perfect

(Originally posted on LinkedIn by Dorthea Kemp)

I recently read Tom Stevens’ post “I Don’t Care Anymore (Do You)?” which got me thinking, what does it mean to truly not care? Do I care? I mean, I don’t think Tom really doesn’t care about anything. But I believe that he, like so many of us is tired. Bone, brain, deep tired.

We are tired of always being on. We think it is a good thing, but it is exhausting. As if we are at a perpetual cocktail party. Dress or suit perfect, hair styled, teeth white with no food stuck between. All day, every day. We’re not just ready for our close-up Mr. DeMille*, we’re ready for our Selfie.

We’re tired of being body slammed with negative information. News is always telling us somebody died horribly, somewhere is at war, some child is missing or our favorite food is killing us. Now, information is important, but I don’t want to see a 12-car pile up while looking at my best friend’s second-cousin’s wedding pictures. The constant slam of horror during everyday activities generates a roller coaster of hormones that leaves us wrung out emotionally.

So, how to keep light spirited and excited with all the attitude and negative information weight? Here is my 5 step plan;

Unplug Regularly

Don’t be available all the time. Turn off your ringer and use your phone to read while blocking calls. Carve out specific times during the week when you just don’t answer your phone. That includes Facebook feeds, Twitter, texts and any other social media.

Soak your feet, take a nap, hem some pants, or make a plan to leave a dead end job. Just do it without the phone ringing or checking your “feeds”. Allow your brain and emotions time to process and absorb information in a peaceful environment.

Turn Off the Noise

Yep, we all do it. The TV is on for noise, not information or entertainment. If you’re not actively watching, turn off the screens. This controls the flow of passive information raising your stress level unconsciously.

Bask in quiet or talk to your family or neighbors. Actual face to face conversations. Pour a tall cold glass of Coke or iced tea and discuss the length of the grass or the meaning of the universe. Enjoy quiet pauses and smile.

Your brain and mood will love the break. Too much news can lead to depression ** and/or dampen empathy responses. If we are always responding to crises, we become immune.

Take a Class

Learn something new or expand your current skills. Learning a new skill or a trick with an existing skill generates excitement and passion. Doing something faster or better than you have before gives you a Superman boost. You have Mastered something. Yeah! Udemy has free classes and YouTube also has lots of great free tutorials. And don’t overlook Pinterest for DIY projects from headbands to making your own furniture.

Using something on a daily basis that you created or improved with your own hands gives you a really happy feeling. I reclaimed a butcher-block topped dining table to use as a desk and it became my favorite place to hang out.

Cook From Scratch

Make one meal per week using no processed foods. If you have a crock pot, it’s not even that hard. You can make everything from homemade bread to pot roast and vegetables in a crock pot. Frankly, after you find out how easy crock pots make meals, you may need more than one.

Chopping and measuring can be a Zen experience. Don’t obsess, throw everything into the chopper (I use a Ninja) and dump. Or, put on your headphones and rock out like a mini spin class without the sweat.

Put in the liquid, turn on the pot and read a good book. Soon the house will draw your family to the table with the smell of fresh cooked food. No yelling needed.

Play With a Toddler

Nothing refreshes your world view like talking to a 3 year old. They have an innate sense of right and wrong and everything is new and fun. Warning: this can lead to hearing the title song from Frozen a couple dozen times. Just go with it. Don’t schedule a play date or any structured activity, grab some bubbles, chalk, crayons or magnets and go (no screens allowed). The toddler will find something to do. Just follow.

I garden and my daughter doesn’t, but on Mother’s day while outside, my granddaughter picked up my spade and started stirring dirt in one of my pots. No prompting, and she was neat with it. We talked and I explained the plants. A good time was had by all.

These activities may not work for everyone, but try one or two during the week and see if your level of excitement or caring about the world increases. Or maybe you’ll invent something or just de-stress. The brain can be refreshed with any good music, learning, and face to face interactions. These processes all increase positive neural actions and hormones.

Tom’s remedy to withdraw physically sounds great and I hope to try it one day myself. Unfortunately it may not work for everyone who needs to rejuvenate, but anyone can do the 5 things listed above. Any combination of them can be used for a mini vacation to revive your brain cells. And that’s where excitement begins.

* Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard
** Bad News Burnout

Shake Off Snowpocalypse

Well, it’s that wonderful time of year again. January, when all is cold and bleak and you must somehow road map an entire year of business success. Perhaps 2013 was OK, but you need to move to the next level. Or, maybe some of your tools and strategies did not work out well. Or, maybe, like Techsnoop, you have an unquenchable desire to grow as much as possible.

Whatever the motivation, success does not happen in a vaccum, it has to be planned, adjusted and planned. Toward that goal, here are some tools and technology that can help your business reach 2014 goals.

DKemp Designs Banner for TSH

Security

Security breaches came fast and furious in the last part of 2013. Don’t be fooled, this is a trend that won’t go away. Every person needs a security plan for finances, business and personal information. Default features and systems are not reliable.

If you have a Windows 8 computer, make sure you upgrade to 8.1 and use Windows Defender or AVG. Many of the programs that come pre-installed will expire after 60 to 90 days. Windows Defender and AVG both are free and don’t expire.

Change your passwords. Techsnoop cannot stress this enough. Not only change them, make them all completely different from any previous passwords you used AND use special characters. Hackers are not only getting better, they have awesome tools to crack passwords that are simple or based on personal information. Although many state you should not write down passwords, Techsnoop recommends you keep an off-line list secured at your home. This makes it easier for you to feel OK making complex passwords. Never keep them in any on-line accessible medium.

Mobile

Make your business mobile now. The percent of buying customers only accessing the web from a tablet or smartphone is rising daily. If you are not visible on these platforms your business will drop daily.

There are many options for going mobile. Even if you currently have a site that is not mobile, you can use a mobile app, build a smaller mobile site with your top sellers or use a template builder. Of course the best option is to build your site mobile ready from the beginning. DKemp Designs creates sites that will work on all devices, including iPads and iPhones. Whatever you do, now is the time to be mobile ready.

Technology

Many studies say that using headphones while working increases productivity. Find a comfortable set, choose your tunes and get ready to warp out piles of work. CNET has a roundup from CES2014 to look over. Techsnoop uses the ARCTIC P311 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones with Integrated Microphone because they;

Have an awesome 20-Hr Playback and several days standby time.
Are comfortable with over the ear and behind the neck style and padded ear cover
Come in pink
Switch from music to phone with no problem
Fold down to carry easily (see Techsnoop review on Amazon.com)

Upgrade your drivers on phones, laptops and tablets. If you connect your tech to printers, headphones and each other make sure they continue to work well together by keeping the software updated.

Drop Windows XP. Yes, Techsnoop knows it is easy to use and you like it. BUT, it is not ready for today’s tech and security. Support for the platform is non-existent and it’s just time to move on. Find a qualified tech to update you today.

Social Media

Sign up for Buffer App, Hootsuite or Commun.it today. You need social media management. Branding requires nuturing which requires keeping your name positively in the public. Offer your followers great content and occasional freebies and become a social rock star. But you need a management tool. Get on board today. And use one of many analysis tools to determine your best posting times.

If you are in the Detroit, Michigan Metro area on Saturday, October 26, you’re in luck. Make time in your schedule to meet up with some fantastic small business owners at the Pi Banquet Hall in Southfield from 11 am to 3 pm. The first Women’s Lifestyle Enrichment Expo hosted by Beyond 40 and Fabulous is being held. This is a great opportunity to support local Small Business by starting your Christmas shopping early!

There will be entertainment, fun, food and best of all, admission is FREE. Yes, you can have all this fun for free. Better yet, if you have been thinking of starting your own business, this is a great time to get some support and gather resources to make your own dream real.

Techsnoop will be there with DKemp Designs covering the event and chatting with some entrepreneurs and feeling the positive energy of taking your destiny in your own hands.

Join us and say hello, you may make the Techsnoop news!

expo flyer

(Image credit: Reuters / Baz Ratner)

Green energy and recycling are popular topics, but not usually related to design (except in recycled art).  But Izhar Gafni has put a new spin on how design, technology and recycling can come together for a great product.

Cardboard has been used for lots of things and is great for recycling.  But in a new twist, Izhar, an engineer who works in industrial design, has used cardboard to build low cost, low tech transportation – bicycles.  To ensure the bikes would hold up, Izhar experimented with folding, gluing and coating the cardboard in various ways.  The results are both sturdy and waterproof.  For those who want to travel long distances, a planned portable electric motor will be available.

Check out the video showing how this product progressed from idea to production.