Jan 182015
 

Do you see technology as a friend or foe?

dial phonecellphoneWhen I was a kid all phones were black and had dials, typewriters were manual, cameras had film and music was on records. Now in 2015, phones are “dialed” by tapping on them, typewriters don’t exist, your phone is your camera and music is on mp3 players. Oh how technology changes the way things are done! By the way, why do we still say that we dial a number when we actually press buttons? Hmmm.

All of these were technology AND everyone knew how to use them. So why are many people afraid of technology? There are lots of reasons.

  • it’s too difficult to learn
  • I don’t need it in my work
  • I can’t learn/ use it
  • I’m too old
  • I don’t have time to learn it

changeIt comes down to the fact that all of us have difficulty with change. In the 70s some people would say “I’m not mechanically inclined”. Now they say “I’m not technically savvy”.

My belief then as now is that it’s mindset. I don’t know who said “if you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t, you can’t” or something like that. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post called My Computer Died – What Do I Do Now? (for Technophobes).

What can you do?

Well first and foremost you can change the mindset that you have that says “I can’t do technology.” Then when you’ve done that, there are several things you can do.

1. take one technology and learn what it can do, what it can do for you, and whether you need it in your business or not. As an example, let’s use smartphones. A smartphone is the newest (for now!) version of a mobile or cellphone. It has an operating system (like a computer does), can allow you to take photos, check and respond to email and look at posts and websites. It can be your media player (mp3s) and your personal digital assistant. It can have either a touchscreen interface and can run 3rd-party apps. Decide whether you need these features or not. Become a knowledgeable consumer.

2. find an expert who won’t use “geekspeak when talking with you and will explain things to you until you understand.

3. find someone to do it for you. I tried my hand at programming years ago and decided it wasn’t for me. So when I needed a new website, I did my homework on features I needed, then due diligence on the person I chose — and voila — got it done easily :-) I knew what I wanted, she answered “techy” questions as I had them and showed me how to use it. And I didn’t have to do any programming.

It starts by having an attitude where you say to yourself “I can’t do it so I’ll hire someone who can.” There  are lots of things we think we can’t do but in reality we don’t want to spend the time needed to learn that thing – it wouldn’t be worth our while. We should be doing the thing we love to do and makes us money!

Have I succeeded in convincing that you need to change your attitude? What have you done?

photo credit: Vincent_AF via photopin cc
photo credit: Highways Agency via photopin cc
photo credit: nist6ss via photopin cc

 January 18, 2015  Posted by  Technology No Responses »
Dec 112014
 

technically illiterateDo you see yourself as being in the dark ages when it comes to technology?

Do you think of yourself as technologically illiterate – a technophobe?

When I was in grade 11 in 1965,  I had to choose between taking a Latin or a typing class. Back then taking Latin meant going to university and taking typing meant being a secretary so of course I chose Latin. Little did I know that 25 years later I’d need to learn typing!

I would call myself “technically savvy” and a super user. After my short stint with programming in 1978 (I taught myself BASIC for a Commodore PET), I vowed never to become a programmer.

What’s the difference between being technically savvy and being a programmer?

There is quite a debate over whether high school students should be taught coding as programming is often called now.

That’s the question, though isn’t it? Should students be taught coding or not. Here’s what I think.

programmingA programmer codes and therefore spends time working on developing lines of code for software or apps. They may or may not be able to “fix” all of the software you use. They are technically savvy. Confusing?

A technically savvy person

  • is not afraid of technology meaning computers, software, smart phones or other technological devices. When their computer doesn’t work, they don’t assume it’s their fault. They probably say — oh technology — and don’t call a computer person right away.
  • uses features in programs such as Word or Excel
  • uses the internet easily and regularly
  • does searches for information with search engines like google and sometimes with libraries and books
  • may know what SEO and keywords are (if they need to)
  • they save frequently and backup their computer regularly

Mostly though, they are lifelong learners and look at technological things as an opportunity to learn something new.

I’m not a programmer but I do know what they do.

My opinion is that everybody should feel comfortable using technology (computers, cellphones. and digital cameras, etc) and that includes knowing how to ask for what you want from a programmer or even a web person – a “geek“.

Not everyone needs to become a programmer but everybody should be technically savvy. Which are you? Tell me and explain why.

photo credit: photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin cc
photo credit: photo credit: hackNY via

 December 11, 2014  Posted by  Technology No Responses »
Jun 132013
 

The world has changed – as it always does and we in business must keep up if we want to be successful (no matter how we define success for us). Offline marketing has become online marketing – or has it? Do you need both? I think so.

Technology has REALLY changed. I remember (I’m 63 now in 2013) co-owning an Apple computer dealership in the 1980s and a conference company in the 1990s where we held events for people who used what were then called hand-held computers (PDAs). We were always at the “bleeding edge” of technology (just before the “leading edge” – always in the red and not making money but always the first to know about things).

When we had the computer dealership we had:

  • one of the first fax machines (as big as a small photocopier but with very few others having one and therefore no one to send things to),
  • one of the first cell phones (the battery for this was the size of a car battery and the handset like that of an “older” phone

And when we ran the conference company we were:

  • one of the first to use the internet to market with our “email blasts” which were formerly “fax blasts” (some people had email addresses but most companies didn’t have websites yet)

Times continued to evolve and with this came what was then a revolution (we even produced a print booklet called A Revolution in the Making which in 1984 took 6 weeks to produce even though we had the latest desktop publishing software at that time) that caused all of us to transform ourselves and our thinking.

In fact my nephew who is 23 now and studying at Ryerson University and producing art by paint and on computer, films on his Macintosh and photos with his digital camera and his cell phone is a great testament to this transformation. He is of the generation who grew up with and used all technology. He even had access to my brother’s Macintosh when he was a baby. 

(From left to right: my brother Phil, his son Jake – the one I write about here and my other nephew Josh who’s 30+ now and has been in the computer business since he was 17.)

But I digress :-)

There are at least 6 ways in which online marketing is different from offline marketing and here they are. One just needs a computer, a hookup to the Internet and a browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

  1. Speed – one can do EVERYTHING faster. Once you have set yourself up, input some data you can send it at the “touch of a finger”
  2. Cost – EVERYTHING costs less or is free (do you know of the book   Free: The Future Of A Radical Price )   – audio and video production and even payment processing
  3. Reach – one can make contact (for free) with many contacts both locally and globally
  4. Measurement & Tracking – one can easily get access to key metrics with ad trackers, newsletter openings, website analytics etc.
  5. Easy to do marketing –  one can “do it yourself” (if you’re not a technophobe AND have the time)
  6. “Abundant”  information at your fingertips – with most search engines like google or Ask one can search for and find anything – anywhere in the world. Remember that this info has the caveat of buyer beware as does any info you find online)

How has this blog made you think – you “technophobes” who didn’t grow up with technology?

Here is access to the other post I wrote  13 Ways Offline and Online Marketing Are The Same

Compare the two and tell me what you think. I’m VERY interested in what everyone has to say!

Feb 062013
 

The world is always changing and we in business must keep up if we want to be successful (no matter how we define success for us).

Technology has REALLY changed. I remember (I’m 62 now in 2013) co-owning one of the first Apple computer dealerships in Toronto in the 1980s and a conference company in the 1990s where we held events for people who used what were then called hand-held computers (PDAs). I’ve always been at the “bleeding edge” of technology (just before the “leading edge” which means always being in the red and not making money but always the first to know about things).

We had/ were:

  • one of the first fax machines (in 1984 as big as a small photocopier but since very few others had one there were few  to send things to)
  • one of the first cell phones (in 1985 the battery for this was the size of a car battery and the handset like that of an “older” phone)
  • one of the first to use the internet to market with our “email blasts” in the conference business in1995 which were “fax blasts” using email addresses (some people had email addresses but most companies didn’t have websites yet)

Times continued to evolve and with this came what was in 1984 a revolution (we even produced a print booklet called A Revolution in the Making which in 1984 took 6 weeks to produce even though we had the latest desktop publishing software at that time) that caused all of us to transform ourselves and our thinking.

  In fact my nephew who is 22 now and studying at Ryerson University and producing art (by paint and on computer, films on his Macintosh and photos with his digital camera) is a great testament to this transformation. He is of the generation who grew up with and used all technology. He even had access to my brother’s Macintosh when he was a baby.  (From left to right: my brother Phil, his son Jake who I wrote about here and my other nephew Josh who’s 30 now and has been using computers since he was 4 and has been in the computer business since he was 17. He’s now 32!)

But I digress :-)

There are at least 6 ways in which online marketing is different from offline marketing.
One just needs a computer, a hookup to the Internet and a browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

  1. Speed  One can do EVERYTHING faster. Once you have set yourself up, just input some data and you can send it at the “touch of a finger”.
  2. Cost  EVERYTHING costs less or is free (do you know of the book   Free: The Future Of A Radical Price )   – audio and video production and even payment processing.
  3. Reach  One can connect (for free) with many contacts both locally and globally.
  4. Measurement & Tracking  One can easily get access to key metrics with ad trackers, newsletter openings, website analytics etc.
  5. Easy to do marketing   One can “do it yourself” (if you’re not a technophobe AND have the time).
  6. “Abundant”  information at your fingertips  With most search engines like google or Ask one can search for and find anything – anywhere in the world. (Remember that this info has the caveat of buyer beware as does any info you find online)

How has this blog post made you think – whether you use technology a lot or you’re a  “technophobe” who didn’t grow up with technology?

Here is access to the other post I wrote  14 Ways Offline and Online Marketing Are The Same

Compare the two and tell me what you think. I’m VERY interested in what everyone has to say!

Jan 292013
 

In the early 1980s I was working on my doctorate in Special Education. A friend of mine was working on her Masters in Adult Education. We had discussions regarding how children and adults learned. She (who had no experience teaching kids) held the accepted (at the time) opinion that they learned differently. I said they learned the same way except adults have more experience and therefore have to “unlearn” some things. (I had taught both kids and adults.)

At the time I co-owned an Apple computer dealership (one of the first in Toronto, Canada) and trained our customers in how to use computers. I had taught elementary school kids from 1972 to 1980 and those in special education from 1976 to 1980 so I had lots of “real life” experience.

It’s 2015 and the belief now in Adult Education is that “adults and children learn the same way except adults have more experience and therefore have to “unlearn” some things.” Hmmmm.

What if online marketing which many believe to be different than offline marketing ends up being the same? Hmmm … interesting again.

Here are fourteen ways offline and online marketing are the same.

  1. they both use advertisements
  2. they both use networking to get clients
  3. they both  use articles
  4. they both use newsletters
  5. they both use books or booklets that you sell or give away
  6. they both use strategic partnerships
  7. they both use “free reports”
  8. they both use follow-ups with prospects and clients
  9. they both use direct response
  10. they both use promotional videos and audio products to promote
  11. they both use radio
  12. they both use free seminars and demos
  13. they both use publicity
  14. they both use images/ pictures

Way back (ha! ha!) in 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson wrote a book that has become a bible for small business owners. It was called Guerilla Marketing. Secrets For Making Big Profits From Your Small Business. It’s on its fourth edition now and the term “Guerilla Marketing” spawned a whole series of books that he continued to roll out for 30 years until his death in October 2013. Everything in that book still holds true today. The only difference is that with the invention of the internet and the widespread ownership and use of computers it’s now easier and cheaper AND you can promote your business both locally and internationally.

So what’s changed? Not the marketing activities themselves. What’s different is just the method. Do you agree or disagree? Tell me.

Next time I’ll write about how offline and online marketing are different. Watch this blog for that!

Nov 132012
 

My name was used but not my email address. I only knew because a close friend of mine forwarded me an email she got in which MY NAME had been used. How did it happen? It doesn’t matter how (it’s too technical even for me). She deleted the email that was “supposedly” from me right away but kindly let me know.

spamFortunately we’re both “technically savvy” and knew what to look at and what to do.

Nowadays many people are reading their email on cell phones which have such small windows that they only show the name and not the email address in the “From” line. Spammers count on the fact that people are in too much of a hurry to look at the email address. They see the name and immediately look at the message if it’s from a trusted source.

Here’s what to do every time you check your email …

  1. Don’t rely only on your spam software. It doesn’t stop every spam. One of the emails I got was caught by my spam filter and one was not. DON’T TRUST TECHNOLOGY. TRUST YOURSELF.
  2. Take time to read the from line AND the email address used. That’s another reason that “slow” is better than “fast”.

Here’s how you can tell it’s a spoof or spam:

  • The email is wrong for that person. What address does your friend or colleague usually use? (In November 2012 most are yahoo subscribers)
  • The Subject line is blank
  • There is only one line that says “Hi (your name) then a link. (You can tell a link because it’s underlined and in blue
  • There is no signature

This morning on an American talk show they were talking with an expert about “spammed” email and one of the things she said is that even if it’s from a trusted friend you MUST do all of the above.

Here are two links to blog posts my friend Aletta de Wal who told me about my “spammed” name wrote.

Spoofs: Don’t take the bait   and   Spoofs about shopping

Tell me about your own experiences. Have you been spammed? Has your email address been “stolen” and used?

photo credit: hegarty_david via photopin cc

 November 13, 2012  Posted by  Business Basics, Technology Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Oct 142012
 

Susan Ward Boost BusinessSusan and I met several years ago while networking at the now defunct Women in a Home Office Beaches branch which met at the Ashbridges’ Bay Yacht Club. The scenery there is beautiful and looking out over the waters of Lake Ontario is so peaceful. But I digress :-)

The short version of her background is that she started with a fine arts education which led her to graphic design and then to work in the print industry. She became a marketing product manager and then a business owner. You’ll hear a lot more detail in our interview recording.

She redid my website this past winter (I’ve had the original since 2001 and it’s gone through many iterations) and changed it to a wordpress.org site. I wrote all the content but when she was nearly done the “techy stuff” she came over and trained me on how to make changes myself AND I recorded that training. That training was good AND helpful.

Susan and I did our interview at Red Rocket Coffee on the Danforth so you’ll hear conversations and cups clinking in the background. I learned even more about her background.

Click below to hear our interview. If you want to save a version to listen to at a later time, click where you see “Download MP3″.


MP3 File

 

I have a podcast of this interview too. Click on the RSS symbol. It’s to the right.   View RSS XML

Susan can be reached via phone at 416-729-8945 here in Toronto or email her at Info@boostbusiness.ca

Her website is www.boostbusiness.ca . You may ask her any questions about her services and you may even use her. She’s very accessible and will call or email back right away. And by the way she does great training :-)

I interview these women business owners to demonstrate to you that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

Who would YOU recommend I interview? Who is an inspiration to you?

Oct 072012
 

twitterAre you starting a business? Or are you a boomer with a business who thinks twitter is only for young people and you don’t understand how to use it? Don’t be afraid because here’s a step by step way with the steps you need to do for several weeks (or months) at the beginning.

Know who your client is. You hear this repeatedly for everything you do in business and it holds true here too. You must know who you want to attract before you begin anything.

Have a website. Nearly all businesses in 2014 have a website so they can be found. Even if you don’t have any products (yet), your business is local or your business all comes from referrals you must be able to be found online.

how to start a businessPassword. Choose one for use with twitter. You probably have passwords for several sites by now so write it down wherever you keep all your passwords.

Create your profile in twitter. What do want to be known for? Download a “friendly” picture of you. Twitter will size it to fit so choose a “headshot“. Remember to put your website in so that when people look at your profile they can click on the link to your website and learn more about you and what you do.

Spend 10 minutes a day. To start add the names of people you know in business and see if they’re on twitter. See who they follow. Look at the profiles of those they follow. If they fit your definition of your ideal client OR if they’re in the field you’re looking at then “follow” them.

Retweet. Read tweets written and then retweet those by people who have something that your ideal clients would be interested in. For example I retweet most things by Susan Ward who is @boostbiz in twitter because she is a web developer (and she did my websites) and those by Suzan St Maur a writer and a prolific blogger who is @SuzanStMaur

Eventually if you retweet somebody often enough they thank you by tweeting their thanks and list your twitter “handle” (it will be @thenameyouchose).

 All you have to do when you begin is retweet what others have written. Just choose the “right” people and “right” tweets.

That’s all you have to do to start. Spend 10 minutes 5 days out of 7 and go on to twitter at different times of the day.

Tell me what worked the best for you. Try these tips and let me know if they work for you.

 

photo credit: Scott Beale via photopin cc

Sep 132012
 

Well, the easy answer is “Buy a Mac” (I’m a long-time Mac user) but … most of the world uses PCs so … (Picture from freedigitalphotos.net )

broken computerHere is what I suggest to all my clients and friends. Do this …

  • Don’t panic. Don’t assume you did something wrong – pressed the wrong key or need the updated version of that program. It probably wasn’t you. Technology ALWAYS has problems.
  • Turn off the computer itself, the printer, monitor (if you have one) and anything connected to the PC. Then get up and take a break – take a walk, make a cup of tea, call a client or friend you’ve been meaning to, walk the dog, or feed the cat (assuming you work from home).
  • After about 10 minutes (overnight if you can) turn everything back on. This will reset everything and your computer should work.

If this doesn’t work then try these things ..

  1. If this has happened before and you have the name of someone you really trust call them.
  2. Or … if you don’t know someone phone a friend whom you trust that has a computer that has been broken and ask them who repaired their computer. Will they come to your place to fix your computer or do you have to take it into their shop? Did your friend like the service person? Did they come quickly? When they came did they explain what they were doing in words that one could understand or did they use jargon?
  3. Or … if you feel “brave” try to fix the problem yourself  (i.e. make the computer do what you want to. I don’t recommend this one since you’re not computer savvy).

That’s a start! Don’t have your niece or nephew or grandchild (who grew up with all sorts of technology) do it for you. They probably don’t have the patience you need or training ability. You want to feel empowered, don’t you?

What did you do when your computer didn’t work? Did you assume it was you? Who did you call?

 September 13, 2012  Posted by  Business Basics, Technology Tagged with: , ,  1 Response »
Aug 122012
 

Jane HattonThank goodness for technology and how far it has come. Jane Hatton and I agree about this. We’re both physically disabled now but our use of technology means that we can continue doing what we do as women business owners. (Some people assume that either one is not intelligent, unable to work, don’t hear as well so they “shout”, or ….)

Suzan St Maur who I’ve interviewed gave me Jane’s name and said that she was someone I should talk with and get to know. Well, we connected right away. I love Jane’s approach to being disabled. She says in the recording that “… most people get disabled for free … nope I spent £50,000 to get disabled.”

She travelled around the UK as a diversity consultant and trainer before and now that she’s disabled and has to spend 22 hours a day on her back she runs Evenbreak which is a job board for disabled people in England. Thanks to technology she can do everything lying down :-)

As an entrepreneur she can work any time of the day or night and if she has a “bad” day noone knows as long as she provides the results she promised. People don’t know she is lying down because they can’t see her so their assumptions about disabled people don’t come into play.

As she says for many disabled people self employment is a great option.

Jane and I talked by phone. Listen to what she says … it’s thought provoking.

Click below to hear our interview. If you want to save a version to listen to at a later time, click where you see “Download MP3″.

 

Jane can be reached via phone at 0845 658 5717 (UTC/GMT It’s 5 hours later than EST)) or  011 44 1384 278 319 from Canada or the US or email her at info@evenbreak.co.uk   Her website is http://www.evenbreak.co.uk . You may ask her any questions and if you live in England you may even use her services.

I interview these women business owners to demonstrate to you that  YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

Are you disabled? Is your disability visible or invisible? Has it stopped you? slowed you down? Tell us.