You expect us to test it?! We’ve decided to have a good old barn storming. You’re invited. Get your hammer, your axe and your saw and come on into smallbusinesscan.com and help us test the new site. Hit it hard. Take out your frustrations. And if something’s not working tell us in the forums. Seriously!
Speaking of seriously. Told recently by one of the high and mighty sitting on a State board that smallbusinesscan is becoming a serious player in the SME market in Ireland…that we needed to take our responsibilities more seriously. (Pot calling the kettle black?) Good advice nonetheless. So we’re getting more serious. Before, where we might have written ‘In all fairness’ (which we now admit is an oxymoron in this magical land of ours) we will now be writing ‘in all seriousness’. To show how serious we are.
Speaking of boards. We’ve a half wit sitting on the smallbusinesscan Board. He cracked a joke. The retort was ‘you’re a great wit’, followed by a cutting retort from a third person saying ‘you’re half right’. Its the kind of banter you expect in the board rooms of Ireland….explains a lot..
Our half wit is not ‘full of authority without responsibility’ though. He has one key responsibility. Its his job is to keep us grounded and the site usable. No mercs or perks. No ‘never mind the quality, look at the quantity’. To be fair…sorry, to be serious, the old fart is not preoccupied with optics…he’s always challenging us… ‘does it really work?’, ‘is it the right thing to do?’, ‘does it have real depth?’……and he doesn’t give a…he doesn’t care what the PC classes think once business users find it useful. So when we launch new functionality our benchmark to user friendliness is: ‘Has Ed signed it off?’ or ‘If Ed can use it then its idiot proofed, release it’ or ‘if Ed can use it so can a monkey, release it’. Its worked up until now (with Ed taking all the credit) and the site has progressed over the last couple of years.
Taking a big risk now though. Doing something unexpected. We’ve always screamed at our political masters: “Why not do something radical, do something unexpected…take a risk?”. That was the talk. Now the walk. Our unexpected…our risk… is to try and get the 1000+ guests who visit the site every day (who are more than welcome by the way) to join up and hopefully contribute! There’s a registration process now on the new site! Don’t worry, this isn’t commercialisation by stealth…T&Cs stay the same…we cant and wont use info given. Everything is still free. And anyway we’re only looking for a name, email and a password….c’mon! …….If you’re reading this you’ve probably already registered haven’t you?…OK pass this onto a colleague or friend who’s starting or running a business.
An email, password and user name will bring you into the site proper where we have functionality and features in abundance…ALL Ed Proofed….ALL FOR FREE. You will have access to blogs that might help you run your business better, forums where you will see real business issues discussed (sometimes you will see too much of some business issues discussed such as SEO!!!) and access to a growing community of businesspeople, just like you, who are, despite all the obstacles and negativity, putting the head down and getting on with it.
You will have tools to ask questions on your own particular challenges with hopefully, possibly, probably (no promises. we live in the real world) real life answers from other people at the coal face just like you that have met and overcome the challenge and are more than willing to help. You’ll also be able to join groups with like minded individuals to discuss issues around particular topics such as IT, brand, manufacturing, book-keeping. (Don’t worry about the cobwebs in some of these groups…join anyway or set up your own…we will be looking to give all of these a shot in the arm over the coming weeks..).
You’ll find businesspeople such as Jez looking for advice on PR and a thread a mile long with people offering invaluable insights about writing press releases, distributing them, targeting journalists – with lists of journalists that are available for free. You can even post your first draft and see if seasoned copy writers can help you refine or rewrite it.
You’ll find brilliant real life questions being asked by Clunan that no course or consultant will prepare you for, but his problem of getting documents from A to B that are too big for email is a real life and a ‘beating the head against the wall’ problem that all of us technophobes have probably come up against. And flippin hell…the solution is so simple…
And what about another frustration that we all face…the dreaded business plan..or sorry the dreaded, horrible business planning process. Well Eamon puts it out there again and already other business people are piling in with suggestions and insights that make the task less daunting.
There’s hundreds and thousands of more conversations dealing with issues that we’re all facing. Put patents, debt collection, marketing, exporting into the search facility and see what comes up. If you have something you want help on post it or if there’s a topic you can offer a particular view on, post it.
Ultimately we want to take all the subjects being discussed in the forums and aggregate them into articles that will appear in the blog. The Blog is now included (finally) in the search so you will find articles and expert insight from everything from ‘selling’ to building distribution to raising finance to case studies on business that are making names for themselves…for all the right reasons.
(Its not there at the moment but will be coming real soon….) Eventually we want all the content to poured into a wiki that will become the ‘must go to place’ for information on starting and running a business in Ireland. Eds idea…leadership and vision…..Our cup runneth over…!!!!