Archive for January, 2010
Not only do we enjoy working with small and startup companies, but also like to share good resources for those that are beginning their own businesses. If you are in the metro St. Louis area, consider:
Pitching To and Planning For Angels Workshop – Sponsored by the Billiken Angel Network
Thursday, February 25, 2010, 5:30-7:30
John Cook School of Business (SLU Campus), Room 173
This workshop for start-up entrepreneurs with a completed or in-process business plan focuses on preparing the business plan and the “pitch” for presentation to angel investment groups and bankers, including: • Differences between debt and investment focused plans, • What angels look for in potential investments, • How to think about valuation and deals, • The Seven Slides You Want to Present
The workshop is free and open to all but seating is reserved and limited. Preference will be given to entrepreneurs with business plans done or in process. Presenter: Jerome Katz (Director, Billiken Angel Network). To register contact Jeanne Rhodes, Saint Louis University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, 977-3850, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a student of history (one of the few subjects I paid attention to during middle or high school), I have always been interested in studying the differences between different generations. I like to see how societal events like war, cultural influences or technologies influence whole groups of people. One of the most interesting groups to me is Generation Y, also called the Millennials.
There aren’t exact boundaries – for any generation – but Gen Y begins in the late 70s or early 80s, and extends out to approximately the year 2000.
What recently caught my attention was that many Millennials have stopped using words like “hello” and “goodbye” in their conversations. The reason is pretty straightforward, most of their conversations via social media, texting or chat services have no clear beginning or end, but are simply ongoing dialogues with other people.
Of course, older generations are using these same technologies, but they still tend to use these media for more traditional conversations.
I am trying to refrain from saying things like “back in my day”, maybe because this would mean admitting that I am finally getting old. However, you can’t help but notice the differences that adolescents today have from earlier generations. As I started my business last year, I reached out to a number of financial institutions (my past expertise) and began selling the virtues of online communications. During these conversations it struck me, younger consumers won’t find ATMs, online banking or bill pay to be especially convenient. Why would they – they’ve never known a world without them.
They’ve always had cell phones (mobile devices? Handheld super computers?); always had 150 channels to choose from; always had video games that look like the movies. And the list goes on.
The impact of this group of people on American business has been muted so far. Younger workers are usually the last hired and first fired, and the current recession has hit them hard. But as they gain valuable real world experience and skills, their numbers will grow within our workforce, as they become cheaper alternatives to older workers. As Gen Y begins to assume more leadership roles and responsibilities, how will you market to them? These are questions that will need answers pretty soon.
Do you think print advertising will be particularly effective with this group? How about standard radio advertising? TV?
Do you think your money will be more effectively spent in direct (snail) mail campaigns, or email marketing?
Would you rather have a great print newsletter, or online blog?
When building your website and writing your content, it makes sense to have the end in mind from the beginning. What do you want visitors to do when they land on your website? What actions, if any, would you like them to take?
These answers will differ depending on your organization. Some websites are meant simply to inform or educate, while other sites are focused on generating sales or inquiries. But whatever your subject or the mission of your website, the first step is to provide compelling copy that visitors will actually read.
If you’re building a website or revising your current one, we’d be happy to help you develop the web copy. But if you decide to go it alone, here are some quick tips for writing your own online content:
Be brief: Most folks quickly scan the page anyway; most do not read every single word. If it looks like reading your content will be “work” for the reader, most people will pass! So get to the point.
Break it up: Use subheadings or bulleted lists to deliver your info in bite-sized chunks.
Stay on target: Try to stay focused on one or two main points per page, excepting landing pages or those (such as this one) that contain multiple blog entries.
Make use of white (blank) space: This helps make text stand out. The main Google page is a great example of this.
Finally, make sure your content is well-researched and accurate, and is free of grammatical errors and typos. This should seem obvious, but the sheer volume of information online means that many web pages will contain errors. You instantly begin to lose credibility readers this way, so don’t let that happen!
And though the goal of your site should be the desired visitor action or interaction, don’t forget you need to please the search engines too! This is mainly based on using the proper keywords or key phrases for your product, service or industry. This helps people discover your website in the first place, which is the goal of search engine optimization (SEO). If you don’t know what these keywords are, consult with a professional on what you should be including within your site to attract the most visitors.