Tag Archives: business

New Blog Location: www.digitalindustrialpark.com

The Digital Industrial Park blog has moved to a nice, comfy hosted location:

—–>> http://www.digitalindustrialpark.com/

Still a WordPress blog, though. We love ya, WordPress.

Happy New Year to all!

Gary Vaynerchuk » My Web 2.0 Keynote in NYC

Sure, it’s some potty mouth stuff but I’m from New York and, besides, the message is superb! Not your standard motivational speech. Much, much, mucho better.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

E-Commerce Fulfillment Providers (EFPs)

If you are starting an online business and you started running the operations numbers, you have probably noticed that they get pretty big pretty fast. It gets expensive to get things from Point A to Point B.

E-Commerce Fulfillment Providers are designed to take the friction out of order fulfillment. You will, of course, pay for that service but you may also find that removes a component of your business that is not your core competency.

Mark Ayotte is the owner of Yugster.com, an e-commerce site that offers a daily special item for sale each day and he has written an article on EFP’s:

There are several EFPs. Yugster.com uses Webgistix. Amazon is actually the largest EFP, although most people think of Amazon only as a retailer. These two companies take different approaches to fulfillment services. Webgistix offers a customizable solution that is integrated with a retailer’s order-entry system. Amazon offers a self-serve solution that allows retailers to plug into Amazon’s fulfillment infrastructure. Other EFPs, such as WeFulfillIt, are also emerging as demand for these services continues to rise sharply.”

You need to get references if you are planning to do this though. It’s not that these companies are disreputable, they are quite reputable, but you will need to calculate the numbers for YOUR business and also hear firsthand experiences from their customers who ship a similar product line as the one your are considering. Mark Ayotte mentions scalability in his article and that is a critical component that any business owner will want to keep in mind. In good times or bad, scalability is key.

David Parrish: T-Shirts + Suits/Part 2

Want to start a creative business? Best to know who you are first.

Want to start a creative business? Best to know who you are first.

In his richly informative and enlightening book, T-Shirts + Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity, David Parrish gives us a checklist for self-evaluation. Like many of these sorts of evaluations, the primary value comes from forcing you to answer questions that you need to answer…but frequently avoid doing.

If you are thinking of starting a creative business, or have already done so, you will want to spend some time seeking the answers to these questions. Remember, if you don’t stand for something, you fall for everything.

The PRIMEFACT Checklist (Page 22)

People
What are the strengths and weaknesses of our people?
Employees, directors, members, associates, advisers and
other stakeholders.

Reputation (or Brand)
What is our reputation with our target customers? What are
the strengths – or weaknesses – of our brand or brands?

Intellectual Property

What intellectual property do we have? How is it protected?
How easily can it be turned into income streams?


Market Research / Market Information

What information do we have about market segments and market trends? What do we know about individual clients and their specific needs?

Ethos (or Values or Culture)

What is our ethos, our values and our organisational culture?
Do all stakeholders subscribe to this same ethos?

Finances (ie Money)
What is the current state of profitability, cashflow and assets?
How much money do we have to invest or can we borrow?

Agility (or Nimbleness or Change­ability)
Are we agile enough to seize new opportunities?
Are people prepared to change and ready for change?
Are there barriers to change?

Collaborators (Alliances, Partnerships and Networks)

What are the strengths and weaknesses of our associations with other businesses and organisations (including government)?

Talents (Competencies and Skills)
What are our core competencies?
What skills do we have available and what gaps are there?
How will we learn new skills?

T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity (Part 1)

Creativity and Business

Creativity and Business

David Parrish has written, perhaps, the best guidebook for a creative person in business, T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity. In his introduction, he mentions that he is both a published poet and an MBA. This makes him the ideal person to answer the old question, “Is it creativity vs. business?”

David writes:
“Some people regard creativity and business as being like oil and water – they just don’t mix. They think it’s a question of choosing between creativity and business. I disagree.”

In these times of uncertain economic conditions and the relative ease of creating a digital businesses, it is inevitable that more and more creative people will be considering starting a business. Here’s a hint: go here and print out the free PDF and spend some time reading it and soaking it all in.

Creativity and business are absolutely not mutually exclusive but most of us have a proclivity towards one or the other but the fact is that a successful business requires both. David mentions that there is sometimes more creativity in an engineering group than in some advertising agencies and that is absolutely true. “The most exciting creativity, I believe, is the alchemy of blending apparent opposites, what we often call art and science, recognizing that they are not opposites at all, from which we have to choose either/or in a binary fashion, but the yin and the yang of the whole.”

If you read nothing else in the book, read pages 9 and 10 on Success, Profit, Lifestyle, and Why do it?

It’ll start you thinking about creativity, about business, and about what you will do next.

The Metric System: Who’s Steering?

Imagine speeding down the highway and everyone in the car is trying to grab the steering wheel and yelling “Turn left!”, “Make a right!”, “Speed up!”, “Slow down!”. If you can imagine this scene you have probably been in an online development meeting recently.

There are three metrics that should be considered when making decisions on the site.

Forget about which technology or functionality to use, one of the biggest challenges of running an online business right now is simply agreeing how to steer.

Someone recently gave me a copy of “Web Design For ROI” and I read it on a flight to San Diego. Despite its rather dry title, it is happily packed with pragmatic and insightful tips that had me nodding in agreement (and scribbling notes) all the way across the country.

If you’re in this business you have probably experienced marketing people, sales people, usability people, and analytics people all sitting around the conference table trying to prove that they alone have the one true and right critical success factor. So which one is the sole arbiter of truth? Here’s the path to wisdom: They all do and none of them do.

The truth is that running an online business requires a holistic triangulation of business metrics, site metrics, and user metrics and that no one of them exists in a vacuum. The business metrics are the same ones that the business uses to measure success at a high level such as those pulled from a sales system used by the whole company. The site metrics are from web site reporting tools such as Omniture or Google Analytics. The user metrics are derived from user feedback such as surveys, focus groups, and usability testing.

It is imperative to track different types of metrics from multiple sources if you are running an online business. Yes, imperative. You’ll need visibility into quantitative and qualitative results and this is a great way to enforce some checks and balances on the metrics that are tracked.

By using this dashboard approach you will have the ability to make informed, balanced decisions for your business that are rooted in fact.

Having trouble keeping it in the middle of the road? A good dashboard with these three metrics allow you to keep your eyes on the road and your hand upon the wheel.