Original Post Date; September 9, 2008 (Now we know who is responsible for Excel!)
Every day there’s a new invitation to a network here in NYC. Some groups are “out of the wrapper, still have styrofoam peanuts in the nooks and crannies” new, others have been laboring online for years. Few have hit the sweet spot combination like The New York Tech Meet Up. Started only a few years ago, the numbers of registrants increases every year. In June 2009, the Meet Up had over 10,000 members. Held in the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT — gotta love it!) Auditorium, attendees listen to speakers from every aspect of application development.
I was pleased to see the presentation by Dan Bricklin, founder of the first spreadsheet, VisiCalc. Now a spreadsheet does not sound sexy, but think about how much can not be achieved without a cell to hold important information (Update: Here is an All Analytics post “Don’t Toss Out Excel Yet” that notes how far Excel plug-in development has come). Zimana’s business, along with many other analytics tools, business firms, consultancies and organizations, rely on the ol’ spreadsheet as a starting point for data analysis. This movement owes much to VisiCalc.
But Dan did not bore the audience with just column-and-row talk. His autobiographical book Bricklin On Technology covers the early days of his start up and serves as a window into the early days of the computer industry. Bricklin spoke to the New York Tech audience about entrepreneurship, how many people are looking for the pot of gold, but should just try to run a solid business. Says Bricklin, “You’ll end up in an nice home, just focus on what you love to do.” I personally like that statement!
Zimana Client Spotlight: @SmallBizLady Melinda Emerson – Shining a big bright light on small business
You have to admire Melinda Emerson. Her motto is to eliminate small business failure, and 2012 is shaping to be a great year for her to do so. With her media site Succeed As Your Own Boss being seen by a quarter of a million unique visitors (and rising) annually, Melinda has been steadily attracting new entrepreneurs seeking ideas to operate a successful business and manage growth. Melinda has seen growth in her own business, thanks to steadily increasing participation of #SmallBizChat. SmallBizChat is a weekly Twitter town hall for small business owners. Every Wednesday at 8pm Eastern, tweeting entrepreneurs gather to tweet questions and view answers from guest experts in finance, marketing, operations, social media, employee concerns, and more. SmallBizChat followers also have the opportunity to give a shout out of their business at the end of the chat. The mini-promotion is worth it – Melinda currently has over 160,000 followers on Twitter, and has seen increasing numbers of returning followers to SmallBizChat week after week.
Melinda authored a book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months (read a review from Zimana client Small Business Trends). The book’s success encouraged Melinda to launch Succeed As Your Own Boss , which features business tips and summaries of the weekly SmallBizChats. The site continues to attract other contributors such as Tai Goodwin of Launch While Working and a plethora of guests well known in small business circles, such as Deborah Shane, Michael Hyatt, Anita Campbell, Allan Weiss, and Barry Moltz.
Melinda has also branched out to commentary for several major media outlets and corporate online community sites, such as MSNBC, FedEx, American Express OPEN, and Pitney Bowes Smart Essentials. In addition, she has been a guest speaker at numerous business trade shows such as the New York Expo and Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference. The New York Times has added Melinda as a regular contributor to their small business online segment.
Zimana has provided analytic support to Melinda for the past year, and continues to salute Melinda in her quest to protect small businesses from failure. Join her by following the hashtag #SmallBizChat every Wednesday at 8 PM EST - learn more about SmallBizChat at Succeed As Your Own Boss. While on the Succeed As Your Own Boss site, check out the Zimana twitterchat on analytics here. And if you would like to see Melinda in action, check out her appearance on NBC Philadelphia.
With so many small businesses still struggling to establish a website, the choice of hosting has been numerous – and complicated. To make the choices a bit simplier and to help small businesses evaluate hosting option, take a look at this excel list of hosting options (with a few other packages thrown in). The comparison runs the gamut from Intuit (which also offers its web building services to Verizon) to dedicated hosting for Fatcow and, of course, Godaddy. Click here for a downloadable pdf of hosting solutions.
Keep a few aspects in mind:
- Some options can limit operational capability. I have seen one business rely on the now-defunct Microsoft Officelive but because there was no MySQL, PHP, or other backend applications required at the site, the business was limited in creating features for visitors, some of which were revenue generating.
- For frequent updates, Use a FTP Client to upload large number of files quickly into your website – Fetch Softworks offers an excellent client, as is Filezilla. Filezilla is free; Fetch is an Mac-only client but inexpensive $49.
- For those using WordPress, include the Add from Server plug in (author Dion Hulse) with your file server. The plugin is especially useful for large image files – once uploaded media files need to be placed in the correct directory to be accessible for post, so essentially the plugin is an additional required tool if confronted with a large number of media files with some larger than the wordpress filesize limit.
- Consider customer service and support as a factor – many hosting services are similar technological features and benefits across the board. Good customer service is essential for the hang ups that can occur with a website or blog.
Thinking of an eCommerce business? Select a cart that makes digital analytic measurement easy to plan first!
I’ve made this chart of eCommerce shopping cart solutions available. Each offer different capability to integrate an analytics solution. Although some coding effort is needed in general, some solutions provide a plug-and-play capability. The chart includes a consideration of which kinds of banking/payment options are available, whether the sites include Facebook commerce option, and if analytics integration is available. Having these features in place makes sales easy to manage, and to permit an analytics tools to reveal when customers are dropping out of a cart…and not purchasing your product.