Archive of ‘Business’ category

App Spotlight: Evernote

So, this is a new-to-the-Blog feature, where I will share an app that I use for business, and give a bit of an overview on how I use it, and why I really like it!

First in the series is a new’ish app that I’ve ended up with almost by accident…Evernote.

evernote

Evernote is a ‘freemium’ app – based on a pricing strategy where a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web service) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features, functionality etc.

I currently use the free, basic service, which sells itself on the following benefits:

  • Organize your life.
  • Workspace for daily projects
  • Keep everything together
  • Sync across all devices

I ended up as an Evernote user because the business card scanning app I used (Cardmunch, by LinkedIn) was being withdrawn, and they were encouraging users to transfer data to Evernote.

At that time, all I was using the app for was to scan business cards (using my iPhone camera), and then adding contacts to my database and connecting to key contacts on LinkedIn.

I’ve found Evernote to be even better than Cardmunch was for this service, but it does SO much more.

I can take notes, create reminders, to do lists, create notebooks around different subjects, to help organise projects etc. I can signpost web pages to return to, or which relate to different projects, and I can take photos of receipts & other documents that relate to work projects.

And although I started using it on my iPhone, through my Evernote account, I can access all of the information on all my devices – laptop, iPad etc.

A useful feature on my laptop is the little ‘clip’ where I can take a screenshot of the full screen, a window, or part of the screen – although there are other programmes which do this for me, as Evernote runs in the background, and sits quietly on my taskbar, its so easy to access!

But above all, the main use I have for this brilliant app is to make sure I keep track of people that I meet, storing their contact information and connecting myself to them – I can then use that business card scan picture to add notes to remind myself of where I met them, and create any follow-up actions as necessary.

It’s just such a handy part of my day-to-day working life!

I’d love to hear if you use it and have other ways to make it work for you…or even if you have another similar one that you’d recommend?

I will be making these App Spotlights into a series, so if you are looking for an app that fits a particular purpose and you’re wondering what I & others here at My Pinkie Promise use, just ask and I will look to feature that next!

Alison

@alisonhendo

via Remember everything with Evernote, Skitch and our other great apps. | Evernote.

Content is King!

content sharingHow do you manage the content that you share on your social media accounts?

Here are 7 of the many habits that I make part of my regular routine to find and share good content amongst my network & business contacts that I hope they will find useful:

 

  1. Use the PULSE app to categorise the news articles that you see, and that you can then share on via your social networks. This is the stand alone news app from LinkedIn which has amazing content
  2. Use good news apps in the same way: BBC, Sky News etc
  3. Like pages on Facebook that you know will give you good content, e.g. Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce
  4. Use a bookmark tool to set aside good articles that you want to make more of, write a blog post on etc – I use Apple’s Reading List across all of my devices, whether I see something interesting on my iPhone, Macbook or iPad, I know that I will have a shared list that I can go back to and look over when I am ready
  5. Create lists on twitter to aggregate the people on twitter that you know generally share good articles and contacts – that way you can quickly access their tweets and easily share it on
  6. Write a blog – create your own content! You can make your blog posts as long or as short as need be, but taking time to write your own pieces will help showcase your skills and make you stand out as knowledgeable in that field
  7. Use great websites like Mashable to find relevant articles that I like to share, from categories such as business, social media etc

“Traditional Marketing talks at people, Content Marketing talks with them.” ~ Doug Kessler

Sharing great content allows you to enter into conversations with your social media contacts and really spark lots of interaction! Have fun with it…

Alison

Quality_Content_Inklyo_Infographic_thumbnail

 

 

50% off our training in Marketing & Social Media Skills

UPDATED:

Flexible Training Opportunities | Our Skillsforce.

We’re delighted to see clients already applying for training grants from Skills Development Scotland to support their marketing and social media skills for business in 2014!

You may qualify for 50% of the cost of our workshops, funded by the Flexible Training Opportunities Fund – to find out more including details of how to apply, visit http://www.ourskillsforce.co.uk – you must have your approval for the funding before booking & attending a workshop, so don’t delay if you’re looking for their assistance in supporting your training.

Our Social Media for Business course dates have been announced and the July dates are available for booking – just let us know if you are applying for funding and want to reserve a place. See the events tab above for all info.

We’ll be publishing dates of our other group courses very soon, but you can also benefit from 1-2-1 training support in a whole range of skills from marketing planning, online marketing to more specific social media for business, or a deep dive into individual platforms, such as facebook twitter, LinkedIn or event Pinterest!

Call our team on 01382 221078 to find out more

 

What do I think about CONFIDENCE?

What do I think about CONFIDENCE? | the3rdi magazine | the UK’s foremost co-operative business magazine.

I wrote an article recently for the 3rdi magazine, where the question for the writers was ‘What does confidence mean to you?’ So, my thoughts are below: trying to stick to the word count was a challenge (not altogether a surprise, especially to those of you who know me well!)…I’d love to hear what you think?

And if Confidence is something that interests you, it’s also the theme of a Conference that I’m involved with in Edinburgh on 8th May – why not join us to flex your confidence muscle & meet lots of new women in business from across Scotland? I believe that everyone needs to work at their Confidence…there are very few people for whom it’s completely second nature!

http://www.wbeconference.co.uk

@wbeconference

073307-pink-jelly-icon-alphanumeric-quote-open2Having been a working adult for (whispers) nearly thirty years, much of my confidence and cues for confidence have come from work scenarios.

I’m a wife, and a working Mum who for the last five years has run her own business.

When I look back over the jobs I have done, I can see that I have gained lots of confidence in the various roles I have carried out, and I come from a family background where I became very self-sufficient at quite an early age.

I’m sure that much of the confidence I have in myself is down to the control, and feeling of being in-charge, which I’m realising is such a major part of who I am.

When I ask myself if I’ve always been confident, what I realise is that some of that exterior confidence is a bit of bravado, mixed with quite a lot of ‘jumping right in’ and a dash of “I know that I can pick things up really quickly, so let’s just wing it and see where it gets me”.

So I’m asking myself “Do I feel CONFIDENT?” – well the answer to that is the old 80/20 rule rearing it’s head again…80% of the time I do feel confidence: in my abilities to tackle the job at hand, learn the skills I might need to complete & do a good job. 20% of the time I might be questioning whether I can do something, whether I am the right person to be doing it and if it’s all actually going to turn out ok!

I’ve learned over 30 years that I CAN handle most of what is thrown at me in a work scenario – the times I have chosen to move jobs have been for new challenges or promotions, and only ONCE in all that time did I decide to get out because of a fairly difficult work colleague who made it awkward for our team to fully function when she was there.

I make conscious decisions to surround myself with people & work colleagues who have a positive influence on me, or my work. I enjoy working on my own initiative, working with others and leading teams.

Looking back at some of the managers I’ve had, I don’t even need a whole hand to count the ones who have motivated me and, for me, have been inspiring role models. What often happens is that a person is promoted to manage a team because they are technically very able, but they are hardly ever supported to learn the soft skills of people management – that can have a really draining effect on team & individual confidence. And let’s face it I don’t actually think many of them felt very confident in their abilities to lead.

Probably because I like to be in control, I can sense when others are finding it difficult, and I like to jump in and help out – I’m not sure that’s always the best solution!

In 2008 I was made redundant after being with the company 11 years, along with around 20 others across a couple of teams, it was a real shock to the system – lack of control you see (spotting a pattern anyone?)! For a week or so I felt really out of sorts and had no clue how to get my bearings. I took the time to enjoy my family, meeting my son from school and spending time with friends.

After a few weeks I began to realise that I was in a good position to try my hand at self-employment, and with the support of my husband and family I set about finding out how to go about setting up my company and grabbing hold of as many new skills and free workshops that Business Gateway could give me!

I can honestly say that during the first year of business it was the most exciting and scary time – I don’t think for even one moment I questioned whether I could do it or not…what I do remember is constantly evolving during that year, testing my products & services, the marketing messages I was using etc.

I was getting the confidence to continue from the success of running the business, getting new clients and meeting lots of new people.

I am often questioned about the fact that I seem to know lots of people and whether I had a large network of contacts and existing business that transferred to me from my old role.

I’m proud to say that 99% of the contacts that I had pre-My Pinkie Promise were based in Edinburgh & Glasgow, and south of the border – none of the work that I generated came from existing contracts or customers…I’ve built from the ground up.

I know that the work that we do is highly regarded, and that’s important to me from a personal confidence perspective – maintaining that quality, while gaining new customers and working on new projects is what inspires me.

I get real inspiration from the people around me, and role models in my life. I’ve got huge respect for two previous female directors that I worked for, who gave me enormous support and confidence in my abilities to succeed.

Many of the women that I now work and collaborate with give me confidence too – learning how they got to where they are now, or understanding that we all face the same challenges in running a business while juggling families & relationships serves to remind me that others have worn a path that I know I can follow, while doing it my with my own spin!

I’m absolutely an Optimist through and through – but I’m also an Opportunist. I may finally be beginning to believe that I’m a natural entrepreneur – now that I have the heady rewards of running a business, my antenna are SO switched on to new projects and exciting possibilities that I’ve no idea why my feet touch the ground as much as they do:

confidence in myself is the key!073305-pink-jelly-icon-alphanumeric-quote-close2

More of the 3rdi magazine articles on confidence can be found here – enjoy!

Scottish Women in Business | Events | Special Independence Referendum Debate event

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Scottish Women in Business | Events | Special Independence Referendum Debate event

McCance Building, University of Strathclyde

Special Independence Referendum Debate event

McCance Building, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 16 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XQ

April 7, 6:00pm-9:00pm

The debate will be chaired by well-known TV presenter, Sally Magnusson.

With ballots before and after the debate, this will be a unique opportunity to directly gauge the views of an important voting audience.

The Panel

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Deputy First Minister Scottish National Party

Annabel Goldie MSP, Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party

Johann Lamont MSP, Leader of Scottish Labour Party

Ruth Wishart Journalist, supporter of the Yes Scotland Campaign

 

My Pinkie Promise are absolutely thrilled to be able to support & promote this event. There will be few opportunities for women in business to attend an event to hear a facilitated debate & be able to question Scotland’s leading female politicians in the run up to September 18th, so please register for the event and get involved.

We very often hear that as business owners and professionals, that we’d like more information on the referendum, so take this opportunity to find the answers to your burning questions – don’t wait for others to make your mind up for you!

If you are a member of Women Ahead, the Dundee & Angus businesswomen’s group, they are laying on free transport, so its well worth getting together and going through to Glasgow.

See you there!

Alison

 

Finalist in Most Enterprising Business Award 2014

2014 WA Awards Finalist logo
I’m really thrilled to be a shortlisted finalist in the Women Ahead Most Enterprising Business Award for 2014…we’ll find out on 15th March who the award winners are!

Social Media for Business – Workshops

The world of social media marketing for businesses is such a huge one and as I prepare to deliver the first of a two-part session for local businesswomen’s group Women Ahead in Dundee & Angus, I’m realising that although I would admit to being a fairly comfortable user of social media, I sometimes feel that I’m barely scratching the surface!?????????????????????

From #hashtags and keywords, to engaging content, measurement and using the best platform for the right business, it’s a pretty complex landscape.

So, tomorrow we will be covering the basics of the different platforms, who is the audience on the main ones and what are the features that you can use to better market your business to the right audiences for you.

I can’t stress enough the famous line ‘If you fail to PLAN, you plan to FAIL’ (or words to that effect!), so we will be looking at:

  • Understand WHAT you are trying to do
  • Be clear on WHO you are aiming to reach
  • Know (and test!) WHERE you will find them
  • Have a social media plan
  • Make sure you are consistently ENGAGING
  • Be clear on WHEN & HOW you will post
  • Share a mixture of updates (text, photos, articles, interesting news etc)

Make sure your updates are during the times that your audience will see them – no point in tweeting during the night if all of your UK followers are asleep!

Social media concept in word tag cloudKeep an eye on your analytics and above all else:

RESPOND QUICKLY WHEN SOMEONE REPLIES OR CONTACTS YOU – WITHIN THE HOUR IF POSSIBLE, BUT CERTAINLY WITHIN 24 HOURS – IF YOU SNOOZE YOU LOSE!

 

Find us on Facebook, follow my ramblings on Twitter, and keep an eye on my Pinterest boards – loads to interact with…I’d love to hear from you!

AlisonAlison Henderson

Scotland’s Referendum 2014…my first initial observations

scotlands_futureSo yesterday marked a momentous (my words!) occasion when Alec Salmond, First Minister and Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister gathered the media together in Glasgow to launch their case for an independent Scotland.

They published ‘Scotland’s Future’ – a tome running to 670 pages, 170,000 words and 650 Question & Answers, which is “the most detailed prospectus for the independence of a country that has ever been published”.

Now, this is one side of the story, and one that many of us in Scotland have been calling out for because if there is anything missing from the impassioned pleas, the rhetoric and barbs from one side of the fence to the other, it is the details that we as voting Scots need to make a clear and important decision – one which is a massive obligation and right.

So many people will now be in a position to take their time, ruminate over the white paper and begin to make sense of its content. Within minutes of the publication, we were seeing the predictable commentary from both sides about the content of it – just let us get a chance to read it please!

Anyway, rant over – my main reason for putting fingers to keyboard today (ah we’ll soon look back and say…they used to use their FINGERS?) is to comment about the way in which this information is being delivered to us.

In an almost perfectly executed launch (you’ve got to lose some marks for a website that is having difficulty handling the demand for your PDF!), we saw a whole range of modern & exciting media being used:

  • Live streams on YouTube
  • Blog post by Nicola Sturgeon signposting the way to the document
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • hashtags to follow the online conversation
  • infographics
  • videos

As a communicator in the modern business world, this is a fantastic case study of how to make best use of all of the tools and techniques available to reach your audience.

Personally, I’m still undecided…before yesterday I had seen very little in the way of definite detail on either side which was convincing enough – as a proud Scot, its enormously difficult to make your head & your heart tell you the same story until you have the depth of knowledge to make a conscious informed decision.

Now all we need is a bit of time to get our head round it all, have the opportunities to ask our own questions, listen to informed debate, not be browbeaten by anyone and not fall out with our neighbours!

Upcoming events:

Here are links to the Scottish Referendum social media accounts:

facebook twitterpinterest-logoyoutube_icon

Have a browse through the conversations using the hashtags – #indyplan is the main one, but you’ll also find people were using #whitepaper #indyref

alisonhendo


 

 

Women, breadwinners and ‘modern’ families

Hi…my name is Alison Henderson and I’ve got a confession – its been too long since my last blog post! When I started my blog, I was always very clear that I would post as & when I could and not force myself into a rigid schedule of publishing something just for the sake of it. But I wonder if that was simply giving myself an opt-out clause straight away! No matter…what’s important to me in my ramblings is having the luxury of an hour or so to put words ‘to paper’ on a subject which grabs my attention. So here goes…

 

modern families

Yesterday a report was published which found that Women are the main breadwinner in nearly a third of Scottish homes representing the highest proportion in the UK

I was asked to take part in a BBC Radio discussion in my role with the Association of Scottish Businesswomen – as if that alone isn’t scary enough, I then had to try to sound sensible enough to articulate why that might be!

The other people taking part in the discussion were stay-at home Dads and to be honest, I don’t really think that the opposite side of the coin in this debate is about stay-at home parents – does this mean that one third of families ‘allow’ women to earn the higher salary because the man has opted to stay at home and raise the children – I don’t think so.

I believe that there are several reasons for the ‘change in dynamic’, if you can call it that:

  • women no longer have to leave paid employment when they get married (I was stunned when I learned that this was commonplace in the UK not that long before I started my working life in (whispers) 1986!
  • more women than ever before are successfully going through further education, thereby earning themselves good jobs, and amazing career opportunities
  • women can now see many strong role models in the modern world – successful women who are senior managers, running businesses, holding top roles in education & government
  • women are waiting longer to have families, meaning they have reached a certain level in their careers before having children, meaning they return/remain at that same level
  • and of course its becoming more accepted for Dads to share in the stay-at-home role while the Mum goes back to work
  • there is also the effect of a shift in the economic sectors in the UK,  where perhaps the more traditional male jobs in our manufacturing sectors have been massively eroded.

I’m no economist or expert in this, its just a gut reaction from me which says that this is a slow and steady progression for women in the workplace: beginning to gain ground in career & business opportunities where we’re not vilified for wanting to have a balance of work & family life, where we work hard and show our children that a modern world has room for all sorts of families – Mums who work, Dads who share in bringing up the children – surely that makes for a better world all round?

But, the but in all this (there’s always that blast of cold water isn’t there!) has to be that there are very likely to be many more single parent families in this study – I don’t know why that’s not been explored more – women as the sole earner and parent in a family.

And also from those Dads who were in the discussion yesterday: a very real downside to being the stay-at-home parent…feeling excluded from the support networks that are there for Mums who look after the children. Mums at the school gates, in the parks and the toddler groups who don’t really welcome the Dads into their ranks and the distinct lack of groups for the men – how many Dads and Baby magazines or groups have you ever seen advertised? That made me feel sad – as a modern society how can we have that balance if we don’t provide the right support to let the Mums back to work and make the Dads feel they can actually leave the house with their children and be immensely proud of their role as stay-at-home carer? The societal guilt that a working mother feels is often bad enough, without the added pressure of thinking that her partner is also finding it tough as a consequence of their situation.

Well its a debate that for me swings my emotions between feeling pride that women are doing well, and families are achieving balance, to sadness that as a modern society we can’t applaud both parents for doing what comes naturally!

Dundee kettle-bilers

Dundee kettle-bilers

But I’ve got one thing to leave you with – Dundee is going through an amazing resurgence in popularity at the moment and I’m very proud to be born & bred here. Anyone who’s ever visited Verdant Works, our Jute Museum here, will be able to tell you all about Dundee’s 19th & 20th century ‘kettle-bilers’. Women workers were the backbone of Dundee’s mills, meaning their men stayed at home to look after the children, cook the meals and boil the kettles! So perhaps things haven’t really changed all that much after all!

Have a great day,

Alison :)

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