Category Archives: Starting your business

Rules for Business E-mail

In the days of yore, people communicated by writing using a portable highly compact printer known as a pen (or sometimes a pencil). The products of these instruments were known as “letters.” Sometimes, whole novels were written as if they were collections of these letters. This was when people would wait days or weeks to receive news from loved ones. Even news of the birth of a grandchild might take days–unlike today’s birthing room cam broadcast on the Internet for instant world-wide viewing.

In the days of yore, people communicated by writing using a portable highly compact printer known as a pen (or sometimes a pencil). The products of these instruments were known as “letters.” Sometimes, whole novels were written as if they were collections of these letters. This was when people would wait days or weeks to receive news from loved ones. Even news of the birth of a grandchild might take days–unlike today’s birthing room cam broadcast on the Internet for instant world-wide viewing.

When people wrote letters and waited days to receive them, they wanted something substantial. If you wrote a novella detailing your latest adventures in the suburban jungle and asked your recipient “How’re you doing?”, you’d be miffed if the response was merely “Fine.” These days, with the near instantaneousness of e-mails and the frequent deluge of them in your inbox, the long-winded e-mail can be aggravating.

To the point: E-mails should be short, pithy, and necessary. In my day job, I do work for many people in my company. They send me e-mails telling me to do such and such. Many people abuse their e-mail priviledges. E-mailing for work is not a social activity. I have come to the point where I need to set some ground rules–but my position in the company doesn’t really make this appropriate. So, I’ll do it here.

Rules for Business E-mail

1) Make the e-mail necessary: Is this information I need to do my job? Too many people CC me on developments. In my position, I only need to be told WHAT to do, not WHY, and not HOW the decision was made. I don’t care about the back-and-forth of the debate. Is it red, is it blue, is it now green? When you decide, tell me, otherwise don’t clutter my inbox.

2) Make it short. I know who I am, so I don’t need “To Jeff” or even “Jeff.” I know who you are (if I don’t, you probably can’t be telling me to do something), so I don’t need your signature. God help you if you have one of those obnoxious signatures with every means on the planet to contact you or, worse, with some idiotic character picture. Say: “Do x by y date.” My reply will be “Done.” If you send me a “Thanks,” you’re violating rule 1.

3) Not everyone uses Outlook, so if you must send one of those Outlook meeting announcements, please include some human readable text. For example: “Meeting: 1:30 to 2:30. Topic: How much should we raise your salaries. Place: Room 121.” (I’ll get into this more in another article, but this meeting should satisfy the first two rules here, too.)

4) Give me a meaningful subject. Ideally, the subject line could tell me everything I need to know. For example, the meeting notice human text in rule 3 could be the subject line. I have my hands in many projects, so it would be great if the project name could be part of the e-mail. That would make categorizing it a snap. (It would also help me trash e-mails without reading them.)

5) Don’t e-mail me about work that needs to be done in minutes or even a few hours. I usually only check my e-mail in the morning, maybe in the afternoon. If the work is urgent, there’s a device known as a phone. Simply call me; say “I’ve sent an urgent e-mail. Please read it for the details.” I know I could use an application like Outlook or Thunderbird that would notify me when new e-mails arrive, but this rule is intended to instill discipline in others. I don’t want them e-mailing me at the last minute with urgent work. Tell me as early as possible.

Leave comments for Jeff about this article:

The Institute of Directors Recommends Blogging

The Institute of Directors Recommends Blogging

The Institute of Directors has just recommend blogging as way of connecting with your customers in an interesting article they explain:

“If you want to compete, you must pursue your customer’s loyalty and pay them attention; they have many options and will move on without a second thought.”

“A blog will also enable you to build relationships with customers. Many will appreciate the chance to ask questions; others will be influenced by the feedback they read and how you respond to it. A positive comment or a problem sorted promptly can establish you as a trustworthy seller.

Sometimes you can turn a negative into a positive – by offering a prompt return for a customer who’s made the wrong choice, for example. But you’ve got to make sure you’re able to deliver what you promise, otherwise it could do you more harm than good.”

The full article can be read here. This is just the sort of thing we have been waiting for at

How to Set Up Your Own Social Networking Site

There are some key factors that one will need to consider if they want t set up their own networking site. This is best explained by the Night Rider comparison. Face book has managed to amass over 6,000 people that are interested in the eighties Hit TV show Night Rider. It has its own Night Rider page. When the original star of the program, David Hasselhoff, heard about this, he decided to start his own net working site and cash in on the shows staying popularity.

What does this teach us about networking?

1. If you are a member of a group or share a passion, you can start own Networking site. A group of people with similar interest is an important ingredient in setting up Networking site.
2. If you lead this by setting up such a site, you can than reap the rewards and/or advertising and related products.

I do see many more companies setting up there own networks where you can interact with the company. As the value to social networking is in the people. Why would any company want to source that out? Especially considering that software is readily available for such endeavours. What sites can you imagine?

Work At Home, How To Choose A Home Based Business And Make Money

With rising costs of living, employee downsizing, corporate layoffs, constantly increasing gas prices and long commutes to work, more and more people find it now necessary to find a work at home job or to start a home based business. A vast majority of these individuals turn to the internet for their work at home salvation. There are literally thousands of work at home and home based business opportunities out there on the World Wide Web but of course all that glitters is not gold. Upwards of 90% of the marketed home based businesses I would say are scams. These are schemes designed with the sole purpose of making the individual marketing the product to you rich, while you are left holding the bag as it were. Having said this however there are many legitimate home based business opportunities on the internet. The problem then is weeding out the good from the bad. Unfortunately this is a matter if trial and error and a LOT of research.

Finding legitimate opportunities to make money from home can become an extremely time consuming and ultimately a very expensive undertaking. There are a few things one must look for when searching for a legitimate work at home job or home based business opportunity. Any aspiring web entrepreneur must look for these important factors before selecting any work at home business opportunity, work at home job or affiliate program.

The first thing you should do is to review their standing with the various Business Regulation Agencies such as the Better Business Bureau. You should check on any complaints that may have been filed by consumers and whether or not it was satisfactorily resolved. In most cases this can be done online at the agencies web site.

They must have very good products and or services to promote. No matter their claims, if no one finds it useful no one will buy. On this note beware of any “opportunity” where you have to buy-in before you know exactly what you will be getting for you hard earned cash. As you can imagine there are many of these out there with a slick sales letter but absolutely no mention of what the product or service is.

There must be a reliable support system in place with training and good leadership. Any program that just hands you the material and expects you to just figure it out on your own isn’t worth your time and money.

Paychecks should be sent out on time and at least once per month. Some home based business opportunities make you wait until your account reaches a preset limit before you get paid. Others let you choose your own limit and or frequency, you be the judge of what is acceptable for your individual needs.

Longevity is most important, so they should have been in business for at least three years. The scammers and con-artist usually cannot stick around this long with any individual program. They pack up and leave to return with something new. If a company is around this long on the internet I would say they must be doing something good.

I must also add here a simple rule to follow; if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t. We’ve all seen those ads with claims such as you can make $8,000 a day or in a few hours, just a little common sense goes a long way with these. While I’m not saying that it’s impossible to make thousands of dollars a day, it’s impractical to think it will just happen over night.

Any home based business venture you get into will take time and effort; there will be a learning curve. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so take your time and learn the ropes. There is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme or we would all be millionaires.

For more information about articles like this please visit:

Improve your Adwords campaigns

I came across a great video recently by StomperNet with some great ideas to improve your Adword campaign and maximise the return you get from your website. The idea behind it is that instead of focusing on how much TRAFFIC you can get to your website, you should be focusing on the RIGHT kind of traffic to get to your website, the portion that are motivated to make a purchase. I’m not promising it’s going to be curtains for your competitors, but it can certainly help you make a few more bob. I wish I had watched this when I used to run The Joke Shop

Watch the video here

5 ways to start a company (without quitting your day job)


Almost everyone stuck in a cubicle dreams of starting his own business. Here are 5 ways to use your current gig to launch a new venture. Odds are, however, that you’re still working for someone else. Maybe it’s because you’re afraid to give up that steady paycheck. Perhaps you’re simply terrified by the thought of placing yourself at the mercy of greedy investors, cutthroat competitors, and a potentially indifferent marketplace. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that there’s a lot of unrequited entrepreneurial longing out there.

So we set out to see if we could help. We wondered, what if cubicle-bound employees could use their current gigs to launch new ventures? Of course, starting a company while employed by another one can be tricky — especially if you’ve signed agreements promising not to compete with your employer or not to hire away colleagues. Indeed, in many cases anything you invent while collecting a paycheck can be considered the boss’s property. James Geshwiler, managing director of CommonAngels, a Boston investment group, warns that from a legal perspective, cubicle entrepreneurs often “tread on very sensitive ground.”

Still, working for a corporation affords access to several things that are vital to a fledgling company: money, customers, market research, personnel. And it turns out that many former wage earners have successfully exploited these resources — legally, and in some cases with the assistance of their employers — to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Some actually built their startups while working for someone else, while others simply tapped previous employers’ people and cachet.

All of them, however, learned to look at salaried life as a springboard rather than a prison. Daniel Curran, a management consultant who lectures on entrepreneurship at UCLA, suggests, “When you come across hidden customer demands in your job, turn them into a business.”

Read the rest of the Article here:

To discuss this topic now in our forums please visit  this link: