Friday, 26 October 2001

Newsletter Issue 34, October 2001


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 34, October 2001
Hi guys,
In this issue we have part three in our series Fancy Yourself as a Rupert Murdoch? , this time looking at  how to create an html newsletter, freeware and payware programmes, at writing articles, submissions, advertising options, and promotion.
How do you make your organisation more customer-focused? There are a few tips below in Becoming Customer-centric
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Fancy Yourself as Rupert Murdoch? Part 3

This time we are looking at creating a newsletter in html and what programmes you can use, at writing articles, getting and using submissions, advertising options, and ways of promoting your ezine to increase your readership.
Software Options
There are a number of software options;
  • Word. One of the easiest ways to create a newsletter is use as a newsletter template in Word (using varied columns, fill colour & font etc but no graphics), and then create a webpage by; File| Save As | "Save As Type" | Web Page (htm, html). Works a treat. No added costs. Pretty easy.
  • Netscape Communicator. You can download Netscape Communicator from . This is freeware that you can use to create and edit html documents in. Just remember that your document will not look QUITE the same when viewed with IE. Go to http://home.netscape.com/download/sd_cc32d47uk.html 
  • 1st Page. This is freeware HTML editing software which comes bundled with over 450+ Javascripts and supports all the latest web languages. Download it from http://www.evrsoft.com/download/ 
  • FrontPage. For slightly more funky layouts etc you can purchase FrontPage, but you really don't need to go this way unless you will be looking at using it for creating or maintaining a website. Cost in US is about $170 on its own. You can download a 30 day trial version at http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/evaluation/trial.htm 
  • Coffee Cup. This software costs reasonably big-time. $300 US. Supposed to be pretty good though. Check it out at http://www.coffeecup.com/ 
 Article Writing
This is one of the best ways to build your subscriber base. Writing good articles will build the relationship with your customers; and trust. Once you establish yourself as an expert in your area, people will be interested in other information and knowledge you have. But make sure you;
  • Write about what you know about
  • Speak your customers language; make it appropriate for your readers
  • Research your topics well
  • Keep your articles to the point 
  • Keep articles short (if it's too long, split it up over a few ezines)
  • Quote any sources
  • NEVER pirate anyone else's work
If your articles are effective, people will keep coming back for more.  

Promotion
Once you get your ezine designed and formatted, you can start promoting. It is a good idea to start promoting before the actual publication date. This way you will have some subscribers to send your first issue to. 
There are many more ways that you will learn as you spend more time publishing your ezine. Some of the ways to promote your ezine are;
Just remember to ALWAYS provide quality content and limit the number of ads. Your subscribers are important to your business, so ensure that you give them what they are looking for. Don't overstep the bounds of good taste or they may go elsewhere, taking their business with them. 
And don't forget to ask your customers regularly if they find your newsletter useful, what they like and what is most useful to them in their business. Good luck!

Becoming Customer-centric

Being  an organisational leader is one of the hardest challenges: how on earth do you align the activities of a diverse group of people... who are fighting over the same resources.. and all have different goals and agendas? In other words: how do you become a successful cat herder?
Of course, if you want to keep doing the same-old same-old, don't do anything about customer service. Your business will eventually die of its own accord as the industry you are in becomes obsolete through technological change. Evolve or die!
There are some things you can do to turn your team into a customer- focused player. But don't underestimate the size of the challenge. It's a biggie.
  • Before you even start, make sure that you have a rock solid mandate from your CEO; or if you are the CEO, you must support customer-centricity widely and with ACTIONS
  • Go and talk to your key team members. Establish their concerns. Identify the ones who will be hardest to shift. Understand where they are coming from and what they think about the concept of aligning the business around the customer
  • Identify what obstacles there are to change
  • Design a plan that includes the interests/concerns your team members, dovetailed into your own objectives. Use presentations, meetings and workshops to establish what change is required
  • Include in your plan how you will facilitate/manage change in these five key areas: 
    • business strategy 
    • customer strategy 
    • organisation design 
    • information architecture 
    • performance management 
  • Present your plan to your team so that they can see that their personal and work objectives will be more easily achieved by customer-centricity
  • Develop actions from your plan, helping your team to plan the change AND providing necessary resources (which may include IT to better handle customer information, changing team/member objectives or performance-based rewards) 
If all this looks familiar to you, that's because customer-centric best practice is based on change management. Complex systems are change-averse (and very stable) as they are grounded in the grouped beliefs of those people within them. These beliefs are VERY hard to change, especially as they are inextricably linked to their own personal sense of worth and company rewards.
So you have to make it easy for your people to accept change by changing not only how you do thinks and how you think, but also by how you measure success, and how you give rewards. Requiring a change all the way through the organisation. 
THEN you have to explain to your people that you have changed the rules, how and why. And how it will affect them. And what they have to do now.
Good luck with the cat herding.

Backups Yet Again

Viruses, theft, and natural disasters are just a few of the ways you could lose the data stored on your PC or server. 
Imagine losing all your documents, customer information, financial information, emails, appointments and employee records all at once... we know it can happen; just remember New York. Ten minutes to wipe out everything. 
Your business insurance may replace the machine, but money can't buy the hundreds of hours spent accumulating information. And don't forget if lost data is personal or confidential, you are at risk for fraud or negligence. 
  1. Backup regularly. Set a day once or twice a week (depending on your creativity rate). Log it as a recurring appointment in your calendar and discipline yourself to complete it on the day
  2. Keep your back up off site in a secure location in case of localised disasters like fire, theft, earthquake or flood (I keep mine in my Post Office box)
  3. Rotate your backups. You should create backups AT LEAST weekly and have three copies that you rotate in case of delayed-action viruses
  4. If you have lots of information, think about automating your backups with the help of hardware and software
  5. Test your backups before you need them. The point of maintaining a backup schedule is to successfully restore data following a catastrophe. If your hardware or software fall short in the event of an emergency, your time, money and effort are lost. Norton Ghost 2002 is a utility that allows you to back up your drive quickly and easily. It also guides you through the reinstall process should you need it. 
Backups can be tackled easily with a bit of forethought and planning. But do it now.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • VPN, virtual private network. Enhances security by making it more complicated and difficult to gain unauthorized access to the network, & takes advantage of encryption and authentication to make data unreadable and verify its origin
  • CSO, Customer Service Officer anywhere. IRD. Banking. Reception.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
Another Function key for you - this time it's all you can do in MS programmes with a straight F4
  • Excel "Absolute a cell reference ($A$1)" or "Repeat the last action"
  • IE "Display the Address bar history " 
  • Outlook "Find text" 
  • PowerPoint "Repeat the last action" 
  • Publisher & Access "Drop down a Combo box list or open/close a list box" 
  • Windows "Open Save In or Look In in the Save As or Open dialog box" 
  • Word "Redo or Repeat" 
Hot Linx
Wanna know what "Roller Coaster" really means? Well, stick your Garden Hose into http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.com/ 
Remember Waterbeds? Mouseketeers? Flares? Streaking? To find out just how many fads you have indulged in, check out the Badfads Museum site at http://www.badfads.com/home.html 
Lacking a bit of humour in your life? Then perhaps this site might give you a bit of a boost. Check out what makes kiwis chuckle at www.fairsuckofthesav.com 
And do you want to check out the scientific progress towards finding the world's funniest joke? Then you must visit www.laughlab.co.uk 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here