1. Google Tools Presentation for LA2M April 1, 2009
2. Google Tools Presentation April 1, 2009 Declan ONeill
I am a Regional Account Manager with 352 Media Group I am an Irish man living and working in Michigan, USA
- Likes - Rugby, Football (Soccer), Web Technologies
- Dislikes - People who do not use their signal indicators leading to my increased cortisol levels.
3. Google Tools: What Are They?
Google Apps or Tools is a collection of web-based programs that run in a web browser which do not require users to purchase or install software. Users must have a Google account and, once logged in, can access the tools.
4. Boring bit… … for some
5. Assumptions for #LA2M Attendees?
• I am making the assumption that everyone in this room is familiar with Google.
• I am making the assumption that everyone has used at least one of the tools from the Google Portfolio.
• Based on these two assumptions, I am going to speak briefly about the most popular tools, then go into some detail about how I think they can help you in marketing.
6. AdSense Google AdSense enables website publishers of all sizes to display
• relevant Google ads and earn revenue Video regarding how to Generate AdSense Code
• - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMG-dJ1yKt4&feature=player_embedded
7. AdSense Alternatives
• AdBrite - http://www.adbrite.com/
• Commission Junction - http://www.cj.com/
• LinkShare - http://www.linkshare.com/
• Microsoft adCenter - https://adcenter.microsoft.com/
• Federated Media - https://advertisers.federatedmedia.net/
• Yahoo Publisher Network - http://publisher.yahoo.com/
8. Google Docs Create and share your online documents, presentations, and spreadsheets
• Share and collaborate in real time
• Safely store and organize your work
• Control who can see your documents
• Google Docs in Plain English video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRqUE6IHTEA
9. Google Docs’ Alternatives
• Office Live WorkSpace (Free) http://workspace.officelive.com/
• Zoho (Free for personal use) http://www.zoho.com/
• iWork ‘09 ($99) http://www.apple.com/iwork/iwork-dot-com/
• Acrobat (Free) https://www.acrobat.com/
10. Gmail: Google’s approach to email
• Community-driven Spam Filter
• Ads – Google automatically scans e-mails to add context-sensitive advertisements to them.
• Conversations – Gmail groups all replies with the original message
• Built-in chat: text, voice, or video
• Labels – Are like folders, a conversation can be in several locations (Inbox, All Mail, Sent Mail, etc.)
• What is today’s Gmail hoax ????
11. What’s new in Gmail?
• Undo send - You can give yourself a grace period of a few seconds to cancel sending
• Offline - Make Gmail work even when you are not connected to the internet
• Tasks mobile - go to gmail.com/tasks from your mobile browser
12. Gmail Alternatives
• Yahoo mail
• MobileMe (Expensive)
13. Google Reader Google’s web-based RSS reader
• Google Reader constantly checks your favorite news sites and blogs for new content Google reader displays all of your RSS feeds in one area
• Get Feed Recommendations you might be interested in but are not yet subscribed to
14. Google Reader
• Google reader downloads your RSS feeds
• You can Recommend articles to your friends
• Add Google Reader to iGoogle
• Google Reader works on any mobile phone browser
15. Google Reader Alternatives
• Internet Explorer / Firefox / Safari
• My Yahoo
16. iGoogle is your personalized Google page.
17. iGoogle Alternatives
• My yahoo - http://my.yahoo.com/
• Net vibes - http://www.netvibes.com
• Windows Live - http://www.live.com/
• Eskobo - http://www.eskobo.com/default.aspx
• Schmedley - http://schmedley.com/
18. Google Alerts Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results
19. My Google Alerts: Mostly Clients
• FeedBurner is a web feed management tool that provides custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers, podcasters, and other web-based content publishers
• Feed Title: = 352 Media Group’s Recent Blogs
• Original Feed: = http://www.352media.com/rantingandraving/BlogsRSS.aspx
• Feed Address: = http://feeds2.feedburner.com/352media/xJdR
21. FeedBurner http://feeds2.feedburner.com/352media/xJdR
22. Google Webmaster Tools
• Google’s free webmaster tools provide you with an easy way to make sure your site is more Google-friendly
• Webmaster tools can help make sure Google has access to your site.
• You can check when the Googlebot last visited
• You can automatically inform Google when you update your pages
• You can see how your site is indexed and which of your pages are currently included in the index.
23. Google Webmaster Tools - oops!
24. Google Checkout
• Integrate eCommerce functionality into your website with Google Checkout
• Email Invoices
• Google Checkout Shopping Cart
• Buy Now Buttons
• Use a third-party shopping cart
25. Google Checkout Alternatives
• PayPal - https://www.paypal.com/us/
• Amazon Simple Pay - https://payments.amazon.com/sdui/sdui/business?sn=paynow/o
• Yahoo! Merchant Solutions - http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/ecommerce/
26. Google Chrome
• Google Chrome: A new web browser for Windows
• Search from the address bar
• Thumbnails of your top sites
• Private browsing
• Google Chrome for Mac is in development
27. Google Calendar
• Organize your schedule and share events with friends
• Add quick events
• Gmail integration
• Import events from other programs
• Event reminders
• Make your calendars public and searchable by other users
• Sync your Google Calendar with your Microsoft OutlookTM calendar
28. Local Business Center
• Use the Local Business Center to create your free listing.
• When potential customers search Maps for local information, they will find your business Help customers find you on Google Maps
• Update your listing at any time
• Dial 1-800-GOOG-411 from any phone (1-800-466-4411)
• State the location and business type
• Connect to the business for free
• GOOG-411 uses listing information provided by Google Maps. So if you are not listed on Google maps you will not be listed GOOG-411
30. Google Code: open source software
• Google Code is Google’s site for developers interested in Google-related/open-source development.
- The KIWI Kit is 352 Media Group’s first CSS framework and site template designed to help developers create consistent styles that are both standards compliant and logically structured
Get the Code - http://code.google.com/p/kiwiframework/downloads/list
• Download the code and use it for your next project. » @pxleyes created this framework - Follow him on Twitter!
31. The good stuff… … I hope!
32. FeedBurner BuzzBoost
• BuzzBoost re-publishes your burned feed’s content as go-anywhere HTML.
• Want to promote your blog on another site you manage?
see example http://www.intestionalfortitude.com/LA2M/BuzzBoost.html
• Offer feeds via email updates -
33. Google Docs’ In action
I created a Google docs’ form, and then asked attendees to fill it out.
- By using some generated code I embedded the form into a web page
<iframe src=\”http://spreadsheets.google.com/embeddedform?key=pVBO8pIIM1Wiy3Axv2RzYFg\” width=\”500\” height=\”1195\” frameborder=\”0\” marginheight=\”0\” marginwidth=\”0\”>Loading…</iframe>
You can see the embedded form here http://www.intestionalfortitude.com/LA2M/google-docs-form.html
You can see the results on a spreadsheet here http://www.intestionalfortitude.com/LA2M/google-docs.html
34. Google Webmaster Tools
Get Google’s view of your site and diagnose problems
• Submit a Sitemap to tell Google about pages on your site
• Verify a site by adding code like this to your site’s homepage
<meta name=\”verify-v1\” content=\”Co2DM9krxor+hWr8PQWEBHDKIGNobaDf7XITqJG9hsA=\” />
• Web Crawl — See errors and problems encountered by Google’s crawlers Top Search Queries
• See which search queries are the most often returned pages from your site and which of them were clicked See which pages on your site have links directing users from other sites.
35. Local Business Center
When potential customers search Maps for local information, they will find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products. It is free and you do not need a website to add your information Add Locations
• View Stats on Impressions and page Views
• Add coupons
• Add customer reviews to local business “good or bad,” this will help the community make informed decisions whether or not to use a local company i.e. Plumbers, etc. -
36. Google Sites
Can be used to build RFPs online and add updates.
• Collaborate with team members
• Create private members only areas or create user access
• privileges Google Sites web address can be changed from
• http://sites.google.com/site/example/ to http://www.example.com by updating the CNAME records
37. Google Analytics
• Google Analytics analyzes your traffic, where it comes from, and what it does once it enters your site
• Custom Reports
• Keyword and Campaign Comparison
• Ecommerce Tracking
38. Google Alerts
• Set up alerts for clients
• Set up alerts for competitors
• Set up alerts for your product offerings
• Set up alerts for companies you are trying to sell too
39. Useful Google Links
• Home Page http://www.google.com/
• Wiki Page - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Tools
• Submit URL - http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
• Search Cheat Sheet - http://www.google.com/help/cheatsheet.html
• Google Products - http://www.google.com/options/
40. Pimping: 352 Express Solutions
• 352 Media Group’s EXPRESS small business Web site - http://www.352media.com/express_Web_design.aspx
• PDF fact sheet: - http://www.352media.com/express/352express.pdf
41. Thank You and Questions
Get these Slides
• Contact Me email@example.com or 734-846-2352
• Follow me
- @declanon (with care — I have no filter on my personal account)
- @352AnnArbor (to keep up to date with all things 352 Ann Arbor)
• Learn more about 352 Media Group www.352media.com
I would like to offer a brief overview of my first web conference with the 352 team.
Day 1, Brandon picked me up at JAX airport and we drove to Atlanta in the scion, we happened to have two GPS systems but we still managed to get lost. However, I did get to pick the brain of a very talented coder/designer for 6 hours. We checked into the un-cool hotel (ground floor), while others stayed in the cool hotel, with all the speakers. Next time I will pay extra to be among the elite.
Day 2, Woke up and had breakfast with Brandon in the adjoining hotel, again we got lost on the way the to “The Louder Milk Center”, which was three blocks from where we were staying, (there is a pattern happening here).
Session 1 -- Making Accessibility Sexy // with Chris Heilmann “Web Developer, Yahoo” and Dan Rubin “User Experience Designer” you can get the presentation slides here http://www.slideshare.net/cheilmann/making-accessibility-sexy-presentation
I walked away from this session with some notes…
- How do people with Dyslexia read your web pages?
- What does accessibility mean?
- Hardcore testing of your systems.
- Building Better systems for everyone.
- Semantic markup
- This allows Both Humans and machines to understand the same information.
- Screen Readers.
- Screen readers are not just for the blind or visually impaired, users who are illiterate or have learning disabilities use them also.
- Challenge people to prove you are wrong.
- Play to your constraints and barriers.
- Check out the accessible YouTube player Chris built http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/
- Create new style sheets for users with disabilities.
- Create Close Captioning for Flash presentations and Video hosts.
- Allow people to access your code and allow them to build.
- Text to Index
- You must have searchable text on your site so search engines can find you.
Session 2 -- Marketing, Branding, and Reputation // Chris Perry Executive Vice President — Weber Shandwick // Jason Ford Director of Interactive Services — Tocquigny // John Moore Marketing Medic — Brand Autopsy. In hindsight I should have attended Darrin Ward’s session of SEO and SEM (he is Irish and also from Dublin).
My notes included
- Social networking
- Who are you trying to reach.
- Who are your audience?
- Flickr and Twitter can be used by companies.
- However, my own personal feelings on this is having Twitter accounts for companies is not a great idea, social networking is about people not companies. People want to follow what other people are doing and not necessarily the companies, so have your staff use twitter to write about what they are personally doing, (However my caveat is, http://www.twitterfeed.com/ can be used to feed twitter with RSS feeds from blog posts).
- How do you interact with the outside world
- Link to other posts that are similar in nature to your posts
- Become conversational on other peoples sites.
- However to be conversational, you must know what you are talking about.
- Post relevant interests that your company represents.
- Again, I do not want to follow companies I want to follow individuals within a company. You should not post for the sake of posting, make sure the reader can walk away with something they can learn from you. Write articles that are relevant to your industry and try to great a conversation with your readers.
- Good Example of creating conversation that is relevant to our company by Dan
- Bad example By Declan – this post has no place on a web design blog, and should be deleted.
- If the subject is not relevant to the theme of your site do not post it. You can get a free blogging account here http://wordpress.org/ for non industry related posts.
- Is Negative press hurting your brand?
- Survey your customers and ask them how they feel about your company.
- Jason Ford actually came up with a good point and I agree 100%. He said allow users to review your product and keep their negative feedback on your site, some people will say they hate your product because it was a horrible shade of red, but you may like red and if that the only issue with it why wouldn’t you purchase it.
Session 3 Design Disrepair // Jason Beaird Designer and author of The Principles of Beautiful Web Design. This was by far my favorite session and I happened to get Jason’s book (thanks Ross). You can see Jason’s slides from the session here .
I didn’t get to take to many notes from this session as it was in the non platinum rooms, there was not much room for writing on a pad and it was very muggy. But with all these issues Jason managed to keep my attention 100% at all times. The number one reason I enjoyed this session so much was that he made it personal, he made analogies between a website and a house, because both homes and websites need to be maintained, but sometimes maintenance isn’t enough and the whole house/website needs to be renovated, i.e. outdated content, obsolete code, dysfunctional navigation, lack of scalability.
Overall the event was amazing and I did get to meet some the big personalities, all of the speakers were really approachable and made you feel very welcome, I cannot wait until next year and hopefully I will get lost with Brandon again and pick his brain for another 6 hours.
For next year, I would like to see some more speakers that pertain to what I do – sell web site solutions, so J. Cornelius if you read this, I am available give a talk on selling websites. I would also like to see Geoff Wilson our CEO talking along with the likes of Lincoln Anderson speaking about Silverlight and Evan Blake talking about .NET development.
April 5, 2007 I received a call from Kari Brill, The Orthopaedic Institute Marketing Director, about redesigning their company website: http://www.toi-health.com/ .
This how the site looked before the redesign:
After several discussions and much brainstorming, Kari and I reached what we felt was an exciting redesign solution. The redesign solution was finalized on January 9, 2008, and the official Statement of Work (SOW) was sent to Kari. Approval from Kari followed on March 4, 2008. Some readers may be thinking this is a considerable amount of time from our initial contact to being awarded the contract, it is actually it is quite normal in my experience.
Some background on Kari Brill and The Orthopaedic Institute:
Tell us about your background and your role in the company?
I graduated, with honors, from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Creative Advertising (minor in Psychology) in December of 2000. I began working for The Orthopaedic Institute (TOI) in early 2003 as the company’s first Marketing Coordinator. During my first year with TOI, I evaluated and reallocated the marketing efforts and budget and was responsible for the design and implementation of all marketing pieces. Now, as Marketing Director, I supervise all marketing and advertising initiatives with a focus on creative services, referral sources marketing, employee education and development, community support initiatives, media relations and budget management.
What are your main services?
The Orthopaedic Institute is a private practice group of 24 fully trained physicians. Our physicians provide complete musculoskeletal care from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation. Our services include:
* Non-Surgical Orthopaedics
* Orthopaedic Surgery
* Joint Replacement Surgery
* Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
* Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery
* Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
In keeping with our objective of providing the full spectrum of musculoskeletal care, the following services are also available on site:
* Digital X-ray
* Physical and Hand Therapy
* Outpatient Surgery
What makes your company different from other companies competing in your industry?
The Orthopaedic Institute has numerous competitive advantages. We strive to provide accessible, compassionate, quality care that is truly patient centered. We achieve these goals by offering same or next day appointments in 4 convenient locations in North Florida – Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, and Alachua. All staff is screened and trained in going above and beyond to delight every patient.
Tell us more about your company’s success story?
The Orthopaedic Institute, formally The Orthopaedic Center, has been providing quality care to North Florida since 1980. Twenty eight years ago, the practice began with 3 physicians in Gainesville, Florida. Currently in 2008, we have 24 physicians providing care to patients in over 18 counties in North Florida. Our office locations are in Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, and Alachua. We have around 118,000 patient encounters a year.
The Development Process
Why did you decide to have your website redesigned?
The Orthopaedic Institute’s main focus is the care of our patients. We wanted a site that was patient friendly… meaning a site easy to navigate, filled with patient education and the ability to register for appointments and complete paper work.
Why did you choose 352 Media Group?
We chose 352 because of their wide range of abilities and great service. We reviewed their portfolio and knew they were capable of creating the site we were envisioning.
How was the overall process of the new site design, is there anything you would / we could have done differently?
The overall process was longer than expected, but as the client, we changed some design elements that caused some delay in the process. We were very satisfied with the entire process and especially the final result. Declan and Stephanie and other 352 staff made it a great experience.
What feedback have you received from your clients?
We have received nothing but positive comments on our newly designed web site from our own employees and physicians, to numerous patients/clients utilizing the site. Their positive feedback has proven that we achieved our objectives of creating a beautifully designed, informative and easy to navigate web site.
Here is the newly redesigned site that we built for The Orthopaedic Institute, which was launched October 2008.
So what did The Orthopaedic Institute project consist off?
Information and Technical Architecture Documents · Sitemap Documentation · Design Preference Documentation · Wire Frames with Component Descriptions · Hosting Configuration Documentation
Home Page -- http://www.toi-health.com/
Inner Page- http://www.toi-health.com/Our-Services.aspx
Logo Design touch up’s
Coding and Content Integration
Animated Flash Presentation -- http://www.toi-health.com
New Patient Email Form -- http://www.toi-health.com/newPatient.aspx
Newsletter Sign and unsubscribe -- http://www.toi-health.com/unsubscribe.aspx
Content Management System (CMS)
Thanks to the Project Development Team!
Stephanie Lindsey - Project Manager
Katrice Crawford- Project Manager
Declan O’Neill- Account Manager
Evan Blake – Business Analyst
Jodi Higbee - Senior Manager
Lincoln Anderson - Lead Designer
Peter Brownstein - Lead Programmer
Jason Reeder - Lead Programmer
Andrew Keller – Network Support
The Orthopaedic Institute recently commissioned 352 Media Group to add further functionality, a Newsletter Manager, to http://www.toi-health.com/ . This is great news for both TOI and 352 Media, as it is extremely important to foster and maintain relationships with all clients, especially local clients.
Sometimes I have clients that need to send me large files, and this can be quite a difficult situation, because the files are too big for email and the client does not have their own FTP server . Our support team on occasion set up FTP accounts so clients can send us large files. This takes a small amount of time to set up, and also assumes that the client has FTP software to upload the files to our servers.
I came across https://www.getdropbox.com/ a few months ago, and I am very impressed. I have two different computers in my office, Laptop (pc) for normal everyday work, and a desktop (iMac) for testing client websites in a Mac environment and general personal use. When I need to send files from one machine to the other, either I have to email or put them on a memory stick, this was a bit of a pain until now.
If you need a solution like this, go to www.getdropbox.com download the software and set it up on your machine. You can download the software on a second machine and use the same login as you did on the first install, and this will synchronize both drop boxes. Once you are set up you will have the ability to drag and drop files into the Dropbox folder. There is a public folder “\dropbox\My Dropbox\Public” which will allow you to share files with computers that are not synchronized to your account.
Best of all the software is free and you get a 2 GB quota, but you can upgrade to 50GB for $99 a year or $9.99 a month.
A list of FAQ’s can be seen here -- https://www.getdropbox.com/faq
New guidelines boost web access http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7789622.stm.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced a new standard to make sites more accessible to older and disabled people.
Version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) will apply to text, images, audio and video. It also covers web applications and is said to give developers more flexibility than the old guidelines. According to the consortium, WCAG 2.0 should also be easier to understand and use. The guidance is designed to address barriers encountered by people with visual, hearing, physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities and older people with access needs.
WCAG 2.0 explains how to make content:
- Perceivable - including descriptive text for images, audio captions, flexibility of layout and color contrast
- Operable - making sites usable with keyboards and improving navigation
- Understandable - making content easier to read and input more logical
- Robust - ensuring that content and applications are compatible with assistive technology such as screen readers and magnifiers
The videos are very interesting as they show how people with different types of disabilites navigate the sites we build, along with the issues they have trying to access information.
Video 1 (Shopping online for blind people)
Visually impaired tester Hazel Dudley uses the Jaws voice system to find out how easy it is to surf price comparison sites. Her ratings are personal and do not represent a scientific appraisal of the site.
Video 2 (How dyslexia affects e-shopping)
Tester Chris Markley shows how his dyslexia inhibits his ability to use price comparison sites. His ratings are personal and do not represent a scientific appraisal of the sites.
Video 3 (How limb pain limits web surfing)
Tester Nicola Keary's non-specific arm pain (formerly known as repetitive strain injury), reduces her ability to use some price comparison sites. Her ratings are personal and do not represent a scientific appraisal of the sites. Since this trial was filmed, confused.com has redesigned its website to cater more for people with disabilities.
Each year I see posts from various bloggers aimed at Holiday gifts for Geeks notably Designers, Programmers, etc… but never for the humble Account Manager. So I took it upon myself as an account manager to list out 10 gifts that would either make our lives easier, or our offices much better environment in the coming year. These gifts are in no specific order nor have I taken price into consideration…
1. Pac-Man 25th Anniversary Arcade Game.
- By putting this game in your office, it could attract some developers, once in your office you can pick their brains for knowledge.
2. Nokia E71
- Great phone (and one of my clients) -- it is important to have access to email and the web when you are out of the office.
3. Office Chair with 4 Motor Massage
- As account managers we are sitting most of time, so it is important to have a good chair (Note: keep your old chair and give the massage chair to a client during meetings so they are more relaxed).
4. HP L7590 OfficeJet Pro All In One Printer
- Printer, fax, scanner, I have one and it’s fantastic.
5. Garmin nüvi 760 4.3-Inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Automobile Navigator
- There is no excuse to be late to a client meeting and when Google maps do not cut the mustard. Get a GPS, my life has not been the same since I got one, to be honest I do not know what I would do without a GPS system.
6. Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation).
- For Listening to web design related podcasts going to and from work in the car.
7. Samsung Touch Of Color T240HD 24-Inch LCD HDTV Monitor
- I find it impractical working with one screen, having dual screens has made my so much life easier – Now I have 2 screens I want a third.
8. Iomega Prestige 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive 34275.
- It’s important to have a ton of storage to save all your proposal back-up’s and client specific files.
9. Wii with Mario kart or Tiger Woods
- Great for relaxing when you have had a tough day.
10. Livescribe 2GB Pulse Smartpen.
- What a great tool for taking notes during meetings, this pen records audio and links the audio file what you write on paper.
You will notice that I have added 9 of the gifts to an Amazon page, if you plan on purchasing any of the above gifts for the Account manager in your life I would appreciate that you purchased them by clicking in the appropriate link in the widget. Once purchased via Amazon I will get a commission from the sale and I will donate 100% of the referral payments to “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer”.
So I thought about the type of company Structure that would be the right choice for my new company, and after some research and consultation from my lawyer (David A. Antonelli) I have decided the company structure will be a LLC “Limited Liability Company”.
What is a LLC?
· A limited liability company (abbreviated L.L.C. or LLC), is a hybrid business entity having characteristics of both a corporation (Limited Liability) and a partnership (pass-through income tax). It is often more flexible, the owners have limited liability for the actions and debts of the company, and it is suitable for smaller companies with a single owner.
· Owners of an LLC are called members. Since most states do not restrict ownership, members may include individuals, corporations, other LLCs and foreign entities. There is no maximum number of members. Most states also permit “single member” LLCs, those having only one owner.
· A few types of businesses generally cannot be LLCs, such as banks and insurance companies.
· LLC owners report their share of business profit and loss on their personal tax returns.
· Forming an LLC can help you separate yourself from your business, protecting your personal assets in the event of a judgment against the company. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now recognize this popular business type.
· Owners do not need to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
What are the next steps? -- Choosing a Name for Your LLC
The name of your LLC must comply with the rules of your state's LLC division
· The name cannot be the same as the name of another LLC on file with the LLC office.
· The name must end with an LLC designator, such as "Limited Liability Company" or "Limited Company," or an abbreviation of one of these phrases (such as "LLC," "L.L.C.," or "Ltd. Liability Co.")
· The name cannot include certain words prohibited by the state such as Bank, Insurance, Corporation or City (state rules differ on which words are prohibited).
· Your state's LLC office can tell you how to find out whether your proposed name is available for your use.
· Besides following your state's LLC naming rules, you must make sure your name won't violate another company's trademark
To see if your proposed name is unique, you can search Michigan’s name database.
Filing Articles of Organization
· After settling on a name, you must prepare and file "articles of organization" with your state's LLC filing office. While most states use the term "articles of organization" to refer to the basic document required to create an LLC, some states use the term "certificate of formation" or "certificate of organization."
· Articles of organization are short, simple documents. Typically, you must provide only your LLC's name, its address, and sometimes the names of all of the owners -- called members. Generally, all of the LLC owners may prepare and sign the articles, or they can appoint just one person to do so.
· You will probably also be required to list the name and address of a person -- usually one of the LLC members -- who will act as your LLC's "registered agent," or "agent for service of process." Your agent is the person who will receive legal papers in any future lawsuit involving your LLC.
Creating an LLC Operating Agreement
Even though operating agreements need not be filed with the LLC filing office and are rarely required by state law, it is essential that you create one. In an LLC operating agreement, you set out rules for the ownership and operation of the business (much like a partnership agreement or corporate bylaws). A typical operating agreement includes:
· the members' percentage interests in the business
· the members' rights and responsibilities
· the members' voting power
· how profits and losses will be allocated
· how the LLC will be managed
· rules for holding meetings and taking votes,
· "buy-sell" provisions, which establish rules for what happens if a member wants to sell his or her interest, dies, or becomes disabled.
Licenses and Permits
After you've completed the steps described above, your LLC is official. But before you open your doors for business, you need to obtain the licenses and permits that all new businesses must have to operate. These may include a business license (sometimes also referred to as a "tax registration certificate"), a federal employer identification number, a sellers' permit, or a zoning permit.
Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
The EIN is the corporate equivalent to a Social Security Number, EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification. When the number is used for identification rather than employment tax reporting, it is usually referred to as a TIN, and when used for the purposes of reporting employment taxes, it is usually referred to as an EIN.https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp .
I have reviewed the Michigan.gov website by myself and it is not really helpful to a person with limited knowledge, I found a bunch of forms but to be honest I am not 100% sure if I need to fill them all out or just some of them, I am assuming that I need to fill out
· 540 - RESERVATION OF NAME
· 701 - ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION (PROFESSIONAL SERVICE LLC)
I have reviewed a few of the DIY company set up websites such as…
…and to be honest they look fine, and I assume they will do the job, but I want it done right, and I like the feeling of interaction with a real life law professional, so I am working with David A. Antonelli. David is an Attorney at Law, who specializes in business Law. David will verify the correct forms I need to fill out, along with answering any questions that I have when filling them out.
David Antonelli emailed me and offered some important information…
“As I mentioned the other day, corporation, partnerships, llc’s and other entity forms are creatures of state government. The decision to pick the state of organization will vary on a case by case basis, considering such things as where the principals & business operations are to be located, tax treatment, regulatory regime, etc. If the entity will conduct business outside its state of organization then, generally, the entity will need to be qualified in such other state(s) as a “foreign corporation”). The decision of where to organize and/or qualify the entity to do business should be discussed with an attorney (not to give us more work, but to make sure the principals make good decisions). Initial organization and qualification to do business (as a foreign corporation) is generally achieved by filing “Articles of Organization” (in the case of a LLC), by an “Application for Registration to Transact Business” (for foreign entity registration), or by other similar – type filings. Each state has their own filings.
Once organized, the entity will need to register to do business with the state, identify itself as an employer (if applicable), etc. In Michigan (and I believe in the other states), there is a separate set of forms for this purposes.
A new entity, wherever organized, will also need a Federal Tax Identification Number (or FEIN). This is accomplished by filing with the US Internal Revenue Service.
Other things to consider when setting up a new business include insurance, capital requirements, systems requirements, etc. Decisions about whether the entity will employ persons will also need to be addressed at the time of formation / registration.
Hope this helps you move forward. As you know, the foregoing is no more than a general overview. You should discuss these matters with me before making any decisions, creating a new entity, etc.”
So now I know the correct forms I need to get started with…
Misc MI Business Entity Forms
Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online
… furthermore, without David’s guidance and knowledge I would still be trying to find the correct forms.
Parting note for stage 2
The process of setting up a new company is not easy, I am equating it to developing a custom website, without the proper guidance of a professional that knows exactly what they are doing, you will get lost every quickly, and will most likely over look some items that could come back and haunt you in the future. For this stage I would strongly suggest getting a business lawyer like David Antonelli to help you.
Step 3 “What type of business will I run” is the next step I will encounter, please look out for it.
In what is increasingly becoming a war of words between Microsoft and Adobe, the two companies seem to time announcements about Silverlight and Flash respectively in an effort to steal the other’s thunder. Last night, a few hours before the embargo lifted on a bundle of announcements Adobe was making at their annual MAX conference, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division Scott Guthrie put out a post on his blog about the state of Silverlight and hinted at upcoming features in Silverlight 3, which should ship next year.
Guthrie was obviously very positive on Silverlight and the strides Microsoft has made in 2008 in getting the browser plugin out onto consumer machines. According to Guthrie, since the release of Silverlight 2 last month, the plugin has been downloaded over 100 million times, and some version of Silverlight is installed on 1 in 4 web connected computers. That’s pretty good for a technology that initially debuted under 20 month ago.
Guthrie also took some direct shots at Adobe’s competing Flash technology. “In the August 2008 edition of Web Designer Magazine (a Dutch publication) a [Dutch television network] representative reported that they were able to serve 100,000 concurrent users using Silverlight and 40 Windows Media Servers, whereas it would have required 270 servers if they had used Flash Media Servers,” he wrote. Guthrie also specifically noted that Flash is being replaced by Silverlight in Blockbuster’s MovieLink application.
One of reasons Microsoft is in a position to be able to take on Adobe’s Flash, which has an 11 year head start and nearly ubiquitous deployment, is the strength the company has in the enterprise. Microsoft has been able to lean on its corporate partners to score some high profile deployments of Silverlight very quickly, including at NBC, Netflix, AOL, Toyota, and Akamai. There aren’t many companies that could do that and push out a new plugin so quickly. (Google comes to mind as another who has the muscle to get it done — and Steve Gillmor recently suggested that they may actually be headed into the fray as well.)
Maybe now we can start selling silverlight apps / motion graphics, if the take up in the plugin in is much higher.
I like social experiments, and I think this will be fun (famous last words), every day I have potential entrepreneurs calling me about their web based ideas and to be honest some of them are cool, and to be even more honest some are absolutely dreadful. But the main point is -- I am talking to different people every day that have set up companies, so I feel in order to be a better account manager and to offer better knowledge and expertise I need to set up my own company, and experience the process first hand.
So my plan is to find out what I need to set up a company, and then research the main topics, so I can get the ball rolling for my experiment. I plan to research at least one topic per week, and provide my feedback here on ranting and raving. I will also be calling on experts that I have helped along the way and asking them for their advice, I guess Geoff Wilson will be my first stop.
Below is a list of items that should get me started (this list is not complete in anyway; please reply to this post with any suggestions because I am sure I have missed many important points).
· Choosing a Structure (example: Limited Liability Company (LLC)
· What type of business will I run
o What’s my business idea
o How does my idea address a need?
o What’s so different about what I plan offer?
· Start up money
o What do I pay myself
o Accounting and Cash flow
o Business Insurance
· Legal Issues
o Can I own an American business, if I am not American?
· Naming my Business
o Trade marking the name
· Building a website
o Logo design
o Corporate identity
o Site Design
o Website Functionality
o What is the primary purpose of the site?
o Do I want to sell products (e-commerce)?
o How often will the site need to updated, do I want to be able to update the site myself or pay someone else to update it?
o Who will develop the content for the site?
· Managing my Business
o How will customers buy from me, and how much will they pay?
o filing my business taxes,
o Forecasting for future growth.
o Will I need staff
· Office space
o Rent Space
o Work out of the spare bedroom
· Communication Tools
· Marketing My business
o Promotion and advertising
o How will I measure success
o What are my key milestones
· Getting clients
o Keeping client
o Dealing with client issues
o Customer service
· exit strategy
Look out for my research next week.
Here are the slides from my LA2M session, they discuss how I go about selling and what works for me. Enjoy...
Slide 1: LA2M - Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing Selling for Designers and Developers October 15, 2008
Slide 2: About Declan ONeill • I am a Regional Account Manager with 352 Media Group.• I moved to the US 3 years ago from Ireland.• I started in the web industry 12 years ago as a developer. - I was terrible, PERL was not my friend, and I was smart enough to know it. • I have been selling for 11.5 years. - What I do is a passion, not a job, because for 11.5 years my main hobby has been web design and related technologies.
Slide 3: “I am not a sales expert and will I never claim to be. I have, however, made millions of dollars / Euros for the companies I have worked with during my career. I have remained an apprentice of business development and take what I do very seriously.” “I have my own way of selling that works for me. I try to associate myself with smart people who can teach me and help me improve upon what I do.”
Slide 4: “Someone called me ‘Altruistic’ 1 (I didn’t know its meaning) for those in the same boat as I am — “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.” I try to go above and beyond for all my clients to ensure their experience is stellar.” “I treat every client as if he or she is a client for life and do what it takes to keep clients coming back.” Source1: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altruistic
Slide 5: ” This may mean stepping out of your comfort zone or battling against colleagues or management to make sure clients’ needs are met at an acceptable level.” “This may mean working late nights or on weekends. Bottom line– you get out of sales what you put into it; do little work and you will get little reward”.
Slide 6: Firstly, there are a few givens when selling Look the part, try to dress better or equal to your client. - Get a nice suit, tie (if applicable), shoes, etc. - Make sure your hair and nails are tidy and you are clean shaven (if applicable). - Get a nice pen, folder, and stationary for client meetings. - Arrive on time, get a GPS, and power converters for your car. - Make sure you have a working presentation before arriving at a client meeting as internet connections are not always available.
Slide 7: Why should a client buy from you? Clients buy from you because they like you and your company and they choose you because you made them feel special. If you can satisfy a client’s tangible needs (satisfied directly by your product or service) and intangible needs (something subjective, something that exists in the customer’s head i.e. their emotional needs), you are more than 90% the way to winning that client’s business.
Slide 8: There are different types of personality Understand your clients personality, • Will they be easy to work with? • Will your team members have any easy time working with the client? • Are they asking for discounts, before the work begins. • Are they promising you more work for a better deal now. • Are you getting a bad feeling?
Slide 9: Know how to deal with Personality types • Do not be afraid to fire problem clients. (only after you have tried everything to solve his or her issues.) • Alert your team that the customer will be easy or hard to deal with. • Address any issues upfront, like how they would like communication, any deadlines, or any budget issues, or change orders etc.
Slide 10: Sometimes it ok to say NO Do not be afraid to say no to work, if you do not have the bandwidth to take the work on, this will have a domino affect within your firm. The new client will not be happy because of the length of time it takes to complete the project and other clients will get annoyed because you are not given them the attention they deserve.
Slide 11: Lead Generation • Web Site Leads Search Engine • Cold Call Mixers / Networking Lunches • Word of Mouth Golf Course • Referral Friend / Family • By Chance Ad Words • Phone Book Linked In • Quote Catcher Facebook • Vendor Seek Other Sources
Slide 12: Make it easy for prospects to find information • Tell people what you have done • Make it easy to find your portfolio • Tell them about your awards and provide client testimonials. • Show them your client list and allow them to see that similar companies are also your clients. • Show off your work. • Show your services, don’t make it a guessing game
Slide 13: How I deal with leads Note: this works for me and may not be the right solution for you. I give each lead I receive a rating between 1 and 10. 1: I am not wasting my time. 10: This is going to look great in our portfolio when I win it. Example of a lead rated 1-3: User contacts me but doesn’t leave his/her last name or phone number but provides a hotmail address. The client’s requirements are: “I need a website” or “I want a ‘You Tube’ type site” and the client has a $500 budget. I contact each one but don’t lose any sleep when they don’t contact me. Example of a lead rated 7-10: User contacts me and he/she is from well-known company. The client has a very detailed RFQ/RFP, is in need of a custom website, and understands the costs involved (including associated costs such as hosting, SEM, etc.
Slide 14: The tricky ones Leads rated 4-6 are tricky, and this is where networking plays a major role. 4 - 6 are realistic leads, but sometimes they looking for .PHP or some sort of open source application. These leads don’t have the budget to pay for the project and are, sometimes, seeking SEO, SEM, or copywriting. Solution: pass these leads on to other vendors (3.7 designs gets all of my smaller design leads, Ingenex Digital Marketing gets all of my copywriting leads and smaller SEO. Referral business is a great way to increase sales–right now, hand your business card to the person next to you and ask them for a referral.
Slide 15: Proposals “So many times other companies just list their rate and a one sentence explanation for the cost. When you are asking for $50-150k, this does not cut the mustard.” This is a quote from my boss–I love it because it is true. Tell the customer what you are offering but, more importantly, tell them what they are not getting, so there is no gray area. “I think that it has to do with the fact that we explain the process, the features, and expectations for the project based on what we learn before we write it. This produces proposals that are more thoughtful and succinct”. This is a quote from our Tampa-based account manager. Ask all the right questions and get to know what the clients’ needs are by asking open-ended, probing questions. You cannot provide the right solution if you don’t know what the customers’ needs are.
Slide 16: Follow up with the client Pick up the phone-e-mailing to follow up with a client is a pet hate (I do it, but only with clients that I know are not ready to purchase. I want to let them know that I am still thinking about them and I am still here when they need me.) Emailing is so impersonal, it doesn’t allow you to build a relationship and get to understand your client and their needs/personality. I partly credit my success to my lack of typing and grammar skills, because I know that picking up the phone is going to be 100 times quicker than writing a long e-mail that I will have to triple check for errors before releasing it to the client.
Slide 17: Have the right tools for the job If you need something to make your job easier (like a piece of software, a faster computer, email/internet on your phone, 2 screens, a nice desk, a comfortable chair) make sure you get them. If your company will not purchase these things for you, purchase them with your own money and call it “personal development” because great tools make the job easier. Creating the right environment is so important to a person’s success. If you feel good in your workspace, you can concentrate more on selling.
Slide 18: Your Success Associate yourself with the right people–other successful people. Stay away from people that bring you down. Get a mentor and learn from him/her. Expose yourself to what’s new–if you are not learning something new your competition is. New information is essential to your success. Become valuable–the more valuable you become, the more the marketplace will reward you. Become known as a resource, not a sales person–your value is linked to your knowledge and willingness to help others.
Slide 19: Your Success The more you can solve problems, the easier path you will have to success. Clients don’t really want facts, they want answers. Recognize opportunity–stay alert for situations that can create opportunities. Take responsibility for your actions, don’t blame others for your mistakes. Learn from your mistakes–the best teacher is failure. Mistakes are experiences not to be repeated again.
Slide 20: Motivation Do what it takes to get motivated. For me, personally, I love getting 352 Blocks. For each sale I make that is 10K and over, I get a block. I want to build a big wall and in order to build my wall, I have to sell projects that are over 10k I would have a small wall if I got a block for each sale, but 10k is a decent bar to shoot for.
Slide 21: Motivation Want to be the number 1 person in your company, albeit whatever your role. In 2007 I was the highest grossing account manager within 352 Media Group.
Slide 22: Motivation Sell a solution that nobody in your company has done before. In 2004 I sold the first ever corporate MPLS network in Ireland .
Slide 23: In closing If you can’t build it, don’t sell it. If you know when speaking to a client that you cannot perform the services they require, don’t take on the job because you will get caught. You will have wasted this company’s time and money. Not to mention the bad press and negative feedback that they will pass on to everyone they know about you and your company. Use this community of people to generate business–refer business you cannot take on to others in this room.
Slide 24: Thank You Learn more about 352 Media Group : www.352media.com Our Blog: http://www.352media.com/rantingandraving/