Social Media Marketing with Facebook, Getting Started

On “Switched on IT,” the PowerTV Australia show that co-hosted by Doug Endersbee of OZ Hosting and W3 Consulting’s Ray Sidney-Smith, Episode 4, Doug interviews Ray about Social Media marketing, starting with the use of Facebook, Instagram and som…

On “Switched on IT,” the PowerTV Australia show that co-hosted by Doug Endersbee of OZ Hosting and W3 Consulting’s Ray Sidney-Smith, Episode 4, Doug interviews Ray about Social Media marketing, starting with the use of Facebook, Instagram and some general

Social Media Content Done Right | Web and Beyond

Find the original archive of the video here: Social Media Content Done Right | Web and Beyond. We can’t create content all the time. We’re business owners and we have a business to run, that’s likely not creating content for

Find the original archive of the video here: Social Media Content Done Right | Web and Beyond. We can’t create content all the time. We’re business owners and we have a business to run, that’s likely not creating content for

Search Engine Optimization for Small Business

In this episode (3) of “Switched on IT,” the PowerTV Australia show that I co-host with Doug Endersbee of OZ Hosting, we cover some of the high-level areas that you need to understand about Search Engine Optimization for Small Business.

In this episode (3) of “Switched on IT,” the PowerTV Australia show that I co-host with Doug Endersbee of OZ Hosting, we cover some of the high-level areas that you need to understand about Search Engine Optimization for Small Business.

Finally, spring is here

This post is written by Bill Reagan, Executive Director of the SBDC and first appeared in the Alexandria Times on April 6, 2018.  This year’s annual column on making the most of our springtime is not going to require much convincing. It wasn’t a particularly cold or snowy winter, but it was drab, and everyone I… Read more »

The post Finally, spring is here appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

This post is written by Bill Reagan, Executive Director of the SBDC and first appeared in the Alexandria Times on April 6, 2018. 

This year’s annual column on making the most of our springtime is not going to require much convincing. It wasn’t a particularly cold or snowy winter, but it was drab, and everyone I know is beyond ready to get out and enjoy the spring weather.

Alexandrians are blessed with an abundance of ways to celebrate the warming season. Just getting outdoors will feel plenty good, but what incredible options we have. First, we can simply stroll our beautiful and historic neighborhoods.

This time of year, our neighbors are planting in their flowerbeds, window boxes, or pots on their sidewalks and hanging new door wreaths. For a closer look inside and a peek behind garden walls, don’t miss the Historic Homes & Garden Tour on April 21.

Baseball season is finally here and there’s no easier or more picturesque way to get to and from Nats Park than the Potomac Riverboat Company’s Baseball Boat that boards at our waterfront. And speaking of the river, Alexandria has access to incredible waterfront trails and parks where you can stroll, picnic or bike. For the more ambitious among us, there’s always the George Washington Parkway Classic, a ten mile race along the Potomac from Mount Vernon to Old Town on April 22.

Keep an eye out for festivals and events where you can sip spirits at galleries, brew houses or gardens or even historic sites such as the Mt. Vernon lawn. On Saturdays in May, enjoy Attics and Alleys, a three-hour walking tour of rarely seen historic sites in Old Town. Afterwards, check out one of the many new restaurants opening this spring, like Mia’s Italian Kitchen or Smoking Kow BBQ.

We should never take our treasures for granted – they’re not just for tourists.

Speaking of tourists, I’m sure you’ve heard that Money Magazine just selected Alexandria as the #1 best travel destination in the United States for 2018. What a confirmation that we live in an incredible place.

This calls on us to be gracious hosts for the visitors that designation is certain to bring. We know from Visit Alexandria studies that tourism generates hundreds of millions of dollars for local businesses and supports thousands of Alexandria jobs.

Tourism also reduces the tax burden on our households. Cities that are tourist destinations tend to also spur creative economies. The charm and vitality that lures tourists also attracts entrepreneurs and helps businesses recruit skilled workers.

The snowball effect adds to the diversity and strength of Alexandria. What can we do to enhance the visitor experience? First, be welcoming in every way, such as helping someone who’s struggling with a map or looking lost. You know how such help has made you feel in strange places. Second, be ready to suggest great places for them to visit, shop or dine. We all value recommendations from locals when we travel.

Spring has sprung and it’s a great time to get out and enjoy our community – and let our enthusiasm become contagious to visitors.

The post Finally, spring is here appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Winning and Keeping Talent When a Giant Comes Calling

Have you heard that Amazon is scouting out locations for a second headquarters outside Seattle? Metropolitan areas across the country have sent their most persuasive and compelling pitches to Jeff Bezos and Co. Now, the lucky finalists, are hosting del…

Have you heard that Amazon is scouting out locations for a second headquarters outside Seattle? Metropolitan areas across the country have sent their most persuasive and compelling pitches to Jeff Bezos and Co. Now, the lucky finalists, are hosting delegations of Amazonians while visions of a booming local economy dance in their heads. Here, in the DMV, we are tuned ...

Blockchain Is in the Future for Small Business

This article was written by Ray Sidney-Smith, facilitator for Alexandria Small Business Development Center’s monthly Business Development Roundtable. You may join us every third Tuesday of the month for different topic-based discussions for Small Business in the City of Alexandria, Virginia. He will also be presenting a workshop on April 17th: “Blockchain for Small Business: What… Read more »

The post Blockchain Is in the Future for Small Business appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

This article was written by Ray Sidney-Smith, facilitator for Alexandria Small Business Development Center’s monthly Business Development Roundtable. You may join us every third Tuesday of the month for different topic-based discussions for Small Business in the City of Alexandria, Virginia. He will also be presenting a workshop on April 17th: “Blockchain for Small Business: What it is/Marketing/Management Opportunities”. Register here.

Few times in my career as a technologist have I so clearly seen the proverbial writing on the wall regarding a technology that will change the world. And, a technology that is so powerful that it will change the way we do (almost if not) every type of business transaction. But, it’s not the kind of change that you’ll notice on the surface. It’s the type of change that’s subtle. It’s in the way we produce and use the software that is all around us. It’s the way we manage trust among our vendors, suppliers, customers and other parties to business transactions. It’s the way we secure ourselves from the growing concerns of cyber-attacks on our Small Business data and systems. That technology is blockchain and here I explain what blockchain is (in as simple terms as I can).

Invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym used by the unknown inventor(s) of the method behind how it works, in 2008, blockchain is discussed most frequently and popularly as synonymous with the wildly popular and speculative investments in digital currencies today. This is because Nakamoto’s application of the blockchain was used for the cryptocurrency coined Bitcoin in 2009. But, don’t mistake blockchain technology for being only Bitcoin. It’s so much more.

Blockchain is a highly complex way of dealing with digital assets. Thankfully, all of the complicated workings of blockchain happens in the background. Essentially, it is a way of securely validating and sharing data (e.g., digital currency, health records, and contracts) for all parties involved. The way in which you once centralized your data and managed your security, blockchain changes that with the use of many locations where you data is held and some powerful cryptography techniques applied.

If you want to learn more about how blockchain works (and how Small Business opportunities to use blockchain today), attend my upcoming seminar on April 17th. At the seminar, we talk about the real potential for this new technology is to improve security, reliability and validity of data, plus a few innovative ways Small Business can take advantage of this technology today and in the near future.

It’s difficult to fathom but mathematics and algorithms (running atop massive computer power today) has a profound impact on our daily lives. It’s only logical that each iteration of newly-minted, competent technology will also affect business operations and marketing. It’s imperative that you continue to learn about major groundswell changes like that which blockchain brings.

The post Blockchain Is in the Future for Small Business appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Save Your Business for World Backup Day

Happy World Backup Day, Small Business! Are you saving your business (data)? Our company experienced our own unfortunate circumstance with a fire that affected our entire office building. I had a business continuity plan for a wide variety of possible

Happy World Backup Day, Small Business! Are you saving your business (data)? Our company experienced our own unfortunate circumstance with a fire that affected our entire office building. I had a business continuity plan for a wide variety of possible

Store Fixture Design: Adding Technology Improves on an Already Good Thing

A relationship with a quality fixture manufacturer is essential for any retail architect. Just ask Bryce Sills and Heather Hislop from Ennco Display Group, one of our favorites!

A Concrete Problem – There is a surprise offspring of the new “borderless” retail paradigm that seems almost liberating because, finally, something can be defined in terms of a concrete problem. One having to do with store fixtures.

Is the Store Closing? – Did you notice that the merchandise in the drug store is all pulled forward on the shelf, implying – more than usual I mean – that the space in the back is not empty? When it starts to become so obvious that we begin to think that the store might be closing, it’s time for a change. Many retailers, even those embracing technology, are still stuck in the old “big box” store planning mentality, I hesitate to bring up Toys R Us again, but as Steve Dennis, writing for Forbes, tells us, “boring, undifferentiated, irrelevant and unremarkable stores are most definitely… dying…”

Curating an Inventory – The point being that changing the physical retail environment from a warehouse to a museum involves completely revisiting how an inventory is displayed and impacts the size and layout of a store. Curating an inventory, i.e., “show rooming,” means presenting it in terms of a multi faceted value proposition. It means incorporating a physical product into a marketing message using multiple and sometimes interactive types of media.

Multi Function – Suppose, for example, I walk into a store looking for new sunglasses. I walk over to the sun glass display and see that there are lots of frames and brands as well as examples of available coatings, lens colors, and an educational video about what all of these do. There might be a nearby kiosk allowing me to use my phone to access my eye wear history, insurance, prescriptions, exam dates and finally a scanned image of my face with recommended frame style, size, and shape. Maybe I find that there is an indicator on the store fixture that flashes when I pass an appropriate option based on the information in my profile. Once I find a frame, I am able to see other colors and finishes, check availability, see how much it costs, and read customer reviews right there on the display. I might then sit down with the optician so that he or she is able to give full attention to positioning the lens and finalizing my order. Sound improbable? Take a look at Amazonbooks in NYC and then say that.

Competing with Amazon – I understand that many retailers will neither want, nor be able to directly compete with Amazon. However, once a retailer gets over the initial shock, incorporating technology into a retail display program may not be as difficult as one would imagine; especially if the designer has a good working relationship with a store fixture fabricator experienced with the product line, offering a wide selection of standard interchangeable parts, and capable and willing to making adjustments. One such company is Ennco Display Group, who we have been pleased to work with in the past and recently met at Vision Expo in NYC. It is important to keep in mind that adding technology to an existing fixture is done to improve on an already good thing. All of the the thought, planning and testing that goes into creating a captivating visual display is not wasted because technology must be added to how it functions. Consider this: not only did Amazon go into an old Border’s space, but it also looks somewhat like Hudson News, who has been doing face out merchandise displays forever.

Teamwork – If you are a retailer thinking about introducing technology into a store design, my first recommendation would be not to over complicate what must be done. Examine resources already available to you, i.e. POS system providers, inventory system providers, advertising and media consultants. You are already their customer so ask them for help. See what functionality is already on your website and make sure it coordinates with what you will provide in the store. Finally once you have put your plan into writing, connect with a hardware/specialty consultant and introduce him/her to your design team. Team being the operative word. I think you will find that it is realistically possible to stay relevant in the “evolving” but never “disappearing” world of “bricks n mortar” retail.

Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED-accredited Professional practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design, and with a comprehensive background in commercial retail design, planning and construction has completed projects for such for such well known brands as Chloe, Zegna, and Bvlgari. Her career began in tenant coordination and site planning for two well-known Cleveland developers, followed by six years in store planning for a national retailer. After a move to New York City in 1997, she spent the next years working for architecture firms specializing in retail projects. In 2011 she started her own practice in Alexandria, VA. Ms. Gaddis is the author of two blogs dealing with architectural subjects.