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Exhibiting at the All About Business Expo Photos

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

webdesignWe had a great day yesterday exhibiting at the All About Business expo in Norwich. It was our first time exhibiting and we managed to get ourselves together with about 2 weeks notice.

We had a great day it has to be said. We spoke to lots of people about all of our services, got some good leads and of course put some names to faces from the twitterverse.

Here’s a few pictures from the expo:

Our stand:
Business expo stand

Our stand with visitors:
Business expo stand

A view down one side:
Business expo Norwich

A view down the other (our) side:
Business expo Norwich

Head Honcho aka Gary Dickenson manning the stand:
Business expo Norwich

You can follow the show tweet action using the #aab09 hash code. Look forward speaking to all the new contacts we made and to seeing everyone there next year.

How (not) to win clients or ‘a tale of 2 banner printing companies’

Friday, October 16th, 2009

So we’re exhibiting at the All About Business expo in Norwich next Thursday. Now normally we’re ahead of the game and totally organised but we were offered the stand at the last minute and so needed to organise our banner and media at the last minute. Fortunately we’re in the right business design wise to get things going but reliant on others to get things printed.

This blog is the story of one supplier that messed up, was given the chance to rectify but decided they didn’t want to play ball and one supplier who knows about customer service and has potentially won more than a one banner order. When everything goes right it’s fine, it’s not until things go wrong do you really get to know how good someone’s customer service is.

12th October
So we enquired with our regular banner supplier about the price of a vinyl roller banner (see email) it’s quite clear what we wanted. We got an invoice to pay by bacs and duly paid for it the invoice said ‘vinyl banner’ and it went unnoticed that this is in fact not a vinyl roller banner. Maybe presumptuous on our part but when you ask for something then you kind of expect that you are buying what you what you ordered, no?
14th October 10.00
Knock on the door and it’s the courier with a banner – wow that was quick. Opens tube to discover a rolled up vinyl banner with eyelets in the corner. It’s the sort of thing you string up between 2 trees outdoors. I open it anyway and the thing has streaks & scratches down it and is patchy to say the least. It’s not fit for purpose.

After talking to our graphic designer to confirm we ordered correctly I email the printers to tell them what has happened and give them opportunity to correct the mistake, still got plenty of time to get sorted for next Thursday.

15th October 10:00
No reply or call or anything. I phone the printers roughly 10am and the phone rings and rings and rings and rings then a guy picks up the phone and says they have 100’s of emails to go through and anyway he’s the printer it’s not his problem I need to speak to admin. I ask to be put through to admin but they are on the phone so I ask for a call back. I remind the printer that it’s time critical so could they call back asap so we can get it all sorted.

Still no call back so I call them back. Phone rings and rings and rings and guess what… it rings and rings and no one answers

Email arrives form printers basically saying we ordered wrong it’s our problem and no reference to the shoddy goods is mentioned. Unbelievable, talk about not interested in solving or proving that they can deal with the problem. Not very happy!

I reply to their email with something a little stronger making it quite clear they need to get this sorted or we’ll go elsewhere:

I start looking for an alternative supplier and put a post out on for a Norfolk based banner printer who prints on-site so I can collect. Within minutes I have 5 replies with local recommended suppliers of what I need and start looking at who’s nearest to me. I call one and get an immediate response and an offer to email me the technical sheet and all information. Email arrives within seconds. Now this seems more like it.

After exchanging a few more emails we talk abotu trade accounts and prices and confirmations I can collect in time for the expo next thursday no problem. The day ends and no reply from the original printers (Image Makers Ltd in Essex).

16th October 9:48
Our Graphic designer (Colin, he was off the day before so had to catch up) also emails Image makers to ask what’s going on. In this time he has the artwork to the new printers and they exchange a couple of emails all replied to within minutes I may add.

We get an email back from Image Makers as follows:
The staff member keen to get the last word in and still no mention about the bad quality banner that was produced. By now of course it’s too late we’ve gone elsewhere and have been looked after well with our new banner printing people.

As it turns out we have 3 more banners to order of which that order will be going to our new found printing company OTW Imaging not far down the road because they seem to understand good professional customer service. I am thankful the banner was coming to us and not to a client

The perfect pie found only in Norfolk

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

perfectpieWe always said we’ll try and do some local stuff on our blog and never really got round to it so I’m starting afresh with a little plug and review for a local business (well 2 actually) hear in North Norfolk called Brays Cottage Pork Pies.

Now I’ve always been a big fan of the humble Melton Mowbray (boo hiss I hear) so when I heard about a local baker of pork pies and read lots of rave reviews I had to give them a go. I managed to buy one from Back To The Garden (second plug) on the other side of Holt, a localish organic food shop that grows all their own veg and whilst I was there picked up a cracking bottle of BBQ sauce from TipTree.

There’s a choice of pies but after pondering for 5 I got the chilli pie. I’m always cautious with chilli varieties of anything because as a lover all capsicums spicy chillies are fairly new to this country and most people are not quite ofay with their usage. You either get a single flake or it blows your head off and you can’t taste anything.

So the proof of the pudding is in the eating, what was it like?
The pastry was really nice, a perfect pie pastry that is in no doubt really short and crunchy, just the way I like it. The texture of the filling was light and crumbly, very unusual for a pie so delicately constructed but then I guess that’s what makes it a perfect pie, not compressed like a supermarket pie likened to a powerball wrapped in cardboard. The taste was kind of indescribable, the home-reared Saddleback rare breed pork was very nice indeed and the pie filling had this kind of citrus taste that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, nor my wife but we both noticed it and liked it, maybe that’s the onion marmalade?

So the chillies. Well I think probably a little understated, can afford to turn up the heat just a bit without alienating any customers. Most people who buy chilli variety products expect a little bite and you wouldn’t loose any of that wonderful flavour with a 1000 more scoviles or so, but this is probably nit picking.

By the way the price was nigh on £6 (not sure if that’s RRP or not) which maybe seems high but it was undoubtedly a whole lot of pie, it lasted well and was filling and it’s one of those semi luxuries that you go ‘wow’ at and forget about the price, bit like the cheesecakes from that cost £25 a shot but are absolutely gorgeous. Not something I’d buy every day but as a treat definitely and when perhaps we were doing a posh buffet for guests as it’s a thing that people would talk about and ask ‘where did you get this pie?’, no doubt about it.

So a Norfolk business plug and a product thumbs up too!

More info

PS: If your something to do with Norfolk and want a plug and link then give us a shout and we’ll sort something out, if you write the article then even better!

Selecting a Local Website Designer

Friday, September 18th, 2009

choosingdesignerIf you are in need of a new website and your preference is to have a new custom built website designed especially for you, selecting the right supplier poses quite a problem if you are starting from scratch. Without a personal recommendation or testimonial, you will be reliant solely on your own research skills and abilities.

Some people have a preference for using a local website design company. In support of this limitation they cite things such as having local geographic and demographic knowledge that only a locally based company can develop after years of being immersed in the local business community. Another advantage often cited is that it is easier to arrange meetings with a local website designer rather than having to possibly arrange transport and perhaps travel for hundreds of miles. However, being a part of what today we call the Global Village created by the ease of use that the internet has brought, distance is no longer such an issue, and with the development of video conference calls and webcams, a virtual meeting is as effective as an actual physical meeting.

However, in order to give our research some sort of starting position, we shall assume that a local website designer is in this instance, to be preferred. The first stage in the selection process is to draw up a schedule of suppliers to be evaluated. This can be done in one of two ways, or even a combination of both.

1. Firstly you can use the local business trade directory to look up the names of a few locally based website design companies.

2. Search google for web designers in your local area for instance the county so ‘Web designer Norfolk’ in our instance.

3. Select some businesses  local to your area, and go and have a look at their websites, bearing in mind that they may or may not have been designed by local companies.  It is usual for the website design company to put their name and contact details at the foot of the home page of every website that they design.

Having drawn up a shortlist of potential website design companies by one method or the other, the next stage in the selection process is to visit some of the sites that have been designed by your chosen companies to carry out an evaluation of the sites.

Evaluating a Local Website Designer
In evaluating websites in this “cold call” manner, one is looking in the first instance, for design flair, and originality. People searching online for various services and skills are in themselves notoriously fickle. What they first see when they arrive at what is called the landing page of a website, will determine if they tarry there or if they dismiss it and shoot off to another website. In other words the landing page must have stunning design, must look thoroughly professional, and should be pleasing to the eye both in terms of colour scheme, and layout. The copy displayed on the landing page must be helpful and informative, and should tempt the visitor inside the website to explore further. Finally the site should be easily navigable.

In the final reckoning it is the eye catching design and the ease with which the site can be explored that are the most important issues. Most companies will provide their chosen local website designer with the text they wish to use, in which case in is down to them to ensure it is captivating. If a local company can be found that satisfies the design and navigation criteria, then all well and good. If however you have to cast your net wider, so be it. You want the best, and you must explore the options to find the best website design company for your specific needs.

World Class creativity is ‘Normal for Norfolk’ claims county

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

worldclassIt’s been the butt of comedians’ jokes for many a year – but now the rural county of Norfolk is fighting back with a bold campaign to champion itself as a world class business destination – with particular focus on the creative industries.

A seven month campaign (launched on Monday 7 September) will use television commercials, video and on-line activity, including social media, to turn the old stereotype ‘Normal for Norfolk’ – a phrase formerly used to denigrate the county and its habitants – on its head. The phrase will be used as branding in the major campaign to position the county as a world class place to work, and to show the world what really is normal for Norfolk – which is world class businesses and a fantastic work/life balance.

The campaign will highlight Norfolk as a major centre for the creative industries. The BBC and ITV bases in the county have helped spawn spin-off production, animation and digital creation companies, plus a wealth of advertising, marketing and design agencies. Up and coming creative talent is nurtured at the University of East Anglia – home to the world renowned Creative Writing course – and at the University College of Arts. The Norfolk and Norwich Festival hosted over 1,000 artists this year and EPIC, one of the most advanced high definition broadcast production facilities in Europe, and is recognised as a centre for the development of new formats, services and digital communications technologies.

World Class: Normal for Norfolk aims to ensure Norfolk is at the forefront of the minds of UK business leaders as they seek to reinvest in the wake of recession, and to help bring 5,000 high value jobs into the county.

More information about the campaign and the World Class creativity in Norfolk can be found at