Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Making Some Changes

Monday, January 5th, 2015

If you poke your head in here with any regularity, there’s no doubt you’ve noticed that it’s quiet. This whole website has mostly dropped off my radar of late and it shows. What’s happened is that for all intents and purposes Pedachenko Media is now closed and has been for some time.

After honing my skills for several years I was starting to see a shift in the market and my niche was drying up. More and more of the businesses that I enjoy working with were tightening their financial belts. Either I’d have to cast my net through a wider territory to get my ideal jobs, lower my standards to start taking on budget jobs, or partner with some of my peers to make the shift into a higher level of clientelle. I quite enjoy the field and it’s challenges and if it weren’t for the realities of paying my way in this world I’d be satisfied giving my work away without charging – but that’s just not reality. That enjoyment and pride in my work wouldn’t allow me to drop my standards, but to drop my rates to get the budget work and still deliver a product I’d be happy with is a slippery slope leading to an end to this roof over my head – and I’m kind of fond of it. On the other hand, either growing my territory or my scope to take on larger clients would involve a return to those long days that I thought I had left behind. Some might tell you that working 80 and 100 hour weeks is just a part of the game, and at certain times I agree, but it’s not the type of life I want to lead. I have other priorities in my life and returning those to the back burner wasn’t a step I’m willing to take in my life right now. Besides, design by committee sucks the life out of a project and is all too common with those bigger clients.

While pondering this shift I had three large projects in the works for two clients – both of which opted to stop actually paying for the work they were receiving. One simply stopped paying and the two projects for them ground to a halt while doing the collections thing that no one enjoys, and frankly at that point I’m glad to be rid of the stress. The other was truly insulting though as the project was 98% completed when they hired another local firm to steal the code and provide the finishing touches. There’s still a pending copyright infringement investigation in the works there which sadly has the weight to bankrupt both the original client and the secondary firm that stole the code, but at the end of the day it’s such a small scale compared to large pirating and duplicating operations that my case isn’t an RCMP priority.

Finally, as all this was happening I had another opportunity drop itself in my lap that was just to tempting to pass up. And with that, I’ve returned to the world of regular employment and the 9-5. That isn’t to say I won’t take on any new work, but I will be much more particular about what I do tackle and it won’t be my main priority.

So now, what to do with this site? Over time I’ll likely be removing most of the sales related pages and making things a little more personal. I’m going to start using this blog to showcase some of the trips I’m making and things that matter in my life. The main site will still feature some of my prior work and in time some projects I’ve been working on in the background once those are ready for release. In the mean time – what would you like to see more of here?

Instagram and the Lesson for your Business

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

If you haven’t been following the news recently, Instagram, the online photo sharing service recently purchased by Facebook, just proved why I caution clients about using third party services to run their business.

In short, after amasing a user base of over 80 million photographers, Instagram changed their terms of service overnight to allow them to sell their users photos without compensation or notice. Unless users delete their account before the January deadline, Instagram assumes the rights to countless photos that it intends to offer for sales. From the user standpoint, how would you like to find that without your notice a corporation has sold a photo of your children to advertise a resort for their own profit? Or that a photo of your last camping trip is now advertising a political candidate you don’t support?

Whenever a client of mine considers using a third party service to run their business I always advise caution. What happens when the service provider suddenly changes the terms or discontinues a service that is essential to running your business? With a wealth of business service software ready to be installed on your own server and under your own control, or have software custom developed. Before making a move that could harm your business in the long run, take the time to investigate your options. This is why it’s important to work with a web developer who you trust and can walk you through these decisions.

What’s your take? Ever been disappointed by a service provider making a sudden and serious change to their service?

You May Be Speaking, But is Anyone Listening

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Every Sunday morning Chris Brogan releases a great little email newsletter about business that often gets me thinking – this past Sunday was titled ‘The Rise of the Phoneternet’ and brought to the forefront some ideas that have been rolling around in my mind lately. It’s something you’ve no doubt seen, and maybe even began experiencing, yourself – phones and browsers are taking over much of our internet usage. Chris even mentioned that in writing his morning newsletters he assumes that the average person is reading it on their phone.

And why not? I think we’re entering a new phase in the use of the web. The fascination with the internet is dying, I can’t even remember the last time I just browsed the web with no goal in mind, but the web has become an integral tool in our daily lives. But to become a truly useful tool, it needs to be easy to access, and most of the time going to our desk and turning on the computer isn’t easy. And that’s where phones and tablets come in.

There is some data out there that suggests that mobile browsing will soon eclipse the desktop. Microsoft suggests that will happen sometime in 2014 while The Guardian is already seeing it happen on their site during certain times of the day. I think the true switch is still somewhat further into the future for the average business than these sources would have you believe, but there’s little doubt that mobile access is on your horizon. So what are you doing to capture that audience today?

Recently a local technology business that I frequent decided to start posting 12 daily deals leading up to Christmas. At first I was quite excited about this and thought it was a great move for them. The execution was somewhat lacking though. The deal itself was presented in a PDF file attached to the email. Almost all my email usage today is done by phone, and downloading and opening a large PDF file on the phone is simply awkward (I won’t get into the ‘misuse’ of the PDF format in email here, but would love to know why people insist on PDF-ing everything they email). So this great idea has been all but lost in execution. I opened the first file, but not a single one since then.

How could they have done it? Why not simply insert the deal right into the message body? It’s not the most attractive means (though there are ways to make your email look fabulous – ask me how) but it is useable – and shouldn’t that be the key?

The best message in the world is worthless if no one reads it. Are you doing enough to help people read your message?

Over the next couple days I plan to post a few more articles on how to improve your presence – but if you have any questions you’d like to see addressed – drop me a line.

The Calendar is Coming!

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The Pedachenko Media 2013 CalendarEDIT December 11 The calendars arrived last night and they look great – but they’re already more that half sold. Don’t miss out, get yours now at The Gravenhurst Bookstore or by contacting me directly.

It’s a little slower than expected, but the 2013 Pedachenko Media calendar is being printed as we speak and should arrive shortly. This year’s calendar is themed ‘Views from the Road’ and features some hidden gems and forgotten paths in and around Muskoka, all photography and design obviously completed by yours truly.

What’s new this year? I’ve opened up the calendar itself to give more room for your notes, sourced out higher quality printing than past years, and for the first time ever, it’s available for purchase. Now in it’s ninth year of production, this calendar has grown into something that’s in pretty high demand amongst the inner circle who have received them. Now finally, there are a few more being produced for mass consumption.

Want to get your own copy or purchase some as gifts? You’ll shortly be able to find them at The Gravenhurst Bookstore or by contacting me directly. Cost is $15 each.

Rediscovering the Path in the Moonlight

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Sometimes it’s the strangest things that get us re-energized.

Recently I’ve found myself in a bit of a slump creatively and struggling to create the designs that I envision. And it only took one, completely unrelated moment to change that. The other night I was cruising home from a quiet evening with my girlfriend, spinning the pedals on a deserted stretch of road under a full moon. It was one of those bright nights where you don’t need lights to see ahead of you, giving me a great view as two moose slowly ambled across my path. It instantly reminded me one of the reasons I love living in this little corner of the world, but also revitalized my creative side and set me back on the path.

What moments revitalize you?

Connect

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

I was reading a post this morning by Chris Brogan where he briefly introduced an idea called “green blocking.” It wasn’t the focus of the post, more of just a passing comment, but it was the part that got me thinking.

According to Chris, Green Blocking is a term for setting aside a specific block of time in your work day just to contact people and interact. To be human. There’s no question the world is a changing place and that human touch is something that is disappearing from it, making that connection even more valuable. What about in your business though?

If you’re in retail, chances are you’re getting pressure from low-priced box stores and online retailers. And often it’s difficult to compete with them purely on price, but should that even be your goal? The boxes and online outlets can’t offer the same quality of service you can so why not improve on that by taking some time to reach out to your customers without a sales pitch? I know I regularly pay more for quality service, I can’t be the only one.

The same can be said for most service businesses, whether dealing with other businesses or directly with the end consumer. In most cases here you are selling knowledge, and in most cases there is someone else out there with more of it than you. But you have a relationship with your customer that no one else has, why not strengthen that?

I’ve long believed that the ultimate goal for service businesses should be a close relationship that makes you more of a trusted partner than a supplier. So why not reach out to your customer just to see how they are doing and what challenges they are facing without the goal of making the sale? If you better understand your customers challenges maybe you already have or can develop a solution that you can offer them. It’s an opportunity to make a new sale that you wouldn’t otherwise know about and to strengthen your relationship with the customer, but it came about from a simple human gesture, not from trying to make a sale.

In my personal life, a small group of friends and I exchange letters. It’s not always on a regular basis as life is hectic, and they don’t always see a quick reply, but it is an effort to reach out to someone and let them know they are important. In a world of thousands of friends online with whom you rarely make a real connection, a simple hand written letter is a real shock, but a great one.

In my business, one of my goals is to have a closer relationship with my clients, to really work closely with them to solve their problems. It’s something I know I can improve on, but that is important enough that I intend to make the effort. Green Blocking seems like just one more technique for me to reach that goal.

What about you? How do you reach out to your friends and clients to show you value them?

July Business Card Special

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Business CardsLooking for a great deal to kick start your business? How about 1000 full colour business cards for just $60? Check out Pedachenko Media on Facebook to get the details and while you’re there push the ‘Like’ button to keep up to date on future special offers just for our fans on Facebook

Overcome By Events

Friday, May 25th, 2012

So if you may permit me to geek out for a moment, and if you will not I suggest you’re on the wrong site, I’ve been rather caught up by the reimagined version of the show Battlestar Galactica. For my purposes here you need not know the details, but in this world a character presents the acronym ‘OBE’ or ‘Overcome By Events.’ Apparently it’s commonly used by deep space pilots…but I’d suggest it’s pretty common here in our world in the business realm.

*End Geek Speak*

Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where nothing in particular is wrong, but the sum total of a million little things has you so far behind schedule that you wonder if you’ll ever get on top of it again? I think it’s far more common than any of us would like to admit and I know I’m finding myself more than a little OBE right now.

Working long days to meet a tight deadline for one client meant that I lost track of another clients project and felt that dreaded, cool breeze of a deadline sailing by. It’s something that I hate to do – but again, Overcome By Events. Maybe there’s a valuable lesson in there about only pleasing so many people in a day or over extending one self, but I haven’t the time to think about that. However the one sure moral of the story is that while I’d love to take on your new project and make it work for you, realistically we’re looking at mid-June before I’ll have the time.

But to steer somewhere closer to the topic of this rant, what can we do when finding ourselves Overcome By Events? It’s more than a little counterintuitive, but I find it best to take some time off. For me, spending a couple days out bike packing with your biggest concern being where to find food and a place to sleep is refreshing and sort of like a mini reset button on life. I’ll come back with a new perspective and ambition to tackle those things that were bogging me down before and find time for other important things in life (like cleaning this office, yikes).

And so this weekend I plan to cast aside my OBE-ness, at least for awhile, with a couple days riding along the Grand River with a friend. I don’t know where exactly we’ll end up, but that’s a big part of the appeal of these trips, discovering the unknown. That and I’ll be testing out a great, new solar powered bike light – here’s hoping it lives up to the promises.

So what do you do to remedy a bad case of OBE?