Sunday, January 31, 2010

Social Media Outsourcing for Small Business

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyby Ky Ekinci
Office Divvy

Zane Safrit has posted an excellent article on Small Business Trends blog, titled: "Is Your Social Media Clap-on, Clap-off?"

In the article, Mr. Safrit identifies several deficiencies in launching and maintaining social media campaigns by Small Businesses. He also identifies 4 good questions to ask yourself before jumping on the social media band wagon:

1) Do you have an open, transparent, company culture?
2) What do you offer that is worth discussing?
3) Are you prepared for change?
4) Can you let go?

I thought Mr. Safrit's closing paragraph was very powerful:
"Social media will only accelerate the spread of (your) message. It won’t change the message. Social media can no more change your message than lipstick can change a pig’s face. Make sure you like the answer to some of these questions before you clap your hands and slap on a social media… something… for your company... " ~ Zane Safrit

At Office Divvy ™, we are investing in all aspects of social media for collaboration, listening, learning, community and brand building, awareness and exposure, as well as connecting with thought leaders, peers, vendors, prospects, and clients.

Currently we manage a dozen commercial social media campaigns. We're routinely documenting our learning experiences and results, not only for reporting back to clients, but for case studies which we will publish later.

Recently, we launched Social Media Packages for companies that need to get started right away with their online efforts. Outsourcing can be a very effective way to begin, but doesn't have to be ongoing. We provide the initial "heavy-lifting" of community building, establishing a content strategy, and the operating procedures for how it will be delivered day after day. Our goal in taking on new clients is not to manage these accounts forever. But instead to get the company started off on the right foot for a duration of up to 6 months. And to do that, we have to ask the right questions so all members of the team are realistic about what is needed.

In an earlier blog post titled "5 Ideas for Small Business Staying Power in 2010" Lisa and I discussed about five practical ideas, one of which was "Be Where the People Are."

Here is an excerpt from that:
"Look at social media, twitter and facebook to make sure you are getting in front of your prospects and customers, listening for keywords, learning from others, including your colleagues and competitors, and building strategic relationships. If social media tools seem alien, find someone to work with until they are not. Don’t miss out on a brand-new, low-cost way to reach potential customers you may not otherwise have access to because you are more 'real' than this new trend."

"Be where the people are" is at the center of our approach. A proper social media presence can position your company for great things. According to recent statistics, 1 out of 7 people use social media actively. Social media has become the 4th most used online application (after personal email). With these kinds of numbers, as a small business, we have to say thanks: Thanks for opportunity to speak to an entirely new audience that is much larger than we could have previously reached based on our size and resources.

If your company is delaying on the decision to begin its social media effort, that may not be a harmless choice. At the very least secure your business name or the name you would like to brand. And consider companies that are offering short social media term programs as potential partners. Our "Social Media Packages"roll out to an established schedule and so does our matching payment schedule. The cost may be significantly lower than what you were expecting. Feel free to inquire and learn more about the possibilities.

Click here for more details and to inquire...


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Palm Coast Coworking Jelly to Continue in February

In January we ran "jelly" coworking sessions every Thursday. The freelancers, professionals, and home-based business owners got together to do side-by-side solo-work, and a little bit of networking, chatting, and collaborating.

Due to the popularity and success of these sessions, Office Divvy team decided to extend the Free Jelly Coworking into February 2010, every Wednesday from 3PM to 7PM.

If you missed it, one of the "Jelly" participants, Nancy Nally, wrote a fantastic article on titled "A Coworking Experiment.' Office Divvy's coworking Jelly was also featured in Daytona Beach News Journal, the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce Newsletter, and on various online portals and blogs.

Here is a picture from one of the Jelly Sessions:
(blog post continues below the image...)

What exactly is "Jelly?"
"Jelly" is a casual coworking event to work alongside other technical, creative, professional and business people in a welcoming environment. Jellies have taken place in over a hundred cities where people have come together to work for the day.

Office Divvy will provide the space, chairs and sofas, high-speed wireless internet, and interesting people to talk to, collaborate with, and bounce ideas off of.

You bring a laptop (or whatever you need to get your work done) and a friendly disposition.

Is there a Cost to attend the "Jelly?"
There is no cost to attend, the jelly coworking event is absolutely free. Not only Office Divvy provides the space, high speed internet, but we also provide free water, coffee, and tea.

How Can I Attend the "Jelly"
Grab your laptop and drop in... For available dates and RSVP application, visit the Office Divvy Website's Coworking Jelly Page.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Entrepreneur Magazine's Amy Cosper Has Great Advice for Small Business and Startup Community

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyby Ky Ekinci
Office Divvy

Entrepreneur Magazine Editor-in-Chief Amy Cosper has given great advice to Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Small Business owners during an interview with Aronado of

In this interview, Amy talked about a variety of subjects, from how to pitch your company to be featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, to how to write for the magazine. Her words of wisdom for the Startup, Entrepreneur, and the SmallBiz community resonate with me.

Here are the highlights of the interview:

Amy opened with the statement that she considers 2010 to be the Year of the Entrepreneur, and that the economic recovery will be a "Jobless Recovery" (hence the year of the entrepreneur)...

Amy said "being an entrepreneur is not necessarily about making millions and millions of dollars, it's about the spirit with which you go about doing something."

That's so much in line with one of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford: "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business."

To the question whether to avoid any particular vertical in business, Amy responded as follows: "Entrepreneurs do not shy away from any sector or any industry, that's what makes them Entrepreneurs. They zig when everybody else is zagging" and continued "Go for what your dreams are!"

And Amy's advice for writers who aspire to write for Entrepreneur Magazine: "Stay in constant contact." She added: "To be a great company you always need great people. Always surround yourself with talent."

For those Entrepreneurs who want to pitch their business to be featured in a story in the magazine, Amy says "I love piches" indicates that the perfect pitch is by direct email to her, and must have a bullet point list of the business description and its mission, in 350 words or less, and perhaps a follow up call. She adds: "Be able to state your mission statement in three sentences or less. You have to be that clear and concise. We're interested in the story, but also interested in how you plan on making money."

Amy also mentioned that she values and reads all pitches made through twitter, what she calls a "twitch" (twitter pitch, that is).

Amy also talked about the current situation regarding the need for financing for small business: "Right now, the pain point, the absolute anxiety point for any Entrepreneur is money. It's not just keeping it coming in, it's also the shrinking lines of credit."

She mentioned in the case of start-ups, co-founders must compliment each other in their skills and strengths: "Great partners compliment each others' skill sets -- sort of like Yin and Yang."

Top-3 Advice for a Startup by Amy are:
1) You've got to be able to state your business idea and your mission statement in three to four sentences. If you can't do that, start over and rethink your business plan. Keep it simple, simple is what's going to work.

2) Make sure to have a Plan B, and be flexible.

3) Be fearless! But don't confuse fearlessness with recklessness.

She reacted to learning by reading business and 'how to' books as follows: "You can learn a lot about business by reading non-business books.... There is a point where thinking too much interferes with the act of acting."

Amy's closing advice to the entrepreneurs:
"Don't let anyone steal the fire in your belly."

You can watch the whole interview below (just about 35 minutes).

You can follow Amy Cosper on twitter: @EntMagazineAmy. Entrepreneur Magazine is one of our favorite publications, Office Divvy members enjoy reading it and so does our team.

Here is the original link to the interview.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Right Attitude for Small Business Success: 12 Tips

Bob Reiss has an excellent article in Entrepreneur Magazine, titled "Success is All in the Attitude -- 12 attributes to put you in the right mindset and give you an edge over the competition."

Mr. Reiss argues that "Knowledge, Skill and Talent" are most important attributes for the success of a Small Business Owner and an Entrepreneur, and lists 12 attitude attributes to put a person in the right mindset for achieving entrepreneurial success.

They are:

1) Passion for Your Business,
2) Being Trustworthy,
3) Being Flexible (except in your core values),
4) Ignoring the Fear of Failure,
5) Timely Decision Making
6) Awareness of Yourself as a major company asset
7) Keeping your ego under control,
8) Believing in yourself, your company, and your success,
9) Acceptance of criticism and your own mistakes

....and three other attributes including on ethics, and how to react to setbacks and dealing with your comfort zone.

This is a truly terrific article that spoke to me personally, and I am confident that Office Divvy clients and community will appreciate it as much as I have.

Mr. Reiss' article ties very well with an earlier blog post I co-authored with Lisa, titled "5 Ideas for Small Business Staying Power in 2010" and including practical tips based on our observations and learnings at Office Divvy from working with entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Complete article can be found here. Hope you will enjoy it and learn from it as much as I have...

PS: Bob Reiss' article is based on his book, Bootstrapping 101, featuring tips as to how to build your business with limited finances and with free outside resources and help. The website for the book is:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bill Gates Just Joined Twitter

A Warm Welcome from Palm Coast, FL to Bill Gates...

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates just joined twitter today at about 3PM, and there is a lot of hype on "twitterverse" (twitter universe). In a mere four hours since his first tweet, his following neared 45,000 with exponential growth. I have witnessed his followers go from 10,000 to 45,000 in less than 30 minutes.

Tweets mentioning his twitter handle, @BillGates, go at the speed of over 50 tweets per minute.

It appears Bill Gates is putting his charitable personality in the forefront through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, linking his twitter account to the website of the foundation. His initial tweets included references to the fundraising for disaster recovery efforts in Haiti.

Previously on twitter there was a @BillGates account (which isthought to be a fake). The new @BillGates account is already verified by twitter.

Early on in 2009 twitter experienced a huge jump in use. The micro-blogging site has been a social media sweetheart particularly in the first three quarters of 2009, however the growth stalled as of Q4 of 2009. Bill Gates joining twitter, and maintaining an active account will be a great validation for twitter.

Office Divvy welcomes Bill Gates to twitter, and we look forward to his tweets... :))

Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder, Office Divvy
Palm Coast, Florida
on twitter: @KyEkinci | @OfficeDivvy

Monday, January 18, 2010

Business Life Stories - Why I Love What I Do

Office Divvy released Business Life Stories, a heartwarming blog by and for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Small Business Owners, Solo-Practitioners, Investors and Philanthropists. "Why I Love What I Do" is in the centerpiece of

Many people post guest blog entries on this blog. If you would like to contribute please fill out the blog contribution form.

We hope you will enjoy

Office Divvy Team

Friday, January 15, 2010

City of Palm Coast Chose Team Approach for Economic Development

The Economic Development Coordinator role at the City of Palm Coast had not been filled for 7 months (since the departure of Ira Corliss in June 2009). But City finally announced who is filling this position next...

On January 13, 2010, the City of Palm Coast announced that City Manager Jim Landon chose a "Team Approach" for the the vacated Economic Development Coordinator position...

Accordingly, City of Palm Coast's City Manager Jim Landon pulled together a group of City employees to form a new Economic Development Team. This team will address a range of local projects including business retention, expansion and attraction; and work closely with local government and non-government partners (such as Enterprise Flagler, Flagler County, Daytona State College and the Flagler Chamber of Commerce), to expand the local economy in the City of Palm Coast and Flagler County.

The Palm Coast Economic Development Team will be led by Senior Planner Beau Falgout whose experience is in strategic planning, communications, general analysis and government contacts. Other team members will include Chris Quinn, the City's Chief Accountant, CPA, CGFO, who is recognized for his financial competency and skills to evaluate and structure financial incentive packages; Lisa Gardner, Community Relations, who brings a private sector marketing/media component to the table; Sara Lockhart, AICP, with private sector experience and contacts within the land development industry; James Majcen, The City's IT Applications Manager, CCIO, with private and public sector experience utilizing technology as a tool for data analysis, advertising and marketing and business development.

Office Divvy supports the "Team Approach" City of Palm Coast has chosen at this time, and wishes wish the new Palm Coast Economic Development Team much success.

More info on the City's annoucement can be found here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coworking Visa Participation Annouced

Office Divvy LLC. a Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida based provider of Office and Coworking Space, announces participation in the Worldwide Co-Working Visa program, which allows the use of other participating coworking spaces during travel.

“Coworking” is expected to be major trend in the United States, Europe, and Latin America in 2010 with the growing number of people working from home and home-based business owners.

In a nutshell, coworking presents the option to step outside of the home office and join others for side-by-side solo-work. For the home-based professional and the small business owner, coworking is a tremendous solution for the problem of isolation, but also presents an escape from common distractions that can come with working from home.

Office Divvy, a Palm Coast, Florida based provider of Office and Coworking Space Solutions, announced participation in the “Coworking Visa” program. Coworking Visa lets members in participating coworking spaces use partner spaces when traveling. Office Divvy will agree to offer up to three complimentary “drop-in days” to the members of other participating coworking spaces, and Office Divvy members will access the same when they are traveling.

As of January 2010, there are only two establishments based in Central-Florida which participate in the Coworking Visa program. They are:
Colab in Orlando
Office Divvy in Palm Coast
Other participating coworking spaces in the United States are located in (in alphabetical order): Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

International participating locations include: Austria, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Panama Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

Office Divvy provides Ready-to-Use, Flexible and Part-Time Offices, Dedicated Offices, Interim Offices, Virtual Office Solutions, Coworking Space, and Administrative and Business Services including Virtual Assistant Services in Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida. The company’s membership is comprised of solo-practitioners, professionals, home-based-business owners, and entrepreneurs.

Office Divvy is co-founded by three entrepreneurs: Lisa Schenone Ekinci, Sim Taing, and Kayhan (Ky) Ekinci.
A keyword search on Google for coworking now brings 629,000 results” Ky Ekinci, Office Divvy Co-Founder said. “Coworking as a concept and as a work-trend is really catching on, and it is not only limited to the United States but also the trend is the same elsewhere around the world.

Palm Coast, FL, where Office Divvy is located was a leading population growth center between 2002 and 2008. The Chamber of Commerce in Flagler County reports over 1,800 businesses active in the County. A high number of Solo-Entrepreneurs and Solo-Practitioners are also a part of the Palm Coast and Flagler County lifestyle. These profiles make perfect candidates for coworking.
We are proud to be providing a wonderful space and environment for coworking in Palm Coast, FL. We at Office Divvy are considered a true small business hub for professionals, entrepreneurs, and start-ups in Palm Coast, Flagler County and beyond. We are very proud to provide the infrastructure to support meaningful coworking, where you can change your environment for a few hours and get into your zone --that is, your work zone. One added benefit is the organic networking which takes place when you meet other professionals.” says Office Divvy Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Lisa Schenone Ekinci.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

5 Ideas for Small Business Staying Power in 2010

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office DivvyLisa Schenone Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyby Ky Ekinci & Lisa Schenone Ekinci
Co-Founders & Managing Partners,
Office Divvy

2009 has been a tough year to be in business… Where to find and how to secure funding to working capital changed. The possible outcomes for preparing a strong business plan to meet with your banker, or angel investor, changed.

While the administration has helped Wall Street tremendously (and we’ll never know what would have happened had they not), the government’s intention to help Main Street has not yet been put forward in a meaningful way with a strong formula.

Signs, trends, economical statistics can be great for creating confidence, particularly if you are well funded and your dilemma is limited to how to get the best return on your dollar. But if you are a small business facing real decisions you have to make today, encumbered by tight cash flow, and worried about how to stay afloat, the same positive signs, trends and stats mean little.

Like in most places across the United States, locally we have seen businesses and shops close their doors throughout 2009 in Palm Coast and Flagler County, with closings seemingly increasing particularly just as the year was concluding.

The City of Palm Coast and the Flagler County enjoyed their reputation as a center of growth and wealth between 2002 and 2007. Economic stalling and then stopping through 2009, the area is now famous for an unemployment rate of over 15%.

Yes, there are good indications ahead for 2010: The administration is applying pressure to banks to ease up funding for small business. Real Estate values are up slightly, economic indicators show improvement in 2010, which are all signs of the start of an “uptick”.

With the likelihood for a slow recovery in 2010, "staying power" will be critical for most Startups and Small Business.

We believe “Staying Power” is driven by purpose. Many businesses used last year’s slow down to re-evaluate and re-focus their purpose. In some cases it may mean diversifying, in others narrowing your offering. Whatever the purpose, make sure your whole team would answer the question “What is our purpose as a company,” the same way.

By the way, your whole team must include your banker, your accountant, and your lawyer. If your professional team cannot describe your business, that's a problem. If you have not seen any new business or retention of existing business as a result of the efforts or partnership of your professional team, you may also want to use this time to re-evaluate the quality of those relationships.

If you want others to speak positively about your business, it must start with you. A positive outlook that is authentic (a core belief of good days ahead), self confidence, determination, stamina and endurance, are not only all part of your identity but also "must have"s for staying power. Making sure that you allocate time to spend on critical thinking may indeed be critical. A paradigm-shift for the way you are doing business may also be required…

Here are 5 ideas to consider, based on what we’ve metabolized from serving small business, startups, and entrepreneurs via Office Divvy, and observing those who thrive:
1. Reduce Your Overhead: Don’t loose your small business battle to overhead. To stay alive in these times you need to be lean and mean -- look at possible investments and options that would reduce your monthly overhead. Office Space, Phone Systems and Plans, and Payroll are all on the table. Be open to an examination of spending. Because business owners are so often times intimate with the details of their business, they can be fooled into thinking they have it all in their head -- and they might. But a proven best practice is putting all numbers to paper (preferably a spreadsheet, to allow for more views). It is certainly a good activity for discoveries such as an overcharge or a fee you did not notice you were paying, but better than that, it is a ritual that should not be missed. One of sitting with your numbers and attempting to look at them differently could yield new results.

2. Be Where The People Are: Look at social media, twitter and facebook to make sure you are getting in front of your prospects and customers, listening for keywords, learning from others, including your colleagues and competitors, and building strategic relationships. If social media tools seem alien, find someone to work with until they are not. Don’t miss out on a brand-new, low-cost way to reach potential customers you may not otherwise have access to because you are more “real” than this new trend. While you are working on your social media jokes and justifications (“If I want to talk to someone, I don’t tweet, I pick up the phone.. Ha Ha"), and while you're laughing and enjoying the joke, your competitor is already online, staying visible, offering customers a great new article he/she just read; or RT (re-tweeting) a great post by a thought leader in your industry, building a community and followers.

3. Take another look at your website through your customer’s eyes: Go to Google and type what you think your customer or competitor would type if they were looking for your services or product. Is your company's website among the results on the first page? Being found matters!.. What is your customers' experience when they first visit your site?.. Having a realistic, maintainable, online strategy is part of most marketing plans today and they matter. There is no shortage of places to turn for online services. Don’t let your lack of technology or design understanding put you at a disadvantage. Treat online services like any other product or services your company buys: Take multiple bids; request references; ask for greater detail in a proposal that is not in your language; make sure a success metric is established (i.e. visitors to your site; an improved user experience for your website visitors; X-amount of increase in sales; etc.)

4. Outsource: It’s easy to get bogged down with day to day activities of running and managing a business. With that said, there is no substitute for "having your ladder up against the right wall" (wink to Steve Covey). When it makes sense, outsource projects and job functionalities that can be easily outsourced. Require a project estimate before any work is started. Don’t be afraid to structure a payment schedule based on deliverables rather than time.

5. Consult with people who can help you: Most companies and professionals will offer a free consultation to assess your needs, and present a plan, options, and pricing as to how they can help you. All you have at risk is the couple of hours' investment in the exchange. The upside is of course increasing your network, and the potential for hearing a professional perspective other than your own. For Office Divvy, it is in the consultation, that we are both listening and assessing the problem, while working to determine if we are the best match, given the need, budget, timeline, and intended outcome. We are looking for engagements where we can deliver our best work and make our clients shine.

Nested in each of these 5 ideas is the question of how we are using our time. The wink to Steve Covey, who offers the rich metaphor for “Having your ladder up against the right wall”, is perhaps more than a wink. We are each getting 24 hours a day…no more, no less. We have to be choosey about what we work on. A few hours, or days on the wrong activities does matter. A few rungs up the ladder on the wrong wall is a set back.

If strengthening and growing your business in 2010 is your focus, zeroing in on the core business has to be a priority. From what we see in our peers and learn in ourselves, this kind of tough decision making will yield staying power. And with Staying Power comes the opportunity to keep growing and evolving our business over time...

Name one business activity that does not require you specifically, could be done by others, yet you continue to perform the tasks?

If you were to offload the tasks, what core business activities will you apply the X # of hours to?

What result would be achieved in what time frame with this switch?

What is the first step of making this change? _____________________________________________


Are you on twitter? To see what Office Divvy is tweeting about go to @OfficeDivvy. Lisa can be found on twitter at @LisaFLA, and Ky is at @KyEkinci

Friday, January 8, 2010

City of Palm Coast introduces Battery Recycling

During summer of 2009 City of Palm Coast introduced a battery recycling program.

Currently there are collection boxes at 10 locations across the Flagler County community where one can drop off batteries. Consumer batteries for laptops, cell phones, portable tools, cameras, watches, hearing aids or regular AA/AAA, C, D, and 9 volt batteries can be deposited in special boxes at the locations including:
  • All Palm Coast Fire Stations
  • City Offices at City Walk - 160 Cypress Point Pkwy, Ste B106
  • Frieda Zamba Swimming Pool – 339 Parkview Dr.
  • Palm Coast Community Center – 305 Palm Coast Pkwy. NE
  • Palm Coast Tennis Center – 1290 Belle Terre Pkwy.
  • Palm Coast Utility Department – 2 Utility Dr.
Batteries in household and commercial garbage ruin and poison the environment. With the 10 convenient locations the City made it easy for the citizens to help protect the environment. Office Divvy wholeheartedly supports this program and any future green moves by the City.

More information on the program can be found on the City of Palm Coast Website...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Free Coworking in Central and Northern Florida

Office Divvy is extending a free co-working offer during January 2010.

Free coworking will take place every Thursday, from 3pm to 7pm throughout January. Most home based professionals and small business owners, writers, bloggers, techies, creative folks are a perfect match to take advantage of the Free Coworking offer at Office Divvy.

Office Divvy is located in West Pointe Plaza in Palm Coast Parkway in Palm Coast, and easily accessible from US-1 and I-95. Comfortable coworking space with high-speed wireless internet, free parking, tea, coffee, and snacks are included in the free coworking offer.

(post continues below the Sample Coworking Lounge image)

The response to the free coworking from the Flagler, Volusia, St. John's County (particularly from Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, St. Augustine, Ormond Beach, Holly Hill, Daytona Beach) has been very positive. People as fas as Jacksonvile and Orlando also responded positively to the free coworking offer.
"We are (at this time) the only Coworking space in Palm Coast, FL, and one of the few in entire Central and Northeastern Florida landscape" said Lisa Schenone Ekinci, Office Divvy cofounder and managing partner. "As a company we provide services to small businesses, startups, entrepreneurs, and solo practitioners, and we would like them to get off to a good start in 2010. Our coworking offer is ideal for this group of professionals, and the initial reaction to the offer has been very positive."
Office Divvy free coworking sessions will take place on the following dates:
  • Thursday, January 7, 2010 from 3pm to 7pm
  • Thursday, January 14, 2010 from 3pm to 7pm
  • Thursday, January 21, 2010 from 3pm to 7pm
  • Thursday, January 28, 2010 from 3pm to 7pm
Details on the free Coworking Offer and an Online Application are available here.

- Office Divvy on Twitter: @OfficeDivvy
- Company Website: