Monday, January 31, 2011

Year of the Rabbit: A positive and inspiring outlook for 2011?

bySim Taing : Co-Founder Office Divvy Sim Taing
Office Divvy

The Year of The Rabbit begins on February 3rd, 2011.   The Chinese zodiac characterizes the Rabbit with cuddly, warm and affectionate attributes.  The Rabbit is also one of the luckiest signs in the Chinese Astrology chart.  As such, the year 2011 holds positive promises for both personal and business prosperity and fulfillment. 

2011 will be a refreshing change after the fast-moving and quite dramatic Year of the Tiger.

For most of all us, 2010 was indeed a year of unprecedented changes.  For example, over 20% of my LinkedIn connections started something new in 2010 including myself.   Personally for me, I began 2010 by taking a new career to re-invent myself after 10 years of being with my previous employer. 

As I look back, I realized the momentum during 2010 was quite unsettling. It was a year of constantly being on and on the go.  However, I also realized that my accomplishments during the year has set me up beautifully for 2011. This will be a stunning and most favorable year for me, especially in regard to work and career.  I have  connected and interacted with important and influential people during 2010 that will put me in the position to reap the benefits in 2011 and beyond. The change has energized and inspired me than I have ever been in quite some time.

With such great promises to come and luck running high during the Year of the Rabbit, we must start the year with positive thinking and with a can do attitude.  We must truly believe spiritually and mentally that we can achieve great things in 2011.  We must envision that our entrepreneurial ideas will bear fruit and our personal relationships will move to the next level.  We must be also cautious to not allow our worries over decisions to drain the Rabbit’s vitality.  It’s very important to get enough rest, pleasure, and relaxation. We must also remember to call on friends and loved ones for support and advice during any challenging times. 

The following are some famous people born in The Year of the Rabbit:  Johnny Depp, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Jordan, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Bob Hope.

Let us realize all our dreams in 2011!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is it a good idea to launch a Startup with your best friends? CEO and Co-Founder Aaron Levie started his company with friends he had known since high school.

In the following 3-minute video, Aaron shares the dangers and benefits of starting an organization with close friends, including the positive "hum" and a high level of trust that can build between group members dedicated to a vision.

Have you had similar experiences? Have you started a company with friends? Would you? What's your take?

video credit: Stanford University Entrepreneurship Corner (aka "eCorner")

Changes and Additions to the Office Divvy Team

There are big things happening at Office Divvy. Our team is changing, and it's also growing:

Congratulations to LeTeeshia
We will miss seeing you every day...

Join us in celebrating LeTeeshia's new chapter. After two years with Office Divvy, a relocation and new career opportunity will take LeTeeshia and her family to the Lake Mary area.   It is not "au revoir" but "abiento," as LeTeeshia will continue to work with Office Divvy as a consultant to train new team members, work remotely on special projects, and via our virtual assistant program. 

Introducing New Team Members

Vincent James Baltiero | Operations Specialist 
Welcome Vincent!  Vincent moved from Pennsylvania to Florida in 1999.  He lives in Palm Coast, and excels in all things digital: Social Media, Website Development, Design Work, Online Marketing, Video-work, and even Computer Repair.  Vincent's customer service and telephony experience make him a valuable addition to our team immediately.  He has been trained by LeTeeshia on all Front-Desk functionalities.  He looks forward to meeting each of you and learning about your unique businesses.

Email for Vincent is: 


Drea Evans | Manager, Back Office  
A unique combination of killer skills in accounting and customer service, and a great sense of humor will make Drea the perfect addition to our team. Drea will be handling all billing and receivables.  In addition to her deep project management experience, Drea will also be contributing in New Business Development and Strategic Partnerships.

Email for Drea is:

Another addition to the team is also in the works!
Announcement on that will follow soon.  Please stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Are You Winking In the Dark?

My friend Mike Ellis is not just a twitter power-user, but his tweets are often full of wisdom and substance.

He covers a wide range of subjects in his tweets, from homelessness, to personal issues, religion, emergency management, marketing, to small business, and social media.  When I acknowledge what I call his "twitter gems," he typically responds by picking up on my use of the phrase "twitter gems" and teases me by calling them Tater Tots.

Mike had the following tweet today which I'd like to share with you:

What Mike did not know when he tweeted this, is that, our advertising budget for 2010 has been about 10% of our total revenue (yes, you heard it correctly).  And he did not know that for 2011 we're even allocating a larger dollar figure for our advertising budget; and we will spend some of our budget to help some of our new clients advertise their businesses.

Office Divvy provides Virtual Office Solutions and Co-Location Office Space along with outsourced operations and business support services to entrepreneurs and small business owners in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell and beyond.

Choosing a membership at Office Divvy, vis a vis a traditional office model can save a Flagler County small business startup, literally tens of thousands of dollars a year.  Despite this fact, we notice, some of the new Office Divvy members may be extra conservative when they are trying to get their business off the ground.  Some of these folks skimp on advertising, which is a dangerous game to play especially for a new business.

Knowing how important advertising is for a new business, we are now actually allocating a part of our budget to help fund the advertising budget for some of these new-member startup businesses.  Yes, we are paying for their ads in certain publications, early on during their new membership, so that they can launch their business successfully and give it a fair chance to survive.

So, sometimes one tweet calls for a whole blog post, and Mike's tweet today was one  of those.  So, let us remember Mike's wisdom on advertising; particularly if you are starting a new business:
" For business not to advertise is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but no one else does."

...and if you are in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell or elsewhere in Flagler County, thinking about starting up a new business, come talk to us, we can help you in more ways than you may think...

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyby Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder, Office Divvy
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Connect:  Ky on Twitter  |  Office Divvy on Twitter  |  On Facebook

Friday, January 14, 2011

5 Marketing Sins to Avoid in 2011

...a guest blog post by Brad West
Brad West has has over 15 years of retail management experience.   Originally from Southern NJ and Central PA, Brad lives in Palm Coast, FL. and is currently a manager with Barnes & Noble in St. Augustine. He is also a marketing and advertising consultant in Real Estate. He has made name for himself as the Technology and Small Business blogger.  You can find Brad on twitter: @bwest2  | Note: An unedited version of this post has previously appeared on the Palm Coast Blog.  A link to the original post is provided at the bottom of this page.  

Most of my marketing and advertising experience focuses around Real Estate, but as I speak with authors and other managers here and there I see some common "denominators" when it comes to mistakes in marketing and advertising that put up barriers to success.

Most of the time I find people looking for this generic "Step-by-step" approach of "one size fits all" --especially when it comes to the Internet.  The truth is that "one size doesn't fit all" and that type of mindset should be avoided.  Let's take a look at the top 5 mistakes most make when it comes to marketing and advertising:

1. "Marketing and Advertising are one and the same.
       Marketing is best defined as "telling the story of the product".  Advertising therefore is the mechanism in which that story is delivered to the consumer.  How one "tells the story" within the advertising is made up of a combination of things such as images, descriptions, features, benefits of those features, data, etc.  When you approach the two separately, you are able to develop a more comprehensive and effective plan.  When you simply lump the two together a lot often gets missed.

2. "Everyone is my target customer.
There is often this notion that products apply to everyone.  I hear this a lot with authors of books.  Not every reader is the same, and every book written will not appeal to every reader. Maybe everyone should read the book, but the reality is that everyone will not.  The same goes for other products and services.  If you are not sure exactly who your target market is, find a starting point from similar products or services.  As you venture out to deliver your message to them through advertising you may find your target market being something other than you initially expected.  At which time, you can tweak your strategies.  Books are a great example here.  "Harry Potter" was written for young readers.  The "Twilight" series was written for teens.  Both found a very strong adult reading audience as well although that wasn't what was originally anticipated.  

3. "I Think People Will..."  
       My wife and I have a little saying we go by when it comes to marketing and advertising, "It's about what I know.  NOT what I think."  When you begin applying the "I think" attitude, you are basically applying only what you personally respond to and expect.  You are not everyone, and you are not every one of your customers.  To avoid this you have to look at the data and "listen" to what customers are telling you through the data to effectively deliver your message.

4. "Attention always gains you business." 
       Gaining attention alone is never a guarantee that you will gain business.  In fact, some attention can create undesired results and actually lose business.  I've come across blogs by professionals that are plastered with the industry they are in and the topics are filled with negative political perspectives that have little or nothing to do with their industry.  Sure they may have created attention, but have not attracted business because the message has no relevancy to the actual consumer. 

       In fact, they are probably alienating more business than they realize.  The notion of "Brand, You" comes to mind here as well and not one I find is executed very well often times.  When it comes to the individual, I focus more on building reputation based upon the expectations of consumers.  

       I find that when individuals start focusing on this "branding" of themselves they tend to get overly creative and the message of benefit to the consumer is never effective.  Brand focus in my opinion is more effective when it is built and centered around the message of relevant and beneficial products and services to the consumer. 

5. "Advertising is an expense." 
       All businesses have necessary expenses to keep the business operating.  But not everything a business pays for is an expense.  Advertising is one of those things, and should be approached as an investment.  Like any investment an individual or business makes, you should expect a return.  For example, if I spend $100 on a print ad with a coupon discount and I receive a large response that increases my sales 20% over last year . . . the ad has paid for itself and provided a return.  Now if I spend $100 on that ad and never receive any response, my advertising is an expense and should be re-evaluated.  So you need to measure your business advertising and know which mechanisms are delivering a response from consumers which will allow you to maximize your investment and provide the most return.  The difficult thing here too is that not all advertising returns are so direct as the example above.  Some of those returns may be more indirect or realized over time.  For example, business cards are still relevant and handing them out is a beneficial means of advertising.  You may not immediately gain business from the recipient or the recipient may pass it on to another who ends up doing business with you. Therefore, when it comes to business cards I look to get as many as possible at the lowest cost with the best appearance.  The investment is low and the return is therefore huge.  

So if you are revisiting your marketing and advertising initiatives for the new year, take a moment to see if any of those items are you.  Now's the time to make a change and get off on the right foot for great possibilities in 2011.

Original blog post here:  Top 5 Marketing Mistakes NOT To Make in 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is doing a Press Release a waste of time?

How many times did you do a press release that went nowhere?  Some people say doing a press release is a waste of time and money.  Even the best selling author, blogger and thought leader Seth Godin has a quote which goes something like:
" No one cares about you, not even your mother-in-law. No one is eagerly waiting your press release."

If it sounds right, and it feels right, it's right....but is it really?

The truth is in doing the press releases right. Remember though, nothing "done right" is easy.

There is no overnight success, even when it comes to press releases.  It's all about building the relationships with the editors and writers, bloggers, and journalists in your industry, getting a database going and keeping up your database, getting the right person or people (team) in place, using the right services, writing good and interesting content, and outsourcing some of that press release work to competent people --especially if you are a small business.

There is terrific WISDOM in doing online press releases (aka newswires) from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) standpoint.  Those SEO benefits alone make doing press releases worthwhile.  But just because you're doing a newswire online, it doesn't mean that you will reap the benefits of SEO; because SEO is a science, and if you are not a "scientist" operating in that field, heck it can actually even hurt you.  Plus it can get expensive, some services charge up to $2,000 per newswire.  That's why you should seek the advice or the services of a genuine, experienced professional.

The reality is that you can have an online press release done in the range of $125 to $250 each including professionally written content, optimized SEO links, and get it out to dozens, and sometimes hundreds of websites and right in front of tens of thousands of people.  Feel free to reach us out on twitter or facebook if you need help, and we will gladly help you, or refer you to someone who can help.

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyposted by Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder, Office Divvy
Monday, January 10, 2011

Connect:  Ky on Twitter  |  Office Divvy on Twitter  |  On Facebook

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Membership Benefits and Fringe Benefits at Office Divvy

What we do at Office Divvy ™ is hard sometimes for people to process, and it's even hard for us to define in a nutshell.  The range of services we provide to Small Business and Entrepreneurs is wide, very wide.

For the typical business-person, the idea of running your business from a base of a nurturing, collaborative, cooperative model does require a paradigm-shift and "a-ha" moments.  

People look at us with a big question mark when we say: "We do not really rent or lease office space. or we are not exactly a Palm Coast Executive Offices provider."

Yes, we are a membership model, and yes, we provide furnished offices, virtual office solutions, and office hoteling, and coworking space within our co-location facilities in Palm Coast; but the biggest differentiator of what we do is the fact that we're NOT in the Real Estate game, we're in the SERVICES BUSINESS.

Our mantra is:
" Empowering Entrepreneurs."

We are reminded of our mantra daily, and we truly live that every day!  Office Divvy ™ is a small-business incubator, virtual office provider, office-hotel, coworking space, and startup accelerator all in one!

Today, Office Divvy ™ has dozens of members across 18 industries; and there are many benefits which come with the membership, including business location functionality; mail and mailbox service; use of furnished, wired, equipped, and staffed offices; use of printers, copiers, scanners, faxes etc. etc.

But I particularly like the fringe benefits of membership which I think are really priceless:
  • Tremendous boost of professional image.
  • Having a staffed business location that is open 50-hours a week even if you're not in.  This is huge!  People can leave things for you, drop off a check, pick up a document.  You don't need to preside over every transaction --this is all good professionally, good for the soul, and good for the business. 
  • Unlimited coworking space-use: Yes, do you solo-work, but side-by-side with others.  Leaving the isolation or distractions of a home office (when you want to), and the ability to have a, so called, "water cooler conversation" and bouncing ideas off of other professionals can be a tremendous benefit.
  • Ability to be in business instantly, effortlessly, and affordably.
  • Being referred business from fellow members.
  • Ability to access resources instantly and at a discount.  You need a web-design guy?  Boom!  You need a computer-repair person?  Bam!  You need an SEO person?  Boom!  You need a logo-design?  Bang!  Such profiles are instantly accessible through members or within Office Divvy team-resources....and all at special discounts because you are a member!
  • Discounted co-op advertising in Palm Coast Observer, Flagler County Pennysaver, Volusia/Flagler Business Journal, multiple online properties with tens of thousands of subscribers, and more.
  • Increased access to press and journalists' ears.
  • Members-only networking opportunities, events, free workshops and clinics.
  • The opportunity to gain Office Divvy ™ as a client: Yes, when possible we give business to our members.  On average we spend $2,000 to $5,000 annually in business given to our members.
  • Ability to do business at the speed of light with Palm Coast FiberNET.
  • Great business publications to enjoy while you're in the office.
  • Free gourmet coffee, tea, and snacks.
...speaking of coffee, I am a fan of coffee, I do not overdo it, but I like good, strong coffee.  We feature both fresh brewed esspresso-grade Cafe Bustelo brew, as well as French Roast and Decaf Coffee, along with a selection of green and black teas.  Grab a snack or sweet with that, read the Wall Street Journal, the Entrepreneur or Inc. Magazine.

We encourage you to come in for a tour and meet the team...

By the way, are we connected on facebook?  Do connect with us on facebook here.  And if you are on twitter, connect with us here.

Thank you for listening. :)

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyposted by Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder, Office Divvy
Saturday, January 8, 2011

Connect:  Ky on Twitter  |  Office Divvy on Twitter  |  On Facebook

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What was on the Entrepreneur's Wish List this past Christmas?

If you are reading this blog post, based on the demographics it targets, it probably means that it's been a while since you wrote a letter to Santa.  But, Wall Street Journal's Sarah Needleman had an article titled "Entrepreneurs Ask Santa for Loans, Lower Taxes," which asked the question:
What do small-business owners want most for the holidays?
The newspaper did an online survey/poll based on the article. 

Choices were:
  • A bank loan or line of credit
  • An affordable health plan
  • New equipment
  • Lower Taxes
  • All of the above
33% wanted "All of the Above." 

29.6% chose "Lower Taxes." 

Because the poll only allows for one choice, that really means that 62.6 percent of the Small Business and the Entrepreneur community wants taxes lowered.  Because typically a company doesn't really pay taxes in the case it's losing money, I find the results most interesting based on the slowdown in the economy in the last two years. 

I'm still processing the results.  What are your thoughts?

Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyposted by Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder, Office Divvy
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Connect:  Ky on Twitter  |  Office Divvy on Twitter  |  On Facebook

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Somebody isn't thinking - Patton | Photo Quotes

Good to keep this great Patton Quote in mind:
" If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
George S. Patton