Rich Atkinson

Rich Atkinson's Personal Blog

Archive for January 2008

Weekly Review – Jan 9th 2008

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This week I am writing the review a couple of days early, simply because I’m going to Auckland for the weekend. As such, it’s a bit of a shorter week – but I’ve still accomplished a few things (giving self a pat on the back):

  • There is now a draft taxonomy for the geo-sites; am sure it’ll need a couple of reviews – but it’s a good start.
  • I’ve started to investigate a CRM solution so that I can be organised from the start with customer contact.
  • Have also decided that OpenID is a very good candidate to take care of the User Identity and Account management requirements (or at least most of them), rather than relying on a CRM. It feels like an altogether nicer bite sized chunk, although potentially another moving part.

Stay tuned!

Written by Rich Atkinson

January 9, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Personal

CRM Solutions (part 2) Requirements

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This is the second in a series of posts on choosing a CRM Solution. The first post outlined my wish to find a managed hosted solution to do a lot more than traditional CRM call logging and scheduling.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Rich Atkinson

January 8, 2008 at 7:30 am

Posted in Jetfar

CRM Solutions (part 1)

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A few days ago outlined my goals to kick-start my geo project.

Goal Number 13:

“Find a suitable CRM solution to track potential customers – ideally one that I can integrate into the sales process, or use as part of the sales process.”

What do I mean by integrating the CRM into the sales process?

Consider advertiser sign-up, for example. Lets just say I want to maintain a list of potential customers for mail-outs, marketing to, etc.

Let’s just suppose I initially research that list myself (from the phone book or yellow pages), but I’d also like to collect leads through the website.

Rather than retyping the details of these leads from the website into the CRM, it would be great if a new customer lead was injected directly into the CRM solution from the website. To take that a step further, what if the sign-up form on the website actually was part of the CRM?

It would also be great if the CRM solution could also, collect subscription money, manage annual re-billing, mailing lists, user logins, accounts and invoicing… surely other people do all of this?

I guess, ultimately – I want a web-based CRM solution that also does self-service customer / user management – thereby saving me from having to create a whole load of web pages and integration code.

Is this available today? … surely someone has taken a modular approach to providing website back-ends that provide all of this customer management stuff in a polished and professional way?

Well, this is something that I will be exploring further. Part 2 will discuss the requirements in a little more detail.

Written by Rich Atkinson

January 6, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Posted in startups

Weekly Review – Jan 5th 2008

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Sometimes you just know when you’ve done something right, and it feels good.

Publicly setting my 2008 goals achieved a great comment from Mikey (I didn’t even know anyone was reading this yet – thanks Mike).

Then just this morning I read this on Lazy Owner:

“The goals that you set should drive everything that you do. In fact, if there isn’t an associated goal with the task, I don’t think you should even do the activity….
…. Everything I do is driven by goals. I have dozens of goals and most of them are just sub-goals to help me achieve higher level goals. I go through them every Friday to track how I’m doing and possibly add some more goals.”

That sounds great to me. What’s the point in having goals if we don’t track our progress towards them? So starting today, I’m going to complete a weekly review of any work completed towards achieving my goals.

On a semi regularly basis (monthly?) I will review the goals themselves, to see if they need updating.

Work completed this week:

  • Jetfar. Starting this blog is a solid step towards starting a business, and achieving all of the goals.
  • Privacy Policy – I recycled and reviewed one from a previous project.
  • Sector breakdown; I sat down last night and drafted a sector breakdown. You can’t see it yet – it’s still in draft.
  • **edit: I also identified a great wordpress contact plugin

Am going to have to set myself a recurring reminder to do this every Friday.

Written by Rich Atkinson

January 5, 2008 at 10:39 am

Posted in Personal

Geo Project Kick Start Plan

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First on my list of 2008 goals is to develop 3 geo-domains this year.

This is actually something I started working on in December 2007; buying domain names, drafting a template, identifying the backend. However it seemed that with everything I did, I created another three things to do!

Yesterday I had a day off work, and my girlfriend suggested that I use it to make a plan for how to take this project to the next level. So I did, and in no particular order here is the initial list I came up with:

  1. Determine the first name to develop
  2. Draft some front page copy to begin getting the web site indexed
  3. Find three business owners who are willing to take initial pages to demonstrate the concept
  4. Create a draft sector breakdown
  5. Finish off the wordpress plugin I’ve been making for the front page
  6. Obtain permission to use any third party images / code where there isn’t already a sufficient license in place
  7. Draft Privacy Policy
  8. Draft Website terms of use
  9. Identify a decent WordPress Contact Form
  10. Draft a sales page for advertising sales
  11. Develop a customer list of at least 50 initial prospects
  12. Draft a mailout letter to send to these prospects
  13. Find a suitable CRM tool to track them – ideally one that I can integrate into the sales process, or use as part of the sales process. I think this is something I’ll cover in a lot more detail in the future.

While developing this list, I remembered the 30 days to starting a niche business. Once I’ve had another read through lazy owners posts, I will review this list, and hopefully add some further tasks.

Written by Rich Atkinson

January 3, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Posted in startups