Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Lets face it: there are a lot of articles about Twitter, about business, about Twitter and business and so on.  Were even writing an article on using Twitter but before doing that, we thought wed make it more practical.

Turbo Lemon Media is on a mission to look beyond the sunny confines of Preston, Lancashire to find work.  More specifically, were heading to the Twitterverse.

Simple premise: can we acquire work through using Twitter?

Well be applying the much-touted theory thats out there.   Whether were building followers or  following trends, were hoping to discover the real power of Twitter for SMEs like us.

So, follow Turbo Lemon Media on Twitter and lets see what all the fuss is about!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Imagine you’re selected to be whisked away to Sri Lanka to represent your company and your university as a graduate entrepreneur.  My first thought: isn’t there a war going on there? (which in November, there was).  My second thought: aren’t wars a bit dangerous? Well, as long as I wasn’t placed in any public places or close to any public or potential targets

After much fretting, to-ing and fro-ing, I decided to do it.  The mission was for the UK British Council delegation (handpicked from Buckinghamshire New University, University of Central Lancashire, University of Durham, Leeds Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University and  University of Plymouth) to help to develop Sri Lankan awareness about graduate entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education as part of the National Enterprise Week in Sri Lanka.

This would involve going to a large conference (scuppering my no public places plan) with lots of important government cabinet ministers (scuppering my public or potential targets plan), as well as presenting Turbo Lemon Media and my own experiences to a few hundred people. Turbo Lemon Nerves.

A rare sight, in trousers and tie.

A rare sight, in trousers and tie.

What not a lot of us knew, was that also as part of this, we were to be partake in ‘Ideators,’ which is loosely the Sri Lankan equivalent of The Apprentice (minus the firing, no pun intended). So having just about gotten over those thoughts of war=dangerous, I had to then deal with having a camera poking around my orange face (courtesy of the crew’s make-up team).  Turbo Orange Face.

Two teams pitched against each other: the brief, to design and make a shoe that would fix the lulling sales of a particular demographic, undertake the market research and then come up with the long term marketing strategy, graphic visuals and financial forecast for it.  Then present it to the board of Sri Lanka’s largest shoe manufacturer, DSI.  In three days. Turbo Lemon Sleep-Deprivation.


Ideators Orange Team

I won’t say much more about it as you can, to the utter horror and embarrassment of my shyer-alter-ego, watch Ideators below.  What I will say is that as well as it being a difficult and tiring experience, it was also quite incredible, learning from the Sri Lankan students and indeed, working with other UK graduates.  I say working – I jumped in as Orange (how apt) leader and, as best I could, let others lead where their strengths allowed them to do so.

An amazing opportunity, an amazing country, an amazing experience with amazing people.  All superfluous language, utterly justified!

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Monday, February 23rd, 2009

All business face competition, it’s inevitable, but here at Turbo Lemon media, we find ourselves faced with and having cups of tea with our competitors. Why? A few reasons; the first is that we’re based in a business incubation unit and we’re not the only bright sparks in the North West to enjoy doing what we do enough to make it an occupation. A few of those others have, like us, benefitted from the facilities offered here: mentoring, networking, boardrooms, workspace, donuts, posh buffet. The problem is that it’s easy to feel exposed, under scrutiny and in danger of revealing too much of the company to those others.

While pitching for an Enterprise Investment Award, I raised the issue while storming through my SWOT analysis. My deft observation of “and all the other web designers present a possible threat to us” was met with the most simple and most difficult question:

“Why?”

Which got me thinking. Why were they potential threats? Why shouldn’t we know what each others’ businesses were up to? The thought must have lingered when I was invited to a Business Networking International (BNI) breakfast with the offer of joining a BNI chapter. During the presentation the main speaker said the beauty of BNI was the ability to “lock your competition out.” At this point, my inner-hippie winced and I began to ask myself why (again).

Yes, we should be aware of what the others are up to and it’s important to be aware of what they offer and their brand and design values. But lock them out? I think I’d sooner talk to them, understand what they do, chat about how and where they market for more business, and recognize that their clientele might differ enormously from ours. And I’d chat to them about what we’re up to too.

The Media Factory - a Northern Lights event

So why would I want to go and do something as seemingly daft as that? Well, what if somebody approached the web design company just around the corner with a request for a site that they didn’t have the expertise for. What if the company around the corner knew that this request was right up our street. Hey presto, we have a referral, and not just any referral. We’d have bona fide, built on trust referral, because we all have our reputations to uphold.

In getting to know each other, we can get to know our strengths, our niches and how to (where possible) avoid direct competition in favour of niche service or product. We can share knowledge, solve problems more quickly and pick the brains of those guys who se experience is probably invaluable.

That’s why I’m getting more involved with the Preston ICT Cluster and am helping to initiate a new network within the Northern Lights Business Incubation Unit to encourage the transparency and support that will help us all get through this credit crunch/economic downturn/recession (pick your favourite sound bite).

It makes sense to look after your ideas but in our experience, it’s good to talk.  I tweeted on twitter and straight away, our (new) friends at Creative Mixed Media suggested a brew and a chat.

Now thats progress!

Copyright 2009 Turbo Lemon Media Ltd. 4th Floor, Media Factory, UCLan, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2HE. UK Company No: 6649279.

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