5 Minutes With...

5 mins with Sam from Skdlr

 

Sam from Skdlr came into the Adjust Media office today to discuss his business

Sam from Skdlr
Sam from Skdlr

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Skdlr?

My name Samuel Des Baux – Chances are you just pronounced my surname wrong ;) . I’m that person that if someone asks me why, I’ll say why not. Skdlr pronounced Scheduler is a business event platform providing resources, tips and advice.

Give us the Skdlr story so far?

I started Skdlr in 2012 after realising it was hard to find credible source for event’s for advice, tips and particularly for the youth market. We have had a high interest throughout immediate networks and events we have attended. At the minute we are building the foundations and supporting business functions to get ready to produce our final full solution.

Why is there a need for Skdlr?

Skdlr will provide a one stop solution for business event hosts from the initial idea and planning to execution. Many SME’s lack the resources and skills to plan, schedule and host events. Many of our features are still in the concept stage and are awaiting development which is what will really define what we are about so watch this space!

Is there any single obstacle to Skdlr’s progress?

Nope, I wouldn’t say there is a single obstacle, although there are contributing factors which we will have to overcome.

What is your daily routine like?

My daily routine changes regularly, some nights I will be working through until early hours of the morning, other nights I will be out.

Is this your first business?

Nope, Skdlr is my second business. My first business was domain & email hosting which I started during College.

What is your favourite app?

Hmm this is a tricky one. Its got to be Microsoft One Note, yes boring I know but without I’m not sure what I would do. I take notes on the move on my iPad, iPhone, Netbook and having them all synced across all of my devices is peace of mind!

What is the best invention of the 21st century?

Going to go for something practical, got to be the iPhone, not sure what I would do without it.

Any last words, what’s on the cards for Sam and Skdlr in the near future?

Keeping progressing on what we are doing, redefining the business and creating our mark in the market.

 

Adjust Asks...

Is twitter the new battleground?

The Pope

The Pope, as seen on twitter

If religion was part of the Star Wars trilogy, this one might be called the Pope Fights Back. But this time it’s sassy; the most unlikely candidates all over the world are starting to use social media to fight their battles – the followers are their armies, the 140 characters their artillery, and the @ mention their grenade – and things are getting heated. Atheism already has a sexy enough face, what with Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) and spellchecker (@GSpellchecker), but can the Pope’s use of Twitter give a facelift to the seemingly craggy, decrepit face of religious dogmatism?

Science vs. religion: it’s a debate of the ages and it’s just gone viral. And as there’s no white flag in sight for either sides, Twitter is fast becoming a platform for one of history’s greatest conflicts. But where does it end? It’s a fight unlikely to ever be resolved, so us loyal tweeties will seemingly forever be witness to the arguments and passages between the non-believers and his holiness. Arguably, it was always just a matter of  time before civilization’s greatest battle went viral. I wonder if the Pope has LinkedIn too.

What does this reinforce for us about twitter?

The unique power of social media to start conversations, to spark debate, to name and shame celebrities, is something the world has never seen before. Social media is, must be, a company’s first foray into belief. Some things are meant to go together; social media and emerging brands, peanut butter and jelly, and although faith may not always agree with science, in this case, it seems to be a match as perfect as Mark Corrigan and Jez. Join the debate: @Pontifex

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What’s the importance of technology in building communication for youngsters?

Since social media exploded, getting noticed, finding customers and targeting users has become more accessible than ever.

Technology and sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and About Me have helped employers and employees to connect and in turn have made communicating and promoting yourself not only quicker, but more creative.

Take me for example. How’d I get this gig? A busy student, part-time copywriter and now social intern for an up and coming company like Adjust Media… I cheekily corrected the director’s grammar in a tweet, sent a comical and informative email that somehow was impressive enough for them to want to meet with me.  Though in between this fun stream of communication was a lot of hard work… Therefore I would say the best thing we can do is be knowledgeable about the best platforms to sell ourselves and then do it to within an inch of our lives.

So – whilst you still have time, before the imminent drowning in a sea of dissertation proposals, unfair deadlines and ridiculous group work commitments- get on your computer and make yourself known. It’s mostly common sense, for example saying  “I’m a hard worker, a fun team member with an endless supply of topical memes and a firm grasp on what makes a great cup of tea” is great. Not only that, it’s fun, makes light of stereotypical post-grad and internship job roles (tea making, sadly) and shows an interest in the internet (mention of memes).

This however, is not that great “Efficient team member, hard worker, thrives on stress, works well in a team”. Agreed, all the points are excellent, but anyone can say that.  We as students, me included still think the way to write about ourselves is in an easy-to-read format. And yes I suppose it is – if you’re applying for a job in your local Wilkinson’s – however it won’t wash with creative marketers. Of course the points are all positive and demonstrate your opinion of yourself, but writing them in that straight forward, boring and informative manner is not enough to get you noticed as a potential sterling member of an agency. Creativity is key. Be diverse, be brave and use examples of these traits in action. You won’t get anywhere with the same sentence structure you used in your application for that Matalan Christmas temp Job.

Lucy

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Startups | Why student startups generate great value for investors?

According to NACUE three quarters of young people would like to run their own business. Similarly, the biggest concern to almost all of them is being able to fund their project. Banks don’t want to lend to businesses, particularly those that are run by younger people. The government startup loans are a good step, but with mounting tuition fees, students don’t want to be potentially liable years down the line. This is a real problem. Equity provides a solution, though sourcing investors is still tricky. Up and Funding provides the following reasons why student startups can be a great bet for any investor’s portfolio and has the potential to generate the most value:

1. Lower valuation startups:

Young people are far more likely to give a realistic valuation. They know theydon’t have the track record of someone and the price will reflect this. While obviously a young person could be more of a risk, the potential upside is clear.

2. Money going where it is supposed to:

Speaking to many Angel Investors the story is always the same. Lots of the time funding is sought simply to keep the Directors in a manner they are accustomed to, on a salary similar to what they were paid before. Student startups rarely if ever pay themselves unless their company has started to make money. You can be sure that your browser investment is properly utilised.

3. Student startups have Low overheads:

In addition to the salary aspect mentioned earlier, by there very nature student startups are built from the bottom up. Many businesses start with high sunk costs of office space in a prime location with utility bills and are spendthrift. Student startups by their very nature are bottom up (think Facebook was created in a university dorm). Many universities also provide excellent ‘enterprise hubs’, effectively free office space with all the services a startup could need.

4. Access to fantastic, inexpensive and talented students:

University campuses are full of the brightest sparks in the country. We already have many examples of unpaid internships. While we never would advocate unpaid work, imagine the costs relative to hiring experience through a recruitment agency to accessing flexible students, even more so if it’s an idea they would really want to get involved in.

5. Social enterprise aspect:

Investing in startups is not all about the bottom line return, most angel investors cite the immensely rewarding nature of investing in people as well as businesses.

6. Tax Breaks for startups:

While this is not exclusive to student startups, investors seem to be generally unaware of the tax breaks open to them. Through the government’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), investors can claim up to 78% of their initial investment back, and even more if the company defaults. With this scheme, startup investing isn’t the risk that it used to be!

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Copy | Are you writing compelling copy for your business?

The reach of compelling Copy, or written content, is often understated. If copy does not present an organisation in the same manner as its multimedia, you might as well not have bothered. Simply put, an organisation should present a consistent message. Copy is a key instrument in doing so, a tool that ties together written content, design and digital media. This underlies a key aspect of business presentation – the aesthetic should never hold primacy over the message.

Here you will find Adjust Media’s take on Copywriting; our 5 step guide to producing effective written Web, Advertising and Marketing content.

Step 1: Being an expert on your chosen topic before you write your copy

Be informed. If you want to sell a product or advertise a product your copy must resonate with the market. The marketer must hold and intimate sufficient knowledge about his product to enable him to effectively sell to the consumer. So, whether it is an App business, a Web service or a consumer product you must completely immerse yourself within the service; use it, talk to friends about it, research its origins and production methods. Only then will you find the right angle from which to sell the product.

For example, Joseph Sugarman, a successful American copywriter, did away with prior marketing techniques, in researching a watch. By highlighting the laser technology in producing the watch as a primary focus and fully understanding his product and the market, he was able to innovate with his copy.

2. Identifying and researching your customers

It is intrinsic to the success of your copy, that you understand your target market – how they think, what they like and most importantly what they respond to. How do you capture their interest, demand their loyalty and appeal to them in their own language? People respond to companies as they do people, customers seek out relationships with brands with which they can relate.

3. Put pen to paper:

Writer’s block is a much-maligned condition and plagues many copywriters. You could spend hours aggressing over that first line, when, in fact, it is far more beneficial just to get started, make mindmaps or even draw images. Don’t let your creative capacity be lessened by the desire for a pithy sentence or over-complicated grammar. Just get your ideas down first and come back to arrange them later.

4. Get your opening sentence read!

It is very easy to miss the point of your first line. This is your hook, without which any hope of the consumer reading or interacting with your piece is lost. It is very easy to get caught up with the beautiful design or the layout but if the first line doesn’t get read, the design, the layout and the photos aren’t doing their job.

 5. Compel the consumer to keep reading…

This is known as the slippery slide – your readers have to be so compelled to read the content you give them, that they cannot stop reading. Each paragraph or statement must captivate them enough to read from one to the next. This somewhat negates arguments regarding the relative advantages of short or long passages of copy, the content you provide needs only be as long or as short as it needs to be to hold the reader’s attention. Thus, the slippery slide.

Conclusions

Bearing all this in mind, it is important however to remain focused on the purpose of compelling copy, as Sugarman writes, “to cause a person to exchange his or her hard-earned money for a product or service”. The marketer must then match up the demands of the customer and his hard-earned income, with the copywriter and his hard-planned copy.

5 Minutes With...

5 mins with Charles from Works Out of The Box

We caught up with Charles from Works Out of The Box to find out what he’s up to and what the future holds.

 

5 Mins with Charles from Works Out of the Box
5 Mins with Charles from Works Out of the Box

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Works Out of the Box

My name is Charles Rivett-Carnac, I’m currently at Sussex University studying Business and Marketing. I run an electronics retail company called Works Out of The Box which I started at 16 and…. I’m 6ft 6”.

How did Works Out of The Box start?

I started by selling my electronics under the business and brand name Laserware, but it came to a point this year where I had to register as a limited company – so I started Works Out of The Box Ltd, which retails Laserware-branded electronics. When I was 16 I started importing laser pointers, and from then on I just enjoyed importing various gadgets from Hong Kong and China. I always used to do my own website and coding but it has now got to the point where my time is best spent focusing on the importing side of the business – it made sense to outsource my website and branding needs to Adjust Media.

How is it juggling University and your businesses?

Not easy. With target shooting and musical commitments to also juggle, it’s usually University work that becomes the lower priority. Why study business when you can run a business? I was happy to gain a 2.1 this year, but I think it’ll be harder to keep up in my final year.

What tips would you give someone wanting to start their own retail business?

Pick products to sell that promise a good margin, taking into account taxes and VAT – don’t pick something just because you like the product. My two most disastrous and costly importing decisions were two products that I really loved, but I didn’t think about the figures properly. Also remember that, unlike services where completed jobs can be forgotten about, you’re under moral and legal obligations to give at least a year warranty. Finally, risk only as much as you can afford to lose. Ebay is a great place to start small and grow quickly.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve come up against starting and running your businesses?

Umm… My first big order to China, where I had to trust someone 5000 miles away with the majority of my savings in the hope that he will send back products. And preferably the products would work.

What does the future hold for Works Out of The Box and yourself?

The aim is to get Laserware products into as many shops as possible and distribute them effectively through Works Out of The Box. My future, however, depends somewhat on the success of the business in the next eight months. I’m hoping that the business will prove to be scalable and I will carry it on as a full time job after university. Adjust Media will hopefully help me find new markets and customers through social media along the way, and this could prove vital to my survival.

What’s your favourite app?

I’m currently an HTC man so my choice is limited, but it’s got to be Auto Trader, makes sense as a petrol head…

Best invention of the 21st century?

I’ll take a gamble and say the Raspberry Pi, in the hope that turns out to be incredibly popular and hugely significant.

What is your favourite product you have ever sold?

Xenon torches. Huge flashlights that are nearly quadruple the power of a car headlight. Spy Camera Alarm Clocks were also a highlight.

What’s your favourite chocolate?

I’m not a massive chocolate person, but it has to be Cadbury’s.

Any last words?

If you’re an entrepreneurial student or graduate and you’ve got an idea, go for it. You’re at a time where you can afford to go bankrupt – low living costs, no family to support, no mortgage. Once you’re roped into a big organisation, you may never get the chance to do so again.