Celebrate World Radio Day with a station just for builders

World Radio Day logoToday is World Radio Day, created by the United Nations cultural body UNESCO to “remember the unique power of radio to touch lives, and bring people together across every corner of the globe”.

Given the global presence of social media and streaming television, it is perhaps a little surprising that such an old media as Radio remains so popular. In fact it is nearly 100 years since the BBC started regular radio broadcasts in the UK. And yet it’s flagship show the Today Program on Radio 4 is now more popular than ever with a weekly reach of 7.66 million listeners.

In 2017 there are around 600 licensed radio stations in the UK, with the latest Radio Fix aimed at builders. It’s another great example of a niche product, catering to an untapped audience.

Fix Radio logoFix Radio says it will provide music, banter and information targeted at bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, roofers, painters and decorators whether they work on building sites or in people’s homes.

The new station is the brainchild of Louis Timpany who came up with the concept while working on a building site to earn extra cash after graduating from Leeds University.

“I noticed builders listen to the radio all day but there was no one station they could all agree on,” says Louis. “I thought it would be great to create a station specifically with them in mind”.

“One thing that came out strongly, for example, was the need for detailed weather forecasts throughout the day as builders depend on knowing what the weather is going to be like to plan their work,” says Louis.

“The main weather forecasts on Fix Radio every day will, therefore, be very detailed and accurate – almost like the shipping forecast for tradespeople.”

Sponsorship and advertising packages have already been pre-sold for the first six months. “We can offer our commercial partners a very pure, very targeted audience so they can engage with their customers with little ‘wastage’ on people who don’t work in the trade,” says Louis.

Fix Radio to target tradespeople in London

Loos for Doos – a name Thomas Crapper would be proud of

I can never resist a good business name, and today I spotted Loos for Doos as I crossed the road when when popping out for lunch today.

But when I did a quick trade mark search on the UK IPO database, I noticed they don’t yet have a registered name.

Hopefully they will read this little note and take action…

trailer-standard

 

Harry Potter A History of Magic wandmakers

Harry Potter and the real wand-makers

sixpenny-large-carved-vineOne of the surprises of the recent BBC documentary Harry Potter: A History of Magic (repeated on Christmas Day) were the two real-life wand-makers from Kent.

Dusty Miller XIII and XIV are Master Elfin Craftsman from the “Saelig Silverdobbs”, a tribe which lived in Great Britain since the last Ice Age. Together they make “unique handcrafted magickal Tools which inhabit a benevolent Tree Spirit”.

The long line of family craftsmen goes back hundreds of years and the Millers have the same given name handed down from one generation to the next.

Dusty XIV explained: “We work for the tree spirits so they tell us where to go to collect a piece of wood and which tree to collect it from. “It’s all very complicated and often involves getting up in the middle of the night to be in the forest at daybreak.

“Why it always has to be daybreak I don’t know. Why can’t it be lunchtime?” he asked. “Trees don’t have lunch,” retorted his father, Dusty XIII.

The Millers sell their wands all over the world for a variety of magical and healing purposes. Kent wand-makers: Wood you believe it?

Harry Potter A History of Magic wandmakersThe Wand-makers BBC website

So many wand-makers in the UK

A quick Google search reveals lots of rival wand-makers in the UK. It seems there is a demand for this niche product way beyond Harry Potter memorabilia.

Thornfield Handcrafted Wands

Thornfield Handcrafted Wands

Daniel and Daniel

Daniel and Daniel

Spirit of Old

Spirit of Old

British Originals

British Originals

And we must not forget our American cousins, who also have a variety of wand-makers including the wonderfully named Acme Wand Supply Ltd

Acme Wand Supply

 

Paris – the place to try a Frog Burger

My favourite business names are ones that have a built-in sense of humour (Dry Patch and Ass Saver). So I was delighted when I first came across a Frog Burger pub in Paris.

I love the way the owners have turned an historical negative term for our next-door-neighbours across the ‘English Channel’ (La Manche to the French) into a marketing success.

This is all part of the revolution in French eating that has seen ‘Le Burger’ rise to the top of the menu across France. ‘Le burger’ now top selling dish in French restaurants

Below are the current variations on the brand, with my favourites being The Frog & Rosbif and of course The Frog & British Library.FrogBurgerTHE FROG & ROSBIF
THE FROG & PRINCESS
THE FROG AT BERCY VILLAGE
THE FROG & BRITISH LIBRARY
FROG XVI
FROG REVOLUTION
FROG HOP HOUSE
THE FROG & UNDERGROUND
FROGBURGER IN PARIS
FROGBURGER BASTILLE
FROGBURGER ST-MICHEL
FROGBURGER NEUILLY
FROGPUBS IN BORDEAUX

 

 

 

Wisdom & Wordplay cover

Robert Eddison’s Wisdom & Wordplay – 300 original one-liners to enrich your day

I have long been a fan of great quotes, or aphorisms to give them their proper name. Dating back to well before I had even heard of that sophisticated word, and possibly triggered by this Monty Python Oscar Wilde Sketch.

I currently use three of my favourites quotes in my Introducing Social Media for Small Business Workshop at the British Library. The point being that if you are able to express something of relevance to your potential customers in just a few words (for instance less than the 140 characters required for Twitter) you are likely to be a success.

Workshop slide

So, I was excited to receive a review copy of Robert Eddison’s Wisdom & Wordplay which contains ‘300 original one-liners to enrich your day’.

Wisdom & Wordplay coverIn the Foreword Gyles Brandreth, who is well known for his wit and encyclopedic knowledge rates Eddison as a possible match for Wilde.

I wouldn’t go that far, having just re-visited some of Wilde’s classics quotes.

But there are still some wonderful gems scattered across the pages.

Here are some of my favourites:

–  The spendthrift is more spend than thrift

–  It’s hard to lick your wounds after being stabbed in the back

–  Trust, like money has to be carefully invested

–  The curious are their own best teachers

–  A clear conscience makes the best sleeping pill

–  Verbosity acts like a weed throttling meaning

–  Deep thoughts take time to surface

–  Those with a way with words usually get their way

–  In a democracy, it’s ideas that are flogged to death; in an autocracy, it’s people

–  History teaches us that we rarely learn from it

–  Reality, like the sun, can never be faced for long

–  Given enough notice, anyone can appear spontaneous

–  Coffee is not everyone’s cup of tea

–  Dressing young adds years to the older man

–  Knowledge is too often mistaken for intelligence

–  Youth, like money, is valued when lost

You can read more on Robert’s Twitter feed @roberteddison1, where you may not be surprised to find he currently has over 30 thousand followers. Which proves my point above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking up a beautiful website without a techie in sight

Back in 2014 I wrote about the revolution in website building. A few years later, and it is now even easier and cheaper to build your own website.

A great example is the website for my neice’s recently launched baking business Olivia Infield Cakes.

oliviainfieldcakes

As you can see, Olivia is a very talented cake artist, but she is not a techie. I suggested she try using Squarespace to build her website. And after a few hours of work she produced this simple, but very professional looking site. It was a bit of a challenge for her, but because she knew what she wanted the pages to look like, she was able to work towards that goal using the built-in tools.

To get an up to date review of the 10 best website builders go here: Best Website Builders
I signed up with them, here’s my review..

According to the author Robert Mening, the top three are SiteBuilder, Wix and Squarespace.

Best website builders 2017

 

 

 

The Ass Saver that stops you getting a wet bum on your bike

Ass Savers logoSo many entrepreneurs I meet want to have a name that describes what their product does. But ironically the UK IPO may not allow you to register a name as a trade mark if “it is a descriptive word or term.”

For example Apple Inc would not be allowed to register their trade mark for fruit, as it would block everyone else from using the word apple. Much better is come up with a clever play on words that gets across what your product does. Even better if it achieves it in a fun way.

Now that autumn is here in London, it is time to think about trying to stay dry when travelling around the city. I wrote about Dry Patch – A BIPC success story with a great sense of humour a while ago. But more recently have spotted quite a few of these on my commute to work.

Ass saver

The name Ass Savers may not be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly is short, simple and memorable – the most important aspects of a trade mark.

So far the owners have only registered the name under Nice Class 12, Vehicles and Conveyances for Bicycle mudguards. So it looks as though they aren’t ready to take over the world with their brand just yet.

Update! 24 October 2017

One of our clients designer Roderick Brosse at the Business & IP Centre has just won the the top award at this weekend’s British Invention Show with a minimal mudguard. His “Mud Bug” won the Diamond Award for British Invention.

Roderick has yet to find a manufacturer for his impressive invention, so watch this space.

mudbugpic

SpedDial

Speeding up my Brompton folding with SpedDial

Brompton from aboveI have been commuting to work on my Brompton for over three years now. Farewell Boris Bikes – hello to the Brompton folding-bike experience. I have written a few blog posts about my experience (15 learnings from a year of Brompton cycle commuting in London), and little ways I have tried to improve the bike (The safest thing on my bicycle is my Mirrycle).

This time I am experimenting with an improved Hinge Clamp Kit from SpedDial. I had already created something of a bodge solution using springs and plastic metal.

I came across the invention after recently joining the Brompton Hacks Group on Facebook. A post from SpedDial creator Stephan Bianchi piqued my interest. The link to his website included a video demonstrating a much improved version of the Brompton clamp.

SpēdDial Folds Fast from Stephan Bianchi on Vimeo.

The key is the dimpled handle which allows you spin it around really quickly.

SpedDial

I expressed my interest to Stephan and he explained he had sent a batch to Brilliant Bikes in Chobham. I rang them to order a set, but they hadn’t arrived. Soon after I received an email asking if I would like to test out SpedDial for them. I jumped at the chance, and a couple of days later received the little package below in the post.

Below is my amateur attempt at improving the clamp.

And here is the shiny new SpedDial replacement

So now for the big question… is it any good? And the answer is an emphatic yes. Actually it is brilliant.

It solves several problems:

  • It stops the metal bracket from twisting and blocking the fold
  • Using the finger dimple makes turning the knob much less fiddly
  • It saves time. I have set mine to just four turns from closed to open.
  • It prevents the bolt from falling out
  • The same lock nut gives you a predictable fold, so the handlebars no-longer fall on my leg.

Walking back to health one step at a time with my EvenUp

Evenup LogoRuptured Achilles tendon is a phrase redolent with pain and anguish. In my case it occurred at the end of my regular Sunday evening friendly football match.

As I stepped forward to engage with an opponent, I heard an ominous tearing sound, much like when ripping up old tshirts for rags. I looked round to see where the sound was coming from, and discovered there was no one there. At the same moment my brain registered pain in my lower leg and I hit the deck. After struggling to my feet  and limping towards the touch line, my fellow team mates asked if I could cover the goal until the end of the match. I ruefully shook my head and slumped down at the side of the pitch.

hospital bootNearly a week later (thanks my local hospital losing my phone number) I was looking at an ultrasound scan of my leg. When I pointed my foot down, all looked well. But when I lifted it up, a gap was clearly visible. Fortunately the rupture was at the point where the tendon joins onto the leg muscle. So an operation was not deemed necessary. Just eight weeks of my leg being strapped into an orthopedic walking boot, night and day.

This was not good timing as we had a camping and walking holiday to the Scottish island of Mull planned for the following week. I soon discovered that I could not drive my car. My left foot was hitting the brake and the clutch at the same time with this clunking great boot on. I also found walking with my hospital loaned crutch difficult. The main problem was caused by the two inch difference in height between my two legs.

After some internet research I found out that although the ‘boot’ would fix my tendon, it could also result in long term problems with knees, hips and backs caused by limping. Further exploring uncovered a solution in the form of the EvenUp shoe lift. I immediately ordered one to arrive in time for my holiday.

evenup-shoe-balancer_2

As you can see above, the EvenUp is not a thing of great beauty, but it has transformed my ability to get around during the long recovery period.

I would definitely recommend it for anyone unlucky enough to be forced to wear hospital boot for any length of time.

Top Tips on Social Media from 20 Industry Experts – Summarised

As well as providing an excellent event booking platform, Eventbrite also have some great advice on their Blog on Social Media Marketing.

A recent post gives some Top Tips on Social Media from 20 Industry Experts. But to save you the bother of having to read the lengthy article, I have summarised each point below:

  1. Use hashtags, because “they allow you to gain the greatest opportunity to draw in your followers creating a social media buzz!”
  2. Spend a little on Facebook because organic posts currently “average between 1%-5% reach, which means without a little budget, your authentic story might never be heard.”
  3. Participate in Twitter chats as often as you can…”
  4. Post more often on Twitter. “…you have to experiment for you and your sector but I find for me it’s not one a day but one an hour.”
  5. Focus. “…we think it is better to be great on one social media platform rather than being weak on five social media platforms.”
  6. Collaborate on Pinterest. “On becoming a collaborator, our pins received much higher visibility”
  7. Target your customers at conferences and events using hashtags. “Targeting hashtags on Twitter is particularly powerful, because everyone at the conference is going to be following and posting with that hashtag, and if you can pay to get your tweet in front of all of those eyeballs, you’re one step closer to connecting with your target audience!”
  8. Brand your presence. “Make sure your name, bio, cover art, profile pic and URL look amazing. This seems like a basic tip, but for those just starting, it is the most important tip. If your profile page doesn’t look good, you already lost.”
  9. Give stuff away. “Giveaways are a great way to build followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as filling out an email list.”
  10. Blog! “Business owners have to stop saying that they don’t have time to blog.”
  11. Use ‘micro-influencers’. “Engagement decreases as the number of followers of an influencer increases. A recent study found out that Instagram influencers that have less than 1,000 followers had an engagement rate of 8%, while those with more than 1 million followers had an engagement rate of 1.7% from their audiences.”
  12. Use Hootsuite. “It helps me plan and schedule most of the content for all our social media platforms for the week ahead.  I leave a post open each day for something that is trending on that day and jump on the # in order to display ourselves to a wider audience.”
  13. Ask questions. “One of the most successful Facebook strategies we have used is to ask our 110k followers intriguing questions. We also pair this with a timely blog post to ensure we remain a high authority on the subject as well.”
  14. Us a call to action. “Getting people to engage in the social media space is like herding cats and they have the attention span of a goldfish so if you don’t tell them what you want them to do by using a call to action most people won’t do anything at all.”
  15. Be personal. “If you have a local business and you have customers or clients who get to know you or members of your team through the service you provide, don’t forget to share photos of your team and some of the things they are up to. This strengthens trust and their engagement.
  16. Be unselfishActively engage. The only way to build a reputation as an expert and thought-leader is to continuously serve your community without expecting anything in return. Say hello, answer questions and tag people in posts you think are relevant or interesting to them.”
  17. Co-create content. “Rather than trying to generate a high volume of quality content — which is a very daunting prospect — design a platform where your customers can serve as ambassadors for your brand and generate organic content on your behalf, uploading their own videos and photos.”
  18. Quality over quantity. “Don’t underestimate the power of online tools and NEVER skip a social group, even if it has 200 or fewer members – go for quality, not quantity.”
  19. Do your research. “Researching your competitors can be extremely beneficial before you start implementing your Social Media Strategy. You can find valuable information on what kind of content is well accepted by the audience, which social media channel is the most relevant one, how often you should post and so on.”
  20. Have a strategy.  “I create social media strategies for companies I work for. I like to use one technique that does not require much budget or effort…”