What strategic planning tools do YOU need?

Remote GoatThere is always a lot of speculation in any business. Many areas require a lot of time and effort in order to find your feet on a solid strategic plan and execute it effortlessly until there comes a point where it needs to organically move on. That’s a big part of our digital lives. Where businesses can do all they need to do and more either on the go, in an office, a coffee shop, or the zoo (if you’re that way inclined), a strategy for something as big as social can be difficult to maintain.

For the small business, you can’t have 3 sets of arms and be 5 places at once. Even though this is a task many try to undertake, it really won’t work. Trust us. The strategic tools and practices are there to lend you a helping hand in times when you really don’t have the time to be faffing around on Twitter. Most people do that for a job, it’s not faffing, it’s data crunching and analysing and is actually very time consuming. Hence why they provide the extra hands you might need to turn a complicated task on it’s head.

In the office we have an internal section dealing with the likes of social media and the strategic planning behind it, and it is difficult! While the likes of Twitter is evolving day by day, it’s hard to understand the stream of information constantly in front of you. Unless you spend 80% of your time staring at mindless information picking out the relevant content for you and your followers, it is tough to keep up. Even then you probably only want to retweet and tweet about 5 or 6 times a day. That’s just numero uno on the list of social media jobs. You also have to filter and fish for the important analytics. These will be in the region of engagement rates, click-throughs to your own content, mentions, follower rates, post schedules, tweet automator, account comparatives. I can go on. But I will not.

It’s an overwhelming, frustrating notion and is so easily dropped out of any business interest at any moment. All that effort and strategic planning you started to put in becomes redundant until you realise it was a mistake 2 weeks down the line and have to start over. Stick with it and seek the best possible strategy, is our sound advice.

Tools to use for free to give you that helping hand you so desperately seek.

1) Social Bro. Although the tools are restricted due to it being a free version of a larger platform, there are really valuable tools on it. We use the ‘Best time to tweet’ feature. It takes 100 of your top most interactive users and plots by day the time in which they will be on their feed. You may only target 40% of that audience but 40 people is better than well, anything less than 40. At the end of the day, that particular time may hold 60% of your total audience but because Social Bro requires your payment details, they only offer a lower percentage to the free user.

2) MailChimp. You’ve heard of this amazing email tool. You can use it to store all of your industry contacts in one place and form an email campaign among that list. You can then monitor your click through rates, open rates, unsub rates, all in one place. Take the Mail Chimp service further with the use of online subscription forms for your site and social medias. Get active in seeking the general public to entice them to your brand.

Using the above  strategy tools doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming for you. You can spend an hour or two setting them up each week and then let it do what it’s gotta do while you’re busy doing start-up stuff. Of course, if you have any queries, you know where we graze…

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Flat Design Concepts

Your engagement with the likes of Youtube, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and any other mass popular platform you can think of, is astounding. Quite literally, the stats are through the roof and far from being able to have a stab in the dark at. I won’t try though.

While to you are busy being keyboard warriors, video fabricators or selfie snappers, you adapt and become accustomed to the design in front of you. Sure, you have been reconditioned like the rest of us in terms of design and branding but not everyone sits around staring at YouTube’s interface thinking about how to better it. Actually, there are many people out there who do just that.  These guys are the creative force behind the next gen of branding capabilities and how our lives will progress to be made to feel different with further reconditioning.

Now, Snapchats interface is dead simple to use. You swipe from left to right, going from screen to screen to do a certain number of tasks. Whether it be adding a mate or taking a ‘selfie’ with your todger hanging low and swaying to and fro. Others take a different approach and try to ‘better’ that platform and that is exactly what has been done here.

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If you take a deeper dive into the redesign that this artist has gone to the trouble of creating, he actually demonstrates a cleaner and easier design concept. Most users would probably look at it and say “but it looks just the same”, and yes maybe in your own little world it is. However, a design geek just went and shut themselves in their room, excused from dinner and never to be seen for the rest of the evening. FACT!

Sometimes these designs are very well thought out, with end to end development to make it the best possible product it can ever be. Some will look aesthetically pleasing and due to Apple’s lovely design past we can no longer settle for second best, but there are some that will remain at their current design point which is for their sake and for their users, the best thing.

Take YouTube for example. Their platform design is SUPER easy to use, easy to navigate and does everything it says on the tin. It may be looking a bit dated now but it still does everything you want it to. We came across this concept re-design and have to say that while some of it is really slick, bold and totalling in keeping with Google’s identity, the windows 8 thing has already been done.

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Now, on the face of it, it’s pukka! The brackets are to represent camera frames which of course is very fitting with the YouTube model. Spot on. The further you dive into it, the more you start to see the resemblance. The mock up does seem to work really rather well for the YouTube interface and the designer has gone to great lengths in order to show off its capabilities.

The videos page looks incredible, if we may say so. The pop up video, the stats on the side and the way you hover over the image to get the preview all work really well and look super, super sleek. The movement of the whole interface happens very seamlessly also which in our books is a great feature to have. Having the auto slide function definitely adds a new dimension to the platform.

The final point to make is tackling the laborious task of uploading to YouTube. Personally, I haven’t done it recently so I could have my facts wrong but, having to stay on the page while it uploads is tedious. In the time it takes to upload (depending on your internet speed) a user could have watched anywhere between 1 and 10 videos, digging further and further down the YouTube rabbit hole and discovering a whole new layer of content. This new design allows an effortless background task manager that runs while you carry on doing what you love best – and we all know a skateboarding dog is still way up there.

All in all platform re-design can be a tricky task to pull off. There will always be haters and there will be lovers. The extreme lovers will decide to boycott the platform all together after their apparent ‘sell out’. Just sit back, watch them moan on a related platform for months on end before they finally come around…’I used to hate it but, it’s really growing on me’. QUIT YOUR NONSENSE AND GET IN LINE.

Toms Takes Investment

Remote GoatSocial do-gooder and top shoe retail brand, Toms has partnered with Boston-based capital investment house, Bain Capital. The eight year-strong startup company has been active with third world countries and have achieved some remarkable things.

The press release from retail owner, Mycoskie has accepted the partnership under the terms he gives up 50% of his company while he retained the remaining 50%.

That’s a huge percentage to give up, especially in such an expanding company. Ludacris.

Toms has taken foot and eyewear to exciting places, using their one for one scheme to give something to the charitable arenas. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, for every pair of Toms footwear or pair of glasses you buy, the company will also send a pair to third world countries. I don’t think they have ever told the public whether or not they replicate your order to send out, but we’ll take their word for it.

The partnered investment amount has not yet been stipulated, we’ll take a stab at it being well into the six figure category. Almost definitely will we be seeing major growth from this potential retail giant.




Generation Z

Remote GoatDid you know about the existence of Generation Z? Barely able to call themselves ‘nineties kids’ and they are taking entrepreneurial communities by storm. They fall nothing short of smart-alecks and are being described as the most diverse generation ever. What with the tech that’s about, we aren’t surprised!

The 23million+ population of Generation Z have been noted to be making more money now then most will in a lifetime. Selling apps to Yahoo! for $30m at the age of 17, being awarded film contracts by Dreamworks at 15 and pre-teen celeb models, unemployment rates might be down but that doesn’t mean young teens are amongst the sufferers.

 

Apparently, these Gen Z’ers have mechanical workings of geniuses that have acquired affluent knowledge of the digital spectrum they have been bought up in all too easily, if you ask me.

Is the reasoning behind this the work of the recession, or would it be the diverse array of applications and educational platforms that allow them to conquer the cyber languages with great ease? I’d assume the latter.

The generation has seemingly taken full advantage of everyone else’s shortcomings, grasping the opportunity to adopt digital advances as part of their DNA. Will they end up on top because of it? Yeah, most likely!

More and more organisations are releasing the next best gen tech for kids to learn how to code. Google hold such events where they teach the basics of HTML. Hardware companies such as Raspberry Pi have produced miniaturised computers designed to teach coding in its simplest form.

It’s all so over whelming that it’s tough to keep up. But hey, if our children make a fast buck out of it and are able to look after us later in life, who are we to complain?

 

Pretotyping: Concept and Value

Products and service validation is something of a task in itself. Aside from launching a brand new product or a bigger, better variation on an already existing process, the inner workings and usability is something of a mind boggler and needs due care and attention.
The way the process has worked for others is to establish a basic validation experiment. They’ve thrown the concept of their product out to the public, gauged their reaction and how it is perceived through its necessary means testing. This system has been around for a while now; in fact it’s remarkable how it is only recently becoming more of a fad in businesses.

Known as an important start point – find your audience. Target those who will benefit your product. Do your research and act accordingly to those results, adapting and trialling changes to push the best product possible. From there you can build a strategy on how best to get your best critics opinion.

What would you use for such a task I hear you say?

Well, we’ve found an application that will make life a lot easier for you in web and app build. It’s something that has proven very effective with other companies, and it will help you means test the user flow with the overall look and feel of what you might one day roll out. The program is called Axure and it is free to use on a trial basis. This gives you enough time to get to know how the app works and try it out for yourself. Give it a go!

The value of this process can be, in a nutshell, invaluable. To sense check your product, validate your theories and ideations and to analyse the target market are all invaluable tasks that should be done in the quickest but most effective way possible. You don’t want to be sitting on developing an idea while the funds in your bank wash away quicker than water over a long drop and sudden stop. You will also help to solve the issue of market failure through innovative means testing and thus end what is known as an inventor’s nightmare while keeping your bank reasonably healthy. We can’t promise anything though!

Working with start-ups, we generally find that most have sunk a lot of time and effort into just making their app work. In order to avoid this, designing and conceptualising that product can work wonders.

Entrepreneurs have the time to work on their product but this time is also needed to source out funding to take the project further. When they spend most of their time and money developing a product that could be a liability in an investment stage (and trust us when we say we have heard it first hand), it is incredibly counter intuitive. Inception, design, investment, development is the road to getting your business up and running seems to be the smoothest and most effective way.

A Goat in Motion

Remote Goat

As an entity we are contributing a lot to the world of start-ups and entrepreneurs. We attend networking events; coffee meets and even meets with budding entrepreneurs looking for the right path among the many in front of them.
Trying to give back to communities is a priority and on the topic of good business karma, this is all achieved and continues to be achieved by actionable insights, blood, sweat, tears, and guts.

As the phone rings more and more we never know who is going to be at the other end of the call. A couple of months ago we discovered that TwentySomthingLondon were attending an event and inviting The Herder herself to one of the more prestigious buildings in London, nay, the country.
The invitation was nothing short of being involved in an inspired conversation regarding the start-up community and how environmental, political and social factors affect them at No. 10 Downing Street. Mind. Blown.

Off she went. Emeline joined a handful of inspirational characters; business owners and entrepreneurs. All were involved in a round-table-like conversation surrounding the ever-growing topic of how to help young companies such as the ones there, at that moment in time.
The pride and the privilege to be part of such an event has still not quite sunk in but to be part of it nonetheless was described as incredible and inspirational.

That’s just one of many opportunities we have been part of recently and it only just starts to show the basis of the giant iceberg that is being created.

Shortly after Downing Street, the phone rings again and after countless conversations and cups of coffee, Emeline has once again been invited to contribute to an audience evolving in to the big bad world. This time it happens to be across waters and into the fashion capital of the world, Paris.
The invitation is for Emeline to guest lecture at the ESCP European Business School in October of this year, which is only round the corner!
The ESCP was the world’s first business school founded in 1819 and now has campuses across Europe in 5 cities. The educational body offers a range of business degrees and courses making it the best institute of its kind.

Keep your eyes peeled for the ESCP ‘behind the scenes’. There will be all sorts of content to come from it!

One organisation that commits its time to exceptional, entrepreneurial women is the Astia community. The close relationship that has formed with this wonderful organisation has proven to be invaluable.
Bringing together bright minds to share powerful insights is the foundation of the company that provides a key insight in to the work that they carry out. It is truly remarkable and we are proud to be part of that.

If there was any particular company to talk about it would definitely be worth mentioning the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, more commonly known as the NEF, for you abbreviation geeks. If you have done your homework you would have realised that our seed-brand winners are also involved with the NEF so plenty of good things have come out of our relationship with them. Not too long ago actually, Emeline was asked to part of their Fireside talks. The event was intimate and full of industry enthusiasts along with the NEF cohort, drinks were had, discussions were informal and relationships were founded. Events such as the NEF seminars and talks can be invaluable to your business and we would definitely encourage you to go to as many as you can.

So, as you can see we have been pretty busy. What with all our own work we find ourselves scheduling time in our calendar just to breathe! But, what would a start-up be without that, right?

 

The Remote Goat Seed-Branding Programme

Remote Goat You don’t need to worry if you haven’t heard about our seed-branding programme just yet. All will be explained.

Back in April it was decided to put something back into the start-up community, as we previously started there ourselves we have a lot to offer. There was a pool of contestants through the application process. Ideas were pitched and business propositions were gone through with a fine tooth comb.

Three companies were eventually handpicked and here they are for you to admire and follow through their journey. Each of these companies has real synergy with Remote Goat and we commend them for their progress and the work they are doing.

Sideways6   |     Sliide    |    eRipple

eRipple is the next progression in investment and mentor connections. Its involved the entrepreneurial world, which we absolutely live in.

Sliide is a company going against the grain. These guys have taken it upon themselves to be the next big thing in terms of mobile advertising.

Sideways6 is the innovation tool for any and all businesses.It was something Emeline related to from the offset and now we are big part of the company.

All three of them have been through the pre-start-up stages and are currently gunning for investment. Their mentors and peers are heavily involved and engaged, making their businesses the best they can be. Seed branding is something of an incremental fad in the business world at the moment.

 

Every year you see giants such as Lloyds TSB, Disney, BT, among a herd of other businesses trying to show their interest in what could inevitably take their place in years to come. They seem to be grooming the markets to find the next best thing to keep them alive or to show they are evolving through the arena of investment.

In our opinion this is a bit of a lost cause and that events should take a natural evolution when pivoting through change. Who knows, but it’s their efforts and funding that is the catalyst for successful start-up companies in today’s world. Help is everywhere – even clothes stores are providing the world with the ‘start-up’ look. Guaranteed to give you the success with your fashion-savvy investors, right?

We feel that the journey we take involves some important steps and how we go about interacting with our clients is something of a feat. In a pre-investment stage, we know that businesses are faced with the overwhelming procedure of investment pitches and meetings to secure their spot in the right market at the right time. We provide expert branding, design work with web development, and identity progression with pitch and sales deck design all tied up in neat package.

Our Seed-branding winners have been kitted out with what they need to progress through the business stages. Of course, none of them will forget us when they are top dogs leaving us goats in the fields. That’d just be rude!

At the end of the day, we are able to help and promote start-up businesses make their ideas become realities. It’s all about good business karma.

For a little more information, watch our seed branding video and stay tuned for our quarterly video updates with the guys and any unravelling news that will certainly be happening soon.


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