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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
PowerBlog Review: Presidents Update
Read all the PowerBlog ReviewsEditor's note: Welcome to the sixty-fifth in our regular weekly series of PowerBlog Reviews of business weblogs. This week's review is being guest-blogged by Lynne Meyer. Lynne Meyer, APR, is president of A Way with Words.

Valuable Lessons from an MVP

By Lynne Meyer

Presidents Update is a blog by Anne Stanton, president of the Norwich Group of Norwich, Vermont, in the northeast USA. The Norwich Group provides onsite technology consulting to technology companies, accounting firms and consultants nationwide.

Anne recently won the Most Valuable Professional Award for Microsoft Customer Relationship Management. The MVP award recognizes outstanding technology experts around the world who provide invaluable online and offline expertise that enriches technical communities featuring Microsoft products.

In other words, Anne really knows what she's talking about when it comes to technology. And -- lucky for us small business owners -- she's willing to share her knowledge with us.

Anne started blogging in mid-2003, and says she posts almost daily. In analyzing the content of her postings, I discovered her blog to be a helpful blend of straightforward "how-to" tips, reviews of important business concepts and information she has learned from others.

One example of her "how-to" tips is her April 15 posting titled "Do you have a plan?" According to Anne, the standard training approach to applications is "install, tackle and master." While this approach is popular because it generally works, she notes, it doesn't work that well in the world of Customer Relationship Management software. "You want to incorporate a CRM solution into the culture of a business, and it ties into business processes much more than most other applications. Additionally," she says, "the ground work and decisions you make in the beginning do and can come back as big headaches later down the line." Anne's recommendations?

    1. Have a very detailed plan.
    2. Understand how the data going in is going to be information coming out.
    3. Be cautious of custom fields that offer too many choices.
    4. Include the expected need to change things six months down the line.
    5. Definitely be very aware of everyones expectations.
As an example of how Anne shares information provided by others -- and as a helpful review of an important business concept -- she passed along key points from a presentation she attended about branding. "According to the speaker," Anne notes, "even if you own a small business, your company brand offers a message to your clients. One goal of a brand, of course, is the right message and a consistent message across everything you do. But even more importantly, this message is a promise from your company to your clients."

Anne says blogging has been a huge business tool for her. "Blogging has opened many doors of opportunity and generated more growth for my business." She shares what she calls a classic blogging story.
"Bill Ives (Portals and KM) read my blog and posted a comment. He was writing a book on blogging and was going to visit his daughter attending school in Seattle. I introduced Bill Ives to Robert Scoble, Microsoft's #1 blogger, and Bill interviewed Robert for his book. Bill, in turn, introduced me to his publisher and co-author Amanda. Amanda was a tremendous resource for me when I was seeking information on publishing a book I co-wrote."
A terrific example of how blogs can lead to win-win situations.
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