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The Business That We Do Helps the Business That You Do

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:00 AM on February 29, 2012:

From First Bank & Trust Company:

If you haven’t already done so, you are probably starting to think about your 2011 taxes.  As a business owner, after year’s end you and your team are working hard to gather all the year’s numbers, close out your books, and ship them off to your accountant or CPA. 

First Bank & Trust offers an e-statement delivery systemIn addition to the records you keep for your business, your CPA will likely request your monthly bank statements.  Ah, yes, those statements you reconcile each month then set aside until tax season. 

Consider the trouble, hassle and time you may save yourself at each year’s end if your monthly bank statements were automatically sent to you and your bookkeeper, accountant or CPA throughout the year. 

First Bank & Trust offers an option within our e-statement delivery system that allows you to add additional email addresses for delivery of your statements.  You can replace your paper statements with e-statements. Signing up for e-statements is a quick and easy process, and can be done through your online banking account.

We're glad to offer business services that help you do business.

***

First Bank and Trust CompanyFirst Bank & Trust Company, one of the top community banks in the United States, is a diversified financial services firm with office locations in southwest Virginia - serving Blacksburg, Christiansburg and surrounding areas - northeast Tennessee, and the New River Valley and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Financial objectives are addressed by offering free checking products for personal and business accounts, and assessing lending solutions managed by mortgage, agricultural and commercial lending divisions. Comprehensive financial solutions are available through trust and brokerage service representatives. For businesses, First Bank & Trust specializes in business services, including online banking and online billpay, and business loans.

You're invited to read more from First Bank & Trust Company on Handshake 2.0.

First Bank & Trust Company is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

A Handshake 1.0, Because of Handshake 2.0, After Year 3.0

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:30 AM on February 28, 2012:

I remember those heady first days of launching Handshake 2.0 in July, 2008.  I wrote posts for the site, created its pages - About was the first - and worked with Alex Edelman to customize Handshake 2.0's appearance on its TypePad framework.  Business "firsts" came more slowly, but they began to arrive - our first customer, Andrew Cohill of Design Nine, our first on-going client, Coldwell Banker Townside, Realtors of which my sister, Margaret Galecki, is the general manager, and our first writer, Z. Kelly Queijo, who soon founded Smart College Visit, and paid us the highest compliment of also becoming a client.

Representatives of local organizations and companies whom I knew generously linked to the site.  But when would we get our first link from someone I didn't know?

A link from one site to another, like the Navi in the film Avatar, says much more than "I see you."  It speaks of the value, authority and significance of the content on the receiving site.  Linking to another site is an act of trust and even vulnerability - the quality of a post's content becomes dependent upon the quality of the other site.  A link essentially is an "It's still who you know" word-of-mouth referral. Additionally, a link tacitly transfers some of one site's credibility to the other.

I believed so much in Handshake 2.0.  Would others find it of value?  Would we get the coveted link at the far reaches of our six degrees of separation that would begin to validate Handshake 2.0 as an idea, a business model, and a site?

On August 15, 2008, Handshake 2.0 was given the gift of that link through this post by Robert Geller, President of Fusion PR in New York City, and author of the blog Flack's Revenge.

From then on - for over three years - Bob Geller and I have collaborated through guest posts for each other's sites, and conversations through blog comments, Twitter, emails and phone calls.  When I learned Mr. Handshake 2.0 and I would be traveling to New York to visit friends, I emailed Bob and asked if we could meet.  When he kindly agreed, I bought a new suit

I felt choked up when I first saw Bob Geller.  I credit Bob Geller with "discovering" Handshake 2.0 and feel like the magic of its rising star began with his "I see you."

This photo of our real handshake was taken by Mr. Handshake 2.0 in the midst of a lively dinner for six at a restaurant aptly named Caravan of Dreams.

Anne Giles Clelland and Robert Geller

Absolutely delighted to meet you, Bob.  It's magical knowing you.

***

I have quoted Robert Geller often on Handshake 2.0 so feel free to use Handshake 2.0's Google Custom Search to find those citations.  For Handshake 2.0, Bob has most recently written Getting Your Apps in Gear and 5 Features to Look for in a Tech PR Firm.

***

Added 3/9/12

"Remember, when you share something, you are endorsing it, putting your brand behind it."
- Google+ infographic by BlueGlass for Chris Brogan

Who's in FRONT? Adam Markham

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on February 27, 2012:

Adam Markham
Adam Markham of Tinnell's Finer Foods was featured in the February, 2012 issue of Valley Business FRONT.

Photo: Dan Smith

Each week, Who's in FRONT on Handshake 2.0? showcases photographs of the people featured in business news magazine Valley Business FRONT.

Valley Business FRONT for iPad is available for free in the iTunes App Store. For an overview, please see the YouTube video on the VBF app.

Keep in front with Valley Business FRONT on Valley Business FRONT for iPad, Valley Business FRONT's blog, moreFRONT, Twitter and Facebook. Valley Business FRONT's Workplace Advice Column, written by Handshake 2.0's Anne Giles Clelland, appears monthly in Valley Business FRONT and in the collection Work: It's Personal.

Valley Business FRONT is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Consider Your Value

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2012:

From First Bank & Trust Company:

What sets you apart from your competition in the marketplace?  What is it that you have that no one else can say they have?  Why would your customers or potential customers choose you?  Once you’ve answered these questions, how do you demonstrate this to your customers or potential customers?

First Bank & Trust CompanyAt a time when deposit rates are low, loan demand is reduced, and essentially all banks offer the same array of products, it is crucial for a bank to stand out from its competition to increase or maintain market share.  During a team meeting in late 2011, we evaluated the many things we do at First Bank & Trust Company to make banking a unique experience for our customers. 

  • We are a safe, sound, secure, successful financial partner.
  • We are headquartered in Southwest Virginia and we make local decisions in a timely manner.
  • We value customer service; our motto is “customer service comes from the heart.”
  • First Bank & Trust Company services the mortgages we originate. 
  • Our product offerings include the latest technologies in banking. 
  • We understand and value our customers’ time, which is why we go to them so they don’t have to come to us. 
  • We bring a consultative, relationship approach to banking.  

After making that list, we were feeling pretty good about the great benefits of banking with First Bank & Trust Company.  But then we asked, "What do we offer that truly sets us apart?"

Simple:  our employees. 

First Bank & Trust Company EmployeesOur employees are unique individuals who bring many talents to the organization and are committed to one common mission: to address the needs of our customers.  Employees at First Bank & Trust Company smile and greet customers when they walk into the branch.  First Bank & Trust Company employees are neighbors and friends.  They’re who you think about when First Bank & Trust Company comes to mind. First Bank & Trust Company employees are the added value you receive when you bank with us.

From hearing about our team meeting, hopefully your wheels are turning and you’ve identified your value.  Maybe you already knew what it was.  What do you offer that sets you apart?

***

First Bank & Trust Company, one of the top community banks in the United States, is a diversified financial services firm with office locations in southwest Virginia - serving Blacksburg, Christiansburg and surrounding areas - northeast Tennessee, and the New River Valley and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Financial objectives are addressed by offering free checking products for personal and business accounts, and assessing lending solutions managed by mortgage, agricultural and commercial lending divisions. Comprehensive financial solutions are available through trust and brokerage service representatives. For businesses, First Bank & Trust specializes in business services, including online banking and online billpay, and business loans.

You're invited to read more from First Bank & Trust Company on Handshake 2.0.

First Bank & Trust Company is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Mobile App Design Infographic

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:09 AM on February 21, 2012:

Kelsey Sarles is a User Experience and Graphic Designer, passionate about creating inspiring, results-driven marketing and design solutions for her clients. Her portfolio includes concept, UX, and graphic design of Handshake Mobile's Thought Full™ – an app to remember, and UX and graphic design for She Chooses® mobile powered by Feel. Think. Choose.™

We offer Kelsey Sarles's "Creating a Mobile App: Concept and Design" infographic on Handshake 2.0 again, this time with embed code. Feel free to learn, enjoy and share!

Mobile app design infographic by Kelsey Sarles for Handshake 2.0Please click the image or here for a larger view.

You can embed Kelsey's mobile design infographic on your site using this code:

Thanks to Z. Kelly Queijo for the idea to include the embed code, to Wil Collins for writing the code, and to TypePad Support for help with creating the text area box!

See more graphics by Kelsey Sarles on Handshake 2.0 and more Infographics on Handshake 2.0.

Other posts of possible interest:

What Will Be the Mobile App Development Business Model?
There Should Be an App for That: What to Do with a Great Idea for a Mobile App
Getting Started in the Business of Mobile App Development
How Much Does a Mobile App Cost?

Who's in FRONT? Ted Edlich

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on February 20, 2012:

Ted Edlich
Ted Edlich, Director of Total Action Against Poverty - TAP, was featured in the February, 2012 issue of Valley Business FRONT.

Photo: Gene Marrano

Each week, Who's in FRONT on Handshake 2.0? showcases photographs of the people featured in business news magazine Valley Business FRONT.

Valley Business FRONT for iPad is available for free in the iTunes App Store. For an overview, please see the YouTube video on the VBF app.

Keep in front with Valley Business FRONT on Valley Business FRONT for iPad, Valley Business FRONT's blog, moreFRONT, Twitter and Facebook. Valley Business FRONT's Workplace Advice Column, written by Handshake 2.0's Anne Giles Clelland, appears monthly in Valley Business FRONT and in the collection Work: It's Personal.

Valley Business FRONT is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

What Will Be the Mobile App Development Business Model?

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:00 AM on February 17, 2012:

"As of this writing, there's no contest: ship mobile apps if you can afford it."
- Jakob Nielsen, Mobile Sites vs. Apps: The Coming Strategy Shift, February 13, 2012

"If you can afford it." Ay, there's the rub. Jakob Nielsen is the master of usability.  When it comes to the mobile app development business, who will be the master of profitabilty?

What will be the mobile app business model?At Handshake Media, we're attempting to be.  We have a mobile division and a portfolio of mobile apps developed over two years.  Two of our apps are products offered directly for sale to consumers. One is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) version of a larger decision-support software platform we're developing.  Our other apps are versions of the Handshake App for our corporate clients.

We developed our first mobile app in-house at our own expense in 2010. Curious about the market value of our efforts, I did research in November, 2010, asking How Much Does a Mobile App Cost?  Based on that research, I concluded, "A mobile application that took 500 hours to develop at $100 per hour would cost $50,000." Deducting our learning curve time, that's a good estimate of what we would have billed a client for that first app.

"Mobile app development" is mobile software application development, i.e. it requires the writing of lines of code, line after line after line, by a programmer with the hard-won know-how to write those lines.  And that's only part of the process of taking an idea to Store or Market.  Every step, from design (our mobile app design infographic shows even that step has steps), to coding, to testing, to uploading for distribution takes human labor and human time.  Kent Nguyen writes, "Dear business people, an iOS app actually takes a lot of work!"  And that work costs.  Whether a company has a paying client or start-up founders are paying with hope, somebody's paying.

It's not consumers.  They want their apps for free.

Yet we keep hearing statements like these from a ReadWriteMobile post: "The fact of the matter is that there will be money to be made by some smart entrepreneurs looking to make some great apps in the near future. Developers, it is time to cast your net. Working across both iOS and Android, there is a decent living to be made writing mobile applications."

And we read reports like this like this one from Flurry in January of 2012, that people are spending more time with mobile apps. 

But CNN cites Flurry's report and points out that the data has other meanings:  "What's driving the growth in time spent in mobile apps? According to Flurry, consumers are using their apps more frequently. That is, the number of daily sessions is growing, although the duration of those sessions is not."

And USA Today reports on a Pew Research Center survey:  "Of smartphone owners, 68% open only five or fewer apps at least once a week...Seventeen percent don't use any apps. About 42% of all U.S. adults have phones with apps, Pew estimates...[Anindya Datta, founder of Mobilewalla, estimates] 80% to 90% of apps are eventually deleted."

So, let me see if I've got the current mobile app development business model:  Create complex products with high labor costs that are time-intensive to build - of which hundreds of thousands of similar products already exist - for a market that is growing but expects the products for free.  If kept at all, the product may be used often, but briefly.  However, that market, upon acquiring the free product, abandons it 80% to 90% of the time. 

How do businesses make money?  They create products that enough of the market needs and wants - and is willing to pay for - to generate revenue and profit to fund business operations and growth.

How do mobile app development companies make money?  If the consumer market won't pay for apps, but wants them, are businesses and organizations then the market?  Businesses would pay mobile app development companies to make apps for them which the businesses, in turn, would offer for free to their customers or potential customers, hoping that, like a free, logo-imprinted t-shirt, the mobile app will generate brand recognition and loyalty and a later product or service purchase?

Jakob Nielsen advises, "Ship mobile apps if you can afford it."  How many mobile tchotchkes can a business afford?  What's the ROI of mobile swag? Will mobile apps as the equivalent of logo-imprinted promotional items result in the mastery of profitability? 

I don't have the answers, but I'm in the business of finding out.

Mobile Knickknacks for Utilitarian Marketing

Posted by James Ellison at 9:00 AM on February 15, 2012:

From Jim Ellison:

Some mobile apps are written to make money directly. Think iTunes. Amazon. eBay.

Mobile apps for branding may justify development costsBut I’ve not found many other companies whose apps have become virtual licenses to print money. Rather than direct sales, mobile apps built to market or brand products and services appear to stand the best chance of justifying their development costs.

In Ireland, Red Oak, a tax refund service, built an app through which people can take photos of medical expenses, deductible in that country, and store the data on Red Oak’s servers. Come tax time, Red Oak could be a familiar name to the handheld’s owner. Moreover, Red Oak uses that info as leads to generate new business.

Oakley, the maker of stylish sunglasses, uses weather and waves to attract the surfing crowd. The Oakley app tells them current surf conditions, including surf height, swell direction, tides and a two-day forecast. REI similarly keeps its name in front of skiers with its ski and snow report.

Drug store photo apps bring in business directly. But the apps are also a response to changing consumer behavior while keeping the brand current. Why should I get in the car and go to the nearest Walgreensor CVS if I can upload my snaps via app and quickly get them back in the mail? Plus, I’ll remember the drug store’s name next time I need to fill a prescription.

Captive audiences will be eager to buy via their handhelds. Pizza chains were ready to deliver during the Super Bowl and though numbers aren’t in yet from the big dough boys, records are expected to be set.

These mobile knickknacks are free. No surprise, as the object is to distribute them as far and wide as possible. Even then, the big boys need ads in the apps to help pay back development costs.

What’s crucial: These apps are a form of utilitarian marketing. They’re not just decorative. They actually do something for the user. The best do it quicker and better than a website. They can even make life a little easier. Even if the task is ordering pizza or hitting the surf.

Jim Ellison is a Roanoke, Virginia-based freelance writer and web developer.  For more from Jim Ellison, read We Need an App.

Broadband Communities Summit Announces Program on Open Access Networks

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on February 14, 2012:

From Andrew Cohill, President of Design Nine, Inc., Broadband Communities Summit Co-Chairman:

Andrew Cohill, President of Design Nine

The Broadband Communities Summit is going to be a must-attend event for communities with broadband stimulus awards and for communities with active broadband projects. A wide range of experts on community broadband will be presenting solid, experience-tested information on financing, operations, marketing, and network design - all with a special focus on community and open access networks.

The Open Access Network Sessions features 20 speakers and leaders in government and industry.

Highlights of the Open Access sessions include:

Business Planning and Open Access Networks
Open-access networks are built to support multiple providers that offer dozens or even hundreds of services.

Modern Right of Way Management
A community’s rights of way constitute a valuable asset that it can use for economic development and revenue enhancement.

Case Studies: Success Stories for Open Access
The first open-access networks in the U.S. were launched into uncharted waters – no one knew whether or how they would work from a business or technical standpoint.

Technology for Open Access
Though most fiber-to-the-premises networks can be configured to support multiple service providers, there are preferred ways to design networks specifically for open access.

Open Access Fiber and Economic Development
Many of the middle-mile fiber networks being constructed today are open to multiple providers - some of them, though by no means all, because of requirements imposed by government funding.

Do it Yourself Fiber – Creative Approaches to Organizing, Financing and Building FTTH Networks in Rural Areas
Rural communities that have been bypassed by both private and public broadband programs are left to their own devices when it comes to obtaining broadband. Some are now proving adept at what might be termed do-it-yourself or “crowd-sourced” broadband strategies.

The BroadBand Communities Summit 12 will be held Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - Thursday, April 26, 2101 at the InterContinental Hotel - Dallas.  Register here.

***

To learn more about Design Nine, you're invited to read the Design Nine blog, Design Nine Technology Futures, follow Design Nine on Twitter @DesignNine, and read about Design Nine's founder, Andrew Cohill, on Handshake 2.0 in Clicking Back Over the Years - Most Wired Town in AmericaMost Wired Town: Building Community One Click at a Time, and Design Nine on Handshake 2.0. Design Nine announced The Wired Road - Integrated Fiber and Wireless Municipal Network and FastRoads - New Hampshire.

A free copy of Andrew Cohill's white paper, Broadband For America: The Third Way, is available for download here.

Design Nine is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Who's in FRONT? Elizabeth Merian

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:30 AM on February 13, 2012:

Elizabeth Merian
Elizabeth Merian of olive oil and vinegar boutique Oliveto was featured in the February, 2012 issue of Valley Business FRONT.

Photo: Dan Smith

Each week, Who's in FRONT on Handshake 2.0? showcases photographs of the people featured in business news magazine Valley Business FRONT.

Valley Business FRONT for iPad is available for free in the iTunes App Store. For an overview, please see the YouTube video on the VBF app.

Keep in front with Valley Business FRONT on Valley Business FRONT for iPad, Valley Business FRONT's blog, moreFRONT, Twitter and Facebook. Valley Business FRONT's Workplace Advice Column, written by Handshake 2.0's Anne Giles Clelland, appears monthly in Valley Business FRONT and in the collection Work: It's Personal.

Valley Business FRONT is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.