November 17, 2011

What’s the deal with QR codes?

QR Codes, the little black-and-white square barcodes that can be scanned with a smartphone or tablet PC, are becoming more and more popular. They can be found in magazines, on billboards and even on television programmes. QR Codes are a way of storing and communicating information such as a link to a website or a paragraph of text. The technology was originally developed for tracking parts in the automotive industry, but is now used by many companies as a way of enhancing their advertising material.

How can companies use them?

First, a company decides on the data they want the QR code to contain; this could be an electronic business card, a link to a website or a paragraph of text. The code can then be generated for free on a number of different websites. A Google search for “QR code generator” brings up over 13,000,000 results, so companies are spoilt for choice! The QR code is then printed on advertising materials, product packaging or even displayed on a website. The customer can then scan the code with a smartphone if they have the appropriate app (free to download on most smartphones).

QR codes are popular, but is this because companies are keen to follow the trend or are they genuinely making use of their capabilities?

These little codes can easily be given built-in functionality such as triggering an email/SMS to your sales director, or linking to video on the internet. They can also be customised to include company logos, images and different colour schemes to make them fit in with existing branding.

With all these possibilities available, it seems a shame to simply use QR codes as a glorified hyperlink.

For more information on QR codes and how they can be used in your company, get in touch with the SME Programmes Team, or alternatively scan the QR code below!


October 25, 2011

The Power of Networking

It’s something that every business has to do whether small or large, and that’s network. I have to network often, as do my colleagues. It is important to stay in touch with what is going on out there. We all have different reasons for networking with other individuals, groups and businesses; however most of us network ultimately to drive new business opportunities.

There are a few important tips to remember when networking.

  • If attending a pre-organised networking event, be sure to scope out who will be attending. Have a STRATEGY of who you need to talk to and what you want to talk to them about. With this in mind you will feel more confident and at ease when approaching people.
  • Develop a PITCH outlining who you are and what you do without over complicating your offer. If you can’t explain what you do in less than 20 seconds then you will lose the attention of your audience. It’s fine to go into some more detail following your initial introduction.
  • While you may be preoccupied in delivering your own message to fellow networkers, it is equally important to LISTEN to other people and not talk over people. Let each person in the group input into a conversation. Do not oversell yourself; this will only detract attention from your offer.  
  • IMPACT and influence are important elements when networking. Think about key areas of your expertise or your business offering that will be most impactful. Is there anything particularly innovative or new in the way you do things? It may not be related to products or services but the way you run your business or other interests you have. Giving people a reason to remember you should result in more calls following the networking meeting.

We will post regularly about upcoming business networking events on an ongoing basis.

Check out the following business networking groups in Warwickshire for now:

Warwickshire Business Club

Warwick Business Growth Network

Circle Events

October 21, 2011

IIPSI Update

I can’t believe it is Friday already. We have had a really busy week. We are working hard at the moment to promote the new IIPSI building and the programme of support we will be offering as widely as possible across the West Midlands. It will be a facility that SMEs can make use of to develop new products and services around three distinct areas: Digital Technologies, User Focussed Design and Multi-functional Polymers. Check out the pictures in the gallery to see how we are progressing.

We hosted a networking event on Tuesday evening for the Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire branch of UKITA and hosted 20 businesses who attended a CRM workshop. Whenever businesses come in and see us we are capturing feedback about some of the facilities and demonstrators we are developing for the IIPSI building. For the multi-functional polymers area we are developing applications in shape memory polymers and electroluminescent polymers so that businesses will be able to see how the technology could be applied to a product they are developing. Additionally in the area of digital media, we are looking at setting up a Mobile App Lab so that we can support businesses develop mobile apps for their websites. We want to know if businesses would find this useful. If you are interested in talking to us about how your business can benefit from IIPSI please get in touch.


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