Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Starting a business plan, plus web developments

Morning all!

I decided that the best way for me to thing of some form of content for this blog would be to write some notes during the day of the things that I've done, or things that have made me go "hmm...." or "What!?". But you know what's bugging me the most...? My keyboard keys are in the wrong place! I think its an American keyboard that's been imported. Very nice though - fingerprint scanner too.

Anyway, the things I want to cover today are:

Start of my business plan
IE7
and CSS and Accessibility Standards

Start Of My Business Plan
Since my 6th form days studying Business Studies at A-Level, I've known the basics of setting up a business, but now its time to do it for real I begin to realise that I know naff all!Sitepoint.com however managed to save my bacon, providing tutorials on what to include, and the best ways to go about writing one. They seem to have tutorials on everything and anything that a web master might use.
I basically picked through articles such as Write a Business Plan that Works and How to Market Your Business on a Shoestring, both of which go into great amounts of detail, but also give you room to go off and do some top-up research.


So far I've written about 2% of the Strategic foundation section.. what?! I hear you say.
The Strategic Foundation section covers a whole range of topics, starting off with "Where are we going?" - where you think your company will bein 5 years, you accomplishments, how much you will be earning from the business, and what your company will be doing on a day to day basis.
It then goes into much more detail, with sections such as "What will my role include?", "What will our capital situation be?", "Who are we targeting?", "What are the current and emerging trends in the industry?" and "What attributes make up an ideal client and a nightmare client?".
I've got to "Who are we targetting?" and decided on Schools and Churches within 5 miles of my home due to my lack in transport, and wanting to work on two niche markets rather than risk spreading myself too thinly. I'm currenly building a database of prospectors (Prospective clients) using the Internet to search through directories, and industry web sites for as much information on each company as possible.

IE7
I've just upgraded to IE7 Beta 2, and was extremely impressed and suprised!
Now I know that Internet Explorer isn't the most compliant browser available, but they've incorporated tab based browsing, which I use all of the time so that I don't have 3 million browser windows open at the bottom of my screen.
On the front end they've also put small icons, a search facility, and some other nifty bits and pieces.

Ok ok, boring I know, just wanted to stick that bit in there, and just for the record yes; Firefox is still my favourite browser.

CSS and Accessibility Standards
There has been a new web design department introduced at HBOS called D3, rather stylishly named for an internal department I think, better than "Retail Distribution Communications - RCC" anyway - that's not exactly memorable! They're pushing for good design practices, trying to get designers to work on the usability of their sites, and promoting accessibility standards.
Since the page that I design is in the top 10 sites within HBOS I thought I should get my act together and learn how to use CSS properly. I was amazed to find that not only could I not find a site, but when I emailed Paul Boag (Web Designer for www.headscape.co.uk, owner of www.boagworld.com and general usability and accessibility guru) he said that he didn't know of any sites which covered the subject thoroughly! Dun dun duuuuu....
Obviously my mind sprang to "oooh possibly get a site up and running that promotes those things" which would obviously get some attention my way, but hey - I kinda need to know what I'm talking about.
I think that will need to be built into future plans unfortunately.
If any of you find a site that does the above, please let me know though - email me at development@moorhouses.plus.com or BenMoorhouse@halifax.co.uk (or both if you're feeling nice and dont want me to have to send it home or to work).

Cheers all, its been a fun morning, but I must dash - I have more business plan to write, and a job interview today!!

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