What does Customer Centric actually mean?

Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.
A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience.
Does the business you are involved in fall into the category? Well, these are the indicators: –
 
  • Puts customers above everything else.
  • Enhances the buyers experience, promotes sales and works to ensure customer loyalty, above all.
 

Here’s my list of seven steps for creating a customer-centric culture at your company.

 
These figure in my work as a company culture consultant; I’ve found them to be central to creating a corporate customer service culture that’s devoted from top to bottom to the customer experience. I am recapping the list here at the request of a MarketHive reader; I hope you find it useful.
 
1. Articulate your central philosophy in just a few words, a few meaningful words. That’s right: a company’s culture can begin with words, but those words need to represent a decision – something you actually stand for, a decision then expressed in the clearest, and ideally fewest, words. Find a central operating principle. Think of the Ritz-Carlton’s“We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” or Mayo Clinic’s “The needs of the patient come first.”
 
2. Elaborate on your central philosophy with a brief list of core values – a list short enough that every employee can understand, memorize, and internalize it, yet long enough to be meaningful. Your core values should cover how customers, employees, and vendors should be treated at all times.
 
3. Reinforce your commitment to these values continually. You may want to go as far as to devote five minutes every morning you stress one value, or an aspect of one value, at your departmental meeting. If that’s too often for your business reality or sensibilities, do it weekly. But don’t save it for the annual company picnic. Annual anything is the enemy of ‘‘core.’’
 

4. Make it visual.
The above-mentioned Ritz-Carlton has ‘‘credo cards’’ – laminated accordion-fold cards that each employee carries during work hours. The brand’s entire core beliefs, plus shared basics of guest and employee interactions, fit on that card. Zappos highlights one of its core values on each box it ships out. And sometimes ‘‘visual’’ doesn’t mean words at all. One way that FedEx shows that safety is a core value is via the orange shoulder belts in its vans: Everyone can see – from twenty-five yards away – that the driver’s wearing a belt.
 
5. Make your philosophy the focus of orientation. That way, if safety is one of your core values and you stress this at orientation, on day two, when the new employee’s co-worker tells him ‘‘In this restaurant, we stack the high chairs in front of the emergency exit when we need more room to do our prep work’’ [This is a real-life example, unfortunately], the new employee will experience cognitive dissonance and work on a way to align the actions of the company with the core values they’re supposed to reflect.
 
6. Train, support, hire, and, if necessary, use discipline to enforce what’s important to you. A core values statement is two-dimensional until you bring it to life – with the right people and energetic guidance. ‘‘Maintaining a culture is like raising a teenager,’’ says Ray Davis, President and CEO of Umpqua Bank, a the Pacific-Northwest-based U.S. retail bank that’s consistently top rated for service. ‘‘You’re constantly checking in. What are you doing? Where are you going? Who are you hanging out with?’’ And, sometimes, you have to use some tough love when that teenager is acting up in ways that don’t support the culture you’re working to build.
 
7. Include the wider world. Your people want to be part of an organization with a sense of purpose. Pizza parties and overtime pay (and even, believe it or not, stock options) only go so far. More inspirational: A version of a corporate “triple bottom line,” such as Southwest’s “Performance – People – Planet” commitment and annual report card. Or Ritz-Carlton’s “Community Footprints” social and environmental responsibility program. Or the story Umpqua Bank Regional VP Michele Livingston shared with me, about her employees visiting the homes of disabled customers to help them fill out their paperwork. Now that’s really something.
 
Steven Hodgkiss
Free Inbound Marketing Tools from MarketHive
See MarketHive for more information and to register.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How I Cut My Writing Time From 2 Days to 4 Hours

As I was brainstorming ideas for my last post on the MarketHive blog, I started reflecting on what I’ve personally learned during my time at MarketHive.
 
creating writing 

My writing process is considerably different today than it was when I joined MarketHive over 2 years ago, so hopefully you can find some nuggets in the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned that might help you as well.

Slow beginnings

When I first joined MarketHive, I wrote or sourced the content, published it and promoted it all. I approached blogging from almost exact opposite ends of the spectrum; Others are great at getting something up quickly and tweaking it to fit, whereas I was prone to spend a long time on my “first draft,” which was more like a fourth draft by the time I eventually sent it over for Paul to look at.

Depending on the style of the blog post and the topic, I would take 1-2 full days to write a post for the MarketHive blog when I first started. I remember thinking how silly I was to underestimate my writing time: in my interview with Paul, I estimated that I could write one post per day, but it probably took six months before I got to that point.

I made a few mistakes on a regular basis in those first months. One was to research too much, which hurt me in two ways: one, I had too much information collected about a topic that I wanted to squeeze into a 1500-word piece. I would either struggle to leave out research which I found interesting, or squeeze it in so that I ended up with upwards of ten different sources for one blog post.

The second way this hurt me was simply by taking up too much time. Paul Graham wrote a great essay about how we spend our time. He says that sitting on a couch all day watching TV is so enjoyable and unlike work that it sets off our alarm bells pretty quickly. Most of us would struggle to get through a whole day of that without feeling really bad about wasting time.

When you do “busy work,” however, it’s not that much fun and it looks a lot like work. Emails are a good example: you’re sitting at your desk, using your computer, and you’re not having fun, so you’re probably working. Only, you can get through a whole morning of emails and look back to realize you didn’t get anything important done. That’s what research can be like.

Particularly on a topic I don’t already know much about, I tend to get sucked in to reading everything I possibly can about it before I start writing. For a journalist that has months to complete a piece, that might be feasible—and even admirable. But for a blog that’s aiming to publish a new post every day, there’s no time for research beyond the minimum you need to explain the topic to your readers.

Another thing that slowed me down to begin with was managing my workload. Working full-time at MarketHive meant I had other tasks to do aside from writing blog posts: helping out with projects in other areas of MarketHive, working on emails to our customers to announce new features, answering blog comments and more. For a long time I struggled to find a balance between the different types of work I needed to do. I have some ideas about this which I’ll come back to later.

Experimenting with my workday

Something I love about the MarketHive culture is the emphasis on self-improvement: not only by simply doing things we know are good for us, like exercising more, but also through experimentation.

I’ve done several experiments on my workflow and my daily routine over the past nine months to eventually arrive at what seems to be working well for me now.

Originally, I worked from around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.—a regular workday. When I realized I had a lot of work to get through besides my blog posts, I tried pushing my blog posts up to the top of my to-do list each day, working on those before I did anything else. I often fell into the trap of moving on to smaller, easier tasks like answering emails or blog comments, just to check some things off my list, and my blog posts would still take a couple of days to get done.

Not only did this process slow me down, I felt pressure a lot of the time: either because I had so many things on my task list that I hadn’t started, since I was working on my blog post first, or because I had a whole blog post to get done that I was ignoring to work on smaller tasks.

I had always thought I was a morning lark, who worked best before lunch. A few months ago I realized that I didn’t know this for sure, and I’d actually noticed I was working in solid, focused blocks right after lunch many days. So I tried a new experiment: I worked on my own startup before lunch and started my MarketHive workday at 1 p.m. This worked to a point, but I found that if I wasn’t done for the day by around 6 p.m., my energy started to wane and I struggled through the last part of my day.

At various points in my time at MarketHive I also tried working until 10 p.m. at night, and starting at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. to get a head start. I tried blocking out distractions, working in coworking spaces or at home by myself, working in silence or with various types of music. MarketHive’s culture really encourages this type of experimentation, and we’re lucky that we have a supportive team to share our progress with. I’d highly recommend trying this yourself if you’re struggling with productivity at work.

Drastic changes that led to increased productivity

creating writing 
 
Right now I have the best daily routine setup that I have tried. I’m really happy with how it’s working after the first few weeks, and I expect I’ll stick with it now that I’ve found something that suits me. On a day I’m working at MarketHive, my day now looks something like this (keeping in mind that I’ve been working part-time at MarketHive for the last few months, so I no longer have extra tasks besides writing blog posts):

7am: Get up, drink coffee, read, generally just sit around and wake up

8am-12pm: Start writing today’s MarketHive post

12-1pm: Lunch

1-2pm: Complete any editing that needs doing on my last MarketHive post

Depending on whether I’ve got edits waiting to be done on my last MarketHive post, I’m usually done for the day by lunchtime or just after lunch. The high of taking my lunch break knowing my day’s work is done is huge.

I originally got the idea of working until noon from Sean Ogle. I was fairly skeptical that it would work for me, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I’m generally able to focus on one task (writing a blog post) for a solid four-hour stretch. I take tiny breaks during this period to grab drinks, go to the bathroom, check my emails, and so on, which help me to refresh my brain a little. Knowing that my goal is to get my work done by noon, however, helps to nudge me back to work when I get distracted. If I really want to start noodling around on the internet, I have to remind myself that I have limited time until my goal is up, and after lunch I’ll have all afternoon to waste time.

A few lessons I’ve learned

In the process of cutting down the time it takes me to write a blog post from a couple of days to just a morning, I’ve learned a bunch of lessons. Many of these are specific to my workflow, but you might find them useful as well.

1. The right music is important

I really love listening to Pandora, but I’ve found that switching to different artists all the time tends to affect my workflow negatively. I spend more time skipping or liking tracks and checking to see who I’m listening to than I should. This month I’ve paid for a month of Rdio to test whether listening to full albums will help me to focus better. So far it seems to be going well.

2. Lying to myself doesn’t work

Working until noon isn’t a new idea. I’d come across the concept of setting earlier deadlines for yourself to induce focused work before, but I had always thought that it wouldn’t work for me. After all, if I tell myself I have to have something done by noon, how do I block out the little voice in my head saying, I know that’s a lie and I actually have all day to do this so I’m going to check my email again? Turns out, the trick is not about lying to yourself at all. For me, it’s about setting a challenge.

Rather than telling myself, I have to have this done by noon, I tell myself, let’s see if I can get this done by noon – that’d be awesome. Working on a challenge that offers a big reward (more time to do what I want in the afternoon, and no last-minute scramble to finish my work) is a lot more fun and manageable for me that setting arbitrary deadlines.

3. My own mind gets in my way a lot

One of my biggest issues with getting blog posts written quickly has always been that they appear to be huge, audacious projects in my mind. I wrote once before about my process of breaking down each post into subtasks that were manageable chunks of work. Although this helped, I still approached each one as a massive project, rather than just another task on my list.

Now that I’ve proven to myself over and over that I can write a post in a morning without dropping my quality, they’re a lot less formidable in my mind. I think that makes a huge difference to how I work.

It takes a lot of trial-and-error to know how you work

I said before that I’ve tried working early in the morning, late at night and right after lunch. I tested a lot of theories about how I work. I’ve worked surrounded by people, all alone in my house, at coffee shops, in silence, in dark spaces and light, when I’m cold and hot. Experimenting has been totally worth it for me, because I’ve found a system that works really well now. It’s taken a lot of time, though, and if I went back in time to when I started at MarketHive, I’d tell myself to be patient and keep experimenting.

Getting something on the page has to happen quickly

creating writing 
 
Something I’ve learned from experience and from reading advice from other writers is that there comes a point when you need to shake yourself out of research mode and force yourself to start writing. Getting words on the page is that huge push that it takes for a boulder to start moving. As soon as you get that done, you’ve got the momentum to keep going.

Quite often I’ll get stuck at this stage and I won’t be able to get words on the page, even though I know it’s what I need to do. I have a few strategies to help with this, and I’ve found that using them to get something started is almost always the push I need to keep going.

One way I do this is to type rubbish. I may literally start my first sentence like this: “I have no idea what to write about this topic because…” and just type gibberish about the topic and why I’m struggling. Many people have said that writing is important for thinking because it helps you to organize your thoughts. In my case that’s often the case.

Notifications are not worth the distraction

creating writing 
 
I never turn my phone off when I’m writing. This means that anyone with my phone number can call me or send me a text message. That hardly ever happens, so it’s not something I’m worried about distracting me. Email and Twitter, on the other hand, can be huge distractions. The problem with notifications from those is that they’re never urgent. I know that anything I urgently need to take care of will come via my phone from something who actually knows my phone number. No email or Tweet is ever going to be so important that I have to stop working immediately to deal with it. At least not when I’m working in a four-hour stretch, and checking my email every hour or two.

Not only do I turn off notifications, but I keep Twitter and my inbox closed on my computer when I’m writing. If I really want to check them, I need to use my phone, which keeps my computer safe from those distractions until my blog post is finished and I can send it off. That may not work for everyone, but since I’m prone to switching tabs constantly to see what’s going on, I enjoy the freedom of having no interactions available on my computer.

Not having “little tasks” to do helps me focus

One thing I mentioned earlier was that I struggled to balance my writing at MarketHive with all of the other tasks I had each day, like replying to blog comments and emails, or jumping into support. I’ve been able to focus more easily in recent months because I stopped doing all of those tasks when I switched to a part-time employee. I think there’s still a lesson to be learned from my struggles though, which I expect I’ll face again in the future.

Because I always had trouble balancing my “big task” of a blog post and my “little tasks” (everything else), my next experiment with these would be to try pushing all of my little tasks onto one or two particular days per week. Even when I tried doing my blog posts first thing in the morning, I still had trouble balancing the different mindsets needed for different types of work. I think having an entire day blocked out for one type of work would make me more productive and remove the pressure of worrying about the tasks I’m not making progress on.

Moving on

creating writing 
 
I am thrilled to be able to take all of these lessons away from my time at MarketHive, and to move on to new things with a better understanding of how I work best. MarketHive has an awesome culture for someone like me who enjoys experimenting with their workflow and routines to learn what works best. If you have the flexibility to do so, I’d highly recommend experimenting with your own workflow and taking note of what works and what doesn’t.

Or maybe you’ve done some experiments already. Let us know what you’ve found in the comments.

Steven Hodgkiss
Free Inbound Marketing Tools from MarketHive
See MarketHive for more information and to register.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

T minus 10 and counting

Update to the Juggernaut launch of MH!

With a very small edit in the 2nd video (Alpha Founder) they are being prepared for final release. Mike Darling will be updating the Alpha Profile pages to have the new video. He will also be upgrading the back office to default to the second Alpha Founder video and the Alpha upgrade page. In other words, unless you are either subscribed to our a fully paid Alpha subscriber or founder, every time you log in that page will default.

Mike Darling will also be building a template capture page to be used on any domain for the new video and we will have it hosted on some of our domains for the big massive email campaign to our old Veretekk database.

Mike and Mariusz are working on our new Admin email system so we can access the millions of name, email, IP, date, phone, etc. so our first launch will go to that database as soon as they finish it. Mike has told me he will try to have it ready by the end of this month.

Vince (the video animation marketing firm we are using) and his copywriters will be crafting our 10 MH auto responders starting next week to complete this campaign.

We are getting very close to heading up up and away!

Thomas Prendergast

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

744 West in West Haven, Connecticut Restaurant Review


I came here Saturday May 2, 2015 around 2:30 pm. I wanted to be close in West Haven as my Dad was in the VA recovering from pneumonia. I was here many years ago and a co-worker recently told me how good this place was. It received many positive Yelp/Trip Advisor reviews so I wanted to check it out for myself.

Their address is 744 Boston Post Road; West Haven, CT 06516. Their telephone number is (203) 934-5726. Below is a picture of their street sign.

Besides giving a review, I want to give my readers a chance to learn more. It is always good to have more than one opinion when you want to dine out.

744 West Bar & Grill
Yelp Reviews
Trip Advisor Reviews

I was by myself and was hoping for a place at the bar. The bar was packed so I went into the dining room. Ariana came out with food for a group and politely said “one moment please”. It was a moment and she promptly took me to a table.

I ordered the “Pepper Jack Cajun Burger”. It is listed as ½ lb angus burger cajun dusted & topped with caramelized onions and melted pepper jack. It was $8.00. I asked for my burger to be cooked “well done, a hockey puck please” and I got what I asked. I want to say fantastic job as my request in other restaurants seem to be difficult to carry out. I detected a little salt on my French Fries which wasn’t a bad thing. Coleslaw way typical. Below are two different pictures of my meal.


This was a good lunch. I still prefer places like Prime 16 and Rudy’s in New Haven for my burger but if I am ever in the neighborhood and want something I know I will like I will come here. The customers around me seemed happy.


I am giving my experience 3.5 stars. Ariana was terrific. Food was good and I love getting what I ask for. Bathroom was small and it had a small line. I am not a fan of the Post Road.

I agree with the positive Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Feel free to share (or like) anything I have done on Pinterest with others and feel free to follow me.

Follow Me on Pinterest

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
http://www.alzibluk.com
e-mail: alan@internetguy.ws

PS: If you are going to blog and want to get noticed, you should use Markethive
http://www.markethive.com/alzibluk.

MarketHive is much more than just a website for business owners.

MarketHive is much more than just a website for business owners.

When I was introduced to Tom Prendergast in October 2012, he told me of a vision he shared with his long time business partner, Mike Darling. This vision was to provide an advanced online marketing platform to help existing and prospective small business owners build their businesses by providing them with free online marketing tools. 

I had no real experience of using the internet to market a business but I shared this vision and decided to become a Founder Member in this project. With other Founder Members, some who have much more internet experience than I do, we were able to raise the funds to develop the project. 
We had not even decided on the name MarketHive at that stage. We knew the project would take approximately two to three years, and now this vision is soon to become a reality. 
MarketHive is currently in a soft launch phase to gather a few members to help us test some of the further development stages before a full launch to the public. 
I am proud to be a part of this project and look forward to seeing many more members in MarketHive soon. 

You may not want a business of your own. That’s OK. Anyone can have a MarketHive account. You can join MarketHive just to check out the best deals in the products and services being offered by other MarketHive members. 
As a MarketHive member, you can even join or create groups and/or forums based around your personal interests.
…and so much more.

Membership is entirely free of charge. There is absolutely nothing to lose by joining MarketHive.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

I am Watching You

The time has come that the rank and file (That is You) engage in the practice of speaking your mind, belaying you insights, sharing your perspective of what MarketHive means and does and how it serves the little guy and gal out there on the Internet. Go plant the seeds on the forums. HINT: Look up at the banner. It lists many of the top forums. Get your Twitter going! Engage the Markethive Fan page! It is time for organic discussions across the vast wastelands.

I am watching you and taking notes.
 


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

A Brief History of AJS Motorcycles

AJS motorcycles were first manufactured by the Stevens brothers in Wolverhampton in the late 19th Century.
 
The company was started by four Stevens brothers who’s father Joe was a blacksmith in the Wolverhampton area of the West Midlands. Joe had five sons and it was the four eldest who started in the early years manufacturing proprietary engines and later building frames eventually leading to building complete motorcycles, the first being produced in 1898.
 
ajs motorcycles
 
The company, originally called the Stevens Screw Company, was renamed after taking the name of the only son Jack with two initials becoming the A J Stevens & Co Ltd., the models thus being named AJS.
 
The company was noted for its high quality and were firm believers in competing in speed tests and reliability runs to improve the quality of their products, along with entries in the famous Isle of Man TT races in 1911.
 
As production increased, the brothers, in 1914, moved to new premises at Graisley Hill, Wolverhampton and while many manufacturers of the day, including AJS with an 8hp V twin, changed to twin cylinder models, the Stevens brothers also continued to develop the ever popular single cylinder models.
 
Due to the First World War, the factory was forced into military production which provided the company with valuable expertise in metals and production methods which, after the war, were put to good use in motorcycle production and featured heavily in the new ohv 350cc racer winning the first post war TT in 1920 by a large margin.
 
This was followed up the following year with a Senior TT win with a 350cc Big Port AJS. Many notable victories followed over the years including Jimmie Guthrie’s famous first Isle of Man victory in 1930 on an ohc 250cc AJS. During this time AJS were also very active and successful in various record attempts throughout Europe claiming many world records in the process.
 
The factory was also busy developing new models, while the 350cc Big Port remained a firm favourite along with a twin port 250cc and ever growing in capacity V twin models, new models included a transverse V twin in 1930 while on the racing scene in 1927 an ohc 350cc was developed followed by an ohc 500cc in 1928.
 
Another development in 1928 was a transverse in-line four cylinder using an engine similar in design to that used the Austin 7 but only three or four development bikes were ever built and never went into full production. Thankfully one of these surviving versions can be seen in the Sammy Miller Museum at New Milton Hants.
 
The company also looked at manufacturing other products from wireless sets, motor cars and heavy commercial vehicles. However, during all this costs started to get out of control and when in 1931 there was a massive downward trend in the sale of motor vehicles the company was in financial trouble and had no option but to close factory and go into liquidation. The brothers were proud of the fact that in the fullness of time every creditor was repaid in full and to the last penny.
 
The company and all its assets was purchased by the London company H Collier & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of the Matchless motorcycles who kept the AJS name and continued to produce models pretty much as they finished with the Collier Brothers forming a new company called Associated Motorcycles Ltd.
 
AJS models were promoted through the various aspects of competition developing a number of multi cylinder road racing models including the 500cc V four, initially as air cooled racer followed by water cooling and turbo. As in the Wolverhampton days reliability trials continued to play a large part in the development of their models. Another model developed in Wolverhampton.
 
After World War II the production range was gradually merged with the Matchless range becoming badge engineering of both brands with a range of 250, 350 & 500cc ohv singles along with twin cylinder models from 500 – 750cc.
 
On the competition front the V four cylinder roadracer was dropped and followed by a 500cc twin famously known as the Porcupine due to cooling fins around the head and cylinders, initially with a turbo charger which was later dropped because of rule changes in the sport. The off road competition also developed with a very successful production based 350cc trials and 500cc (motor cross) scrambler supplied under both brand names. They also developed in the mid sixty’s a two stroke bike for motor cross called the Stormer using the Villiers 250cc Starmaker engine.
 
The Porcupine originally designed proved to be not very successful and was dropped in favour of a of a production based 500cc twin but was soon dropped in favour of a brace of ohc 350cc and 500cc singles these being the AJS 7R and Matchless G50. These machines enjoyed major successes and provided the back bone from the 1940s through to the late 1960s both in Grand Prix and the domestic road racing scene.
 
Sadly in 1967 AMC ceased production and was sold off but the AJS name continued being bought by Fluff Brown who continues to produce the Stormer in both 250cc and 370cc versions. The Browns (AJS Motorcycles Ltd) also import under the AJS brand a range of custom and off road type bikes for use on public roads.
 
 
Article written by Roger Limb

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

A Brief History of Douglas Motorcycles

In 1882, the Douglas brothers, William and Edward, formed the Douglas Engineering Company in Kingswood, Bristol to carry out foundry work.
 
Douglas Motorcycles T35 Mk 1 
 
The horizontally opposed twin cylinder (flat twin) engine had originally been designed by German engineer, Karl Benz.
The flat twin engine for which the Douglas company became well known, was designed by Joseph Barter, the founder of Light Motors Ltd.
 
Barter had produced a single-cylinder motorcycle between 1902 and 1904, and then the 200cc flat twin called the Fairy, using components manufactured at the Douglas foundry.
 
Light Motors Ltd. failed in 1907 and was taken over by the Douglas brothers. Barter joined Douglas to continue with motorcycle design.
 
In 1907, the first Douglas motorcycle appeared. It featured a 350cc version of the flat twin and single speed belt drive. One of the cylinders faced forwards whilst the opposing cylinder faced the rear of the motorcycle. Initial sales were not too impressive.
 
In 1910, a two speed gearbox had been introduced, and this improved sales figures.
In 1911, two of three Douglas entries finished in the Isle of Man TT Races.
William Douglas rode one of the machines into seventh place in just over four hours.
G.L. Fletcher came twelfth.
 
1912 was more successful for Douglas in the Isle of Man Junior TT Race.
 
Harry Bashall came first at an average speed of 39.65mph.
 
In second place was Edward Kickham who achieved the fastest lap at 41.76mph.
 
J. Stewart came in fourth position and Jack Haslam came eighth.
 
In 1913, Douglas entered thirteen machines in the Isle of Man Junior TT Race.
 
Seven of these machines finished the race, the best position being W. Newsome who came in second place.
 
In 1914, the best that Douglas could manage in the Junior TT Race was seventh place ridden by E.E. Elwell.
 
Douglas continued to enter the TT Races with some reasonable results.
 
During World War I, Douglas manufactured many motorcycles for military use.
 
By 1920, the range included overhead valve machines 500cc and 733cc, as well as side valve machines of 350cc and 595cc.
 
The 350cc side valve machines were reconditioned military WD models.
 
Also in the 1920s, the RA models were introduced for racing. They featured disc brakes developed at the Research Association.
 
In 1923, production RA models were introduced in 346cc and 596cc versions.
 
The 348cc side valve EW models followed shortly after.
 
TT success returned to Douglas in 1923 when Tom Sheard won the Senior TT. Also in 1923, Douglas won the first ever Isle of Man Sidecar Race with the famous Douglas banking sidecar ridden by Freddie Dixon and T.W. Denny.
 
A Douglas ridden by A.H. Alexander came third in the Junior TT that year.
 
Later in 1923 Jim Whalley won the French Grand Prix on a Douglas.
 
Percy Flook won the gruelling Durban-Johannesburg Race in 1923 riding a 2.75 hp machine. He achieved an average speed of 43 mph over 430 miles.
 
In 1927, both 350cc and 600cc versions of the EW were available and in 1928 a 350cc ohv Sports model based on the EW was introduced.
 
In 1929 came the S5 and S6 models, developed by the well known motorcycle racer and tuner, Freddie Dixon.
Another Dixon design, the 350cc A31 followed in 1930.
In 1931, the overhead valve K32 and M32 models were introduced.
In 1932, after twenty five years of motorcycle production, Douglas became a limited company known as Douglas Motors Ltd.
 
They were to continue manufacturing motorcycles for a further twenty five years.
 
In 1934, the Blue Chief and the Endeavour, a 494cc flat twin shaft drive model were introduced.
By 1935, the company was struggling financially and was taken over by by the British Aircraft Company (BAC) who then formed a new company, Aero Engines Ltd.
 
The company continued to manufacture side valve 350cc, 500cc and 600cc models up to the breakout of World War II.
Motorcycle production continued into World War II and for the war effort, the company manufactured a variety of products including generators, aircraft components and industrial engines.
 
In 1945, the T35 was introduced featuring a 350cc flat twin engine with chain drive.
In 1946, the company became known as Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd.
In 1948, not long after the war, Douglas was facing financial difficulty again and production was restricted to the 350cc flat twin models.
 
In the early 1950s, Douglas became the UK importer and constructor of the Piaggio Vespa scooters.
In 1955, the 350cc Douglas Dragonfly was introduced. This was the last motorcycle to be produced by Douglas.
The Dragonfly featured a 348cc flat twin engine, four speed gearbox and chain drive.
 
In 1957, when Westinghouse Brake and Signal took over Douglas, production of Douglas motorcycles came to an end.
 
The production of the Vespa scooters at the Douglas factory also ended, however the company did continue to assemble scooters from parts imported from Italy.
 
Under Westinghouse, Douglas continued to sell Piaggio scooters and when Piaggio acquired the Gilera motorcycle brand in 1969, Douglas also became the UK importer for Gilera.
 
This continued through until 1982 when the import licence came to an end.
 
Steven Hodgkiss

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

7 Networking Questions to Ask Yourself

I get together with a couple dozen other business owners for lunch every Tuesday here in Birmingham 
– Community Business Builders of Birmingham – is what we named the group several years ago when it started…
 
Networking Questions To Ask 
 
We have a 60 minute meeting over lunch and we keep the meeting very structured in order to be respectful of everybody’s time.
 
Every person has 60 seconds to introduce themselves and their business.
 
The we have a 5 minute education segment and then 2 of our members have 7 minutes to talk about their business in a little detail…
 
If there is any time left at the end of the meeting we encourage anyone with referrals from any other member to give a little gratitude/feedback.
  
It’s a very “fast” hour so we constantly encourage members to have “one on one” meetings during the week. In other words get together for Coffee or lunch and get more in depth about what we do business wise and what kind of referrals are good for each other. I love it…
 
Today’s business education segment was handled by Joe Simons.
 
Joe is an architect who is focused on “building with integrity”. It’s his branding motto. Although he’s capable and proficient with just about any architectural work Joe especially works with a lot of churches.
 
It’s not just about drawing a plan for a building with an architect like Joe, it’s about guiding his clients through the “mine fields” of government red tape that can cost a client a lot of extra time/money.
 
Joe gets most of his business by networking so it was no surprise to me when his educational topic was “Questions to ask an influential leader”. Joe related how he had used this exact list of questions when he had lunch with a mayor of a New Mexico city recently…
 
Joe was quick to credit John Maxwell with 7 questions Joe likes to ask “Influential Leaders” but it occurred to me the list works well with anybody you or I are talking to (in person or over the phone) so I thought I’d share it.
 
Next time you are talking to someone and establishing “rapport” here are some questions that may help you help them help you & them…
 
  1. What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
  2. What are you focused on learning right now?
  3. How has failure shaped your future?
  4. Who do you know that I should know? (my favorite)
  5. What have you read that you’d recommend I read?
  6. What have you done that you’d recommend I do?
  7. How can I add some value to what you do?
 
That’s an easy 7 to jot down and try the next time you are meeting with someone. Let me know how it works for you if you do use them – that would be a great future post.
 
Steven Hodgkiss

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Four Ideas To Utilizing Discussion Board Marketing

Forum Boards have been a part of the internet community for a really lengthy time. It is an easy way for somebody to speak with different individuals all around the world about shared pursuits, questions, as well as answers. Online discussion board marketing is likely one of the best methods for a small business to promote their product or service in addition to socializing with doable buyers of your product. 
 
 
Forum Marketing with MarketHive 
 
In at the moment quick paced internet world you could find forums on nearly any topic that may be of curiosity to you. All you must do is go to your favorite search engine and sort in your favorite subject and add forums and you may be greeted with hundreds of thousands of results.  The chances are virtually countless on the forums that you’ve got the power to decide on from. When you get the results all you have to do is search by means of the links and find the forum that you feel might contribute to you or one which could possibly contribute to the forum. If you’re making an attempt to promote what you are promoting however, it’s essential click on on many of the forums and register. 
 
Upon getting registered in a number of of the more fashionable boards you have to to edit your profile. The profile is very important as it will be the one thing that will promote your product online. It’s possible you’ll consider on creating a brief bio that tells visitors about you and the business you might be promoting. Just be sure you embody your keywords to both the text and hyperlink to your blog. This can show you how to show up on the search engines. 
 
Now that you have completed your profile you are actually able to create a signature file. The signature file will help you increase traffic to your website in addition to increasing the backlink. This file will seem every time you put up in a forum.
 
Now that you have each of the most important steps finished, you are now prepared to use the discussion board to market your small business or product.  There are a few tips that it’s best to follow though to ensure that the forums to work for you.
 
1. Use the web forums to be able to be taught as much as you’ll be able to about your business. Nearly all the boards which are out there are free to make use of so it is a great approach to do research. Also some boards mean you can learn the posts without even joining which is nice as it permits you access to priceless data with out having to join. That you must you’ll want to take the time in studying these boards and asking any questions that you could be have. Studying is one of the most important steps to any web enterprise as issues are consistently changing.
 
2. You’ll want to use the forums to ask questions. Nearly everybody in the forum community is keen to assist others and reply questions as they can. When you never ask your query, you will never get the answers that you seek. The key although is to make sure that you ask the fitting questions as you do not want to spam the discussion board boards. Spamming the forum boards to get folks to click on on your signature link will only get your post deleted and presumably get you banned from the discussion board as well.
 
3. Once you’re feeling you might be ready you may begin to reply questions for different members of the forum in addition to assist them with their issues just as they did for you. It will help you to get your backlink to grow as your belief grows. This will also assist you to turn into generally known as an skilled on subject. 
 
4. Try to not submit any links in your initial publish this is what you will use your signature file for
 
Forum advertising is a great way to socialize and meet new potential clients of your product. If they’re used accurately, you possibly can have a really successful web business.
 
Steven Hodgkiss
Authorised Distributor for 2 Minute Miracle Gel

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The Social Media Expert