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Business advice

Nova Sponsors Barking & Dagenham Chamber Of Commerce Awards 2015

By | Brand development, Business, Business advice, Essex, General | No Comments

The Nova Agency is proud to be sponsoring the Young Entrepreneur Award at the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce (BDCC) Business Awards 2015. At what will certainly be a fantastic evening, businesses from around Essex will gather to celebrate the best and brightest that the South East has to offer.

The Young Entrepreneur Award

This category is open to a young innovative business mind (under the age of 30) who has demonstrated vision and creativity in their work. Does this sound like you or someone you know?

The judges will want to know:

• Your vision for the business
• How you have achieved your objectives, and overcome obstacles
• Your plan for the coming year

This is an excellent opportunity to gain the recognition you deserve. Apply or register your interest here!

Where

The BDCC Business Awards will be held at the impressive function room at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club. The perfect venue to celebrate such an event the function room will help to all to celebrate the Awards in style.

Dates For Your Diary

Entries are open and applicants can apply here.

Entry form closes at 5pm on the 7th of June.

Successful applicants will then be told and provided with free tickets to the event on July 16th! Get your finest wear ready!

How To Apply

So are you a bright young individual making strides in your industry? Or do you know someone who shines at the work that they do? If so get involved and sign up today!

5 Executive Secrets to Speed-up Using Gmail

By | Business, Business advice | One Comment

Saving time and effort is one of my favourite pass-times yet I was told once by a colleague that I spend far too much time on checking my emails.

But I get 80 new emails a day sometimes! Like it or lump it, while we sleep we get emails! This article is going to show you in just a few steps how easy it is to avoid getting caught up in your emails. Gone are the days of procrastinating in my inbox – with these 5 tips, you should speed-up using Gmail too.

Procrastination vs Gmail

I felt like sharing with you why using Gmail offers me some really powerful features to maximise my day in an effort to help you with your day. I hope I can save you some time, thank me with a Share on Facebook or Twitter ok?

So these features dramatically reduce the amount of time you’ll need to spend on emails, making the corporate responsibility part of your job more efficient and getting you a special “nerd badge” for showing your family or colleagues how best to use Gmail.

Of course you’ll also be able to get heaps more work done too, or if you lucky go home early?

First off, just be aware that I used to be a reckless with my email address and I recommend that if you are using your work email to sign up for anything and everything, you won’t be helping things, you’ll have more work too. SO consider that next time you subscribe to something, be sensible with your email address and online sign up to really useful blogs like ours!

This simple consideration along with my suggested changes to your email set-up should help you to improve things. My tips will make it easier for you to find your emails, assist you with automatically filtering emails into organised folders and helping to prevent spammy emails hitting your inbox in the first place.

After all, prevention is better than the cure!

Why use the Nova email system in your Gmail?

Well these aren’t really secrets, but if you don’t know, you just don’t know, am I right!

The need to write this post come from a need to speed up checking my own emails and from discovering hidden features and tools in Gmail over the past 9 years. It was only about 6 months ago I decided to spend less time on my emails than today.

I designed a system using some freely available tools within Gmail and I regularly use these systems to check email once in the morning, once in the afternoon. I’ve saved so much time per day, I can afford to spend time writing valuable blogs instead.

You might too be one of those people that wouldn’t even be able to finish daily and other important tasks due to spending hours on emails. I used to feel defeated, rushed and I didn’t feel like I had achieved much.

If you can relate to this then never fear that Empty Inbox is not far off and you’ll start reclaiming extra time the more efficient you become at using Gmail.

(At the time of this blog post I was using latest gmail interface, but these ideas / tools should still work with the Basic HTML version too).

Some of Gmails secret features

1/ Organise with Filters

Filters are used to scan emails before they come in to your inbox. Using keywords or email addresses you can identify emails you want and apply actions to and delete, archive or sort them automatically along with lots of other useful actions.

Gmail provide a handy “filter wizard” which you can use to filter emails with all sorts actions including actions such as;

  • Apply Stars
  • Apply Important Tag
  • Apply Labels
  • Move to a certain folder
  • Archive
  • Mark as read

There are plenty more options available and using these in combination with cleverly organised folders (and sub folders for advanced organisation) soon your email can be categorised how you want without even using your inbox!!

You could for example organise emails by supplier / client or contact or by project, group, context and the list is endless.

I use personally use filters to remove emails from my inbox that I don’t feel are urgent to see, such as newsletters or subject matter that I want to keep, but don’t find vital enough to check each day.

Filter-wizard

2/ Unread first

A very handy feature to speed through your emails, is to show only “unread emails”.

This can prevent procrastination by hiding “everything” (which is googles way of saying – all of your other emails) and showing only emails which need to be read or actioned.

If you don’t set your gmail view to “Unread” first, the next step will be super useful and save you the most time out of all the tips here in this post.

Unread-First

3/ Triage via inbox vs next button

Everything leads up to this point, the mass extinction of unwanted email from the main view of your Gmail, you should have now a long list of “unread emails”.

On your screen you’ll see lot’s of rows of emails with additional information along each row (each column giving you info about each email), you should see from left to right the following;

  • A check box – Select a single or multiple emails
  • Star Icon – Highlight emails as Starred
  • Important Icon – Mark your emails as important
  • From – Telling you who sent the email
  • Subject Line – Giving you some info about the email
  • Attachments – Paper clip icon
  • Time / Date

To triage your emails and sift the wheat from the shaft, go down the list and apply a check to the check box.

Ok here’s the time saver, once you’ve selected multiple emails from top to bottom of the list checking your emails using the other columns to identify which emails you want to action.  You’ll notice the toolbar (navigation bar) above the list of emails will change giving you more options.

The button we want here is the box with an arrow pointing down on it (archive) which in Gmail simply means, “not in my inbox” or in Gmail language moved to “All Mail”, which includes; archived, sent, unread etc.

With all of your emails selected you could also start using the other buttons to organise further your emails, don’t forget to look in the “more” button which gives you further actions to apply.

Note that “Mark as read” also archives (not delete) the email and removes them from your “Unread” list.  But be aware that you can only do one page like this at a time, moving to the next page deselects the previous page and you’ll have to start again!

Of course IF you have emails that you do want to read then move on the the next step.

More-Selection

4/ Faster Email Reading and Quick Actioning

First of all, I’m not telling you here how to read your email or what to do with the email once you have read it. Simply how I now navigate between emails and to action an email effectively.

First of all you don’t need to pop in and out of the list with this tip, i.e. Go into an email and hit the back button to return to the list.  Just pick the top or the bottom.  This choice will depend on which order you would like to go through you emails, I sometimes choose the top which is the latest emails, and if there are important unread emails or it’s been a while since I checked my email I go to the end of the list and start from there.

I’m assuming you’ve read the initial email (the first or last from the list) and now you want to action the email by forwarding the email, replying to it or simply archive (mark as read) to move onto the next email.

Well if there is no reply or forward required here is another great button I’ve discovered, as it’s a little tucked away.  The NEXT or PREVIOUS button!!

Of course hitting the previous button works from the top of the list, the next button form the bottom of the list, so now you can read, action and move on quickly without the need to return to the list view.

Next-Previous Button

Quick Action shortcuts

If you want to quickly reply to a short email (i.e. A few sentences that meant you didn’t need to scroll down to read it) then you can hit the reply button. If you have a longer email and get to the bottom you’ll notice a text box with reply and forward in it. Click one of these or simply start typing in the box to reply. Note – This will reply only to the person that sent the email to you.

Reply All

If you have multiple people to reply to (i.e. Reply All) then hit the down arrow next to the reply button and you’ll get more options, the reply all button will only be present if there are more people involved in the email (i.e. someone was CC’d or multiple recipients).

Filter messages like these

This one is vital. If you realise that the message is one of those not so important messages that you don’t want in your inbox each time, or if you want to add a different kind of action to messages from this person (or with certain keywords within it), then use this feature to jump start the filter wizard.

reply-drop-down

Send Shortcut

On PC use – CTRL + Enter
On Mac use – ⌘ + Enter

5/ Gmail Labs (The best bit)

Google Labs for Gmail is a nirvana for indie developers to create some awesome (somewhat hidden) features that can’t be accessed through normal settings or found in the new interface anywhere. Some of my particular efficiency favourites are:

Undo send

Perfect for a few seconds of grace when you accidentally send an email but realise that it’s to the wrong person, you didn’t attach the file you wanted to or just feel not quite ready to send but out of habit, hit that send button too hastily.

Right-hand chat

This lab tool is great if you have lots of folders and subfolders, instead of having to scroll in the tiny window the new Gmail interface allows. Right hand chat moves the whole chat section over to the right hand side instead.

Quote selected text

To reply quickly regarding specific text in an email, simply select the text and hit reply. The selected text will be placed as a quote (with citation and date) in the return email.

Unread Message Icon

If you have Gmail in a tab in your browser this little gem will place a further icon on top of the gmail icon and show you how many unread emails you have. Goes well with point one and if you “pin” gmail to your browser it minimises the tab and looks super cool up in the browser.
unread-icon

Labs-Unread Icon

Well that’s all for now, thank you for reading this and if you have anymore useful ways to make using Gmail more fun or efficient, I am always open to hearing more about how best to use Gmails many cool tools. Also if these tips have helped any of you, please share, comment and sign up for more blogs like this one.

(Use the form on the right here to sign up for email notifications of our new blogs and weekly tech news round-ups).

Weekly Round Up

By | Business advice, Social Media, Technology, Weekly Roundup | No Comments

This Week In The News

Augmented Reality Coming To A Space Station Near You – AR Space Googles

AR Space Glasses

Augmented Reality is entering the final frontier – space. NASA is teaming up with Osterhout Design Group to bring Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality glasses to be used in exploratory activities. To do so would seriously advance future missions in space.

Another Teaser From Game Of Thrones To Whet Your Appetite

Not exactly industry news but it’s pretty important to almost everyone on the planet. Our Mother of Dragons is turning her gaze towards Westeros.

Oculus Rift Is Facing Tough Competition – Valve SteamVR

Valve SteamAR

There’s a new Virtual Reality headset making waves and critics believe the Oculus Rift should watch out. It’s definitely worth watching PC World’s review of the excellent HTC Valve’s Steam VR headset.

Everything You Need To Know About The Apple SmartWatch – In An Infographic

apple watch

With all the details flying around about the Apple SmartWatch we thought it was time someone put all the facts into a nice simple Infographic.

The BBC Becomes A Leader In Tech Innovation – The Coder Generation

BBC Coders

The BBC has helped to make huge strides in encouraging younger generations to code. One million Micro Bits – a stripped-down computer similar to a Raspberry Pi – will be given to all pupils starting secondary school in the autumn term. They hope that this will help to increase digital skills among young people and help to fill the digital skills gap.


Tips & Training

1 Facebook Tip Everyone Should Do Now – Seriously

Not so long ago we discovered a Security loop hole hidden within Facebook Apps. Here’s how to protect your private information from 3rd parties.

Find Out Your Social Media Rank with – Klout

Klout is a free service that can help determine how well you are doing on Social Media. It looks at your engagement and post frequency to deduce how active you are. More than that however, Klout looks past the number of followers you have and looks at how ‘genuine’ they are. That is that they are real human beings and not just spammers.


Weekly Round Up

By | Business advice, Social Media, Technology, Weekly Roundup | No Comments

This Week In The News

Furniture from the future is here – Ikea Wireless Charging Furniture

Ikea-charger

Ikea seems to have read all of our minds and provided something we all desire: Wireless furniture. For all tech lovers out there this will make deciding where to buy furniture from a hell of lot easier.

New offering from Samsung – Samsung Galaxy 6

galaxys6

The newest offering from Samsung Galaxy, the Samsung Galaxy 6, is all kinds of modern and sleek. It will be carried by all major networks and looks to be a vast improvement on past models. We can’t wait to get our hands on one!

Augmented Reality Comes to Android Wear – Ingress

ingress-on-android-wear-concept

It wasn’t going to be long before Augmented Reality games were going to be introduced to wearable tech such as watches. It would be one of the easiest ways to meld the real world with an augmented virtual one. Ingress players out there will be some of the first to experience it and many other versions will be following soon mark our words.

RIP Leonard Nimoy

This week the world lost a truly magnificent man. Whether you were a trekkie or not you would have been touched by this man’s words or actions at some point in your life.

R.I.P Leonard Nimoy


Tips & Training

Eight lessons about social media strategy – From Frank Underwood

Social Media Strategy Tips as taught by Frank Underwood. Some of his quotes may seem a bit severe but if broken down and applied to Social Media? It makes quite a bit of sense.

Want FREE Photos for social media? – Canva

Imagery is vital to any successful Social Media campaign. It encourages engagement, displays calls to actions in an innovative way and captures your audience’s attention. But it can also be a time-consuming task. Different Social Media platforms have different dimensions and free stock photography or graphics can be hard to source. Canva provides a solution to these issues. Free to sign up and with a variety of free content for you to use it also comes with defined templates for each Social Media platform.


Social Trends

We could live without – #thatdress

#thatdress. We all saw it and hand on heart I think we all contributed to the conversation. The abundance of tweets and posts that hit the globe occurred almost instantaneously faster and more wide spread than any other trend before. It also annoyed many as the tweets above prove.

This is the last time we mention it.

We need more of – #quokkaselfie

This is the kind of conversation that all companies can take advantage of. It may not fit with your company image exactly but trust us when we say it will drive engagement and get other accounts to start thinking about you. And that never hurts.

PS. Look at that face!