Business 101: Ethics of Outsourcing

Published on Aug 31, 2010   //  Business Topics

In order for your business to reach its utmost potential, you need to ensure that the business model is scalable. You are just one person and, eventually, you won’t be able to do the entirety of the job on your own. That’s only natural and to be expected. It’s also a good problem to have.

However, you will then be faced with the ethics of subcontracting and outsourcing. This is especially true when it comes to service-based industries like advertising agencies, freelance writers, and other creative types. When a client approaches you, they usually expect that you will be doing the work. That may or may not always be the case.

So, how do you handle these situations? When a customer approaches a large company with a task, he usually doesn’t expect the CEO and Founder to do the majority of the work, but what about smaller businesses? It’s not unusual for a large ad agency to outsource its work and profit from the difference. It’s common practice.

In this way, you do need to tread carefully when you reach this juncture in your entrepreneurial career. The professionals that you hire for the subcontracted or outsourced work have to be up to your own standards, first and foremost, so that your clients will not be disappointed with the results. Whether you choose to disclose the subcontracted nature of the work to your clients, however, is an ethical question that you’ll need to answer on your own.

Great Gadgets: iBottleopener

Published on Aug 30, 2010   //  Gadgets

Want to have a party in your pocket? It may not be the best of taglines, but that’s exactly what they’ve decided to use for the iBottleopener. We’ve all been in the situation where we can’t find a suitable bottle opener in a pinch, but we always have our smartphones close at hand.

With this in mind, the iBottleopener can really help you under such circumstances. It is a protective case that’ll fit the Apple iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, but it also comes with a built-in bottle opener. This certainly makes it one of the more unique products we’ve seen, as other iPhone cases may include additional battery life or some other “useful” function. Then again, bottle opening can be pretty useful.

The product is currently patent pending, but the developers are looking to get about $20 for each case, plus four dollars for shipping. The current version will only work with the iPhone 3G and 3GS models, but a iPhone 4 iBottleopener is also in the works.

If you were to develop a new case for the iPhone (or any other smartphone for that matter), what innovative feature would you choose to include to separate your product from the rest of the crowd? A corkscrew? A nail clipper? A screwdriver?

BlueFur Customer of the Week: Lattice Photography

Published on Aug 29, 2010   //  BlueFur Customer of the Week

Photography can be a very tricky business, because someone who is good at one type of photography may not necessarily be good at another. Just as you wouldn’t likely rely on a comic book author to write a deep academic essay on quantum physics, the same can be said about the photographers you choose.

If you happen to be a real estate developer or another kind of real estate professional, it can certainly pay to use the services offered by Lattice Photography. They use BlueFur as their preferred web host and they are located in Toronto. Lattice specializes in architecture and interior photography, both for print and for the web.

To get a sense of the quality you can expect from Lattice, be sure to check out the gallery page on the website. More information about the services is also available through the website, as is the contact information.

Do you use BlueFur to host your websites? Let us know and we can feature you in a future blog post. Send an email message to with your name, website URL, and a brief description of what you’d like to see highlighted.

Showcase Saturday: StoneHenge

Published on Aug 28, 2010   //  Showcase Saturday

New a new WordPress theme for your blog? One of the newer templates to hit the Internet recently is StoneHenge. Developed by the team at Themio, this theme features two main columns and it is completely widget-enabled for your customization purposes.

Above the fold, you’ll find an area to have a featured article or a featured image and this section comes with a jQuery-based image slider. It is also fully configurable and provides a great place to highlight some of your best content. The custom homepage comes with featured posts, ad areas, and featured links.

Other features found in this theme include links to your “lifestream sites” like Twitter and support for the WordPress 3.0 menu system, as well as a tabified sidebar with the latest, commented, and popular posts. It is compatible with all major browsers.

Find more information at It is also there that you can find the live demo and the free full download link.

In the Sphere: iPad Sketches and Social Media

Published on Aug 27, 2010   //  In the Sphere

Another Friday means another tour of the blogosphere. What were people writing about this week?

Tiff Chow shares some beautiful iPad sketches by Ryan Smith. It’s amazing what you are able to achieve with a little bit of creativity and a fun piece of technology. Believe it or not, all that art was drawn just using an Apple iPad!

Jeff Cutler offers a poignant discussion on whether or not social media is a waste of time. Those “in the know” are well versed in the realms of Twitter and Facebook, but does the average consumer pay attention to these alternative marketing channels?

Ed Lau has decided to broaden his horizons just a tinge. He has just launched a new food blog where he will document many of his culinary adventures, not only in the Vancouver area, but also all around the world. From authentic Japanese tempura in Tokyo to pricey burgers at DB Bistro Moderne, he eats… and blogs!

Taylor Lindstrom makes a very important point about why your blog doesn’t make money. You have to remember that while guys like Darren Rowse do make some money from their blogs, the blogs are not their primary sources of income. A popular blog and a profitable business are not necessarily the same thing.

Zac Johnson lets us know about an interesting new development. Apparently, Philadelphia bloggers now need to get a $300 license to continue blogging for profit. It doesn’t matter if you only make pennies on your blog. Will this trend extend to other parts of the country too?

Marketing 101: The Right Connections

Published on Aug 26, 2010   //  Marketing Tips

Sometimes, the best kind of advertising is the kind that you never really see. It’s not always about landing a 30-second spot in the middle of the Super Bowl or taking out a full page ad in the Sunday newspaper. Those can help, to be sure, but they can also be very pricey endeavors with potentially limited returns.

No, sometimes the best kind of advertising comes in the form of networking and forging the right connections with the right people. Regardless of the industry that you’re in and the profession that you have, you are intimately interconnected with other industries and other professions. The key is to tap into these relationships in the best way possible.

For instance, let’s say that you are a real estate agent. As a realtor, it is a fantastic idea to forge a strong business relationship with a banker, a mortgage broker, a building inspector, a lawyer, a general contractor, and other people who may be of interest to your clients. In like manner, the person approaching the mortgage broker for a pre-approval may also be looking for a real estate agent. That’s how the two-way referrals can work in the favor of all parties involved.

Absolutely, you should consider several different advertising and marketing strategies to best promote your company, along with its products and services. However, don’t forget about the incredible power and value that some good networking can provide as well.

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