Octane, 1999-2009: the first 10 years

Octane Interactive Limited was incorporated on the 14th of June, 1999. And a decade later, Octane is still here, better than ever, providing new media solutions to business problems.

There have been trials. There have been tribulations. I’ve survived everything from the bursting of the Dot Com bubble to the current global economic downturn.

For any business to last ten years is a major milestone. But for a web design agency, I breath very rarefied air, shared by few others.

So how did I manage this feat? Simple, really. I provide a professional, honest, frank, qualitative web design and development service. No gimmicks. No discounts. No small print. No hidden extras.

I go that extra mile and give you more than you’d have hoped for. I don’t just do, I think first. I’ll ask awkward and probing questions. I’ll make you think about your business in ways you’d not considered. I’ll work with you to understand what it is that you need, not what you want — you might want a bar of chocolate, but you need to breath.

Together, we’ll uncover your “Organic Knowledge“, and I might even exercise my right to say “no” once in a while. In the end, you’ll end up with a company website or a web application that exceeds your expectations.

But if someone is looking for bargain basement prices, there’s always the Yellow Pages, because I never have and never will compete on price. If they want a discount, they need to tell me what is that’s the least important about their project and we’ll cut it loose, because that’s the only way I come down on price.

When businesses come to me, we establish relationships and everything is built outwards from that. Some of my clients have been with me nearly the whole ten years I’ve been in business. When they call, they call me directly. Sometimes, I might even talk my way out of some work, because I know that what they’re asking for isn’t the right thing, or at the right time.

Right now, Octane is working hard on several web application projects for a number of clients. Against the backdrop of this economic downturn, businesses are turning to me because they know that when times are hard, quality, honesty and professionalism are worth paying for.

So here’s to another ten years of web design success!

High Speed Connections

Social media is changing the way we create, publicize and report on events. In light of Facebook, it’s now possible to raise awareness about a particular event through social networking tools, take bookings and raise awareness via Twitter and other such social media.

Essentially, this is still an elective process, but with social media exploding in popularity, it has become a route few can afford to ignore.

All of a Twitter over social media

Does social media represent a genuine opportunity for small businesses — or are we in danger of falling victim to yet more hype?

Wayne Smallman, FSB member, founder of web design and development consultancy Octane Interactive and author of The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media, says:

Be careful about being too candid, entering into heated and bad-tempered debates and arguments, or making disparaging, negative and very public comments about clients, as well as other people. Unless you’re absolutely certain of the people in your social network, apply the ‘mother rule’ – would my mother be offended if she read this?

Captive Audience

Recent research has consistently concluded that building an effective relationship with your customers is the foundation on which every other component of your business is built.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are now very sophisticated. However, businesses often make the mistake of using these applications to replace their existing customer service function, instead of using these systems to supplement and improve them.

“It’s not so much the technology that’s helping per se, it’s the willingness of sales and marketing staff to populate and use their CRM software that helps most, not the technology itself.” says Wayne Smallman, director of internet marketing company Octane Interactive. “CRM is just a crutch for our sieve-like memories, really. In a similar fashion, the best tools in the world are nothing without the knowledge to use them correctly.”

“If possible, get to know your customer on a personal level,” says Wayne Smallman. “That’s key. People buy into people long before they buy anything from them. Essentially, what we’re talking about here is trust. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t fail to do it, or do it late. Do it when and how you said you were going to. Of course, you can’t always stick rigidly to a plan, but demonstrate that you are at least working towards accomplishing that. Be transparent about your services, what you do and how you do it. The very moment a client has any serious doubts, there’s probably no doubt at all in their mind that they ought to be looking somewhere else.”

Emily Cagle Communications — website design and blog

On the back of the success of my popular ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media, the Emily Cagle Communications website and blog provides a wonderful case study for using social media marketing for your business.

Emily Cagle is a marketing and communications consultant who enlisted Octane’s services shortly after reading my ebook and then putting some of the things I wrote about into practice. We’ve both worked together to produce a website and blog we can both be very proud of.

As I mention over on the Social Media Marketing Technology blog:

“It must come as little surprise to know that both Emily & I are thrilled with the end result, which you can read more about in my case study on the Emily Cagle Communications website. But this is only the beginning. We’ve both been working on planning a long-term social media strategy, making the most of the key technologies out there, like Facebook and Twitter to help promote her business.”

Emily Cagle Communications

If you’d like to know more about the specifics of the project, and Emily’s thoughts, take a look at the Emily Cagle case study, as well as visuals on the portfolio page.