Archive for the 'pixelbit' Category

by mkeefe on Aug 24th, 2015

5 Fixable Reasons You Fail to Convert Clients

I’ve been thinking of different fun projects, one that stuck is a blog and possible video program that focuses on running a creative studio. This will cover business, clients, technology and all focus on our category of work. While i’m still learning everyday, I want to give back to the community i’m fortunate to be a part of. Please comment, share and provide overall feedback on the topics you’d like to see.

Without further delay, let’s start with the top reasons you’re likely losing out on jobs.

Over the last 10 years of pitching to clients as small as a 1 man shop and as large as fortune 50 companies i’ve learned what works and what most certainly shoots you in the foot. Before we dive in, I just want to mention there are some instances where 1 or even all of these may be okay, but mainly.. they are not!

1. The “instant business card”

You know the scene, you’re at an event or bump into a business owner and immediately think “they need my business card in order to really think of working with me”. Problem is, you immediately come off as pushy and instant sales mode. Rather than push your card, why not talk to them a bit, get to know their current struggles and propose some solutions. Then if the conversation goes well, hand them your card and ask for theirs to follow up. You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) give every girl your number at the bar, don’t throw your business card around hoping it sticks.

2. Immediately trying to sell

When talking with a prospect your first order of business should not be to sell them (crazy I know, but stay with me). Instead you should listen to what they say, what works, what doesn’t, basically just get a read of the conversation. Then once you have enough information you can propose a plan (practice this) and almost always, you’ll land the sale. If you immediately come in trying to sell, you’ll alienate the prospect, they’ll go on the defensive and its a lose/lose.

3. No work to back up your words

The best salesman in the world will come to a point when they have to show what can be done for a prospect. In web/mobile work this is achieved by showing your portfolio of prior work. However when starting out you likely do not have one. Rather than get frustrated, work to build your portfolio. Start with small projects, use those to get slightly bigger projects and with hard work you’ll have a portfolio that speaks louder than you ever can.

4. The “I’m the best in the world” mentality

Being an expert in your field is awesome, throwing that at prospects however is not always great. The overall goal of an initial sales opportunity is to speak less and listen more. If you plan to ram your ideas and process down the clients throat, then maybe you should sell goods instead of services. While the sales tactics are pretty much identical (we solve a problem), the message needs to be delivered in a non-bragging way.

5. Leaving customers with a “bad taste” in their mouth

This one is a bit different than the other 4, simply because it is very hard to overcome. A reputation is built over years of hard work but can be ruined in one instant. Your goal should be to protect your reputation at all costs, however sometimes a client relationship goes sour. The problem is especially in small business communities, owners know each other and word can spread quick.

There you go, work on your delivery, get that portfolio packed (with quality work), listen more and you’ll most certainly land more jobs.

 

by mkeefe on Apr 24th, 2015

Featured on the Busy Creator Podcast

Last week I had the immense pleasure to be featured on the Busy Creator podcast, hosted by Prescott Perez Fox. Not only did I have the opportunity to speak about the company, technology and general business. I also was able to chat with a longtime e-friend of mine. Prescott and I have been friends for about 10 years, back to our PhotoshopCafe days. It was great catching up with an old friend and being able to share some projects/workflows for PixelBit.

I welcome you to have a listen, share and post your thoughts. This was my first podcast, so I later learned a few audio oddities that i’ll be sure to incorporate, should I be featured on another podcast.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.00.15 PM

As most of you guys know, TestFlight was the best mobile testing and distribution platform for iOS developers. Well, that is now a thing of the past as Apple has shut down testflightapp.com in favor of their internal testing process. One of the biggest gripes with the internal process is your app must go through review in order to be deployed to testers.

After TestFlight went offline we had to pick another mobile testing platform. We tried out a few different ones, but overall found HockeyApp to be the most robust. Even-though it does have a monthly fee (TestFlight was free) it wasn’t too bad, basically $10/mo for the first 25 apps. One of the coolest features I found (so far) in HockeyApp is the ability to integrate crash reports and issue trackers. At PixelBit, we use JIRA and to our surprise that is one of the integrated options. After some setup on HockeyApp, configuring a WebHook in JIRA and throwing some errors to test the integration, its all set up and working. Took about 5 minutes from start to finish.

Here is how the integration works. When a crash happens in your app, a notification is sent to HockeyApp. Once the integration is configured this crash log can be sent to JIRA via a webhook and create (or update) a ticket. The crash log, link to the report and high-level information is created in the JIRA ticket. Here is an example crash:

hockey-app-jira-linked

 

Configuring the process

Basically all you have to do is in HockeyApp visit the App settings (Manage App > Bug Tracker). Log in to your JIRA account, pick your project and make sure you enable “Auto Create Ticket” otherwise a ticket will not be created. Once your project is selected, copy the WebHook URL at the bottom of the screen. Finally, click Save.

hokey-app-settings

Now in JIRA pick your project and go to (Settings > Projects > System). Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “WebHooks”. Click “Create a Webhook” and paste that URL from HockeyApp. Finally, make sure “created” is checked under Issues.

jira-webhook-settings

That’s it, now you should have integrated issue tracking with HockeyApp and JIRA. HockeyApp does have support for other issue trackers as well. This process is especially useful in multi-person team environments, it allows the developers to stay in sync with crash bugs and removes the tedious step of issue tracking for bugs.

Note: It only seems to alert on the first crash bug for a set, additionally you can exclude some bugs/categories/projects using JIRA JQL.

by mkeefe on Jan 2nd, 2015

A Brief Look Back on 2014

Not sure if it was just me, but it feels like I was just reflecting on 2013. This past year has had some lows and highs, but overall its been a great year. To start, rather than listing out those traditional New Years resolutions (as if a ball dropping marks some reset in productivity or bad habits). I like to take the start of a new year to reflect on the previous accomplishments and setbacks, learn from them and hustle harder in the year to come.

Things Never Go as Planned

Let’s start with what didn’t work or go as planned. I had set a goal of hiring a full time sales person last year, but due in part to timing I decided not to risk it. This was single handily the worst possible idea, we were really busy at year start, saw a lull in the mid-year and thankfully ended off strong. However, had we taken that sales risk, it would have been a much more profitable year. In addition, we let outreach and marketing take a back seat to client demands which in turn contributed to that lull during mid-year. Rather than sit and sulk (no point in that) we took this experience and set aside a plan to expand this year and continue to grow our service and market range.

Key takeaway: Don’t let fear and failure stop you from taking risks.

Focus on the Good

Thanks to amazing opportunities, PixelBit was able to work on and ship some great projects. If you’d like to see more of the work shipped last year, just head on over to our updated website, go ahead, i’ll wait. :) One of our clients had the great fortune to be featured on a TV show focused on bars. In addition, we were able to secure the trademark for PixelBit, which while not groundbreaking is a big step to expanding and validating our brand. We are already working on 2015 and will be sure to post updates. Of course if you want to follow our progress, you can do so on Twitter and Facebook.

Personal Updates

On the personal front I was able to achieve one of my goals, which was to buy a sports car, purely for fun and enjoyment. Not long after buying the car I joined the BMWCCA and was instantly exposed to autocross. I won’t go into many details (I have blog posts for that), but I will say it was an amazing experience. One i’m looking forward to attending in the coming year. In addition to autocross, I am hoping to make some track days.

Additionally, my wife and I finally were able to take some time off and took a road trip to Florida. We spent some days on the road, about a week in Disney, some time with family and then drove back again. It was quite the experience, compared to flying and one i’m excited to do again. Not sure our son enjoyed it as much, but next time we plan to stop more along the way. Hopefully make the trip the fun and the destination the cherry on top.

In all 2014 was a good year. It had personal and professional accomplishments, lots of growth and i’m excited for what 2015 offers. One thing for sure I know I am focusing on this year is family, friends and experiences. Of course i’ll still be working and growing, but money/success/growth isn’t the only thing in life. So, now that i’ve rambled on for a while, how is your reflection on last year?

by mkeefe on Oct 28th, 2014

15 Secrets to Professional Success

The following 15 secrets of professional success are something I live by, its how i’ve continued to grow PixelBit and how we retain amazing relationships with our clients.

Some have been learned through experience and others i’ve adopted from fellow entrepreneurs.

  1. A brand is grown, not built.
  2. Keep your opinions away from your business.
  3. Never stop hustling/growing/learning/experimenting.
  4. Spend less time watching your competition and more time working.
  5. Talk less, listen more.
  6. Talk less, do more!! (show, don’t tell)
  7. Tailor your message (marketing/in-person) for the specific audience.
  8. NEVER agree to something you cannot do.
  9. Image/reputation takes years of hard work to grow and only seconds to ruin.
  10. Always be honest and true to your word.
  11. Never be afraid to talk about what you do, but don’t overdo it.
  12. Make sure all members of your company speak the “voice of the company”.
  13. Hire fast, fire quicker.
  14. NEVER make a client feel less important, years to perfect, but IMPORTANT!
  15. Specialize, don’t generalize.

Bonus secret: Work/growth is important, but don’t forget to live outside of working.

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