In the 1970’s my father ran a successful business in Colchester. He was known as a local character with a shop that everyone knew. It was a time when local towns had local businesses run by local people
with some of them on the local council. Notice the word local? The council made decisions which were good for local business and residents, there was always some local party political arguments but they were mild and not as controversial as modern decisions seem to be.
My fathers business sold Bang & Olufsen, Sony, JVC, Tandberg, Pioneer, Panasonic plus many other brands. It was unusual because he sold TV, HIfi, repairs, parts, CB, Cameras, records and tapes all from the same shop.
The thing that made him well known was that he wrote a column in the local paper each week for which he paid, as it was classed as advertising. He passed comments on local things and at one time his shop actually received mail sent to “No1 Roman Hole” a phrase he coined to describe the fact that his shop was in the middle of the new soon to be built precinct, Being Colchester the archaeologists had turned the area all around his 6000sq ft shop into a new landscape of muddy holes with roman bits sticking out.
When I say character I have a photo of him which was published in the local papers dressed as a roman soldier on top of Colchester Castle as a result. The former site of the shop is now TKMaxx. If you look carefully at the photo, at what was the back of his shop in Sir Isaacs walk, you will spot a hay crane top left, this was removed from the old
building and replaced here over the site of my old workshop, blue plaque anyone?
The reason for me mentioning all this is that he never ever talked about the Data transmission company that he started, which obtained patents and was unique in what it did; sending data from remote water tanks and pumping stations over the telephone lines, twenty five years before the Internet. The remote sites were battery and wind powered as the GPO (as it was) could get a cable wherever the power companies couldn’t. This company also designed and built industrial computers in the early 1980’s to process all this data and control the water systems for Borders and Fife regions in Scotland.
This company kept his shop going for twenty years. It launched Colchester computers, renamed Colmex and again to CMX.
He was also a keen photographer and cameraman, his films are now in the possession of the East Anglia Film Archive because of their diversity, quality and historical interest. They are known as the Ken Cheeseman Archive.
The reason that I go into all this when talking about blogs? Well its simple, everyone knew his local shop but no one except in Scotland knew about his industrial electronics company which kept the old company in business or anyone of his filming.
So his ’70’s blog definitely kept his favourite business in the limelight but the most profitable one often seemed like a well kept secret. That I am convinced is the power of the written word.
A blog can get your ethos across, and that always filters down from the top of a company to everyone in it. It raises your profile, promotes your credibility and hopefully brings you more clients who can benefit from your help and knowledge. Funny that Virgin, Lord Sugar are avid bloggers but the head of Tesco, Philip Clarke, has blogged nine times this year.
Thats why I blog now. The world has changed, the newspaper of the 2000’s is the web and you can’t be in front of people just by physically advertising as we are becoming immune to it – there’s another topic.
He always ended his piece with a plug for the business. CMX is one of the most experienced computer companies and I don’t care who knows it, wouldn’t you blog too? Thats why I am carrying on the tradition. Same method, different media.