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  • Sunday, September 30, 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    J Magazine's latest issue just hit the newsstands. Why two copies? One for me and one for Shawana Brooks, (I promised her a copy.) 

    I'm confused at some of the coverage. J Magazine editor Frank Denton introduced the edition as follows: "[G]eneralizing about [an] entire generation is risky, but J could hardly produce an issue about millennials Downtown without getting the perspective of some." "So we put together a focus group of seven genuine millennials to discuss Downtown." "Our seven are not a random or representative sample..." "They are mostly toward the older end of the generation, they are better educated than a typical millennial..." "We probably would have gotten significantly different input if we had recruited focus group participants at the beach or in the suburbs, in college classes or, OK, the jail."

    First, however they were chosen, they picked the right seven. I believe they are both present and future leaders of Jacksonville. That's why I'm going to ask them for their autograph. The age range of 23-38 was not "the older end". 

    What really made an impression for me was Denton's slam on their level of education and location... Jail (?) What's up with that?

    I've have read a number of articles from this issue. Here's my editorial opinion.

    J Magazine used the shorthand label "M" to target a consumer market segment. Capitalizing the word Downtown and not millennial revealed their primary focus. Hoping that this specific generation will save downtown is just that, hope. And hope is not a strategy. 

    Gather any group of seven residents and you're sure to hear opinions. Although "What's Next?" was asked, I'm not sure we received an answer, just more fix'in to. Jacksonville's future success depends on future leaders committing to providing those answers. 

    The members of the Jacksonville Business Club will gather October 1st to start moving toward a brighter future.

    JBC - Main Event  Won't you join us?

  • Thursday, September 27, 2018 3:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our members participated as toy shop elves last year. Well organized. We even got to meet Santa. 

    Salvation Army Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

  • Thursday, September 27, 2018 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Founding Member, Deborah Handsenoray

    Guest post by founding member: Deborah Hansen

    Authentic: representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified; genuine; real.

    What IS Jacksonville’s true nature? Do we have a vision that will move our city forward or are we forever looking behind us, dogged by a revolving door of focus groups trying to figure out exactly who we are?

    I throw my gauntlet in with the vision. Maybe we don’t explain ourselves well to others in the sandbox, but let’s try. And then let’s all get on the moving sidewalk together and move forward.

    There is no doubt that our rich history is to be valued and protected. Even the parts that we wish we could go back and rewrite a bit, but it’s ours and we will gladly claim it. Invest in your children and your community by taking a “Staycation.” Visit the museums, historical societies, and sites in the area that help explain our heritage.

    And then let’s move on. Please.

    J Magazine is offering a series of articles focusing on “Millennials,” as the title of this article captured from their latest installment leads the reader to believe. The article, however, focused on—you guessed it—the past. Nothing about downtown revitalization or authenticity. Or millennials.

    Pew Research states that “Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in 2018) will be considered a Millennial…….” And according to the latest demographic information on Jacksonville, the largest group within our population is age 25, thus falling into the M-word designation.

    Here is my question, the one that does return to the title of this article: If we value our diversity and the concept of inclusion, where are they at the table? The table of local city governance? Or at the tables at dozens of business organizations that insist on operating according to the outdated “let’s do lunch once a week and pass around business cards—again” model?

    We speak about them as if they are children of no account who are then shunted off to the kids’ table at Thanksgiving dinner. How about dropping the unnecessary reference to their age completely and invite them to sit with us?

    If we hope to move forward as a city with authenticity, we need to “represent our true nature and beliefs.” That includes all citizens, not simply the ones who have been in charge of the place cards for decades. The ones who can’t seem to decide on our vision, even after all those decades at the head of the table.

    We need the input and inclusion of ALL citizens at the same table, not only certain age groups but all people of color, ethnicities, and any other criteria that has been used for far too long to divide us.

    It is the only honest way to move Jacksonville forward instead of continually looking over our shoulders, clutching to a past that no longer exists nor serves the majority of our citizens.







  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 9:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I rediscovered the concept of binary at a Equality Florida bootcamp. As a geek my reference to binaJerry Gitchel, CEOry was limited to the ones and zeros of the world of computers. I'd never given much thought to how it applied to gender.

    I learned that Male or Female are no long the only choices and that no one wants to be known as Other.

    Dr. Chris Janson of UNF focused my thinking over coffee at the Deerwood Bistro.

    If we limit ourselves to only two choices, "one is always marginalized".

    These limits are often dictated by others, especially those in positions of authority. Official titles no longer serve as synonyms for control. From now on the binary world of digital will provide us with infinite choices to create a self-determined non-binary future.

    That discovery lead the founders of this club to leave the term Gender off our list of member profile fields. We chose to include Pronoun, not with a finite list of choices, but simple an open box.

    How about you Jacksonville? Are you ready to face a a future of infinite choices and possibilities?

    On Monday, October 1st at our Main Event, the Jacksonville Business Club will embark on a journey toward a post binary future. It's our intention to use all our choices to build a better Jacksonville.

    Won't you join us?
    JBC - Main Event - October

  • Friday, September 21, 2018 12:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Paige Johnsen 

    Whether someone at your business manages your website or you outsource the work, it’s critical that you keep your website fresh and up to date.

    Most of the websites that I see were created with a thoughtful design, however once it was built, it was never touched again. This is one of the most common mistakes that businesses make with their websites.

    You need to continue to update your website with fresh content and resources in the form of videos, guides, blogs, promotions and testimonials in order continue to give visitors a reason to come back to your website.

    What are you doing differentiate your business from your competition?

    8 Marketing Strategies to Optimize Your Website

    1. Confirm Your Website is ADA Compliant

    The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures people with disabilities must have equal access to buildings, public restrooms and restaurants.

    This doesn't include websites (yet). However, if you have a client with a visual impairment, images on your website need to include appropriate tags and data that speaks to what those images look like.

    I’ve had the opportunity to attend one of Jerry Gitchel’s, presentations on Web Accessibility Standards for Businesses. I encourage every business owner or manager to meet with him to learn the importance of designing and operating a website that is accessible to people with hearing or visual impairments.

    2. Mobile Responsive

    Many people visiting your website are finding you from their mobile device.

    A responsive website is one that responds, or changes based on the needs of the users and the device that they are viewing it on. Basically, if you’re looking at your website from an iPhone, Android or a tablet, it should appear to look the same as seen on a desktop.

    Here’s how you can test the mobile responsiveness of a website:

    If you are on a computer, you can tell if a site is responsive by minimizing your browser’s window size. If the appearance of the text, images and menu change as it becomes smaller, the site is responsive.

    3. Special Offers

    Special offers, discounts, promotions – however you want to reference it – giving your website visitors an incentive can help you schedule consultations and keep meetings.

    A few of my favorite promotional ideas are: designing your special offers around holidays in order to create a sense of urgency.

    Another idea is a referral program to reward your existing clients whenever they refer a new client to you. Say thank you with a discounted service or gift card.

    4. Video

    An “About Us” or “Meet the Team” page on your website is a great way for your clients and prospects to get to know you. Individualize your brand with a 1-2 minute video showing your office space, team events or your community involvement.

    Video is a great format to share educational content, new services or a product launch.

    If you have a hard time coming up with new content, I highly suggest developing a content audit to take inventory of all your content that you’ve already produced. Re-purposing old blogs into videos is an innovative way to engage your visitors.

    5. Testimonials

    Let your clients be your biggest advocates!

    Why do your clients trust you?

    Do you have any well-known clients who are respected members of our Jacksonville community?

    Ask them for a testimonial and to feature their photo, give them an incentive by sharing their company name and a back link to their business page.

    If you are a client of theirs, then offer to write a testimonial for their website and ask for them to include a link back to your website.

    6. Strong Call-to-Action Buttons

    There are at least seven different types of call to action (CTA) buttons that you can integrate into your website, but let’s just get started with the two most important buttons.

    So far, I’ve talked about optimizing your website with content to engage and delight your readers, but let’s get real. Your website exists to convert your website visitors into leads, which will hopefully turn into clients. The most important CTA buttons on your website are Lead Generating Buttons.

    Lead Generation buttons should be simple and effective. For example:

    • Sign Up

    • Schedule a Consultation

    The second critical CTA button is for Form Submissions. For example:

    • Get our Guide

    • Download the E-book

    If a visitor isn’t ready to schedule a consultation or sign up for your service yet, you still want the opportunity to connect with them until they are ready to take the next step.

    Offering your visitors educational content related to your industry will help you stay at the top of their mind when they are ready to make an informed buying decision. They will also see you as thought leaders in your industry. Providing the option for your visitors to download a guide, case study, or e-book is the first step to winning their hearts.

    I also recommend that your call to action buttons include a Click to Call feature on every single page in the same location of your website. Re-evaluate your Contact Forms to make sure they do not overwhelm your visitors by asking too many questions. A best practice is to include less than seven contact fields.

    By optimizing your contact forms, you can begin to build a contact profile by requesting their name, company name, phone number, email address, best time to call, etc., in the form fields.

    Don’t forget to include an email opt-in option, so visitors can subscribe to your email newsletter.

    7. Links to Social Media Pages

    Social media is a great way to show what your business is doing in the community and behind the scenes. It’s about attracting your audience to engage with your social media business pages and creative ways for them to share your posts or convert to your website.

    Sharing a blog post or press release link from your website is a great way to reinforce your business as an industry thought leader.

    Today, people feel bombarded with the oversaturated use of paid and retargeting ads on social media. At some point, we are all going to become numb to it if advertisers don’t find a more creative way to target their prospects.

    I’m not stating this form of advertising should be thrown out the window, however I think businesses should be strategic with the way they choose do this. I also believe that it’s not the right choice for every business and you should carefully consider where you spend your marketing budget.

    8. Content is King

    The last, but certainly not least, strategy we need to focus on is content.

    This is the most important piece of the puzzle.

    Producing content keeps your website fresh in search results.

    Here are a few content strategy ideas to help get you started:

    • Content Pillar Pages

    • Blogs and Guest Blogs

    • Press Releases

    • Guides and E-books

    • Video Tutorials

    • Client Testimonials

    • Special Offers

    • Surveys or Quizzes

    • Event Announcements

    Google rankings and paid search engines love fresh content and so do website visitors.

    I hope that you found this blog post helpful. These are just a few key marketing strategies to optimize your website. Thank you for the opportunity to share my ideas and I look forward to read what other people from our Jacksonville community have implemented.

  • Wednesday, September 05, 2018 4:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The last words in the SciFi classic, "The Matrix" are delivered by Neo.

    "A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is
    possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you."

    And so we leave it to you. 

    How could we use this platform to build a better Jacksonville?

  • Wednesday, September 05, 2018 4:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The founders and I are heavy in the testing process. After spending most of the Summer researching, listening to members of our target market, looking for just the right software and platforms for our membership management stack, it's time to launch.

    Friday, September 7th at Noon we will open membership for you. We finished a week early and under budget.  Sweet!

    Marketing guru Seth Godin recently published a post titled, "First, Fast, and Correct". My hope is you find what I have created for you to be unique as well as valuable. As with most digital projects, it certainly was fast. Nine days from forming the company to public launch. 

    Is it correct? 

    That I leave to you. If you discover a typo, or a lightbulb comes on over your head, please share with us. 

    Will it succeed?

    Of course, you're reading it right now! :-)


  • Wednesday, September 05, 2018 2:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The idea for a startup named the Jacksonville Business Club came as a suggestion from my trusted advisor team. "You need to start your own group". It was just the hint of an idea. Thanks Frances Fisher.

    Who it was for, the mission, and how it would work really didn't come into focus until the "YP Expo" hosted by the Jacksonville chamber. I've been a resident of North Florida since the freeze of 1989, and yet, I knew not a soul at the event.

    Two insights gained. First, I had completely missed meeting all these folks until just that moment. Second, they were not on the radar of my peers. It was as if there were two Jacksonvilles, each operating in their own reality. 

    That's where I met Steven Johnston, one of our founders, Charles Betts with Jacksonville.com, and Carolyn Anders of New York Life. Meeting each of them inspired me to build this platform for you.

    What I am most excited about is the opportunity to engage everyone in Jacksonville, to work on everything they see as an obstacle to creating a better city and bringing our success to light everywhere.

    Thanks for choosing to join us for this adventure!

    Jerry Gitchel, founder  

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