fbpx

All Posts by Hannah Thornton

3 Tips For Going Into Business

Image Pixabay Licensce CC0

Entering into the world of becoming a new business owner can be as scary as it is exciting. You may be daunted by the prospect of all of the hats you will need to wear, from boss, to project manager, expert sales pitcher, through to researcher. It will be a very busy time for you. There will be a great deal of stress, and you may well regret even getting into it. 

But ultimately, there is a great freedom involved in opening up your own company, and whatever service or product you have decided to offer, you will find the right customers with perseverance, and planning. 

Here are a few key areas you should be focusing your attention on when it comes to the early stages of going into business for yourself. 

Get The Right Advice

People will no doubt be queuing up to give you the benefit of their experience and wisdom. Hopefully you will be able to determine which pieces of advice are great, and which belong in the bin. Listen carefully to what people tell you, and then sense check it before you act on that advice.

Get second opinions and read up as much as possible about everything. Having as much information to hand as possible will serve you well. 

Go and seek out the support of a business advisor. There may be some organizations that offer this in your local area for free. Take advantage of any offer like this. You’ll get impartial advice which will be massively beneficial. 

Plan Your Budget

Your business plan needs to be watertight. Each and every aspect of the set-up and initial running costs should be factored. You will want to think about your Wido shop-fit, your rent, the taxes, website costs, your staffing costs, equipment, stock, and so much more. 

Make a comprehensive list and get several quotes for each item on the list. You should budget on the high side for each item too. The price you see something today, may not be the same when you come to pay it. 

You’ll need to think about planning to go over budget. It is highly likely that it will happen, and when it does you need to be ready. With that in mind your budget should have an extra ten percent at least added onto it incase anything overruns. 

Get The Right Team

You may well need a team when it comes to setting up your company, and the people that you hire from the start may be with your for sometime. Find some people that you will get along with, and who you can work well with. Think about the areas that you are not so good at. Get someone who can fill that gap in your business. Covering all aspects of the business means getting a broad range of skills in a number of different areas. 

Remember that you team will need training and support from the start. You may well feel lost, but they will be even more so. Make sure you help them get to where you need them to be. 

Could You Be More Focused On Marketing? Four Ways To Switch Things Up

When it comes to your business, marketing is one of the things that should be a big priority. After all, it is an easy way to ensure that your business is seen and you advertise in the right way. However, marketing might be a priority, but you can always lose focus from time to time. Instead of trying new things or exploring and analysing your current methods, you can become complacent. Investing in the same things that give you the same results. With that in mind, here are four things that could switch things up a little for your business.   

Image source – Pixabay – CC0 License 

Have you tried every method? 

As mentioned before, we can all be a little guilty of getting stuck in a rut when it comes to our marketing opportunities. We stick with methods that we always have for ease and also fitting things into our work routines. But there could be other avenues that you haven’t tried that could prove successful. Telemarketing was often seen as something that was once a chore, but when you get an expert B2B telemarketing agency this could prove to be very successful for your business. You could also look at old school methods such as advertising in print, magazines or leaflet drops. 

Get some of the experts on the case 

You may be struggling with your marketing purely because it isn’t your strong point. Not all business owners and entrepreneurs are experts in this area, and so it may be time to get some of the experts of the case. We already suggested an agency for a particular marketing approach, but you can enlist the help of a generalised marketing agency to help you cover all aspects. If you think it is just the content you share, what about having a content strategist on your team? If social media is your bug bear a dedicated manager could help alleviate some of the pressure. 

Focus on one area of social media 

On the subject of social media you may want to focus on just the one area to help build your presence and brand. There are many platforms, all offering something different, and there are also different approaches that you can take. It could be worth focusing on one platform and building that up, which can then help boost your other platforms and profiles. It might be worth focusing on engagement, or even the type of content that you share. Humanising your business and brand and making it appeal to your audience.  

Could an email list be your saviour?

Finally, maybe an email list could be a great way to boost your engagement and advertise your business. The email newsletter is fast becoming a popular option for many businesses, and it can feel like a less intrusive way of sending marketing information. If you do have an email, make sure you get the relevant permissions before sending out marketing emails, just to cover yourself. 

Let’s hope these tips help you when it comes to focusing on your marketing. 

Why Cloud-Based Tools Are the Future of Your Business’s Workflow

Cloud-based tools have been touted as the next big thing when it comes to optimising your business’s workflow, but how exactly do they work and what advantages do they offer you?

Seamless backups to protect your data

Cloud-based services allow you to backup your data to a remote server, meaning that your data is safe, handled by professionals and cannot be tampered with unless users are given access. This also means you can create seamless backups of your data with minimal effort.

Powerful tools that do not rely on expensive hardware

A lot of expensive software requires you to have powerful hardware in order to run it. With cloud software, the processing requirements are handled by the service itself, meaning you can run powerful applications without needing an expensive device. This reduces your operating costs and makes it very easy for you to harness powerful tools for your business.

Reduce operating costs

Cloud-based tools are often much cheaper to operate due to their subscription-based model. Not only does this offer flexible pricing for businesses, but it can also become more predictable which makes it easier to calculate as part of your budget.

Access your cloud solutions from anywhere

A massive advantage to cloud solutions is that they can be accessed from anywhere. Whether it’s a mobile device, a laptop or even a full-sized desktop, you can access your cloud solutions and run your business wherever you are. Even powerful tools like Power BI can be accessed from virtually any internet-connected device.

<a href=”https://www.stl-training.co.uk/sharing/what-is-power-bi/84″><img style=”width:100%;” src=”https://www.stl-training.co.uk/asset/image/sharing/what-is-power-bi.png”></a><br>Design by  <a href=”https://www.stl-training.co.uk/”>STL Training</a>

Create Your Home Office

You probably remember that moment when you walked away from your 9 to 5 job for the last time and found yourself on your commute home, wondering if you’d done the right thing.

Sure, you needed more flexibility to fit your job around your family life and to pursue your own ambitions but you couldn’t help but wonder if losing the predictability of that monthly paycheck was worth it.

But that’s what you chose to do and now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and take the new professional you back home to start your business. How you set up your home working space is a crucial part of this process and we take a look at what you need to do get it done the right way.

Get Your Tech On Spec

Probably the most crucial piece in the puzzle of setting up your home office. When you’ve got so many customers relying on you to deliver their projects on time, you need to know that your technology is going to support your efforts and not let you down.

You need to make sure that your network supports you and if you’re someone who’s home network has any blips or cuts out regularly then you need to find some IT support and upgrade your system. It’s an investment but it’s one that’s worth it. Talk to CyBerJaz Corp for advice.

Find a Space That Works For You

If you’re going to spend long hours behind your desk then make that desk as comfortable and supportive as possible. Find a chair that fits you perfectly and supports your back. Find an area in your house where you’re able to work peacefully and without interruptions. If that means creating space in a bedroom or in your shed, then make that happen, anything that helps you to spend your time and focus on doing work is a great investment.

If you find that you seek the company of others, then consider coworking. You’ll find spaces across the country where you can pay a fee and have access to a desk, wifi, printing and all the other facilities you’d expect from an office. If the hum of others working nearby helps inspire you then this is a great option. If you’re someone who needs a little bit of calm, then this environment probably isn’t for you.

Image from Pexel. CC0 licence

Wherever you work, whether a cafe, coworking hub or from the comfort of your own home, treat your space as the professional office you need it to be. You’re offering a professional service and you’ll feel inspired and ready to go to work in an environment that’s geared towards making your everyday a success. Avoid slumping on a sofa or staying in bed. You’ll quickly lose motivation, not to mention suffer from a bad back that comes from working somewhere without the right support.

Start today to get your home professional life sorted and you’ll be glad you made that decision to step away from corporate life.

3 Major Productivity Drains To Avoid At All Costs

Image via Pexels

We all want to find ways to introduce more productivity into our businesses, but that isn’t quite as easy as reaching for your third flat white of the morning and burning the candle at both ends. Instead, productivity is a practice which evolves over time, and needs constant fine-tuning for your company to run like a well-oiled machine. Things suck our time and attention without us even noticing, so we need to be vigilant and work proactively to shut down the creep of time-wasting activities in favour of staying in the zone. And whether you’re running a small business empire, or you’re a solopreneur, learning some tricks to keep your productivity high should always be top of your agenda.

Beware Mindless Browsing

We’re all guilty of it – and in fact, most of the apps on our phone are specifically engineered to hook us into a cycle of scrolling and tapping ad infinitum. Mindless phone scrolling or web browsing on a laptop is all too easy to fall prey too, and there aren’t many people who could say that they don’t do it all. Policing your own browsing is key to staying on track with your workload for the day. Try making a rule about what times of day you will check your phone and keeping it locked in a drawer when not in use, silencing notifications from apps or distracting email pop-ups, or even using a social media blocker app if you’re really struggling. When you do use your phone at work, keep in mind an aim for checking it, and make a habit of putting it straight down once you.

Find Your Mission

Productivity is closely interlinked with motivation – and if you’re struggling to find that drive, it’s very hard to keep going with tasks which don’t inspire you. And yet some essential admin or other less enjoyable jobs are part of every role, especially when launching your own business. Stay productive by reminding yourself of your mission – what you’re in business to change or develop. Keep this prominently written out where you can see it. If you have an annual goals document, it’s also a good idea to review this on a daily or weekly basis, and note small milestone activities you have completed which are taking you closer to your ultimate aim. If you keep the big picture in front of mind, it’s easier to see how even the smaller, less absorbing tasks contribute to where you want to be.

Keep Safe In The Workplace

It’s impossible to maintain productivity if you aren’t looking after your mental and physical health properly during working hours – something that can often slip due to the pressures of starting your own business. Make sure you are covering the basics by taking regular screen breaks, staying hydrated, moving around outside during lunch breaks and checking display screen equipment training is set up correctly. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance will make you more productive than trying to work all hours – your focus, mental skills and creativity will be much more functional without constant pressure.

Using Trade Fairs To Grow Your Brand

Image Credit

Getting the name of your business onto the lips of your customers is a big challenge. But time-and-time again, brands have successfully proved that it is possible to grow from nothing, to become known the world over. How do they do this? Brand marketing.

Marketing may not be your area of expertise, and that’s fine. If it were, you’d be a marketing executive. But, while you bring the knowledge and skills in your specialist area, you should understand the basics of marketing, and realize its significance in helping you build your brand.

How will you communicate your name, and concept to any potential clients? Your business needs a brand strategy, and these are the questions you will answer as you devise it. 

Meet Your Customers Face-to-face

Trade shows are central in the calendar of many businesses. Buyers and sellers alike will convene, and between them determine what consumers will be taking home six months from now. Your brand needs in on that. You need to put your name out there. 

If you want to stand out at a trade show, have a company design and build an exhibition stand for you. You’ll need something that shows that you are professional, and matches your concept. 

Trade shows can be quite busy, and there may be many other businesses represented that you will be competing with. You need to offer some point of difference to them. Think about what your specific unique selling point is. You should know what your competitors are offering, as you may get asked about the differences between what you are offering. 

Effective Communication

Getting your message across means having a clear message. It might be worth writing a sales pitch that you can deliver to groups of people as they visit your stand. Practice your pitch in front of others until you can deliver it confidently. Remember, you are an extension of the brand, when your customers visit your stand, how you treat them is significant to their impressions of your business. Give them lots of reasons to like you, and to choose to work with you.

Show, Don’t Tell

The best way to get the features and benefits across to someone is to let them try the product in question. If you can show something working, then you should always choose to do this. If you stand around talking about it, it’s not going to sell it. People have great imaginations, but if there is no need to imagine, why would you make someone do that? 

Think About The Big Picture

Give your visitors something they can take away from your stand. Let them know that they can get in touch with you anytime, and you can arrange a deal then. Take contact details and follow up on potential leads. The sales you make from a trade show might not materialize straight away, but it is an excellent opportunity to get out there and put your business in the radar of your potential customers. 

5 Great Ways To Market Your Business

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

If you’re looking for new ways to market your business but you don’t know where to begin the don’t worry, you have come to the right place. With so many different marketing strategies to consider and trial, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the choices. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in operation for years, having a strong marketing strategy is the key to business success. With that in mind, here are 5 great ways to market your business: 

  • Think About How You Can Use Social Media

One of the best ways to market your business is to make use of the various different social media channels that are available. Although it may be tempting to sign up to all of them, you need to think about the ones your target audience will be using the most, putting all your efforts into perfecting them. Whether that means you solely post on Instagram or you use Facebook and Twitter to share offers, you need to think about what will work best for your business. For a guide to which social media platforms you should be using for your business, you can visit this site here. 

  • Use Influencers And Bloggers To Help Spread The Word

If you’re looking to get the word out about your product in a quick and easy way, why not consider working with influencers and bloggers? Although it may take some time to find the right people to work with, working with influencers is a great way to put your product in front of people who are going to be interested. For guidance when it comes to running influencer marketing campaigns, you can visit this site here. 

  • Consider Using Video In Your Marketing Strategy

If you’re going to be using social media to market your business one of the best things you can do is create video content. Most social media apps are pushing video content so if you’re creating as much as you can, you can be sure you’re posts are going to be seen by your followers. Whether it’s live video or animation, video is one of the best marketing tools you can be using. 

For more information about using an animation company to create videos, you can visit this site here. 

  • Use Local Papers And Magazines 

If you’re a local business looking for the best way to market your business, why not consider buying ad space in local papers and magazines? If you know your ideal audience are going to be reading a specific paper or magazine, paying for an advertisement is a great way to get your brand in front of the right people. 

  • Hire A PR To Help When It Comes To Press

Finally, why not hire a PR to help you when it comes to press releases? Whether you’re launching a new product or you’re running a new campaign, hiring a PR is the best way to ensure you’re getting the right coverage when it comes to the media. 

Are you looking for new ways to market your business? What can you do to ensure you’re getting the reach you want? Let me know in the comments section below. 

Helping Your Business Thrive

When your business needs a little input, a little know-how from the experts there can seem like an overwhelming amount of choice out there but what’s really needed is someone who you can trust to fully understand what you need. That person is likely to come in the form of a consultant, someone who will take on a specific element of your business and mould it to start delivering the results you’re looking for.

Choosing a consultant can be a long process as you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of a smaller or larger agency but whether you’re looking to improve your marketing strategy or organisational development there’s a consultant out there for you.

This blog takes you through what you’re looking for to find that perfect fit for your business.

Clear Objectives

Before you appoint, you need to figure out some clearly defined goals. Without tangible outcomes you run the risk of sending your business backwards rather than forward and an agreement that might end up costing you a small fortune.

Be as accurate as possible, using real figures or percentages but base your goals on realistic outcomes. Ambitious is one thing but they will still need to be attainable.

Listen to the Pitch

Invite several agencies to pitch their ideas and services to you, making sure they have a clear knowledge of the budget you’re working towards. You will find many promise the earth and all the results you need but take time to carry out a reality check and follow-up by going through with them exactly how this will be achieved.

During the presentation check to see how well the consultant listens to you and responds to your questions. Good communication and a rapport will help during the project and helps to establish two-way trust.

Image courtesy of Pexels

Trust the Process

Once you’ve appointed someone, you need to let them get on with their job. Establish a regular catch-up, say once a week, where you can update yourself on the progress your consultant is making. Though trusting someone else to take over an element of your business can be hard, when you’ve made the right choice let them do what they do best, leaving you free to do what you do.

Finding the right consultant can change the path of your business for the better. Those jobs that require a little extra expertise and skill are taken on by experts who can make a real difference. Whether you opt for a small, bespoke agency who specialises in the area you need support with or appoint a much larger agency with access to a lot more resources, find someone that sits just right in your business. Find someone you click with, someone you can open up clear lines of communication with and someone you know understands your business and your budget. Then let them get on with overhauling your marketing strategy, streamlining your organisation and creating a future-proof business that’s ready for the next stage of the journey.

Keeping Any Business A Well-Oiled Machine

If you are hoping to be able to lead your business to true success, one of the things that you need to make sure of is that you are running it in such a way that you can expect it to operate pretty much of its own accord. You want to get to a point where you can leave your business to run, and it will do so, but how do you actually manage to get to that point in business? Certainly, it is the kind of thing which is going to prove very hard to make into a reality, but it is always possible. In this post, we will discuss some of the things that you can do to ensure that your business is truly a well-oiled machine, and that you can trust it to do its thing day in, day out.

Pic Credit

Smooth Over Processes

Whatever internal processes your business might have, you need to make sure that you are smoothing them over so that they operate as automatically as possible, and with as little friction as possible. That will generally mean that you need to undergo a general kind of streamlining process, as that is the only way to ensure that you are going to be able to keep those processes simple. With simpler processes, and with a little automation on some of them which could do with it, you can hope for all your internal processes to happen easily and with minimal input from you or anyone else. That is a hugely important and central part of keeping your business running smooth when you are not there.

Pic Credit

Take Care Of Devices

You’ll need to ensure that you are taking good care of the technology in your business too if you want to be able to keep your business running smoothly. The better you look after your tech, the more likely it is that things will keep on running as they should, without anything going wrong at all. For that reason, finding a way to properly take care of whatever devices you might have is certainly going to be a good idea, and often the best way to make sure of that is simply to hire the professionals to carry out some Device and System Monitoring. That will ensure that those devices are going to be looked after at all times, and that your business can therefore operate as it should at all times.

Train Staff Well

Finally, you should remember that your employees are the most important part of this equation overall, and the better equipped they are to run your business, the more likely it is that you will be able to leave it in their capable hands. That means that you need to make a point of training them up as well as possible, so that they are going to have the necessary knowledge and ability to be able to do whatever needs doing. Be sure to focus on this, and it will really make all the difference in the world.

3 Easy Ways to Win Business

You and your business entirely rely on being able to do business; without it, you cannot operate. So ensuring that you’ve got a steady pipeline of work coming is crucial in being able to function and grow as a business. This is easier said than done, as these things are, and it can be challenging to get the work in and secure clientele.

There are a variety of methods that you can choose to win your business, from cold calling to digital marketing to referral schemes. It’s all about finding which one works for you, and how you can use it to grow your company. Time is money and money is time, and so you should always seek to practice your methods in a time-efficient way.

Search engine optimization

SEO, or search engine optimization, can offer your business a consistent flow of traffic to your website. If you’re a bit tech-savvy and you don’t mind doing a bit of research, you can do your own SEO for your website. There are easy steps you can take to get ranked and make a difference in how you appear within search engines. If you’re not capable of doing this yourself, you don’t have the time, or you simply want the best, then seek a digital agency. There are plenty out there that will be able to assist in your journey to become higher ranked. They have the expertise to get you where you want to be and can do so at a price that you’re comfortable paying. They can also give you a crash course in SEO and how you can complete your best practice SEO to maintain your ranking and creep up the rankings.

Use a finders service

If you don’t have the time to go out and actively seek contracts and business then using a service that offers just that might be perfect for you. Many companies offer online platforms that allow you to find online tenders and contracts in one spot quickly. You can browse catalogues of active contracts dependant on what industry you’re in and how big of a company you are. There’s something for everyone, no matter how big or small, the business that you can win will help you both stay afloat and grow. 

Referral schemes

Word of mouth is a great way to spread the word of your business. There are many companies that operate purely on word of mouth. If people are referring you, it’s usually done in good faith and so with a referral, often comes a positive review. It’s an excellent way to build your reputation and grow at the same time. If you’re going to opt for a referral scheme, it’s best to make it an incentive that you know will motivate your existing customers. Make it something that doesn’t cost you too much but equally, will be of benefit to the customer. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting your time with a referral scheme that doesn’t work, because no one will have any incentive to do so.

The 4 Best Things About Being a Freelancer

A lot of blogs will tell you that you should take the prospect of freelancing with a grain of salt. That you should approach it carefully and with some apprehension. That you shouldn’t quit your day job just yet and begin your freelancing career as a side hustle to insulate yourself from the inherent risks. They’ll likely bemoan the lack of holiday or sick pay or paid annual leave and tell you that your livelihood is inextricably linked to your ability to stay productive come what may.

Image by Asawin via PxHere


And all of that is very sage and sensible advice. However, it shouldn’t put you off pursuing a rewarding and potentially lucrative career as a freelancer. Because here’s the thing…

Freelancing rocks!

Does it have its caveats? Of course! Find me a way of making money that does (other than, perhaps winning the lottery). But if you have your sights set on freelancing, just remember that this is what awaits you…

No horrible morning commutes for you… Ever!

Most of us start our working day in the worst possible way… By swearing loudly at queues of traffic and scrambling frenziedly from the car park to our desks. Hardly a recipe for a cheery disposition and a day of productivity. And that’s if you’re lucky enough not to have a boss who’s staring at you disapprovingly and tapping his watch when you walk through the door. 

When you’re a freelancer you can enjoy a slow build up to your working day. Do some yoga, have a coffee, take some deep breaths and prepare yourself for a happy and productive day. 

You can travel wherever you want, and take the office with you!

No longer need your work curtail your travel plans. In fact, wherever on the planet you go you can take your work with you. Whether you want to spend a week in premiere serviced apartments in Southampton or a fortnight working out of a cafe in Bali. Wherever there’s a powerpoint and reliable WiFi, that’s your office, baby! No longer need you sacrifice productivity for seeing as much of the world as you like. In fact, there are legions of digital nomads all over the planet right now with no fixed addresses. As long as they have their laptops they don’t need an office, a desk or even a home. It’s a wonderful way to see the world without having to take a break from work.

You can work around the things that matter most to you

How many of your son’s school plays have you missed because you had to work late? How many times have you missed your daughter’s karate grading, football match or dance recital because you had to stay behind to tie up administrative loose ends?

The beauty of freelancing is that it allows you to plan your work life around the things that really matter… Rather than the other way around.

You’re free from malicious workplace gossip and office politics

And finally… You might find that you miss your old colleagues every once in a while. But one thing you won’t miss is the way in which office dynamics can toxify the workplace. You won’t miss the palpable tension when two colleagues who don’t get on have to share the same space or the awkwardness when two people who were aggressively flirtatious at the office party have to face each other in the cold light of day. 

Freelancers are insulated from the petty politics and harmful gossip of the work environment. They are free of distraction and demoralisation and can focus on getting the job done without worrying about dodgy workplace relations. 

Expenses Every Business Owner Should Be Prepared For

When you own a business, there are certain things that you are going to have to pay for, and you need to be well informed about what could be on this list. Down below, we are going to be discussing some of the things that you can expect to pay for and why they are going to be necessary. Now, we are sure that you have probably thought of at least a few that we are going to talk about considering a couple of them are fairly obvious, but we still feel like they should be mentioned anyway. So, if you are interested in learning more about this topic, keep reading down below to find all the information that you are going to need.

Employees

Image Link

First up is employees. Most businesses are going to have to pay this expense at some point in the lifespan of their company unless you are planning on staying a solo business. This is unlikely but does happen on occasion. However, like we said, most businesses are going to have to hire some kind of help at some point due to the demand that won’t be able to be managed alone. Having employees is going to be a great help to you and your company, but it can end up being one of the things that costs you the most money.

A lot of business owners find that when it comes to cutting costs, looking at your employees is the place to start. This is the case because it can end up costing the company a large percentage of its profits. For this reason, you need to seriously consider how many employees you are going to be able to afford based on how much you are willing to pay them. Obviously, higher positions warrant more money, and this is also something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Travel

While this is not relevant for all businesses, it is certainly going to be relevant for some, and even if you think that your company is safe from this expense, it is not necessarily going to be the case. For example, what if there is an exhibition that you need one of your team to go to or an event that your company simply cannot miss? You can’t expect your employees to pay for the travel or the serviced apartments that will be necessary should it be longer than a day trip. For this reason, you need to be prepared to spend quite a fair amount on travel, even if it is not a constant occurrence for your business.

In order to plan effectively for this, you should look at any upcoming events that your business might need to attend. Look at where the event is being held, work out how many of your staff you are going to send and how long they need to be there for. This will help you to set aside a budget that you can follow the next time an event crops up.

Offices

Credit Location

Unless your business is going to be set up online, you are going to need to hire offices for your employees to work in. These can be quite expensive depending on where you have decided to set up your business, so do make sure that you are looking around at commercial properties all over the place. If there is a specific reason you have decided on one area that cannot really be changed, then at least ensure that you are getting the best deal on a property in that area. If however, you can be flexible with the location of your business, then finding a property at a good price is going to be a lot easier.

You need to ensure that there is enough space for everyone that you have working for your company at the moment, and then some extra in case you need to hire some more help. Don’t be afraid of getting something that is too big if it is at a good price, because it is likely that if your business starts doing well, expansion is going to be on the table in the near future.

Tech

Your employees are going to need certain pieces of tech to help them complete their jobs effectively and efficiently. For this reason, you need to be fully prepared to spend a fair amount of money on purchasing the tech to help them do this. This could be anything from the latest computers, to smartphones, tablets, or something specific to your field. If you are not sure what your employees need, then there is a simple way to find out. Ask them. They are the ones who are completing the job, so they know best about what kind of things would help them do it faster.

Just think about how much more efficient this is going to make your business when you are writing this cheque. Imagine if you are asking your employees to work on a computer that was made back in the early 2000s, while your competitors were using the latest cutting edge technology. It is going to put your business at a disadvantage, which is not where you want to be.

Legal

Pexels Image

You should always have a lawyer on retainer for your business just in case something goes wrong. Now, we are not saying that your business is going to experience constant issues, but it is likely that at some point, you are going to need legal help. Whether this is from an ex-employee who is suing you for wrongful termination or a customer who is not fully satisfied with your company, you need to know how to stay on the right side of the law. Some companies think that this is an expense that is not worth what it costs but trust us when we say it is better to have this and not need it than the other way around.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the expenses that every business owner should be prepared for. Good luck!

Grow Your Business With Digital Marketing

via pexels

As a business owner, whatever scale or stage, the buzz around digital marketing has unlikely escaped you. For any modern business, it has become an essential practice. Digital marketing methods, trends, and techniques are changeable over time, so whether you aren’t so clued up or know a fair bit already;  it’s worth keeping yourself up to date. Here come a few pointers to consider in the aid of continued growth.

Mobile-friendly websites

If you don’t already have a website for your business, then this is something that you can do quite easily yourself using sites like WordPress, Wix and the like. These options are either free or inexpensive, depending on the package. Sites like this make the navigation of building your website pretty straightforward, but if you want some more professional help, you may want to consider calling in a web designer to do this for you. The fact is that is that even if your business has survived for years without the utilization of a website, you may find yourself at a standstill if you fail to take advantage of the wider-reach of consumers that you can access online.

This brings us to the ‘mobile friendly’ part; it’s become of increased importance to optimize your website for mobile phones. This is because, in general, people more often use their phones to make searches compared to other their devices. So if your website isn’t user-friendly and easy to navigate while looking great on the screen, then you could risk losing potential customers. A website that doesn’t not look professional enough can tarnish the image of the company. (So to stop your audience from clicking away- make sure your website is mobile savvy!)

Creative content

With digital marketing your content is everything, it’s no use getting lots of people to your website or social pages to have them find content that they don’t find valuable (because then they won’t be coming back)! All of the content that you have will contribute to shaping your brand image and how you are viewed in the eyes of your target market. To ensure that you are not underestimating the value of your content, cater everything to be a perfect example of your creativity and originality as a business.

You can look back to your branding here; to re-establish what kind of persona it is you are wanting to be giving off. Think also to your target market research so that you are producing, for example, the type of blog articles that they will want to read and sharing the kinds of posts on social media that they will enjoy or find valuable. Google works via a preference for quality, so by doing this; you will be ensuring that you rank higher in search engine results generally and thus bring your website more traffic. Remember, with content it’s quality over quantity- yet at the same time, you’ll what to update what you have regularly to keep up your all-important online presence.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an effective way to communicate with your customers or your expected customers; your email marketing may focus on new products, offers, welcome info, information content (or most likely a combination of all of the former). What you will initially need to do is utilize the right tools that allow you to turn the people who visit your website into contacts who you can then reach out to via your different email campaigns. The right tools can work to connect email software with your website or blog. Depending on what kind of tools you opt to use, you may do this by using contact forms or website popups. Many customers are responsive to email campaigns; they are un-intrusive and can be great branding to express your appealable tone of voice.

Video Marketing

In the last year or so we’ve seen a surge in the trend of using video marketing to promote one’s business online. If you create videos to market your business you can help to build a stronger relationship with your customers by allowing them to: get a good inside look behind the scenes; learn something new via an explainer video; or put faces to the names of your company. You and your team could create an exciting group project in the planning and making of a video. Some companies like to take this a step further and engage in the practice of live events or webinars. By engaging with your audience in this way, you are allowing yourself to build stronger connections; this is useful whether you are remotely based or otherwise.

Search engine optimization

A key aspect of employing digital marketing concerns search engine optimization. This is because you will want to see how your users are getting along with your digital platforms to access what is working, what isn’t, and how you could improve. You could begin by doing your own keyword research and making plans to focus on the words and phrases that your target audience searches for. You could also hire in an SEO agency to help you, professionally, to work on all aspects of your SEO and it’s analysis. Whether you teach yourself the basics first or call upon professional help from the get-go, you won’t want to skip on the importance of these kinds of rankings.

The varied aspects of the digital marketing world may seem a little overwhelming at first, with so many options to focus on and a large number of platforms to do so. Keep in mind, if you generally know that your target audience aren’t using specific social platforms, then maybe your efforts are better spent elsewhere. You won’t want to miss out on anything that is going to help your business to move forward, and rest assured that your hard work and efforts won’t be going to waste.  As with most ambitious pursuits, forward thinking and proper planning will help you along your way. Deciding in more detail what you require to execute your goals is the first step.

Could Manufacturing Be Your Calling?

Image Credit: Pexels

Starting up your own business is great, it’s rewarding, it could make you a fortune, you get to be your own boss, but at the same time you need a business that works, and the first thing you need to do in building a successful business is to have a brilliant idea. Manufacturing could be the way to go for you because at the moment there are so many avenues to explore within production and the industry is not slowing down but only growing.

From manufacturing toys, tech, food or makeup, there’s something for everyone, and each of these industries themselves is growing at a rapid pace. The world is evolving and changing and so, therefore, are the demands and needs of people.

The first thing you need to do is decide what your business is going to be in. That could be an obvious and easy decision depending on what you have experience in but if not make sure you look at all the options and research thoroughly industries that are growing and good ones to get in now so you can reap the rewards later.

As mentioned, have a look into toy manufacturing as there’s always going to be children, so they’re always going to be wanting and needing toys. With the influx of technology and devices, people are looking for more ways than ever to find other things to distract their kids from too much screen time and get them playing and learning. Speaking of technology, that is another one that is only growing and not going anywhere. Smartphone accessories are always needed, and cases and chargers can be made with some basic materials. Even computers and tablets and phones don’t have to be mass produced by large companies; if you have the knowledge and the skills, then you can manufacture your own devices and sell them directly to consumers.

The makeup industry is another one which is booming right now, and as more people become vegan, and people are becoming increasingly aware of what they are putting on to their face. There are also so many bloggers, vloggers and influencers available to help you to launch and promote your products too. Then there’s food, something we’re always going to need, and as people have become more and more health conscious, there is an increasing demand for on-the-go healthy snacks. So, if you have an idea for a snack, you think you can make and then see if you can rent some space to manufacture it. Something rather new and exciting though that you could get into is the micro mobility industry. Have you noticed how many micro scooters, electric powered bikes and skateboards there are around now and according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, they’re only going to grow further as micro mobility products will gain popularity as an alternative to traditional ground transportation and mass transit. If you look at Ford, they recently acquired an e-scooter startup company called Spin for a reported $100 million, so if Ford is backing the industry, then maybe they know something you don’t.

Once you have decided then it’s time to do your research thoroughly, make sure you know if you need any special purpose machinery, how much it will cost and where you’re going to be manufacturing as the location is just as crucial for this industry as any other.

Things You Should Be Considering As A E-commerce Store

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels

Running a successful E-commerce store can be stressful and extremely time consuming but at the same time very rewarding. There can be a lot that you need to consider to make sure that it runs smoothly and remains running smoothly all the time and it becomes very easy to get lost with certain job roles and forget what you should be prioritizing. Have a look here at some of the things you should be considered as an e-commerce store.

Marketing

Getting the marketing right for your E-commerce store has got to be one of the most important aspects of running one. Without the right marketing strategies in place, you could have the most outstanding product or service but the lack of or bad marketing could mean that you are heading for failure. There are plenty of ways to market your store such as using free platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which are ever growing as a competitive way to target your audiences and you can always use tools like google ads to help get your products seen at the top of google searches.

Monitoring

By monitoring, we are talking about monitoring your sales and your stock. Not your stock levels but how well they are performing for you. Using tools such as online reseller monitoring and google analytics you are able to monitor how many people visit your site and how well each product is performing. It’s a brilliant tool for being able to keep your eye on how much the competition is selling similar products for too. By monitoring your sales you are able to produce useful things such as bestseller lists, poor seller lists and use these to your advantage by advertising your better seller and getting more stock, then you can think about reducing the cost of the poor selling items in a sale.

Customer Service

When you first set up an E-commerce store you probably don.t have a massive need for y=all the mod cons when it comes to customer service as you will probably be starting our very small and it can be easily managed in house and simply however as your store starts to grow you may find that there is a need to either dedicate the role to someone permanently, maybe even a team or possibly think about outsourcing your customer service duties to ensure your customers are getting the service that they require. By having a customer service team you are able to deal with customer queries, complaints and orders quickly and efficiently which will, in turn, lead to a better customer return. Why not think about adding a live chat to your website, but bear in mind that for this you will need to have someone monitoring it. You may find that customers get annoyed if you advertise a live chat service but it’s never available, and the same applies to have a phone line. If you’re starting out or are only staying small then using tools such as Facebook messenger or email could be the better routes, if you expect that you won;t be able to reply to a customer straight away you can always send an automated response with your ideal reply times shown, this way customers always know what to expect.

Logistics

Another important thing that you should be considering as a e-commerce store is how your logistics are going to work and if they are running smoothly. The e-commerce is only your storefront so you need to have a think about what and where is going to be your warehouse. Some places such as Amazon will have a service where you can store your items in their website and they can provide your products as a prime product which is always a good attraction to customers but it does also attract a fee for you so, worth weighing up the costs. The other option is to hire some storage space or maybe even warehouse space depending on how large your products are. It’s worth thinking about how you are going to look after your stock, are you going to employ someone specifically to take care of this? Another aspect of logistics is to look at how you are going to get your products to the customers, are you going to have your own employees and vans/lorries or are you going to outsource and use one of the many courier services available? Either way, it’s a good idea to make a detailed database of how long each product is expected to take to arrive to the customers and make sure you are choosing not only the best service for the but also the best prices for your budget.

Do you have anything else that you should be considering as a E-commerce store? Please share them in the comments section below.  

Feel The Benefits Of A Side Hustle

A side hustle takes some serious kind of graft. It’s separating your work life from your down time, and then adding some more into it. A side hustle is what a lot of small businesses started out as, it would seem. People are doing odd jobs on the side, and word of mouth and social media is spreading the word, until eventually it turns into something that needs to be done full time. So if this is the way that you feel yourself heading at the minute, then this is the right place for you. The side hustle can be turned into something immense, taking up a lot of your resources, and actually setting in a little bit of panic. So the purpose of this article is to show you all of the benefits you should be feeling from your side hustle, and how you can make sure you’re swaying towards the positive side, and not towards the negative. So keep on reading, and see what we think the benefits of the side hustle are, and how you can maximise them!

Image Source

The Big Bank Account

Having a big bank account is what most of us aspire to have in life, yet it’s one thing that we struggle to achieve the most. But with a side hustle, everything changes. As well as your normal flat rate pay, you’ll be bringing in the money from your side venture. But with this becomes big enough so that you take it on full time, you’re missing out on everything from sick pay to that pension we all need so badly. This is where you’d find umbrella accountants handy. They can arrange everything from those days where you just can’t earn any money, to the days where you really need a holiday, but can’t afford to miss out on the profit you’re making. Even if this is only remaining a thing on the side, you would really benefit from getting yourself an accountant, just to make sure that you’re bringing in as much money as you possibly can.

The Big Ideas

Big ideas is what it’s all about with your side hustle. Although it is only something on the side for now, you want it to be something that’s going to bring in enough money to make it worthwhile, as this will no doubt be something that will eat into your spare time. So in terms of big ideas, you need to think about what the demand is out there. So say if your side hustle was something in the beauty business, which a lot of people are going for, you need to think about the treatments that aren’t offered as much. A lot of people are doing HD brows, but not a lot of people are doing the combination tattoo brows, which aren’t permanent, and work slightly different to microblading!

The Big Potential

There’s big potential with all side hustles, you just have to have the determination to make it into something big. Think about building your custom base, and building your following on social media to reach full potential. There are plenty of articles on the internet which go into detail about how you can make your social media pages into something big, even as a small business.

The Only Tips You Need To Be An Excellent Project Manager

When it comes to project managing within your business, it can actually be harder than it looks to get things right. It doesn’t matter at what scale the project is. Whether you are project managing a building operation for your new business premises, or whether it is a smaller operation that requires more in-depth views, it can be quite overwhelming to get it all right. So here are some tips to help you become an excellent project manager.

Image source

Avoid micromanagement

One of the hardest traps to avoid when it comes to project management is getting to the stage where you are micromanaging. You can end up obsessing over every little detail instead of delegating and actually trusting your team. Micromanagement could be the failure of your project so avoid the temptation of falling into the trap. Good delegation is key and finding the right people to get on board with you can help you to stay on track with this.

Evaluate priorities

One of the best things you can do when it comes to project managing is to evaluate the priorities first and foremost. The project will have a process, and it could be that there will always be days where things change. So if you evaluate your priorities you can ensure that what needs to be done gets done. However, it is also to best to be mindful that your priorities may change on a daily basis. It is having the ability to always be evaluating what is important that will make you be a better project manager moving forward, no matter what the project is or how big or small it may be.

Manage your time effectively

Your time is so important, especially when you are managing a project or process, so you need to ensure that you manage your time more effectively. It is important that you consider different time hacks in order to decide what needs to be done first. It does work hand in hand with evaluating your priorities, as well as deciding how best to sue your time. There are many processes you can try to find what will suit your needs and the particular project you are managing. Whether that is time blocking or working within different time limits there are many suggestions online.

Communication is key

There is no denying that communication is important in business, but above all else, when you start to manage projects and processes, you need to communicate as much as possible. The communication side of things will help you when it comes to delegation and also evaluating the priorities you have to ensure that you can move the project forward.

A vision for the bigger picture

It can be hard to see past what you are doing day to day, but it is also important to be a visual person when it comes the future and the end result. If you can visualise the bigger picture, it can help you take the necessary steps to make it happen and to enable you to be able to move forward. Often it can be hard to visualise the end result, but your ability to do it can help you make some great choices.

Equipping the team

The biggest asset you have is your team. After all, you need to be able to complete the project and the people you have doing the jobs they are delegated are what is going to enable you to get to it. But it isn’t just the team, you also need to equip the team with the things they need, whether that is Precast Concrete Installation to help deal with the groundworks or foundations on a building project, to ensuring your teams has the right tools to actually complete the job. Often it is the small things that can make the biggest differences to how your team operates. So make sure you focus on your team.

Being able to rectify issues as and when they arise

Finally, when it comes to any projects that need to be finished or managed, you need to be able to be aware that there will always be issues that may arise. However, it is how you handle them that can ensure that the project stays on track and doesn’t get delayed or derailed. Of course, distractions and frustrations can feel like stumbling blocks, but it is your ability to rectify the issues fast and effectively that will make you a good project manager.

Let’s hope that these tips and suggestions help you to become an excellent project manager in the future.

How To Make Remote Working More Effective

The way that we work is changing, and as a result, the way that we run our businesses is changing. More people than ever are starting businesses from home and working remotely, and still managing to run successful businesses. Working from home can save time on commuting, as well as cut down on the costs of things like a formal office space. So it can definitely be something that is worth considering. Plus, in recent years, the advancements in things like cloud-based technology and the improvements in broadband speeds has made working from home (or remote working or flexible working, however you want to describe it), much more possible.

In fact, with all of that in mind, it has been found that nearly half of employees in a corporate setting do work remotely some of the time. And these numbers are rising, which can be a great thing for many. But just because it is happening doesn’t mean that it is always working well. People can be working from home but doing so in a way that isn’t productive, or working from home and not being well enough equipped to get the work done. So to help, here are some strategies for home working or remote working, to make sure that you are doing it in the best way possible.

image

All the Right Gear

In order to work efficiently, be productive, and do all of your work in the best way possible, then it does really pay to have all of the right equipment in place for your working day. There are many great IT solutions for businesses, whether that is for video conferencing if you have a lot of client calls or meetings, or having enough storage on the cloud so work can be accessed wherever you are. Make sure that you have all that you need for the jobs that you have in place, especially if you have some days in the office and some days at home. So if you need to take things with you, then make sure that you do.

Overcome Isolation

When you work remotely, especially if you do it all day, each day, then it can be quite a lonely place. The flexibility of working from home is great, but you may start to miss that office feeling and chat that goes on in the office. So if you do start to feel lonely and isolated, then it won’t be uncommon. But the best thing to do is to recognize it, accept it, and then put things in place to make sure that you don’t keep having those feelings of being isolated.

Measure Productivity

When you work remotely it is harder to get the feedback that you might get otherwise, especially if you work for yourself. And the reason being is that it can be hard to measure ‘good work’ when you work remotely, as there aren’t the standard ‘good employee’ signs, such as arriving to work on time, being in the office for a certain number of hours a day, or things like meeting your personal performance goals set by a manager. So think about ways that will help you to measure your productivity.

Could A New Business Be In Order For You?

In life, it’s not always that easy for you to find your own path. Sometimes, you feel as if you’re doing the right thing. Maybe you get a good job right out of college. Maybe you become the doctor or the lawyer or the financier that your parents always wanted to. But, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’re going to love your career, or even be happy. Unless you’re really following your passion, you may find that you end up feeling stuck or lost or unfulfilled. However, this is your life and you deserve to be happy. So maybe it’s time for you to think about doing something different, something that’s going to make you happy. And going out on your own could allow you to do that.

Find Your Passion

The very first thing that you need to do here is make sure that you start off on the right foot. Because if you’re going to create a company that you love, then it has to be something that you’re really passionate about. For this, you’ll want to identify exactly what you are most passionate about. Do you want to write or coach or offer a consulting service or even make a product? Just make sure it’s in a niche that you care about.

Create Something You Love

Then, you need to make sure you can create something that you really love. Don’t do it by halves. Make sure that you create something that you are proud of and that you want to work on as often as you can.

Invest In Quality

The next step here, is for you to make sure that you’re spending money on quality products and services that allow you to bring your business to life. The key thing here, is for you to ensure that you are making the best possible decision for your company. Whether you’re looking for packaging, CNC machines, or a marketer, you need to make sure that you are finding the most suitable experts for your business. Because investing in quality here will make your product or service better as a result.

Have Fun With It

But, don’t forget to enjoy this. The second it becomes a chore and not fun at all, then you aren’t going to want to do it at all. So make sure that it’s fun. Enjoy the process and everything you’re creating. And make sure that you’re happy every step of the way.

Set Exciting Goals

Finally, you are then going to want to make sure that you are able to push yourself to achieve the things that you really want in life and business. But to do that, you need to think about the goals that you’re working towards. Consider whether you want to make a certain amount of money, make a number of sales, or even look to automate your business so you can work less. It’s important to set goals that excite and challenge you, because it makes business more fun!

What Does Your Office Interior Say About You As A Businesswoman?

In business, as in all things, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Whenever you meet a potentially lucrative new client, a potential employee or perhaps a business angel or investor, you know that this first impression is more important than ever. This first impression can determine whether they invest their time and their effort in you or cross the road to give their skills to your competitors. Whether they invest capital in your growth, or help someone else to grow at your expense. However, it doesn’t matter how well you make your case, how warmly you greet them, how wonderfully you project or how impeccably you’re dressed… If your office aesthetic is painting a poor picture of you.

Image by MaxPixel

How you choose to decorate and maintain your office can say a lot about your business and about you as its owner. No decision can be made arbitrarily or about careful consideration. Otherwise it could end up saying all of the wrong things…

Opaque partitions say “Leave me alone”

Office partitions can play a huge role in keeping your workspace well organized and compartmentalized. Nonetheless, when employing partitions you need to think carefully about their composition, especially when it comes to marking off your own office.

Opaque partitions can say “leave me alone” and make employees reticent to discuss issues with you. It can reinforce the image of the boss walled off in her ivory tower. Get in touch with GDL interiors to see what glass partitions can do for you. They can give you privacy when you need it while still ensuring that you appear available and open to your employees.


Cluttered desks say “I don’t value organisation”

A clean desk is a happy desk. It’s all too easy to employees to fall into habits that lead to cluttered desks. Some employees may insist that they work best with an untidy desk where everything they need is within easy reach (albeit under a pile of paper).

However, messy and cluttered desks can make an extremely poor impression on visitors who are unfamiliar with your employees’ idiosyncratic working methods. They can simply say that you don’t value organization or help your employees to stay organized.

Ostentatious artwork could say “I’m pretentious”

There’s a fine, fine line to be walked here. When chosen and displayed well, artworks and murals can be inspiring to you and your employees and provide the spark of creativity that can be sadly lacking at 8 o’clock in the morning. However, overly ostentatious artwork can put some people off and lead them to see you as pretentious. Choose something that you feel provides the kind of experience you want your employees to have rather than trying to encapsulate the ethos of your business… And avoid anything that looks like it’s trying to imitate David Choe or Banksy.

Cheap furniture says “I don’t value my employees”

Finally, while all entrepreneurs balk a little at overhead expenses, it’s never a bad idea to invest in your employees’ comfort and workplace satisfaction. Not only does investing in good quality furniture show that you care about your employees’ wellbeing, it can even help improve their performance.

Make sure that your premises is saying all the right things about you!

1 2 3 12
>