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Taking Time Off For Your Business? 4 Things You Need To Do To Prepare

Taking time off when running a small business is incredibly challenging, which perhaps explains why , but with good preparation, it can be done. Here are four things you can do to ensure your company will continue to thrive even in your absence… 

#1 – Name your interim replacement 

Being able to help employees make decisions is a crucial part of owning a business; you will have the casting vote in any disagreements, and be the one who decides how a problem should be resolved. While you are away, another member of staff will need to fulfil this role. Choose someone who has worked with your business for a long time, and who you trust would make similar choices to your own; and then ensure all other members of staff know who to contact for any issues they would usually bring to you. 

#2 – Provide a “who to call” list 

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As a business owner, you will usually be the one responsible for contacting outside help if a serious issue develops – for example, if all the lights in your building suddenly don’t work, or there’s a plumbing issue in the bathroom, or a delivery from a supplier doesn’t arrive as expected, you’ll be the one who deals with it. As a result, your chosen employee will need to assume the same role while you are away, so make sure they have a complete list of who to contact; detail a potential problem, and who to call to resolve it (for example: Main supplier doesn’t deliver – call Karen at Main Supplier Name on 555-555-555, etc). This call list should be as comprehensive as possible, so go through all of the worst case scenarios you can think of and then provide the number accordingly. 

#3 – Ensure that crucial business processes can continue 

Realistically, a business has to be performing well before it can be left alone. Think about areas such as finance first and foremost; if it’s been awhile since you audited the books, then doing this before leaving (and attending to any problems you encounter along the way) is a must. In addition, ensuring that your IT infrastructure will be in good hands is also crucial; IT managed services are a good idea at any time, but are particularly useful when you’re planning to take time off, so find out more at hudsonvalley-it.com and ensure you have everything setup before you leave. Lastly, look over any SEO or marketing campaigns (including posts on your business’ blog) that will be running while you are away and ensure you are happy for everything to proceed as planned.

#4 – Explain your schedule to your employees

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Even with all of the above measures, there may still be issues that can crop up about which your staff will want to contact you. It’s simply impossible to plan for every single eventuality that might occur. However, your staff need to know when you’ll be available, and when they might have to just place an issue in a holding pattern until you can be reached. So, if you are going to be uncontactable for a portion of your time off (for example, you’ll be on a long haul flight) ensure that your staff are aware of this in advance by using calendar.google.com to store your intended itinerary; doing this rather than providing a paper copy before you leave allows you to update on the go if necessary, so your employees can always be sure they are checking the most up-to-date version of your schedule.. 

Enjoy your time off from your small business! 

Improving your First Website



So much advice is offered from many web designers, friends and colleagues all offering different tips and it can become information overload. We have put together some essential concise tips that may help improve your website.

The Purpose of the Website

Ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve with your website? Is it to showcase your products, online ecommerce purchases, creating and collecting a database, blog based, e brochure or a personal website? Understand what you want to achieve and what you want a browser to do and feel and this will link in with improving the website.

 In today’s business climate it is important that you’re website/online presence reflects your business accurately and at its best as online searches are a go to before many new phone calls/contact are ever made.

Register your Domain Name

Decided on your business idea? It’s time to search a website host provider like GoDaddy and buy a domain name linked to your business name. Ensure that you register the domain name in your own business or personal name so you have the legal ownership. They are not expensive and it is worthwhile buying the co.uk and .com options.

Design

Before you decide to use a template, create your own web design or use a web designer, start planning and researching your website design. Questions to consider at a starting point are: What colours represent your business? What features will you require? A Shopping cart, chatbox, Newsletter, database, contact us form?

How many Pages will you need?  What tab headings will be on your menu bar? With all this information you will be in a better position to decide which route is best for your business. It’s important to remember you have one chance to create an impression and to influence a browser to carry on browsing your website and potentially be a long term customer or to turn away and go to a competitor’s website. Here are some options for you to consider.

Contact a College/University

You may find a student who is willing to create a cost effective website.

Pros
Cheap
Local
Passionate

Cons
Limited technical knowledge
No long term experience
Once qualified may move to a new town/country and you cannot contact them again
One man band

Template

If you are technically savvy you will be able to update and set up a template website.

Pros
Cheap
Designs to choose from
Online help
Accessible
Quick to upload text and images if they are ready

Cons
Limited changes
Limited features
Set format like so many other websites that are also in your industry
No differentiation
Lack of creativity
Not Search Engine Friendly

You can also get a web designer to bespoke a template for you to make it more unique and potentially add some widgets to it.

Web Designer

Using a qualified experience web design professional to design and develop your website from the beginning

Pros
Unique creative design
Add any features that you like
Developed from scratch
Use the latest technology
Launch SEO Friendly
Experts in field

Cons
More costly
Finding the right company

There are many website company’s in the UK, so it is important that you research and meet with them to ensure you have chosen the right one to represent your business.

Images and Videos

It is proven we react more positively to Pictures and videos than text. Both stand out and help us decide if we want to then read the text on the website. There are some great cameras available and with the right light boxes you may be able to take your own pictures or hire a professional photographer or buy Stock images. It is important you have good quality images and videos that are copyright free. They will speak a thousand words and help do the hard work on your website. Human brains process video 60,000 times faster than text, giving you  the opportunity to impress potential customers. 

Whilst adding images and videos do not be afraid of white spaces through your web page, it actually breaks the page up and gives the browser an opportunity to see things properly rather than a cluttered website where important information can be missed.

Remember if you have more than one video on a page for SEO purposes search bots will only read the first video at the top of your page, but your SEO Company can discuss this further with you.

Responsive Website

More than 80% of browsing is done via a mobile, so it is important that your website adapts to screen sizes such as tablets and mobiles. No one likes pinching and pulling whilst browsing, if anything they will leave your site and go elsewhere.

Remember the layout and design will be different on a mobile as screen dimensions are different. We browse in a different ways on mobiles by wanting to scroll down and get as much information as we can on one page without necessarily wanting to go to another page. Again your web design agency should be able to advise you with this. 

Get Found with SEO

SEO is an ongoing strategy and should be part of the beginning of the design and development stage of your website as well as once it is launched. A SEO specialist will explain to you how important it is for your website to be optimised whilst it is being developed and how relevant keywords will help your website be ranked and found.

Understanding your customer base will really help you  get the best out of SEO. You must know who you are targeting and also going back to the start of this article, ‘what do you want to achieve from the website? What do you want your browsers to do? What is the follow up action? Speaking to a professional SEO expert can help you devise a plan.

Social Media

Social Media is a great platform to promote your business and website. They both work so well together where hyperlinks from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, P interest, Linked in, Vlogs  and Blogs are directed and increase traffic to the website. Referrals and reviews on social media also help with your website ranking.

Decide on the relevant social media platform that best suits your website, if its 30+ females you are targeting then Facebook is the medium you should be using. If its professionals, Linked in is the platform.

 You do not have to use every single Social Media platform, choose the ones that suit your target market and concentrate on that platform to start with. If you need help with writing content and looking at new ideas you can always look for Social Media Experts who can help you create some fresh ideas.

Always Test, and then Test some more! 

Keep on testing and reading and checking your website. Is the content up to date? Does the Contact Us form work? Are the Social Media links connected? 

Get your analytics for your website and see which page browsers land on, what is the bounce rate, which is the most popular page? What have you done differently on that page compared to the other pages?

Good Luck with your new website, Let us know if you have any further questions as we are always happy to help.

Three Instances When Outsourcing Is the Best Option

Outsourcing is defined as ‘an agreement in which one company hires another company to be responsible for a planned or existing activity that is or could be done internally.’ It sounds good, but is it really worth it and does it really work? After all, it eats into your probably already overstretched budget. The short answer is yes, it really does work. In the world of business, outsourcing is one of the most common practices that you will come across for one main reason – it’s cost-effective! Would you rather outsource and pay a fee to a company who knows what they are doing, or would you rather spend lots of money on employing someone in case of the eventuality? 

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There are lots of jobs that you may consider outsourcing to a freelancer or a third party agency. These include:

  • Marketing
  • Web design
  • IT support
  • Social Media Management
  • Data Input
  • Market Research

As well as some of the benefits which we have gone into more detail about below, outsourcing can also help you to access a much broader skill set – possibly from all over the world. It also allows you to take advantage of different time zones – if you outsource your telephone answering service to someone in a different country, it may mean that they can deal with customer and client inquiries while you are tucked up in bed, allowing your business to run on a 24/7 hour basis. 

Outsourcing works well for all parties involved too, so check out these instances where outsourcing really is the best option.

When you need the flexibility

The great thing about outsourcing is that there are fewer rules and more flexibility. For someone who is working as a freelancer hiring their skills out, it means you have less repetition in your career and fewer regulations to work by. For a company looking to outsource a freelancer, you do not have to worry about giving them constant work, or paying any associated employment benefits such as maternity pay or holiday pay, because you are only hiring them for one particular job, and if you no longer need them or they are not up to the task, it is much easier to let them go than if they were a permanent employed member of staff. Everybody gets what they need and want, so it is a win-win situation all round!

When you need someone with technical skills to sort out your computer problems

We all know that computers break down from time to time or that sometimes, you will need someone who has more technical knowledge and skilly to sort out some issues within your business. However, having a dedicated person hired just for IT can be rather costly, especially if you are running a small business that doesn’t need someone on-site 24/7. That’s where outsourcing comes in. Using an IT services company will save you overspending on an unnecessary member of staff, and allow them to gain the business they need. 

When you have a high customer demand

If you have been in business for a few years, then it is likely you have noticed trends in your sales. For example, at Christmas time, shops tend to be busier because of people out buying gifts for Christmas, and stores need to make sure that they have enough staff to handle the crowds. The same goes for pretty much any type of business when there is high customer demand. However, hiring more staff will leave you with more employees than you have hours to give. Outsourcing members of staff will allow you to bring them in for as long as you need them and then return to normal!

It is easy!

Finally, one of the greatest things about outsourcing is that it is so easy to do, especially in this day and age! Do you want a content writer for a specific niche? Head to Fiverr or Upwork and post your job for free and allow freelancers to come to you. All you have to do is pick the most suitable person for the job, provide them with clear instructions, and pay them when it is done. Platforms like Upwork ensure that both parties are covered in the event of non-payment or no work produced, and you can check out reviews from people who have previously hired them to make sure that they really are up to the job. Yes, it really is that simple!

Dear Google, Please Let Me Rank Higher

Google is a hard master to please. You can spend days creating unique content and coming up with novel marketing ideas, but it doesn’t always have a significant impact. The amount of effort you put in isn’t commensurate with the value that you get out. You feel like the search giant is short-changing you. 

Google and other search engines have spent the last twenty years refining their search ranking algorithms. The idea is simple: to provide their customers with pages that offer them genuine value. The better results that they can provide, the more people will use their services. 

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The problem, however, is that these algorithms have had to evolve in an environment where people try to trick them. A website developer might create a page that appeals to the criteria of the algorithm but doesn’t actually provide users with a good experience. A page stuffed with the keyword typed into the search bar might appear relevant, but the customer doesn’t get anything from the experience. They could have a similar experience by cutting and pasting their keywords in a Word document. 

Getting Google to rank your site higher is a challenge. You want to promote website visits but do so in a way that proves that you’re offering value. How do you do it? 

Tell Google You’re A Real Business

The first hurdle is legitimacy. Google wants to know whether you’re a real business or if you’re just trying to gain publicity through deceptive methods. 

Google has a service called Google My Business. The way it works is simple. You log onto your Google business account and then tell the search engine that you’ve set up a real business with a valid address. Google then sends a code via physical mail to your address which you then type into the Google My Business tool to prove you have premises. 

Once you’ve done that, Google will list your business when people search for related services in your area. Your company will appear on Google Maps, showing your location, along with things like your opening times and contact details. 

What’s great about Google My Business is that it has an immediate impact on the ranking of your domain. All of a sudden Google sees that you’re a real business and attempts to get your content in front of customers when they type in relevant searches. 

Use Influencer Marketing

While links aren’t the only determinant of a rank of a particular website, they’re one of the biggest. The more high-quality links that you have, the better your pages will rank. 

How, though, do you get quality backlinks? The first way to do it is to use a backlinking company. These agencies create legitimate content on third-party websites and then link to your pages. 

The second way to do it is to use influencer marketing. Here you approach somebody willing to showcase or review your product and get them to share it with your audience. In the process, they create links to your site. If they’re considered an “authority” site by Google, it can boost your ranking tremendously. 

3 Tips For Going Into Business

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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!

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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.

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