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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

What To Do When You Are Bored With Your Life

There are many different reasons for why you may be feeling down about and bored with your life. This is a good opportunity to step back and evaluate your current situation and try to pinpoint what’s dragging you down the most.

It is important you take action instead of sitting around hoping that your circumstances improve on their own. There are a few ways in particular you can handle your emotions and quickly get back on your feet and return to enjoying your life again. Avoid worrying so much about what you’re scared of and begin to take chances, so you can find peace and happiness.

Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

Start A Hobby

One option for when you are bored with your life is to start a new hobby that interests you. For instance, it can be learning how to build your own furniture or experimenting in your kitchen by cooking. Look for a recipe subscription for inspiration if that is where you are lacking. There are a lot of different options out there so be willing to explore what these are and then stick with an activity that both challenges and excites you.

Consider Moving Home

It is possible you are sick of the vibe in your neighbourhood and the energy your home is giving off. When you are feeling bored with life it could be a good time to check out different properties and locations for where you and your family could live. Make sure you do your research first so that you don’t end up making a big and very costly mistake!

Find A New Career

A dead-end and mundane job could be the reason you are feeling bored with your life lately. Use this as a chance to find a new career that makes you excited to get out of bed each day. Do your homework and research all your options so you can be sure that this time you are on the right path. It is likely that there is a better opportunity out there waiting for you that will naturally inspire you more and make you feel motivated to work hard.

Schedule Quality Time with Your Family

It could be that you are spending a lot of time by yourself and that you find this boring for you. What you can do is schedule quality time with your family on a regular basis so you can all participate in fun activities. For example, hold a regular game and movie night at home or pick a night of the week when you always go for ice cream or to the playground as a group. Nurture these close relationships and your life will naturally become more fulfilling.

It is normal to be bored with your life once in a while so do not feel too bad if this is you. However, it is up to you to take action and improve your situation. Implement these suggestions and you will likely find that you are more connected and engaged with your surroundings on a daily basis.

The Top 5 Ways To Supersize Your Business

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As the old saying goes, “Any press is good press.”  That is not always necessarily true but getting your business out to people’s minds is a must.  Finding a niche to attract customers or finding a really positive marketing campaign can help your business grow to new levels.

Branding is key

There cannot be enough stated about the importance of strong branding.  Branding is the identifiable feature of your business. This is what the customer will remember.  It helps to distinguish yourself from other products. This will generate a strong comradery amongst your employees because they will be proud and excited to show off your brand.

Social media presence

Without a doubt, after establishing a brand, you need to get your business out on as many social media platforms that you can.  It needs to be constantly updated and serve as a reminder to the customers of the many things you have going on at your business.  You should be creating a unique voice that resonates with your customers and don’t make them feel like you are selling to them.

Emphasize all the positives of your business

Customers need to know the benefits of your business.  If it is good for the environment, like Red Diesel Fuelbox or something that is healthy for your eating lifestyle, you want to make sure the customers know this.  Any time someone can feel like are doing something good for the environment or for their own well-being, they are more likely to be intrigued by your product.  

How do people feel when they see the commercials on T.V. of sad animals that are in need of adoption?  It makes you feel bad and want to help in anyway that you can. Marketing campaigns like this appeal to the emotions of the customer.

Using a SMART strategy

Lyfe Marketing discusses the importance of thinking smart and setting up your marketing campaign around those smart letters

    Specific

    Measurable

    Attainable

    Realistic

    Timely

This acronym provides businesses with a path which to follow.  These steps provide them with the opportunity to look deep inside their message and see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.  This site provides a list of questions for businesses to ask themselves about the letters.

Understanding your niche

There is not one size fits all marketing campaign.  What marketing should you be doing emphasizes the importance of not overlooking that point.  Each individual business needs to determine what best gets their message across to their target demographic.  If you are unable to determine the target audience or understanding of your niche, you are not ready to market your brand.  If you do, it will look disorganized and chaotic. Have a plan and stick to it.

Ultimately, you will the right feel for your business.  Be sure that your marketing is constantly updating itself and getting your message out to the customers.  Keep your company at the forefront of everything and you will always have an avenue to generate the traffic you desire.

The Challenges Of Transport Businesses

There are a lot of reasons you might want to go into this kind of business, and plenty of examples of the kinds of business that fall into this category. If you are interested in starting up your own transport business, you will however also need to be fully aware of what kind of challenges you can expect there to be, and as it happens there are plenty of those. Understanding what lies ahead and having some kind of notion of how to tackle those issues makes it much more likely that you are going to succeed in the long term, so that is something that you should consider. In this article, we will look at just a few of the challenges which you are likely to face in your transport business, so that you can appreciate just what actually lies ahead of you.

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Costs

When you compare transport businesses to many other kinds of business, it soon becomes clear that you are going to have to deal with lots of costs which you might not otherwise have to worry about. It’s just a fact that some business types are especially expensive to get into, and a transport business definitely comes under that umbrella. You will want to make sure, therefore, that you are doing whatever you can to keep your costs under control, and thankfully there are many ways of doing that. You can shop around for the pricier stuff, so that you know you are getting your gas oil as cheap as possible, and you can make sure that you are only getting as much as you need, which requires that you plan ahead well. Do that, and the costs should be much more manageable.

Safety

Because of the nature of driving, you are going to have to do whatever you can to truly champion your drivers’ safety, and that is something that can be a lot more involved than you might think. Safety is a top concern not just for legal reasons but moral ones too, and you don’t want to be responsible for your drivers suffering some kind of actual injury or illness. So make sure that the vehicles are looked after properly and maintained regularly, that your drivers are well trained and looked after, and that health and safety is a priority at all times. This is vital if you want to run this kind of business.

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Logistics

The apparently simple matter of getting from one place to another soon becomes much more complex when you have a whole fleet of vehicles which need to be in different places at different times. You need to try and find a way to make the logistical side of things work out as well as possible, and that is something that you will find is particularly hard at first. Finding some decent software is often a good way to approach this, and it helps too if you just have the right kind of planning ability in your own mind. As long as you get the logistics right, you should find that your transport business is much more successful.

Setting up a New Business: What Direction Should You Go In?

Looking to start your own business? There are so many benefits to being your own boss- you get to work on something that genuinely means something to you rather than being employed by someone else to bring their vision to life. You get to be creative and learn new skills, and if things go well you could earn far more than you ever did as an employee. But what direction should you go in? Here are three ideas.

Turn your career into a business

Turning a career into a business makes a lot of sense. You have years of valuable experience and knowledge from working for another company that you’re then able to utilise by starting up something of your own. Chances are you know what works and what doesn’t, you’ll have seen successes and failures throughout your career which you’re able to replicate or avoid when it comes to your own company. If you still have a lot of passion for what you do, but want to take it to the next level then this makes perfect sense. For example, of you’ve worked in construction since leaving school you have a clear understanding of how building sites work, you have all of the right training and health and safety knowledge. This then gives you the perfect foundation to build upon when it comes to setting up yourself. Start putting together your business plan, and invest in a site set-up kit by Bryson. If you’ve spent years working up the ladder in healthcare for example, setting up your own practice might be the dream, it could be your own salon if you’ve been working as a hairdresser or beautician. You don’t necessarily need loads of qualifications to make it work in many cases- if you’ve always worked as a cleaner for example then you could set up a cleaning company as you have the knowledge to train your own staff.

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Start something from home

It’s incredible to think that this day in age, it’s perfectly possible to set up a business that earns you a full time living without even having to step foot out of the door. Maybe you have a medical condition that makes getting out of the house each day to work difficult, or maybe you have kids or other care commitments at home that you need to work around. Perhaps you’re just a bit of a homebody and prefer being at home- I’m sure many of us can relate to that! You could set up a business in writing, design or editing. You could start a baking business of a catering business from home. There are so many options to choose from, so have a think about the skills you have.

Follow your passions

Maybe you want to start a business because you’re fed up in what you currently do. If your work doesn’t inspire you or your career doesn’t feel authentic to you, it can cause you to feel unhappy in other areas of your life. Starting a business could be a great way to switch things up and try something new. Think about what your passions are and start there. Chances are you’ll need to start by gaining some education in that area or going on a course to give you some background understanding. But it could end up being one of the best things you ever did!

Three Simple Processes To Optimise For Greater Profit

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There’s no denying that getting your own business off the ground is a blood, sweat and tears undertaking. You put everything into it, and then hopefully you start to see the fruits of your labour. Once you’re up and running, it’s not the time to rest on your laurels. In order to keep growth, you’ll then need to turn your attention to optimising your business operations, in order to drive down costs and maximise profitability. There is a lot of room for error in many of the practises you will have, especially if you’ve personally build your business up without expert knowledge in a lot of areas. The name of the game is keeping clients happy by providing an extremely high level of service, and the transparency and accuracy that modern consumers demand of the companies they deal with. Getting there isn’t a question of scrapping things and starting again – incremental improvements are not only far easier to optimise, but they allow you to measure results and scale up without investing too many resources in something which is never going to achieve the desired result. Here are just a few small changes you could make that could have a huge impact…

Automate Your Reporting

Whatever your industry, with the right software, you can do greater things. Custom coding can create reporting which will answer all client needs far more accurately and with less input from you.Whether it’s a budget report or a project summary, investing in an API which is custom built to your needs, or even adapting an off-the-shelf software solution can highly efficiencies to be made. Enhancing your relationship with your client is highly likely to lead to increased business from them and recommendation to others – a move that could really pack a few zeroes onto your bottom line.

Get Procurement Right

No business is an island – we all existing in a complicated global ecosystem of purchasing. From paper in the photocopier to your CRM system, you’ll be making a lot of business purchases along the way. Using effective procurement diagnostics can let you know if you’re using technology to the best advantage, have the right levels of procurement resource in place and have the correct processes at supply chain level. Once you have a clear picture mapped, you can then identify where you want to be, and what steps you’re going to take to get there.

Schedule Your Communications

Marketing should never be treated as an add-on activity – it has to be at the heart of your operating strategy. Maintaining a great customer relationship should be at the core of what you do. It makes sense from a budgeting perspective to streamline your communications by using scheduling tools for social media and email. A system which integrates with your customer records and can add in tailored information can be massively impactful in ways like upping average order value and cross-selling products. Time released notifications can better fit customer requirements and make your marketing more timely and efficient.

With a little simple optimisation of the basics, you could see your business growth soar – so try it and see today.

Providing Greater Management To Your Business

For any business to do as you would like it to, you need to make sure that you are managing it properly. Of course, management is one of the most important things in a business for a variety of reasons, and there are many ways to approach it too. As long as you are managing things well, you will find that your business has much more of a chance of long-term success, and that you are going to be able to keep it from failing in the future should anything untoward occur too. In this article, we are going to look at some of the essential things you can do to try and provide greater management to your business. As long as you consider and take these on board, you should find that that is considerably easier to do.

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Hiring Great Managers

It sounds simple enough, but it’s true: if you want to manage your business well, you need to make sure that you are hiring the right people to be managers. Of course, the employment process for finding good managers may not be all that straightforward, and you might need to think about what kinds of qualities you are looking for in those people so that you can seek that out in interview and so on. The more clear you are with yourself and with prospective candidates what you are looking for, the more likely it is that you will find it, so this is absolutely something that you should think about too. Hiring great managers will be one of the best things you have ever done for your business, so it’s important to make sure you are doing exactly that.

Outsourcing Some Of The Management

Believe it or not, there is actually plenty of management which you can usually find a way to outsource if you know how to go about it. Outsourcing management works better in some areas than in others, but it is something that you should always consider if you want to make sure that you are doing the best for your business on the whole. To take an example, let’s think of IT. You will certainly have IT in your business, and probably you will want to have someone in charge of it and some kind of management system in place. This is actually a perfect opportunity for outsourcing; you can use the services of the likes of XBASE Technologies to ensure that you are going to keep that managed well, but without any drains on your own resources. That is absolutely worth pursuing.

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Stripping It Down

It is generally much easier to manage anything if it is simpler and more stripped down, and that’s why you might want to think about trying to simplify your business in as many ways as you can so that you can find it considerably easier to manage it. Do that, and you will be able to more confidently and directly manage what you need to in order to keep your business strong.

Easy Ways to Improve the Aesthetic Appearance of your Business Offices

If your business is not aesthetically pleasing, then this can cause you to lose out on customers. Your sales may decline and your staff may not even feel proud coming to work for you. This can have a huge impact on your profit, your level of trust and even your success.

Open Up

Cubicles may seem effective, but they really aren’t. They can hinder the aesthetic look of your business and they may also be dehumanising as well. If you want to improve your offices, then you need to really open up the space. Give your employees the chance to talk with one another, and gradually move towards an open plan. When you do this, you will add a lease of life to the room and you will also make it much easier for people to feel at ease.

Colour

Another thing that can really help to spruce up your office is colour. Sure, the theme of your office should include the colours in your logo, but you don’t have to stop there. Try and have one feature wall in each room, or even hang some artwork. When you do this, you can easily make your offices appear bigger, brighter and more creative. This is always a good thing, and it can have a huge impact on the general operation of your company.

Glass

Glass really is a modern feature and you would be surprised at how much it could transform your business. Glass room dividers work very well and they can also make the office feel more private without cutting down the size of the space. If you have frosted glass or even your logo on there as well then this can help to boost employee morale and it will also make them feel proud of the company that they work for. At the end of the day, you have complete freedom to do whatever you want here, as long as you keep the design open, simple and bright.

Curb Appeal

Making sure that the outside of your office looks good is also important. You need to invest time and money into making a good first impression. If you want some tips then it helps to experiment with landscaping, pavement work or even flower beds. You want your customers to feel as though they are visiting a business who really cares about what they do. Before you start planting things, it helps to look into soil testing so you can make sure that you are able to sustain whatever you choose to grow.

Ergonomics

The more ergonomic furniture you can invest in, the better. Your staff will be far more

comfortable, and your customers will see an instant improvement in their performance. Another bonus of this is that ergonomic furniture looks great as well. It has that modern look and it can completely transform your space for the better. If you have not looked into ergonomic furniture before then why not look into buying some second-hand pieces first so you can see if it’s going to work with your layout?

The Best Ways to Engage with Your Social Media Followers

If you would like to make the most out of your social media marketing, you will need to understand what makes a successful brand and how you should communicate your mission, vision, and values, and create engagement. No matter how many followers you have, if there is no engagement, you are not going to make the most out of your resources, and your conversions will be low. Below you will find a few tips on how to engage with your social media followers the smart way.

Listen to What They Are Saying

Instead of making your social media communication one-way, it might be a good idea to sit back and listen first. Find out which topics your audience is discussing, and what they are looking for when it comes to your industry. You will first have to understand how your market works before you would be able to craft messages that are going to resonate with your audience. Before you design your social media pages, do your market research.

Understand Their Main Concerns

If you want to maximise your social media potential, you will need to understand the most urgent problems your market is facing. You have to find the one issue your target market is dealing with that is urgent enough that they will be ready to spend money on a solution. You will need to become the solution to people’s problems. Read blogs and comments and follow competitors’ sites to figure out which solutions people are looking for.

Identify Your Ideal Clients

If you are not clear about who you would like to reach, you will never master social media marketing. It is crucial that you know exactly who you are talking to and what you have to say to them, so you can target the right people. If you are trying to please everyone, chances are that you will end up pleasing nobody.

Reply to Comments

It is not enough to automate your marketing, master one or more traffic sources, and send out regular updates to your clients and prospects. The communication needs to go both ways. You have to encourage comments and ask for feedback whenever you can. At the same time, you will need to ensure that you reply to comments, so you can show that you are a real person and not a robot. This will create reciprocity.

Provide Value Before Delivering the Sales Pitch

It is crucial that you learn to deliver value before you try to sell to your market. Have something to offer to your clients to build reciprocity. If you are not familiar with developing sales funnels, you might want to enroll in a digital marketing apprenticeship programme, so you can learn how to create engagement and make your posts go viral.

Engagement is the key to creating a successful digital marketing campaign. Make sure that you are able to create value and communicate your unique selling proposition, create reciprocity, and understand your ideal client.

Small Business Organisation Tips

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Running a small business is something which takes a lot of time and effort and it is something which can help you find financial freedom if you do it right. There are many different elements which come together to form the perfect business and a mixture of these things are needed if you want to thrive and stand out from the rest. Today we are going to take a look at some of the ways we can manage our time and our work to be more productive each day.

Log your time

When it comes to managing your own time during the day in order to stay organised, it is important for you to have a time and attendance system which you can use to see what you and your team are doing. Making sure that everyone is present and working hard is always important for you to do and it is crucial that you take the time out to manage this carefully for maximum productivity.

Discipline yourself

When you move away from your old job and you decide to go it alone in your own business, there will be one huge feature of your workplace which will be absent: a boss. Now that you are alone and running your own business you are your own boss, and this means you need to make sure you stay on track. You won’t have anyone giving you deadlines any longer and this means that you need to step up and work on these yourself. Make sure that you take the time out to manage your own work and create deadlines which you have to stick to with it all.

Colour code everything

If in doubt, colour it. If you are a business owner or even a worker who simply has a lot of projects to work on at the same time, it is important for you to be able to see what work you need at short notice. Instead of having piles of paperwork on your desk make sure that you put everything into different coloured folders depending on what kind of project they are. It means that when you need to find a piece of work you can go straight to the correct folder instead of spending ages looking for something in a pile of white paper.

Spreadsheet it

If you are always working on a lot of small tasks at the same time, a good idea for you would be to make a spreadsheet where you can monitor your work and make sure that you are on track with each and every task. You can add columns above for weeks of the year and then write your tasks on rows down the spreadsheet. As the year progresses you can add orange for in progress tasks, green for completed and red for behind. This will keep you in check and make sure you are organised and aware of what work you are doing and the things which you need to work harder on or push forward.

Why You Need A Good Reporting Tool For Your Magento Store

E-commerce has established itself as an integral component in the success of many businesses around the UK today. After all, the Internet has boomed in popularity over the past few years and people find the convenience of shopping online to be a major plus. If you don’t establish yourself online, then you are missing out on a monumental number of potential customers.

Nevertheless, setting up and operating an e-commerce software solution is not as easy as many may anticipate. You need to make sure you select the right e-commerce option first and foremost. Most businesses tend to opt for Magento. It is an open e-commerce web application, which boasts over 130,000 online retailer users at present; with Nike, Samsung, Harvey Nicholas, Olympus and Kipling being a mere handful of the well-known brands that utilise the e-commerce solution. It is suited to all size businesses and can be adapted to suit the company in question, so smaller businesses will find it just as useful as big conglomerates.

However, installing, personalising and utilising your Magento platform is just at the very surface of what you need when seeking a professional company to set up and develop the e-commerce for your business. You need to seek someone who can provide you with expert SEO, as well as tracking all efforts with a quality Magento e-commerce reporting tool as well. After all, the Internet is something which is progressing at a rapid pace in general, and online shopping is something which follows this notion. The only way you can adapt, enhance and improve is to be armed with the necessary research and information in order to move forward. This case study highlights this perfectly. Google is changing its requirements all of the time, and if you don’t use data to your advantage, you will find yourself at a huge disadvantage.

So what does Magento e-commerce reporting consist of? Well, this all depends on the company you choose to seek the tool via. Nevertheless, in general, there are certain components which you should expect and thus look out for. First and foremost, you should essentially be linked up to a wealth of data and information sources in order to provide feedback regarding how your e-commerce is performing and whether there are any problem areas.

The data you will be armed with will relate to your e-commerce store as a whole, as well as specific areas of your shop. For instance, you will instantly see product reports, turnover information, which locations buy the most from your store, total sales and more. Therefore, you will have the necessary data in order to make decisions regarding which products to remove, which area of your product base to expand, what sort of marketing you should cater to which location and more.

In addition to this, top Magento e-commerce reporting tools will provide you with access to a community of different business owners utilising e-commerce.  Therefore, you will be able to share ideas and discuss various matters. You will also be able to enhance your knowledge via regular articles and blog posts.

All in all, if you want your e-commerce store to flourish, then you need all of the necessary tools at your disposal in order to ensure this is the case. Magento reporting is essential because it is the only way you can develop and ensure all areas of your store operate to an optimum level.

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