How to Boost Your Customer Service Game

Sure, you know everything about the importance of customer service. A business that doesn’t show them some love will quickly run out of customers – and especially in our days where the Internet won’t keep anything a secret.

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It’s important to make sure that there are good words about you out there but, at the same time, you won’t be able to edit the online world for bad reviews either. Luckily, there are other ways to step up your customer service game and make it a bit more likely that they only praise your hard-working startup.

Here is a handful of ways to make it happen so that you can deliver high-quality service each and every time. It’s the kind of stuff that makes them come back for more.

Make it easy for them to communicate with you

That the customer service should be good and on-point is something every business knows, but it’s also important to make sure that they have multiple ways of getting in touch with you. Not just through social media, though, but also through a 24/7 phone line, an online chat on your website, and a regular email address.

Way too many small businesses lose touch with their first customers because they stop communicating. If you’re not talking to them, you’re not listening either – and they won’t be able to tell you what’s missing or what you happen to be doing great.

Your earliest customers are, after all, the ones you have up to 70 % chance of re-selling your products to as they know your quality and service. Don’t allow this to drop, in other words, and make sure that they’re more than happy to return.

Social media, for example, is a great way to keep the channels of communication open and even public to everyone else. Let them reach out to your Twitter or Facebook profile if they have a problem, and make sure you have someone there to answer their questions as soon as possible.

Invest in your customer service team

This is one of the biggest challenges for startups as they simply don’t have enough resources to hire and train an entire customer service team in one go. Giving an existing employee the responsibility of handling the customer service is not the best idea either as they won’t have any training – and you certainly don’t want to skimp on this part.

Outsourcing the task is an option that most startups choose and for good reasons. They’ll get the advantage of having a whole team to back them up, minus the costs of training. Another option is, of course, to use customer success software in addition to having just a couple of customer service employees in-house.

It just makes it a bit easier to stay on top of the communication with your loyal and new fans, without all the hassle of spending precious money on training a large team. It’s the kind of stuff that will give your startup the running chance it needs regardless of the feedback your future and current customers have.

Mistakes Made When Choosing A Company To Design Your Trade Show Stand

Most businesses will agree that trade shows and exhibitions offer fantastic opportunities to increase brand recognition and find new clients. Nonetheless, in order for this to be the case, you need to use the opportunity wisely. One of the things you must do is make sure you have an incredible exhibition stand. Your stand is responsible for generating attention and effectively displaying what your brand is all about. When you consider how important this is, you see why it is advisable to spend a decent amount of time looking for the best exhibition stand builders for your business specifically. Read on to discover the main mistakes people make, so you don’t make them.

Lack of experience

First and foremost, it is essential to find an exhibition design company with plenty of experience. The last thing you want is to be someone’s practice project. You need to be safe in the knowledge that this company has created hundreds and hundreds of exhibition stands, many times before. This is the only way to be certain they have the first-hand expertise, knowledge, contacts, and resources to provide a winning exhibition stand.


This is one of the worst things you can do. You need a custom built exhibition stand – something that has been designed specifically for your business.

Not checking their portfolio

Every good contractor who designs and builds exhibition stands should have a section on their website dedicated to their portfolio. Here you should be able to view some of the stands they have built so far. This will give you a good indication regarding the level of quality they can provide you with, as well as the amount of innovation and creativity they boast. The best portfolios are those that are diverse. You should be looking out for different types of companies and various kinds of stand designs. If the company displays this, you can be certain they can produce a stand that is completely in line with your brand and what your business is all about.

Failing to read reviews

In addition to the points that have already been mentioned, it is important to seek a company boasting a good reputation. Read reviews that have been left by previous clients. Were they happy with the stand they received? Was the company easy to deal with? Would they use them again? Testimonials are the only way to receive an honest evaluation of the company, otherwise, you are merely going to be reading a sales pitch. A mere five to ten minutes of searching online can alert you to any warning signs and ensure you do not select a company that has a poor track record.

Choosing based on price

Last but not least, it is obviously important to consider the price. After all, every business expense is one that must be evaluated carefully. Nevertheless, you definitely should not go for the cheapest company you find. If you do this, you are only going to suffer from an outdated design and a poor quality stand. Instead, make sure the company offers quality first, and then negotiate a price that fits in with your budget. You should also be certain the company can deliver the project to the deadline you require. A lot of issues have been caused because of companies failing to state their time limit from the offset.

How To Start An Online Business In Your Spare Time

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Many people think that starting a business means that you have to completely give up your job, however the great thing about an online business, especially, is that you really can do this in your spare time, so that you can get it up and running to feel comfortable enough to leave your job, and in this post we’re going to share with you how you can start an online business in your spare time.

Decide on a niche:

The first step in starting any business is to decide on your niche. Your niche is the area of  specialisation that you focus in that helps you to stand apart from your competition – for example you could be a copywriter who focuses exclusively in the travel industry or who focuses on a specific type of copy – for example, marketing copy. Being a specialist and having a niche makes it so much easier for you when you do things like market your business and speak to clients about how you can help them than it is if you’re going to be a generalist.

Decide on a business model:

Your business model is simply the way that you deliver your services to your client, for example a membership model would allow someone to sign up and pay a monthly subscription fee and access a pre agreed amount of services or products. You can also do things like a one on one service model with things like copywriting, coaching or consulting. Choosing a business model is not as difficult as it seems, and it’s always about what works for you and your goals and your lifestyle.

Set up your systems:

In order for your business to run effectively, you’re going to need to need to have systems set up to help you stay organized and focused. Systems don’t need to be complicated and are simply about creating processes based on the things you have to do in your business daily, weekly, monthly, and even annually. Things like signing up for an accounting software that focuses on Making Tax Digital and easy, or creating an onboarding process for your clients that can be automated.

Choose your services:

Your services are what you do that bring your clients the result or outcome when they hire you. So, for example, you could be writer who writes for companies like Apple to create high-quality website copy. Or write for travel companies to create amazing blog posts that drive traffic back to their sites and encourage people to book with them.

The best way to get started with deciding on your services is to pick what you’re good at and what you know you enjoy, but also what you know there is a gap in the market for, or that you can do better than your competitors. It’s also a good idea to start with perhaps 1-3 services and then build on it instead of trying to create a massive list of services and risk overwhelming your clients.

Set your prices:

The next step is to set your prices – it’s important when setting your prices to do this right at the beginning so that when you do start to attract enquiries from clients, then you know exactly what to tell them instead of just picking a random number and then risking that you could either out price yourself by aiming too high or risk seeming unprofessional by aiming too low. There are plenty of resources online for helping you to choose your prices and it really always depends on what feels right for you – there’s no right or wrong way to do this.

How To Make a (Positive) Difference In The World

There are periods in our life when, of course, we need to think about ourselves. We need to ensure that our basic needs have been met, that we’re physically and mentally well, and that we’re feeling positive about the future. But after a while, thinking about ourselves begins to feel, a little, well, selfish. When there’s so much inequality in the world, and so many people need help, then we can’t be content just to make sure we’re fine. We need to do something. But what? Below, we take a look at a number of ways you can make a positive impact in the world.

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Jobs That Do Good

The job that we have will probably determine how much of an impact we have on the world. This, after all, is what we’ll be doing for forty plus hours a week — if we’re dedicated to a job that fundamentally makes the world a poorer place, then that’s a pretty big impact. Fortunately, there are plenty of jobs that do good in the world. Jobs that are related to healthcare, for instance, have an obvious net-positive impact on the world. It’s not that you need to choose between money and doing good, either, as many of these jobs are well-paying. Future industries that’ll have a positive impact include AI (especially how their introduction is managed) and anything related to solving the problems of climate change.

Supporting Growth

One of the best ways to grow your wealth is to invest your money. Alas, many investments aren’t all that good for the planet — quite the opposite, in fact. They cause more problems. But that’s not the case across the board. Indeed, investing is one of the best ways to nudge the earth in the right direction, providing you’re investing in the right areas. If you want to grow your wealth and see progress in the world, look at working with Alpha Blue Ocean, an alternative investment firm created by Pierre Vannineuse. In so doing, you’ll be helping industries that improve the world, such as healthcare and technology, to develop further.

Volunteering Your Time

Of course, sometimes you don’t need to dedicate too much thought and energy to improving the world. It doesn’t have to become a personal mission. If you have some spare time, you can make a difference just by giving up some of your time to help volunteer with a charity. It doesn’t matter what the charity is, so long as you’re doing something positive in the world. It could be helping the homeless or picking up trash in the park. You’ll be doing good, and feel good too — volunteering has been shown to boost moods!

Be The Best You

Finally, remember to be the best version of yourself. It’s one of the best ways to improve the world, since it raises the standards of everyone else around you. Gandhi advised everyone to ‘be the change you want to see in the world,” and it’s true. Make the world a better place just by being you!  

Master The Art Of Hiring And Firing

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It doesn’t matter whether you are expanding your business, looking to move into global markets or even opening up physical stores or offices, the chances are you will need to hire and fire personnel at times throughout your startup’s metamorphosis. The thought of starting a recruitment drive can be daunting because you want to ensure the right fit for your already established team. On the flip side, firing people who have worked for you is a tricky situation that inevitably ends up affecting lives. However, there are ways that you can master the art of hiring and firing so that you maximize the success of your business in a responsible way.


If you need to take on new staff, you will want to attract the brightest candidates. All too often it can be easy to become seduced by the glowing resume, exceptional degree qualification and decades of experience in blue chip corporations. However, this person may not have the ethos, attitude or personality to mesh well with your team. Having many bright minds doesn’t necessarily make for cohesive and productive working. As such, get the potential candidates that you like the look of into your premises and meet them. See how they interact with your staff, ask their opinions on industry specific issues, and explore their personality.

If the idea of launching a recruitment drive is too daunting, you might want to consider heading to a specialist recruiter such as DSC Personnel who have an array of talent at the fingertips. With many candidates on their books, they can filter through the job seekers to find those most likely to fit your requirements. Invite them to interview and then make your choice.

Job Adverts

If you do take on the process of hiring yourself, you must make sure that your job advert is accurate. If you want a marketing manager, make sure the role and duties are clearly described in a person and job specification. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of a candidate accepting the position and then resigning because the role wasn’t as advertised. This can lead to high staff turnover and low morale.


When it comes to letting staff members go, you have a number of choices. Legally, you cannot simply give a staff member their notice because you don’t like them, there is a personality clash, or you want someone else to do the role. This is ethically unsound and against employment law. To fire somebody, the role must be obsolete.

If you do need to lay people off for financial reasons or because of a disciplinary procedure, consider the staff member’s feelings. Losing a job is a traumatic experience for most people, even if it doesn’t come as a shock. Make it clear that you will be supportive in their efforts to find a new job, that you will give them time off for interviews and that you will provide a reference. Although it is hard, decreasing your workforce may be necessary for the benefit of your business.

The next time you need to hire or fire, refer to this guide and ensure that you maximize the success of your startup.

Signs You Might Need To Upgrade Your Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy is something entirely personal to your business, what you offer, and what you’d like to achieve. You must remember that you can’t simply copy and paste another company’s marketing strategy and get results. You need a strategy that has been well thought out, that suits your audience, and your vision for the future. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the signs you might need to upgrade your marketing strategy. Take a look!

Your Strategy Is 2-3 Years Old

If your strategy is 2-3 years old, then it’s definitely time you had a look at what could be changed around. As things change so quickly all over the internet these days, you can’t keep one strategy forever and get results. You need to keep a keen eye on changes in your industry and in marketing, as well as the results you’re getting so you know whether what you’re doing needs to change. This is why you need to stay flexible. Many of the best companies consistently tweak and hone their efforts so they are always getting the best results from their strategy.

Your Audience’s Tastes Have Changed

How do you know if your audience’s tastes have changed? Just listen to them! They will no doubt be giving you all kinds of clues on social media and customer support. Your business is for them, so make sure you really pay attention.

You’re Not Demonstrating Your Knowledge

Any kind of company, whether you’re a dog grooming business or a company that sells Kangoo shoes, should be demonstrating their knowledge on the subject of what they do. This means always providing your audience with a fresh stream of content. It keeps them coming back to you and ensures you stay in the forefront of their minds. It also shows that you are credible and to be trusted, and will give people more of an incentive to work with you.


You’re Not Getting Enough Attention From Your Marketing Company

If you have a marketing company take care of things like SEO and PPC for you because you simply do not have the time to do everything that marketing entails alongside running your company. If you know you haven’t been getting enough information and feedback from your marketing company on how your strategy is going, it could be time to change to one that is more customer focused.

You’re Not On Social Media

Social media is a fantastic tool for marketing, and it’s free. You should be using it to your advantage to reach your audience and build relationships. There’s a right and a wrong way to use it, so make sure you figure this out. Don’t simply spam people with adverts!

You Haven’t Been Checking Your Analytics

Analytics are a must for knowing if what you’re doing is really working. You should have one eye on them at all times! If you haven’t been looking at them, there’s a good chance your strategy does not excite you.

Do any of the above signs ring true for you?

3 Reasons Why Nobody Is Engaging With Your Social Media Posts

Everybody knows that social media is one of the best marketing tools you have at your disposal. It’s very cost effective and you can reach a lot of people with relatively little input. However, a lot of people underestimate just how difficult it is and have an ‘if I build it, they will come’ mentality toward it. But you’re not going to get anywhere if you’re just randomly posting on there every day, it’s a lot more complicated than that. If you’re struggling to build momentum with your social media marketing and your posts just aren’t connecting, you could be making one of these big mistakes.

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You Don’t Understand Your Target Market

Different demographics respond to different things so it’s important that you have a good understanding of who your target market is and what makes them tick. If you’re trying to target the older generation, you’re not going to have much success posting memes on Twitter all day. One of the best ways to really understand who your customers are is to use master data management. First off, what is master data management? Whenever you interact with a customer in any way, you store data about them. But that data is spread across all sorts of different channels. Some of it is in emails, some on social media, some on your sales and marketing software, and some in your accounting figures. Drawing any conclusions from that data can be hard, but master data management helps you to bring all of that disparate data together so you can see real trends. By using that master data you can see what your customer’s buying habits are, which posts they respond to best, and when they’re likely to be active online. Once you know all of that, it’s far easier to create posts that will actually connect with them.

You’re Posting At The Wrong Time

This is a simple mistake that a lot of people make. There is so much information on a social media feed so you need to make sure that your posts go live when your target market is online so they don’t get lost in the noise. If you’re posting at the wrong time, it doesn’t matter about the content because nobody is seeing it anyway. That’s why you need to use scheduling tools to make sure that your posts are landing at the right time. You can use the research that you’ve done through master data to work out when the best time is.

You Aren’t Offering Anything

If all of your posts are just links to your product page, people are soon going to get bored and unfollow you. If you want people to engage, you need to offer them something. Content marketing is great for this because you’re giving people valuable information without the expectation of a purchase. This builds trust between you and the customer and shows them that you’re a trusted leader in your industry. It doesn’t have to be content, a lot of successful social media campaigns run on the strength of their personality, but you have to offer something outside of blanket marketing posts.  

If you’re making any of these mistakes, you’re going to have a hard time getting people to engage with your social media posts.

Four Ways You Can Have A More Productive Workforce

Starting your own business may have been a dream of yours. Taking that leap of faith to finally do it may have took courage and strength, and to get where you are today perhaps is your dream come true. Like many start up businesses, after a lot of work and effort, your business moves forward and gets to the stage where it outgrows you and your working environment. So much so that you expand, perhaps get a business location and hire staff and continue to move your business forward in the direction of success. But you can hit snag points along the way. Now you have other people responsible for different elements of your business, you have the overall responsibility for their welfare and productivity levels. So how do you make sure you get the most out of your workforce? Here are some suggestions.

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Take time to consider their working environment

The place you work can have either a positive or a negative effect on your productivity levels, so thinking about the working environment could help you to make your workforce more productive. It’s things such as ensuring that the rooms are not too hot or too cold. Ensuring there is a place to make drinks or store food for lunchtimes and snacks. Even things like having the right equipment so the job can be done properly or supportive chairs and desk areas so that people can comfortably work in their environment.

Streamline communications and processes

Jobs within your business can get complicated when there are other people involved. There may be people that are required to help with the decisions making process, people that need to authorise certain actions within your business so that other staff canconitime to do their jobs, and so you may find that you need to look at something like a workflow management software to help keep things in check. It might be that having certain processes in place can enable your staff to continue working at a productive rate.

Consider team bonding

The people within your team will be spending a significant amount of time together, and even with you, so you might want to consider team bonding sessions. This coudl be something that you do during the working day, such as team meetings. Or it could be something that you organise as a separate event. There are many things you could try that encourage the group of people attending to work together as a team. Highlighting personality traits and encouraging people to get on better.

Are you a people person yourself?

Finally, it could be you yourself that is the problem within your team. The questions to ask yourself would be whether or not you consider yourself to be an approachable and motivated manager and business owner? If not, then don’t worry, as people skills and the way you react to people can be improved upon. It could be that you talk to people more, get to know people on a personal level and try and get some common ground.

Let’s hope that these tips help you to encourage a more productive workforce in your business.

4 Internet Aspects Every Home Business Owner Needs to Know

Having an idea for a business and setting it in motion is all good and well, but when you’re operating online – either exclusively or in part – then you’ll need to know much more than just about your company’s products and services. The online world has its own rules when it comes to code of conduct and etiquette, and if you’re not aware of/following them, then you’ll be making things extra difficult for yourself! Below, we look at four aspects of the internet you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to the online presence of your home business — they can make a big difference to the overall success of your company!

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The Importance of Style

Everyone makes snap judgements, every single day. While people try to overcome those judgements when it comes to other humans, there’s no such courtesy extended to websites — and with some justification. If your website looks like it’s been rushed, or is overly dated, or is just confusing, then your customers will have doubts about your legitimacy. Don’t give them any reason not to trust you — make sure your site looks good and is easy to navigate, and all they’ll see if your awesome products and services.

How To Be Seen

You’d like to think that if you built a high-quality site, then people would visit. Alas, this isn’t the case. There’s no shortage of alternative websites internet users can visit, no matter what your theme is. To make them visit yours, you need to make sure they see it. Working with an SEO agency is almost as important as your content and other website details — they’ll help to nudge you towards the top of the search engine results page; the higher up you are, the greater the chance that a Google searcher will visit your site. Don’t downplay the importance of internet exposure — it’s critical to your success.

What Annoys Internet Users

There are sites out there that get most things correct, yet which people quickly end up hating — and it’s for the stupidest reason, too. The website annoys the visitor. Things like invasive pop-up ads, autoplay videos (especially those with sound), and manipulative language are enough to make a website visitor move their cursor to the ‘X’ button. There are merits to having all of these aforementioned things on your website, but they’re very often more trouble than they’re worth. Don’t annoy your visitors!

You Can Measure Everything

It can feel like you’re walking blind when you run a website, but this isn’t true. In many cases, you have all the answers you’ll need right in front of you. You can measure all aspects of your website, including from where they came (Google, Facebook, etc.), which pages they visited, and so on. This can all push you towards figuring out the type of content that your visitors like. With that information, you can curate your website to meet the needs and interests of your visitors, and get rid of the rest.

Tipping Your Workplace Scales Towards Rewards Rather Than Punishments

The chances are that you’re pretty quick to jump on employee mistakes. Your business rests on your team getting things right, after all, and there’s little room for error. No wonder, then, that you come down like a hammer on silly mistakes. Spotting weaknesses like these is essential if you’re to stand any chance at success. In many ways, this is how your team learn to do things better. Your efforts would soon come crumbling if you didn’t spot problems like these and take action to prevent them.

The trouble comes when you ONLY call staff up for the things they do wrong. If you’re going to punish people, you need to balance things out by recognising what they do well. Otherwise, you’ll soon have an unhappy workforce. If that happens, mistakes could become far more frequent. You may even lose valuable members of your team. With that in mind, balance the scales by taking the following steps towards recognising the good, as well as the bad.

Make an effort to spot the best work

If you never make an effort to find your team’s best work, they’re going to stop producing it. What’s the point when you don’t notice? They may figure that, as long as they aren’t making mistakes, they can produce mediocre stuff. But, that’s not going to do any good for your business or your reputation. Instead, make an effort to spot those who go the extra mile. Use something like this 360 feedback software to spot strengths within your team instead of just weaknesses. It may even be worth looking through each day’s work to find the best, rather than weeding out the mistakes. This simple switch in your thinking could result in a significant change within your team.

Offer rewards, not just punishments

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We’re always quick to hand out punishments at work, such as probation or reduced hours. But, how often do you hand out rewards? In truth, these can often work as a better incentive than any of the punishments you already have in place. The chance to finish early on a Friday could provide more encouragement than anything else. Even the promise of an ‘employee of the month’ title could be enough to see improvements within your team. You can bet that a focus on rewards like these leads to a more conducive work environment than your current tyrannical approach.

Take your best staff further

To some extent, even rewards will get old. If you’re forever offering the same things to your best staff, they’re still going to get bored. They may decide that the effort they put in isn’t worth that ‘best employee’ parking space. At some stage, then, you also need to take your best staff further. This means recognising continually good work and offering promotions off the back of it. The moment your team see that they can progress, you may find that they all start working better. All because you changed your thinking and focused on rewards instead.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Freelance Life

When you work from home as a freelancer, it can be so easy to put off certain tasks. For example, the admin or keeping record of your expenses can seem quite small and insignificant, but they are things that need to be kept on top of, otherwise it will all add up and be problematic later down the line. It can be easy to just want to get on with your creative side of the freelance business. But letting the freelance business run on autopilot isn’t the best thing to be doing, especially as life can be so busy, and you’re never likely to get back around to do those smaller things. The good news is that improving your freelance life doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. And if it is going to help your stress levels, then it can only be a good thing.

So here are some of the things that you can be doing to improve your freelance business in a way that won’t feel like a big deal and will allow you to keep your sanity.


Financial Checks

Even as little as five minutes every day (you could even set yourself a timer) to check up on your finances, who has paid what invoice, or what you owe, can be five minutes well spent. If you have late invoices to chase then this can be the time to do it, as well as keep on track of what you need to buy or if you owe money to people that you have worked with. If you have been finding that cash flow is a problem for you, and you’ve been thinking of asset refinance to help your business, then taking greater control over your finances is really important. A few minutes to make sure that your financial side of business is tidied up can help the business to keep running smoothly.

To-Do Lists

As a freelancer, some weeks and days are going to be busier than others, as some work really is seasonal. So make sure that you are making yourself a to-do list so that you can get your work in order and see what needs to be done and what the priorities are. You can then plan what you will do and when, so that it can all get done and get done on time.

Learn To Say No

As a freelancer that is running a business, it can be hard to say no to things. But if you are taking on too much work or doing too many small favours to friends or clients, then it really can overwhelm you and take over your life. Learning to say no really is a skill when you’re a freelancer, so make sure that you try your best to do so when you are taking too much on. You could always offer different things that you could do that wouldn’t take as much time up for you, or things at a later date to help.

How to Have a Happier Home Business and Reduce Stress

All of your friends get so jealous when you tell them that you work from home. They have to drag themselves out of bed each morning and put up with their boring nine to five in the office. When you’re running a profitable home business, it isn’t all fun and games, as some people might think. You put in hours and hours of hard work each day and you can often find yourself stressed and overwhelmed with your to-do list. Instead of allowing your workload to override your feelings, you can start to take control. Consider the following ideas to have a happier home business and reduce stress.


Clean Up Your Space

One of the best ways in which you can improve your working environment at home, is by clearing up your space. If you are surrounded by belongings, stock, papers and equipment then you aren’t going to be able to get very much done. Look into cheap storage for your clutter. As long as you can easily access it when you need to, it should be the perfect answer to your problems.

Plan Out Your Day

When you work at home it can be very easy to sit back and allow the day to pass by without really thinking about it. By planning out your day step by step, you will be able to achieve much more. Create a daily task list and you will soon start to see the benefits of this during your everyday work life. Make sure you are prioritising the most important things too, because you don’t want to be left scurrying to finish something at the very last minute.

Remove Distractions

When it’s time to get into work mode, you need to learn how to switch on and remove all distractions. It will never be easy to fully concentrate when you’re at home, but with the correct mindset you can to it all. Turn off the television, move your mobile phone into another room and focus on your tasks at hand.

Learn How to Switch Off

Now that you have learnt how to stay focused, it’s important to learn about tuning out of work mode. When you work from home it can be incredibly difficult to simply switch off and relax for the evening. Relax and wind down in your own special way so that you can really zone out of your busy day. Whether you take a walk once you have finished your jobs for the day or you head upstairs for a bubble bath, there will always be a way to unwind.

As long as you can follow some of these ideas you will be set up for a happy and healthy home life. Working in the comfort of your house is a lot easier than it sounds, so make sure you’re not too hard on yourself. People might give you a hard time and insist that you don’t have a “proper” job, but you are working harder than ever to reach your goals. Stay positive and make the relevant changes if necessary, you will soon find the ideal balance for you.

Big Brother: Keeping An Eye On Your Employees

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Finding good employees for your business is always a challenge. A lot of people overvalue their own skills when they are applying for roles, and some will even lie to you, creating a big challenge when it comes to choosing the right one to work for you. Of course, though, this doesn’t stop here, often becoming a greater challenge once you’ve taken someone on. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the modern methods bosses are using to keep tabs on their team members. This can make your life as a business owner far easier, while also improving your work.

Collaboration Tools

With more and more people taking on roles which involve computers, a lot of the data being produced by your outfit will be stored digitally. Unlike paper documents, it’s often hard to see how much work has been done when you’re relying on devices like this, making it worth using a couple of collaboration tools. Systems like Office 365 let your team share their work with you. With each document which comes in, you will get a notification, making it incredibly easy to see how well the day is going. Having a smart system in place for this is hands-down the best way to ensure that every handles it correctly.

Automatic Sensors

Along with making it possible to easily share work, digital systems provide some other benefits when it comes to keeping an eye on the people working for you. Automating this process as best you can is always a good idea, with a computer network which tells you how much work is being done being far better than relying on people. Something basic, like a tool to tell you which application each employee is using at any given moment, can solve a lot of productivity problems. In more specific industries, like transport, options like advanced telematics can be used to apply physical sensors to this sort of feature.


While it may seem like an obvious option at this point, a lot of people don’t realise quite how advanced modern CCTV systems have become. Unlike the older options which a lot of companies still use, today’s digital CCTV can be very high resolution, and can offer features like facial detection and smartphone notifications. Alongside becoming more sophisticated, tools like this have also gotten a lot cheaper over the last few years. With just a couple of inexpensive cameras and some software, you can keep an eye on your employees at all times, even when you’re out of the office.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of keeping constant watch over your team. A lot of employees don’t like to feel like someone is looking over their shoulder all the time, making it worth searching for more subtle ways to keep everyone in line, even if this means watching from afar. It’s never worth simply leaving people to their own devices.

What Does Every Profitable Home Business Need?

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Obviously, every business is different, and every industry is certainly different. Still, there are paths to success that are applicable to all manner of businesses in all manner of industries. If you’re running a homegrown company then there are key things to get right, regardless of the marketplace you’re trying to crack. In this article, we’re going to talk about what every profitable home business needs.

A plan.

A plan is the first thing any home business needs if it’s going to be profitable. Yes, a business plan is a necessity for any company, big or small, but plenty of home entrepreneurs take a laidback approach to building their brand. If you want to ensure that your home business is profitable in the long-term, however, then you need some foresight. Nothing can be predicted, but a plan gives you different objectives and multiple solutions for a range of possible scenarios. You need to be prepared to adapt your plan as the market changes; consumers are always changing in terms of their needs, and competitors are always changing in terms of their services.

Most importantly, make sure you figure out a monthly budget for any investments you need to make towards resources for the products you create or the equipment you use. If you’re struggling to fund your business from your own pocket then you might want to consider one of the long term secured loans from Evolution Money. That could give you the necessary funding to make your business plan a reality. After all, you have to be brave enough to spend money if you want your home business to make money. We’ll talk about that more in the following point.

An expanding service.

Most entrepreneurs create businesses from home because they love the freedom of taking charge with regards to their career and their income. They also love the creative freedom to make a living from their innovative ideas rather than producing whatever their employee requests. Still, whilst you might reject the traditional business model, that doesn’t mean you should limit your home business’ potential for growth. This little one-person operation could become much more profitable if you expanded your services; that would allow you to cater to a larger client base and pull in more sales.

Rather than trying to do everything by yourself, you could outsource some of your services to create a more productive and efficient business model. You could even hire a small team of full-time employees to help you out. It’s not about slowly transitioning into a fully-fledged company; it’s about giving yourself more time to focus on the technical side of your operations. That way, your business can grow without you having to compromise on the quality of the goods or services you deliver to clients. That’s the key to expanding the service of your home-based empire in a way that increases rather than squanders potential profits.

A good reputation.

Finally, every home business needs a good reputation if it’s going to be profitable. You might be competing with huge and well-established corporations, but branding is the thing that matters. If your company has a reputation for taking better care of its customers than other businesses do for their customers then you’ll get the attention of the market. Offer rewards such as discounts to loyal clients. Keep them coming back for repeated purchases.

4 Wintertime Risks For SMEs


Wintertime has its ups and downs. For one thing, there is the Christmas rush when customers spend money hand over fist without the usual scepticism. For another, the snow, wind, and rain can pose a major danger to small and medium-sized businesses. Sadly, SMEs don’t have the resources to dig them out from underneath an avalanche when it hits. The good news is that quality leaders only need a handful of things to ensure the show goes on and output isn’t interrupted too much. Here’s a look at the risks and how you can manage them by being proactive and flexible this wintertime.


It’s not nice to think about, but people do slip, trip, and fall over in icy conditions. When it happens on corporate property, the owner is liable for compensation. Therefore, you or the company might end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit that costs the business thousands of pounds. One way to manage liability is to make sure everything is as clear and as ice-free as possible. Putting down grit and digging out the snow should be enough. If there are still hazardous spots, be sure to put up signs warning people of the danger.


With rain falling at a higher rate than usual, offices are open to flooding especially if they’re on the ground floor. Even a cold snap can be a problem as water in the pipes freezes and causes them to burst. A simple solution is to install the correct fixtures and fittings so that the load isn’t too much to carry. Stainless steel weld fittings are usually heavy duty enough, plus they won’t rust either. Alternatively, keeping the heating on at low temperature should stop the water from freezing. As always, an insurance policy will come in handy if the worst happens.

Snowed-In Employees

Snow is a productivity killer as it stops people from travelling. Or, it gives them an excuse to blame the weather and take a day off. Thankfully, slacking off isn’t an option any longer thanks to remote work software. By uploading documents and files to the cloud, employees can complete tasks from anywhere in the world at any time. They might be as productive as normal, but at least half of the office isn’t sitting at home watching daytime TV.  Create a work-from-home policy to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities.


Being snowed-in is one thing, but illness is another. Unfortunately, workers who are ill won’t be able to do anything until they are better. Therefore, there should be an emphasis on preventing coughs and colds and the flu from spreading. Get your employees to use tissues when they sneeze and then dispose of them properly. Don’t recycle them. Also, encourage people to go and get a flu jab so that they are immune from the virus. If you have to give them half a day off, it’s a good trade-off because you’ll win in the long-term.

What poses the biggest problem for your business during the winter?

What Branding Choices Do Modern Consumers Respond To?


All businesses need to brand themselves. Without that unifying design, they will seem ephemeral, ethereal and almost less present than they might otherwise be. This can be a challenging scenario to experience, and when you’re trying your best to establish your business life, it’s hardly one you want. But the presence of branding and the presence of good branding are two completely different things. Good branding could be defined by many ideals. Magnetism, the ability to represent yourself and your ideal at the same time, and being understandable are all pointers of a great self-branding effort.

But none of that would be worthwhile without relevancy. Catering to the modern market is essential, because it’s the only market you can ever cater to. Does this mean any slight twinge of historical reference will tank your business? Of course not. But staying updated and vibrant, even in your aesthetic callbacks, will be essential.

But what branding choices to modern customers and consumers truly respond to? Consider:


Minimalism has taken on a life of its own in recent years. This is because while color explosions, vast reams of text and a range of other eye-catching designs could be considered artistically viable and well-worth-it, sometimes your brand does not require it for success. Does your brand of paperclips truly need the most artistically excellent packaging? Or does a simple, clean, efficient package seem much more identifiable and less ‘busy?’ It can be worthwhile to consider how your firm’s artistic presence might best be understood and digested. Minimalism is popular because almost any firm can make use of it, almost anyone can appreciate how easy it is to understand, but if done well you needn’t sacrifice aesthetic professionalism or magnetism.

Intelligent Design

Intelligent design always be responded to. For example, if you’re opening a barbers and looking for a wonderful storefront banner, the name of your business written in barbering tools such as scissors or straight razors could be considered novel, interesting and intricate. This is just one small example of course, but a little forethought in design like this can certainly help you stand out, and it provides that ‘wow’ factor you might be looking for. This is where using a professional branding service such as Designed By Duo designedbyduo.co.uk could be the most appropriate, especially as they have an excellent proven track record for smart design.


The best branding is digestible. It’s memorable. It will be instantly recognizable when a customer once again sees your logo, or is reminded of your establishment. For that reason, your branding needs character. It needs to be a entity all on its own that supports your brand. This is why more and more forms enter mascot territory, or will often streamline their branding efforts over time. A solid logo, a simple slogan, a simple name for your business and a navigable website UI that conforms to all of these choices will seem cohesive, supportive, but most of all digestible.

With these tips, you’re sure to brand yourself effectively.

Why the speed and security of your website matters

I was just having a chat with a friend over our WordPress frustrations. She had the most amazing responsive theme in terms of how the site looked but it was really affecting the speed of her website.

So why does it matter?

The speed and security of your website is super important. Think about it from your customer’s perspective. If they want to view something on your page and they just find the whirling wheel of death, chances are they won’t stick around and you’ve just lost a potential customer.

I think a slow website is like being on hold for ages, it’s just poor customer service and a reflection on you. It’s almost like you don’t care.

You don’t want to compromise on security either. Think data breaches, theft of data and credit card details in the wrong hands. One word – headache. And probably some big fines, don’t forget about those.

Our good friend Google also loves a fast site. It picks up on abandonment, so basically if someone loses all hope on your site and buggers off then Google doesn’t like it. You then get scored in the abandonment section. The more Google doesn’t like you, the less you show in search results. Not helpful.

So what can you do?

Well first of all you’ll want to check the speed – is there an issue with your website? You can use tools such as this one from Pingdom.

If you’ve got a few issues, then Hrank.com have a great little guide to take you through some steps to resolve it.

If you are on WordPress here’s a few specific tips.

Bare minimum make sure you delete anything you don’t need on your website, consider big images and really think about the handling of data and make sure you’re compliant.

Remote Control: Can You Run A Business With Just An External Workforce?

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While there is a very romantic notion associated with working from home, when you apply the perks of this to someone who runs a business and has to treat the bedroom like a boardroom, can it be done effectively? For those people who are looking to run a business, but they don’t have the funds to hire an office, what does the average entrepreneur need? And is it physically possible to keep a business going with just a remote workforce?

Outsourcing Is Your Ally

If you don’t have the money to rent physical office space, and you’re relying on your employees staying at home to complete the tasks, you’ve got to start thinking about running the business as loads of different external aspects working together as one. If you need to improve your marketing, you can very easily hire a digital marketing service to ensure that they are working on that aspect of the project effectively. The big difficulty in outsourcing when you are as external as the other components is that you have to be comprehensive in how you communicate with them all. It’s important that big picture thinking form part of your ideals but it’s very difficult when you don’t see the results in front of you as they are being developed. This requires you to make the most of the next point…

Communication Is Key

Improving your communication isn’t just beneficial for the business, but it’s a way to keep your external workers feeling like they’re part of the process. People like the idea of working at home because they are away from the business, but if you want them to feel part of the organisation, you’ve got to work harder at the most beneficial communication tools. It’s all grist to the mill as each person has their own preferred communication method. It all depends on the duties they undertake. If you have someone who has to stay focused for long periods of time, it’s unhelpful to contact them regularly throughout the day because it will distract them. On the other hand, if you’ve got delegates that you need to communicate with, they need to be easily accessible, but they also need to give you the information you need quickly. In which case the instant messaging approach wouldn’t work; pick up the phone!

Working Extra Hard At Maintaining The Feeling Of A Team

Because each aspect of the business is remote, segregated, and don’t see where they fit into the big picture, this is your responsibility to ensure they are part of the entire process and feel like a team. If you have workers dotted all across the world, this won’t be easy. But if you work at regular contact, but also doing what you can to highlight your personality, either through video conferencing or video messages, it works at providing the personality, rather than making each employee feel that they work for a faceless business.

Can you run a business with just a remote workforce? You can, but you have to realise that you may save money although you will have to expend your efforts in other ways to ensure that morale stays up.

6 Ways to grow your Instagram organically

Grow your Instagram organically

Right now, it seems like it’s harder than ever to grow your Instagram organically because it’s not easy getting followers. That’s why many turn to buy them. But once you learn how to grow Instagram followers organically, you will find out the difference between a paid follower and a real one.

Well, nothing is impossible, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re going to focus on 6 techniques to grow Instagram organically, without buying followers, using bots, or any other shady practices.

It is very important to find organically way to grow your Instagram without buying followers, using bots, or any other shady practices.

1. Optimise your Instagram username

First of all, did you know that the words in your Instagram username are searchable?
If you can, try to add your specialty / industry / passion / locationin your username. Think about what people would type on Instagram if they wanted to find an account like yours.

2. Optimise your Instagram name

It is very important to focus on your Instagram name because the name is searchable on Instagram too.
Try to use important keywords related to your business/brand in your Instagram name. Write something that your audience would use to find your account.

3. Optimise your photos to grow your account

Keep your photos clean and good quality. It doesn’t mean you can’t be creative anymore. Just make sure it is easy to see what your main subject is.

People don’t typically follow accounts that post low-quality pictures. They want to be inspired by what they see.

Instagram is using a technology called “image recognition”. This means that this technology can “scan” your photo to figure out what’s on it.

4. Use hashtags as keywords

Hashtags are keywords. People can search for a hashtag on Instagram to find you. And Instagram checks what hashtags you are using to show your posts to people who like the same things as you.

It is really important to use hashtags if you want to grow your Instagram. Hashtags are keywords.

5. Interact with people on Instagram

Make sure your followers know you’re listening and that you genuinely care about their comments by interacting with them or even liking their comments.

Spend a few minutes a day liking and commenting on other people’s posts. Interact with people outside of your feed is key.

6. Post at the right time.

 Before you post your photo to Instagram, there are two important things to keep in mind: your audience’s time zone and what time they’re most often checking Instagram.

If you want to get the results on Instagram you need to keep up with your audience.

Grow your Instagram organically with these 6 technics. Now you can make big results in your business on Instagram.

If you want to improve your results in business to the next level (think full time income) click here. It’s a 34 page download filled with amazing tips and strategies from a business coach perspective!

Creating a Conducive Work Environment and Boost Your Business

Being able to provide your team with a conducive working environment is an easy win; it allows you all to be more productive, do all that you need to, and be comfortable and happy. But is it possible to create such an environment without having to spend a lot of money? Here are some of the things that you can do to make sure that the work environment that you create is the most conducive to working as possible.



In work and business, the ‘chicken coop’ theory is often talked about in many ways. There are chickens that live in cages all cooped up and squashed together. Though it is uncomfortable and in many ways unethical, they do still produce eggs. But there are also chickens that roam around, have plenty of space, and they also produce eggs. They both still get the job done, so to speak, but which are the happier ones producing better quality work? The ones that have space to roam and a little bit of freedom. So think about how much space your team have in the office, as well as considering the option of flexible working from time to time.

Increase Comfort

If we are comfortable and happy then it means we are much more likely to get on with the job that we have to do. If we aren’t comfortable then we can keep adjusting and putting off doing work, as well a generally feeling frustrated. So the comfort of your team is something that is important to think about. What are their general working areas like now? Do they have comfortable and adjustable desk chairs? How about a restful break area with comfortable chairs for their break time? If you look at a site like Civic Australia you can see the wide range of tables and chairs that you can get for offices, so it is worth seeing what you could improve upon.


We live in such a digital age and we have access to a whole heap of technology at our fingertips. But are you using technology in your workplace to really impact and benefit your team? For starters, you could look for tech that will help to make things like conference calls or meetings simpler and more effective. Are you using software that allows internal communications and messages much more easily and quicker than emails? Team collaboration tools and tech to help with HR can all be good ideas to think about as well. Are you using all that you could, at the moment?


No tool is perhaps going to be more effective at helping to boost productivity and performance much more than incentives. Bonuses or rewards for things, even small things like finishing early on a Friday can be just the incentive that a colleague needs to get their work done in a timely manner. When they are performanced-based incentives then it can be one of the best ways to do things and keep it all fair.

Are you looking for help and support in your business but either don’t know where to start or would love a business coach but can’t afford one? Start here! My free 34 page guide gives you 6 proven strategies to supercharge growth and profits!

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