All the best things come in small packages, and that can certainly be true when it comes to small businesses. This blog is all about small business news, for freelancers, self-employed workers, sole traders, and small business owners. Click on to this targeted business resource and find relevant news stories covering finance and funding, not forgetting a healthy slice of business advice on anything from marketing to essential business tools. Stay in the loop with what’s going on in the industry, find inspiration, or just enjoy some business focussed reading material. The choice as they say, is all yours!
Anyone with a computer or mobile device that uses the internet will have heard of Adobe, the company that brings us the flash players needed to view visual content such as videos and digital marketing. They are currently running their Metrics not Myths campaign to try and untangle the mess that digital marketing is currently in, mainly due to the corporations behind it that have take such a valuable asset and turned it into a nightmare for all those who work behind the scenes to create the content we view.
It makes sense that they have used the video medium to get their message across to the masses, and they have put together a series of 30 second shorts that are not only interesting and thought provoking but are also letting us know exactly what is going on in this cut throat world that seems to have well and truly lost it way thanks to rubbish that is being churned out by the corporations.
One such video shows a marketing executive on a psychiatrist couch looking anything but relaxed and saying that she is unsure as to whether her marketing campaign is working or not. The shrink asks her if she thinks it working, she replies she doesn’t know. He then asks her if she wants it to work, to which she replies yes, he tells her this is interesting then starts to write in his book. It then cuts to a screen that says to get real help go to Adobe Marketing Cloud.
With the technology available today there shouldn’t be this insecurity, it should be a fun area to work in with job assurance, but it isn’t. Adobe want it to be, and this campaign aims to get it back on track so it is a platform that is harmonious behind the scenes, and great fun for those who view it. A daunting task but if anyone can do it Adobe can.
SEO training aims to give business a little useful knowledge
A company that specialises in search engine optimisation is now hoping to give a valuable insight to business owners on how to make the most of their websites by introducing SEO training courses.
Ranking Solutions are one of the leading UK companies in the field of search engine optimisation and have a long list of clients from every corner of the country that is growing all the time. They have now decided to give their clients the opportunity to expand what limited knowledge they may have on SEO with their newly designed courses.
Ranking Solutions managing director Gareth Owen believes that many business owners are not taking advantage of SEO and that the SEO training on offer could prove to be very useful indeed. ‘Understanding SEO is like having the keys to a whole new room of opportunities for your business’, explained Mr Owen. ‘The exciting opportunities provided by the web and the internet remain mere possibilities without the right knowledge. Luckily, because we have been in the SEO game for so long, we know how it works better than most and we are able to share some of this knowledge through these really useful SEO training courses.’
The SEO training takes place over a one day period and offers a comprehensive package that almost any business leader or owner would find beneficial. Little details about the layout of a website, the use of headers, content and keywords are all areas that are covered, as are the benefits of building back links and utilising social media.
These may have been topics and subjects that people have been reluctant to get to grips with in the past but, according to Gareth Owen, that is no longer an option in today’s climate. ‘The UK is only slowly starting to recover from the periods of recession that we have endured over about four years. The likelihood is that those companies who emerge stronger are the ones who have embraced SEO training rather than ignored it. The web is the new high street and just like any business, you need to make sure that you shout louder and are more visible than the others if you want people to come to you rather than your competitors. Effective SEO training like that provided by us at Ranking Solutions can help businesses get noticed rather than ignored.’
No matter what sort of environment you work in, you should make yourself aware of the most common hazards, as this can help you avoid a range of mishaps and health issues. Some of the common hazards that you may face in the workplace include:
Electrical hazards: A range of problems can stem from electricity related hazards at work. This can include poorly maintained power lines and main supplies, electrical equipment issues, cables trailing on the floor, drinks being consumed close to electrical appliances and equipment and other electricity related hazards.
Toxic substances: Depending on your workplace, you may be exposed to a range of toxic substances. This can include obvious substances such as chemicals as well as hidden dangers, such as exposure to asbestos. This type of exposure can lead to a range of health problems and those affected may be able to consider making asbestosis claims for compensation.
Slips and trips: Most working environments will have areas where tripping and slipping is a hazard. This could be anything from a slippery floor to an unseen step, a worn mat, or an area where there are obstructions. Every year, many people fall victim to trips and slips at work and whilst most are not serious, some can cause considerable injury.
Moving vehicles: Whether you work for a company with a lot of drivers or whether you simply have a car park where employees/customers park their vehicles, moving cars and vehicles can be a hazard in many workplaces. It is important to be vigilant when in outside areas at work, to ensure your safety around vehicles.
Lifting injuries: Whether you work in a manual job or in an office, there are often items that need to be lifted. No matter what sorts of items you have to lift, if they are heavy they are a potential hazard. Many people suffer injuries as a result of lifting heavy items at work and anyone who does have to lift on a regular basis should be trained on how to do this safely.
Of course, there are many other hazards that people face on a daily basis whilst at work, and being aware of these can help to make the workplace a lot safer.
Both ecommerce and the design of mobile websites have become particularly popular topics since the number of people shopping online is always increasing, and so is the ownership of mobile phones which are particularly appropriate for browsing websites. The smart phone revolution has created a need for ecommerce website design, the sort of which has not been seen before. People want to buy things on their mobile phone, which is something that only really became a possibility in the last few years.
Ecommerce website design is something that over the past few years has become increasingly possible thanks to the advent of easy-to-use programmes which have been created for people who don’t necessarily need to understand coding. Ecommerce design programs such as Magento have meant that people can easily create shopping websites with a minimum of hassle.
While ecommerce website design is very easy to do as an amateur, it can often be worthwhile hiring an expert to make sure that everything runs smoothly. This person will be able to create an ecommerce design that will match the overall theme of your businesses website, and also make sure that the entire site functions properly.
There is nothing more off putting to a customer than having an online shopping experience that doesn’t work properly – often customers will simply turn away and take their business elsewhere. What is a relatively new area is ecommerce website design that is specifically targeted towards mobile phones. In recent years customers have become more confident in using mobile phones online and they feel that the security is now good enough on them for them to feel comfortable sharing their credit card information with companies over a mobile connection.
Furthermore, how easy it is to browse the Internet has been significantly improved by smart phones which allow people to browse shops easily, and make selections without a hitch. Most online retailers, or any retailer, are probably seeing the potential advantages of establishing a mobile shopping site, with a good ecommerce design, for their customers.
Smart phones are everywhere, and people have on them on them all the time. This essentially means that they could be buying things from your website at any moment, which is an opportunity that most retailers won’t want to pass up. If you are thinking about developing a mobile ecommerce website design then there are many things that you need to bear in mind before you proceed.
First off, ecommerce website design is something that is very different when done for a mobile phone, and there are many things that a developer is going to have to bear in mind when they are designing your mobile shopping website. For example, with ecommerce
If you are looking for a new business opportunity you might have stumbled across the idea of a business franchise. Before signing up to own your own business franchise you might want to take a step back first and consider what this means. Not everyone is comfortable with all of the insecurities that go into buying a business franchise, while other people are able to see the end reward and are willing to put in the work that will make it happen. You need to figure out which side of the fence you sit on by asking yourself the following questions.
Why do I want to be self-employed?
The very first thing you need to think about is why you want to be self-employed, and if you are ready to take the risks that come from being self-employed. When you have paid employment you know you will be getting paid on a set schedule, but the same is not true of self-employment. While it gives you some relative freedom when it comes to your scheduling and the ability to be your own boss, it does not offer you a lot of financial security and you need to be secure with that.
Do I have money to franchise?
Therefore, when you think about franchising you need to consider if you have enough to even invest in a franchise right now. Keep in mind that you have to also have money left over to support your family and yourself until your franchise starts earning. Therefore, having enough for the first initial investment is not enough to actually start a new franchise. You will need a great deal of savings before you can actually get started.
Is this the right time to open a franchise?
The second thing you need to consider is if this is the right time in your life to open a franchise. Do you have enough energy to work long hours and devote time to your business? While self-employment generally eventually means having a free schedule, during the start-up phase of a business you are going to have to be prepared to work all of the time. You also will need to make sure that your health is good enough to put in this type of time, because you do not want to sacrifice your health.
How does your family feel?
Finally, you need to talk to your entire family about how owning a franchise would affect their lives. They would have to be willing to deal with the long hours and also to deal with the demands it takes on their schedule as well. While you are building a franchise you might have to skip family holidays, and several events that they are sued to attending. Are they are on board with your decision and ready to make sacrifices along with you? For the health of your family unit you have to make sure everyone is on board before you go ahead and buy into a franchise.
If you are attending a business awards ceremony soon, then it might be the time to look at your wardrobe and plan your outfit for on the big day. Try and find a balance between dressing up and keeping it on a business level: formal, yet dressy. You don’t want to look like you’re going to a cocktail party: (though you might want to wheel the ultra-glamorous look out for the afterparty!) Here are some tips for dressing for your business award ceremony.
1. A blazer does the trick
A blazer has business written all over it, and can easily look feminine when mixed with a pencil dress and a fancy pair of heels. This way you look suitably dressed up but with a formal air.
2. Go crazy and wear a long gown
As you can see, on these pictures of the Oscars in the Daily Mail, actresses like Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts opted for long, sequinned gowns. While they do look gorgeous in these dresses, the sequins might be a little too red carpet for business awards. But if you take the basic shape and style, it’s an idea worth going with. So why not pick one of these affordable black embellished long prom dresses instead? They’re beautiful, alluring and on the right side of glam for this occasion.
3. Mix and match in monochrome
The biggest trend of this summer is monochrome, which works perfectly for a business awards ceremony as you can dress up in black and white – full party dress while keeping your formal integrity! There is no need for bright colours when you can keep it stark and sleek and instead shift your focus towards striking accessories like a sparkly clutch, big earrings or even extrovert makeup! This brings us to the next point . . .
4. Get your hair and nails done, and match your makeup
Your hair and nails can make or break your outfit, so make sure you get a French manicure and a haircut before the ceremony. Once you have sorted this out, it is time to go shopping for some new make-up items. The two trends in cosmetics this year are pastel colours and matte. Both options work with any skin type and colour, and when your outfit is discreet then you can do whatever you want!
Matte is perfect for formal events: it rids the skin of any oily spots, and if you add the right finisher or moisturizer will keep you looking fresh all night long. And of course you can also combine the two with pastel colours in matte form – the best of both worlds! Experiment a little before the ceremony and see which look is best for you. And do not forget that you can always walk into the nearest MAC store or Sephora to ask for free advice.
A lot of people rely on their cars to get them to and from work every day and although there’s the possibility of public transport, for a lot of people this isn’t an option. More and more people rely on their cars for more than just the morning and evening commute too so losing their licence would mean the end of their career.
New rules introduced by the police and the DVLA will mean that losing your licence will become a process of a few hours rather than a few days if you fail to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres in a roadside test.
The rules haven’t actually been changed at all – you have always had to be able to read a number plate from 20.5 metres away – the only thing that’s changed is the fact that your licence can now be revoked straight away.
If you’re stopped and you cannot demonstrate your ability to read a number plate then the DVLA will reclaim your licence until you can prove that your eyesight meets legal standards. The new rules are aimed at employers rather than employees because, if an employee is required to drive as part of their job – even if it’s just a short distance to a one off meeting – then employers should be accountable for their employees eye sight.
Employers are being warned that the eye sight of employees should be checked regularly – especially if driving is a big part of their job – otherwise they could see a rise in the number of absences from work due to eye sight related problems.
In order to avoid any of these problems you should also do everything you can to make sure your eye sight is up to scratch and before you set out on the road make sure you have your contact lenses in. Bifocal contact lenses are really easy to get hold of and they’re pretty cheap too and the fact that they’re bifocal means they’re great for all activities. The price you pay for a few boxes of lenses really is worth it when you consider the fact that they’re helping you hold on to your driving licence.
Not so long ago, starting a retail business almost always required finding actual square footage to buy or lease – an expensive proposition especially in areas of higher income where more customers can be expected to spend some of theirs on your products.
E-commerce has changed almost everything about the logistics of starting up a business. It’s now quite possible to set up an online retail business with only a couple thousand pounds initial outlay and, within a year or two, turn it into a global enterprise making the amount of the original investment on a daily basis. It sounds incredible but it’s been done time after time.
There are those who believe that hardship is good for you, and in the case of budding entrepreneurs, it may be a deciding factor. Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is an old expression that has morphed into ‘bootstrapping’ – it implies self-sufficiency and determination, traits that are crucial when money is tight and much is new and confusing.
When you’re first starting out in a new business you’ll need to learn every aspect of it as quickly and as thoroughly as you can; you’ll have to do all the jobs that an established business hires others to do until your income reaches the point where you can do the same.
Knowing the business ‘from the ground up’ can save you immense amounts of money, time and frustration when things really start to roll. Not only can you do just about any job required in your particular business, but you’re able to accurately assess the skills of those you’ll eventually be hiring to do the same job for you.
Quite often, start-ups that rely heavily on outside financing soon find that they’re spending most of their time and energy trying to keep their investors happy and searching for new ones to keep the cash flow going. This in turn leads to a lack of decision-making freedom and difficulty in making innovative adaptations in a market that is constantly changing, and often in unforeseen directions.
Business owners have to keep track of many details, some of which can make the difference between success and failure. Just a couple of tips may be useful; if you aren’t already using them, consider how they might improve your income and reduce your paperwork.
Social networking is not just for keeping up with your pals or airing your grievances; experience has proven that it makes a world of difference in business also. As a supplier of goods or services, you don’t want to try and sell your product on Facebook or Twitter; you want to engage with the people who will be interested and let them know about your company and what you offer. It’s an opportunity to show yourself and your business as an excellent resource for potential clients.
Many a small business has come to grief from paying too much for the supplies they buy wholesale.
Don’t jump at the first one you find with the product you need; shop around because there can be a considerable difference in the prices. Keep the number of suppliers to a minimum as it cuts down on shipping costs and irregular deliveries, (not to mention air pollution).
In the case of regular suppliers, communicate by phone rather than text or paper. A one-on-one discussion with a ‘live’ person engenders a rapport that makes negotiations smoother and keeps problems of mis-communication to a minimum.
One more aspect to consider is packaging; personalised and recognizable packaging with a logo or other attractive design make your products stand out from the rest. You can order custom packaging but it is expensive; if that’s your plan be sure you shop around for the best price. The other option is just adding stickers of your own design to stock packaging; it’s cheaper and usually looks just as good and works just as well.
As part of the first phase of the government’s new business bank they plan to offer small businesses that are having trouble finding finance £300m in available cash.
The finance applications are now open to all small businesses in the UK that have an annual turnover that is less than £100m. As part of the autumn statement in 2012 the Government already placed £1b in the bank to use for this purchase. However, the beginning £300m investment will be matched by other private investors.
The BIS, or Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills stated that it is very important to make sure that all businesses get access to funding as soon as possible. It believes that the initial transactions between businesses and the government will take place over the autumn even though the business bank is not going to be formally founded until at least 2014.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable, stated that he has heard from many small and medium sized businesses that their number one problem is funding access to finance that they need in order to grow or invest in more business opportunities. Therefore, the government has created the business bank to help make sure that businesses have a choice of financing options that will actually help them.
In addition, he stated that the reason that they are making funding available earlier then initially announced is because they are very concerned with increasing diversity and competition within the business lending market.
The original business bank plan was announced back in September of 2012 and is not an actual bank, but instead is a system that will be used to consolidate existing and some new lending schemes such as debt funds, challenger banks, asset lending, poor lending, and supply chain finance.
The new £300m fund is being offered as a new arm of the BFP (Business Finance Partnership) program.