Monthly Archives

August 2017

Business

A Guide to Making Your Business More Reliable

August 30, 2017

As a business owner, you want your company to be successful and achieve everything you wanted when you first set it up. You not only want it to be profitable but also have a good reputation and have loyal customers. One of the things that can jeopardize this is for your company is to be unreliable with orders or payments.

If your company starts to become unreliable, you will soon start to lose clients and suppliers. You will also see customers leaving your brand in favor of others. To stop this from happening, there are ways you can try to ensure your company stays reliable.

Multi-Skilled Staff

If you have a workforce of people that are trained only to do their jobs, you could quickly run into problems if one person decided to leave or was off work for a while. Although no-one wants to do training, you should ensure that all your job roles are known by at least two people. That way, you will have cover if something were to happen, and you would still be able to process orders.

Make Sure all Your Systems are Backed Up

Just like your computers at home, your systems at work can become unreliable if they are not maintained regularly. One part of the preventative strategy you should employ is making sure all your systems data is backed up.

Some companies back up their data daily, which is a good idea if you are processing a lot of transactions. Smaller companies could probably do every other day without too many problems.

Keep Your Hardware Up to Date

Along with your software, you should also keep your hardware up to date to prevent failures in your system. As your computers get older, they will need to be upgraded to keep up with new software. This may include upgrading the computer memory through companies like Offtek, or changing hard drives to prevent failures.

Another way to protect your data is to have an array of hard drives that all store a part of your system. By doing this, you won’t lose your data if one of the drives were to fail. Solid state drives or SSD’s can be more reliable than traditional drives because they have no moving parts.

Use the Cloud

More companies are now turning to the cloud to store all their information and share software and data. Having all the data available to everyone from the cloud means that if one computer was to fail, you could still access data from the others.

You would still need to make sure your company computers were properly maintained, however, there would be less need for regular software updates on your computers because the latest version would be stored online.

It would also mean less wear and tear on your computers. For this type of system to work, you need to have a fast and reliable internet connection, or you will be unable to link up effectively.

If you use these strategies to keep your systems and workforce reliable, you can ensure that your company stays reliable as well.

Lifestyle

UK pension pots: which area saves the most?

August 29, 2017

On average, we add £325 to our pension pots each month — but which area of the UK is best at saving? As it turns out, 17% of people in Northern Ireland were able to contribute over £5,000 to their pension pots each month in Q3 2016. For more intriguing statistics from True Potential Investor, a UK private pension provider, read through the infographic below.

Business

5 Things That Make an Online Store Stand Out

August 29, 2017

The biggest difficulty in the online sphere is capturing attention. There’s so much content that people naturally filter most of what they come across online out. You have a very short period of time to not only catch their attention, but to hold it longer than a few seconds. Once you have that, the next goal is to effectively make a relationship with that person. Going for the hard sell negates all the hard work that you’ve put in, because it typically means a one-time only sale. You want repeat business. You want word of mouth marketing. You’ll need your store to stand out to do this. Here are 5 things that will set your online store apart from the others:

  • A Great Website

Though you might only have a few seconds to keep a consumer before they decide to either leave or to continue, it doesn’t mean that you can only convey a little bit of information. People can register and absorb a lot of information from a landing page. Once you have them interested, you then need to follow up. Create a great, engaging website that provides value to each visitor at every turn. A great website can help you gain a loyal customer easier than a marketing campaign.

  • A Well-Designed E-Commerce Platform

BigCommerce is the biggest and best e-commerce platform out there. To truly stand out from the crowd, however, you should use certified BigCommerce design partners. They work closely with BigCommerce so that the finished online store not only works beautifully and looks great, but it also suits your brand.

  • Valuable Information

Visitors to your website and store should never feel like they must look for the information they need. Your return policy, your shipping information, and other useful titbits of information should be readily available. Online consumers are smart and savvy, and are willing to compare products, so you want to sell them your brand just as much as you want to sell them the product.

  • Beautiful Images

Beautiful images are the standard. If you don’t have beautiful images promoting your website and your products, you’ve failed. The quality of the images you choose, the content, tone, and messages all convey information about your brand, your product, and your goals. Images are more powerful than a statement, because they can be used to say a lot about your company in a split second.

  • A Custom Experience

A custom experience is one that uses automated tools to give each visitor an experience tailored to them. It means giving them the ability to save items they like. It means giving them suggestions based on their activity. It means using the information they give you to provide more value. The best way to sell is to sell to the individual, not to the crowd.

Online shopping is taking over. The convenience and the savings one can find online are some of the biggest selling points towards e-commerce. The best way to have a store that stands out is to put care and dedication into both the design and the experience. Your website and your store are, in many cases, the only face that consumers will see. You want them to recognize your brand, trust it, and value it.  

Lifestyle

How do you tackle Britain’s garden pests?

August 28, 2017

After much time and energy invested in tending to your gardens, how do you stop the bugs devouring their way through all your plants? Bark chippings and compost retailer, Compost Direct, has compiled a well-researched guide on dealing with the top 10 pests in your garden – read on to find out more.

Lifestyle

How to Create Extra Seating in Small Spaces

August 27, 2017

One of the most common issues people have about their homes is that they don’t have enough space. Whether it is space for storage, food preparation, or for entertaining it can be very frustrating to always feel as though there isn’t enough. If you’re the type that loves to entertain, then a big issue is having ample seating for your guests.

So how exactly can you create extra seating in small spaces that don’t leave the room feeling overcrowded and busy? Here are some great tips you can use.

Turn Your Heater into Seating

If your radiator just kind of blends into the background, it’s time to take notice of it and consider how it may become extremely useful in your space. Why not convert that radiator into a multifunctional piece by transforming it into bench seating? The bench radiator from warmrooms.co.uk will take that standard-sized horizontal column radiator and add a wooden bench top. You can purchase both the radiator and the bench slab.

This slab can act as seating or even a table/shelving space if needed. Not only that, it also adds a great design element to your room.

Purchase a Few Folding Chairs

If the idea of folding chairs makes you cringe a little then it’s time to change how you view them. Today, you can find some very stylish and trendy-looking folding chairs that can act as the perfect solution to your seating problems. Because these chairs fold flat, they can easily be stored under a bed, in a closet, or even under a couch.

Nesting Table and Stools

Creating extra seating in small spaces is all about being creative and finding ways that one item can work in multiple ways. A nesting coffee table with stools is an excellent example. The stools tuck away under the table when not in use so as not to take up extra space. When they are being used, the stools aren’t big and bulky, which means you can move them around the room with ease.

Oversized Pillows for the Floor

Sure, floor seating isn’t exactly glamorous, but you can dress it up. Pick up a few oversized puffy pillows that are large enough to sit on comfortably. You can toss them around the floor space when needed, giving guests a comfy place to hang out. If you want to make floor seating look a bit more stylish, you can place the pillows around a coffee table. It then becomes a design feature instead of just pillows thrown on the floor. To make it feel cosier, you can also place a large rug on the floor.

Don’t Be a Slave to Space Issues

Just because you live in a small space doesn’t mean you have to cut back on entertaining. Instead, it’s time to use your imagination and get creative in the types of seating you use. With just a little thought and proper placement, you can create quite a bit of extra seating in your small space.

Lifestyle

How to Buy for Your First Car

August 22, 2017

It’s only natural to feel a little scared when buying your first car. After all, it is a big financial commitment. However, a vehicle can provide you with more freedom than you have ever had before. To help you make an informed choice, we’re offering some advice on how to buy your first car.

Establish a Savings Goal

Before you start saving for a new car, identify how much you want to pay for your very first car. Browse the market to identify the minimum amount you would be willing to pay and save money each month so you can put down a down payment.

Select a Safe Car

New drivers often need to pay a considerable amount of money for car insurance after they invest in their first vehicle. In addition to finding a low-cost insurer, we recommend buying a vehicle that is viewed as the safest on the road, which can help to reduce your monthly payments.

Do Your Homework

Many new drivers often make the big mistake of accepting the first price they see for a vehicle. However, don’t rush into making such a big financial decision. Instead, do your homework to discover the best vehicle for your budget by visiting different car dealerships.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Want to knock money off the cost of your car? All you need to do is negotiate with the car dealership for a better deal. While most will provide vehicles for a set price, others might be a little more flexible when it comes to their pricing, or they might be willing to throw in a free perk. Always try to haggle when buying a car, as you might shave a considerable amount of money off the price.

New vs Used

You will need to make the decision whether to buy a new car or find a reliable used vehicle. The choice you make will probably depend on your budget and lifestyle. There are many fantastic second-hand makes and model to choose from, such as the 3-cylinder engine Ford Fiesta cars. Simply look for a great price with excellent mileage.

Consider Additional Car Costs

It’s important to look beyond the cost of a car. You must also calculate the additional costs you’ll need to pay for a vehicle. For instance, you’ll have to pay for car tax, insurance and breakdown cover. Not to mention annual MOTs, weekly petrol and parking. You must therefore calculate whether you can afford the running costs of owning a vehicle. It is also possible to reduce your outgoings by browsing the market for the best car insurance provider, as there are many options to choose from online.

Take the Car for a Test Drive

Once you have money for a down payment and have factored in additional vehicle costs, you should visit a dealership to take a car or two for a test drive. Driving different cars before you buy them will allow you to make an informed choice, so you will be confident with any investment you make.

Technology

How to Utilise Cloud Storage Effectively

August 22, 2017

Cloud storage now provides more than a space to upload and download files. Nowadays, you can do so much more with the innovative software, such as collaborating on documents, integrating data with a third-party app or synchronizing files with a local system.

Despite the many advantages cloud storage now offers, many users are failing to use the software to its full potential. Find out how to utilize cloud storage effectively.

Look Beyond Storage Space

We recommend selecting a cloud storage provider that offers so much more than cloud storage alone. Pick a provider who is willing to offer extra features to help grow your business. For example, you can buy Office 365 from Bytes to access all Microsoft Office platforms, depending on your package. Not only that, but Microsoft also provides 1TB of One Drive storage space for every Office 365 users, which you can download onto one PC or Mac computer and one smartphone.

Document Collaboration

Are your team sending external files to one another via email? Improve productivity by encouraging employees to start collaborating on documents together online. The likes of Office 365 allows users to share and collaborate on the same document at the same time.

It’s also possible to send file permissions to take control of access to critical files. Many often come with the following three level permissions: View only, view and comment only and edit only.

View only is ideal for sharing one document with many users, so they can read the document but will be unable to make any changes or modifications, either by mistake or deliberately. However, view and comment only is beneficial if the document owner requires feedback, but does not want a user to change the data. Editing privileges should therefore only be provided when multiple users want to collaborate on one file.

Data Encryption

Data security should be of paramount importance to every business owner, even if they are using the cloud. Take advantage of the additional feature and opt for data encryption when selecting a cloud software package. This will ensure your sensitive data cannot be intercepted by an eavesdropper when sending files over an untrusted network, such as the internet.

Data encryption will limit access to the files, as not even a cloud storage provider will know what data you have stored on their server. Yet, you must protect the data encryption key to ensure you can access your sensitive files. You will also have to download the files and enter the encryption key before you can preview the documents. While it might seem a little inconvenient, it will provide the security and privacy your business needs to grow.

Conclusion

Cloud storage can improve your company’s online security, productivity and creativity, which is why millions of businesses have chosen to migrate to the cloud. Take the time to learn more about the cloud storage features to ensure you utilize the software like a pro, which could help your business grow from strength to strength.

 

Business

5 Elements Customers Want In A Startup

August 7, 2017

Launching a startup is very exciting. It means you’ve made it and are ready to start putting yourself out there in the business world. Embrace the obstacles and learn from your mistakes. Know that you’re going to have to be adaptable and open to change if you want to experience success.

One area you can’t forget to pay attention to is your customers. Nurture them and make it a point to go above and beyond no matter their requests. It’s important to offer exceptional customer service and always be impressing people with your business. Keep them coming back for more by learning what they want from you. See five elements customers want in a startup.

Financial Stability

Build your company with a solid foundation by focusing on your finances. Choose betterfunds.com to help you fund your business and start off strong. They focus on fast funding, finding the lowest rates and use one simple and fast application. It’s a marketplace for small business funds, and they work quickly to ensure you have the answers you need in record time.

Unique Products

This is your chance to roll out impressive products that are one-of-a-kind. Let your creativity run wild when you’re designing your merchandise. Customers want to see items they’ve never encountered before and be the first to own a really cool gadget. They want to be admired by others who don’t have your product yet. Come to the market with unique goods and the customers will jump at the chance to try it.

Responsiveness

Customer service should be your main focus. People don’t want to be searching around trying to find someone to contact. Put your information out there, so it’s easy to get ahold of you. Make it known where your building is, answer your phones and have a social media presence. Be quick to solve issues and please your customers after they’ve had a poor experience. Get feedback from them and use it to make improvements.

A Website & Blog

Customers love going online to find what they’re looking for. Have an attractive website built and include a blog with engaging information to entertain your audience. If you’re not on the Internet, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to connect with your customers and advertise your products. Take the time to design a website and blog that attracts traffic and admiration from the public.

Leadership

As the owner, you have to be willing to take charge and be a leader. Being disorganized will show through to your clients, and they’ll take their business elsewhere. Direct and train employees so they’re prepared to handle whatever comes at them next. Work with your leaders to manage the company and make a plan for growth. Customers want to know that the people they’re doing business with are professional and structured.

Conclusion

Managing a startup takes patience and persistence. Put a system in place that moves your company in a positive direction and challenges you to achieve more. These are five elements customers want in a startup.