The True Value of Business News

When you have a business, it is critical that any owner stay updated regarding anything that pertains to their field and how they can improve their processes further. Today, we discuss the true value of business news.

Business news is highly available. You can pick it up from your favorite publication or you can even pick it up from useful websites like Tipit. Running a business can be a highly challenging exercise—the field can change at any moment or there could be critical events that you should miss.

Why should you keep up with business news?

There are a plethora of good reasons why! Here are some of them:

Pick up valuable advice

When you have your own business, it would be smart to learn from those who have blazed a trail ahead of you. While their playing field was significantly different from your own, their knowledge borne from years of experience will still prove to be of value for you.

What’s good is that often, established professionals share their tried and tested information regarding how to deal with truant employees or even something as simple as being a good boss. We always say that the voice of experience is one of the more powerful resources that must never be ignored. Save yourself the time and the effort of having to make the same mistakes and learn from those who have already done the legwork for you.

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Pick up on popular trends

While we are not saying that you should hop on to every trend that comes along, it is still important to keep track of them. With the world of social media being the major way information is shared, business news often constantly watch for recent trends. That way they can bring that information to their readers.

From there, readers can pick up on which trends are suitable for their business. It could also be trends that pertain to how your office or work environment can be drastically improved. Keeping a smart eye on trends will help your business evolve with the times instead of being left behind.

Stay up to date with events

Businesses cannot survive in a hostile environment. Keeping abreast with the latest in business world news and even current events can help protect your business. Understanding that there are a lot of external factors that can affect your business is one of the first steps of making sure you stick around for a long while.

The business market is one of the more volatile ones to watch so a business owner must never neglect it. You never know when there might be a big opportunity that your business can take advantage of.

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True Value at your fingertips

Business news will continue to be around even if it does evolve through the ages. This is because that those who are smart enough to realize it will know that following business news is one the key ingredients to staying in business.

So do yourself a favor and find yourself a reputable source of business news today!

Innovative Ways to Make Use of Drones in Business

The technological dynamism of the current world has made businesses perform their operations more efficiently. The operations that were previously done by people are now being taken up by machines. This in effect, has increased the quality, effectiveness, and speed at which these operations are done.

In the video production industry, the advent of drones brought good tidings. Video producers are reportedly enjoying the use of drones in their work as they bring about clear and crisp content. They also enhance their work as they have numerous capabilities which video producers didn’t have access to before. For some, the use of drones such as the JJRC H11 drone has helped them achieve great heights in the creation of visual content; heights that only top Hollywood video producers could achieve. If you are a visual content creator, you don’t need to break the bank for you to create quality content. Let’s consider how businesses can innovatively utilize drones for video content.

Group Shots

Good news! You don’t have to climb tall trees or take shots from high buildings anymore for group shots! Every cameraperson can relate to the challenge that taking group shots presents. Whenever you are in a party or large crowd, you can use drones to take marvellous group shots.

With a drone, you can get everyone out for a group shot. You don’t even have to worry about how you are going to arrange the tall and short people. Just get your drone in front of the group, and you’ll capture everyone. If you’re ambitious enough, take your drone up to the sky. You’ll get a great view of the people and also the surrounding for one epic video.

Remember to take both videos and photos of the group while using the drone. You might need both later while doing production.

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The Reveal

One of the methods that video producers use to tweak their videos is ‘the reveal.’ Typically, it entails taking a video of a subject up-close and then zooming out to the surroundings of the subject. The converse is also true.

Pulling this stunt off is not a walk in the park. It takes much effort to come up with the perfect reveal. However, with a drone, you can pull as many reveals as you’d wish. All it takes is for you to take the drone closer to the subject, the fly it away from the subject gradually. You can also do the converse, by flying the drone away from the subject, then flying it towards the subject gradually.

You can even take shots at calculated angles, say, 90 degrees. Just start with an aerial view of the skyline that is surrounding the subject, then pan the camera down to 90 degrees and steer your drone to land.

The best part of the doing the reveal with a drone is that it works in reverse. You can never get tired of doing it. You can even combine it with other techniques such as the group shot to come up with a visual marvel.

Inspections

For those companies whose core business is providing utilities, drones can be used innovatively to carry out inspections. For example, electricity companies that operate electrical lines could utilize drones. Such companies have in the past used manned commercial planes and choppers to inspect their electrical lines. In other sectors, companies that have pipelines and pumping stations, have in the same manner, had to use commercial aircraft to inspect their lines.

Carrying out such inspections requires a lot of resources and planning. Some of the areas that have to be accessed are not easily accessible.

However, with the advent of drones, they could significantly reduce the cost incurred in inspections with manned commercial aircraft. The drone cameras and video transmitters could perform the same function inexpensively and safely.

If you run a business that requires routine inspections in remote areas, using drones is an innovative way of performing such routine checks.

Disaster Relief

When disaster strikes, there is a lot of damage that results. This may at times mean that transport facilities and social amenities get destroyed. In the course of disaster relief, disaster management officials always encounter hurdles when trying to carry out their work. They are often unable to assess the impact of disasters since they are rendered immobile. Also, the may lack the capacity to reach the disaster front which constitutes of the community that is affected by the disaster.

Drones can be used innovatively in disaster relief efforts by government, non-governmental organizations and businesses. They can provide the real-time footage in disaster-stricken areas and locations where it may prove too dangerous to navigate.

Precautions to Take

The Wind Factor

When using drones, you should be wary of factors such as wind. If possible, avoid taking shots on windy days. It may interfere with the quality of the video. It may also make it hard to pilot your drone.

The Special Hour

This is such an important tip. For you to get the highest video quality with your drone, you should shoot during the period after sunrise and after sunset. This, in most visual content circles, is what is referred to as the ‘magic hour.’ Any shot that is taken during this period is bound to be a ‘Magnus opera.’ During this period, the lighting is almost perfect for any shot. The sun is always low on the horizon, and the light that it sets forth is evenly distributed. The shadows are also not quite visible at this moment.

To make better use of your drone, take it out during these periods. If you are not sure of the time of day that the sunrise and the sunset take place in your locality, makes use of apps that can determine it. Many video creators have used the Rizon app, and they have endorsed it owing to its accurate results.

These are just some of the proven innovative ways to use drones which we endorse. Apply any and take your video production and content to new heights with drones; literally! Any other applications that we haven’t mentioned? Share them with us!

How Victorian Plumbing Use Social Media Effectively

Social media is a classic example of a ‘universal’ marketing platform that doesn’t discriminate between brands or their popularity, and instead generally relies on the skills of the company – or individual – involved to manage, produce and target their content effectively.

Although some sites allow you to promote or “boost” social media posts, the long-term gains of running a corporate social media account are largely down to the content that’s actually posted there, as well as how it’s integrated with the business’ other assets and promotional material.

Victorian Plumbing, who sell furniture such as bathroom suites, have managed to gain a large social media presence across several sites, and can use this presence to market their products to a much wider range of potential customers.

However, it’s important to note that – unlike some other businesses – Victorian Plumbing posts different types of content on different sites to get the most out of each post.

Twitter

On Twitter, the company often uploads images of bathrooms and bathroom suites, using relevant hashtags to bring in natural traffic from people searching for said topics and phrases, and responds to customer queries directly by asking people with complaints to message them directly through the site, rather than using a third-party tool or email service.

This speeds up interactions between the company and its consumers, and allows them send out instant notifications to all of their followers about deals, promotions or new items being put up for sale – in addition, this can also lead to much faster customer service and query responses, allowing the company to build up a reputation for their customer interaction was well as their actual products.

Facebook

The Victorian Plumbing Facebook is instead used to promote much larger pieces of content, such as complete sales or articles relating to their products.

To allow better customer communication, they’ve included contact information such as their company’s general telephone number, and have several custom links to reviews, newsletters and videos about their brand and products – making this content all accessible to customers from one social media source, rather than being unconnected sites across the internet.

Pintrest

The company’s Pintrest account is more images of their bathroom suites, with more focus on creating different sets of bathroom designs to market their more thematic, matching bathroom furniture.

Since the site contains a lot ‘artsy’ users, their idea of targeting people who are interested in designs, meaning that they can easily promote products that may seem too expensive or unnecessary to regular customers.

The same goes for their Instagram account, except many of the bathroom suites featured are more general in style due to the mixed-interest audience present on the site.

Google+

On the other end of the spectrum is Google+, which acts as a catalogue of sorts for various Victorian Plumbing bathroom suites and their matching components, such as bathroom tiles or flooring.

Customer interaction is limited in both directions, but unlike with their other social media content, each item is given a description that promotes the product more directly, acting as a constantly-updating feed for new products.

Because of the fairly information-centric nature of Google+, being mostly focused on informative updates and posts, this method of using the site plays to its strengths, providing users with a simple visual and textual explanation of each product.

YouTube

On the Victorian Plumbing official YouTube channel, they upload most of their television advertisements, as well as a small handful of short tutorials on how to install certain products they offer.

Since YouTube allows videos to be used as adverts, the company can essentially advertise on YouTube in the exact same way they’d do it on television, giving them another outlet for their ads that costs less than national television whilst also allowing more specific targeting.

The reason Victorian Plumbing’s social media content is so effective is down to the way they have adapted it for different platforms whilst using their content to market and promote their products, and change the way they present said content depending on the purpose of the site and the shared interest of each site’s user base.

Instead of sharing the same content across all platforms, Victorian Plumbing have been able to vary their company’s ‘voice’ and appeal to different demographics and communities without having to produce huge amounts of varied content for each site, drastically reducing the cost of their social media marketing as a whole whilst potentially targeting even more people than other companies.

Despite not being the largest or most glamorous company around, Victorian Plumbing has managed to make the best of the social media platforms they’re connected to, especially when it comes to connecting with their customers on sites that allow instant messaging and feedback.

Their method of differentiating their content across all platforms has allowed them to create an effective brand across several forms of social media without even being a social-media centric company, dealing mostly in direct online sales.

Five Legal Documents Entrepreneurs Need To Know About

As an entrepreneur, you’ll be expected to fill in a number of different forms when you’re setting up your business. It can’t be overestimated how important a pen will be in the first few months of your business operations. Because you’ll be doing a lot of signing and writing.

But while you might have a good idea of what you’ll need to sign and fill in, it’s easier than you think to miss something. The likelihood of this happening increases for tech companies which will usually have even more documentation to deal with.

And according to Jones Whyte Lawyers in Glasgow While missing a form or forgetting your signature might not seem like a big deal it can have serious legal consequences.

It will also be sure to make running your business more difficult, so let’s take a look at five important legal documents entrepreneurs need to know about.

Employee Contracts

Without contracts in place your business opens itself up to a lot of potential legal problems, an employee contract is needed before anyone can legally work for you. As the entrepreneur behind the company, you’ll also need a contract for yourself as well. While many people know the importance of getting employee contracts set-up for anyone they hire, they often don’t realise the same rules apply to them.

But they do, an employee contract does more than layout what an employee’s job entails it defines all the important aspect of a person’s job, and this includes your job as well. The employee contract will vary from business to business and the position they’re working in. But in general, it covers and defines an employee’s duties, responsibilities, rights, and other legal requirements.

You’ll also need to prepare a written statement that outlines any employees working hours, holidays and their pay. Because tech companies will usually need to employ a lot of people in different roles it’s important you spend time outlining your employee’s contracts.

Founders’ Agreements

Technology companies are rarely made on their own, you might have a great idea for a revolutionary piece of tech but that alone won’t build a business. That’s why the vast majority of businesses are founded by a group of people and that’s why a founders’ agreement is so important.

The founders’ agreement details the ownership of the company and it also outlines the equity and investment. The agreement also governs what each founder is expected to do to fulfil their ownership rights and responsibilities.

You might be thinking this sounds really important how could I ever forget it? Well with the founders’ agreement it’s usually more of a case of not wanting to do it, many people form businesses with friends and family and as such deciding who is worth what can be very difficult and emotional for some people.

But it’s essential that you get the founders’ document worked out quickly because it’s one of the only real ways to ensure complete transparency with everyone. The founders’ agreement is also incredibly important from a legal perspective as well, so make sure you get this document set-up quickly.

The Health and Safety Policy

The technology industry might not seem like the most dangerous industry to work in but when you think about how vast it is, the possible dangers become a little more concerning don’t they? Plus, you have to remember people can just slip on a wet floor, the bottom line is a health and safety policy is important.

If your business has less than five employees, then you technically don’t have to have a written health and safety policy. However, you have to remember any business aims to grow, and in the tech industry, even small businesses will have big teams.

So, I’d recommend starting on your health and safety policy right away. From a legal standpoint, a health and safety policy is especially important, and it will show that you take your responsibilities as an employer seriously.

Memorandum and Articles of Association

The next two documents, we’ll be looking at are the memorandum and the articles of association. These two documents are closely intertwined which is why we’re looking at them both together.

The memorandum or memorandum of association has it’s known to some is essential if your business has multiple shareholders. This is common for tech start-ups, the document needs to be signed by all the businesses shareholders and dated. It’s a very simple document but one that is very important.

The articles of association cover a different area, but they must be set out with your businesses shareholders. So, what do the articles of association cover? They cover a lot, which is why it can take some time to set them up, which is why many people forget to.

The articles of association cover all the rules that you and your shareholders have agreed to when it comes to the day to day running of your business. This important legal document can vary wildly from business to business, but it will usually be relatively large in size.

A Shareholders Agreement

Despite the importance of shares (especially in the technology industry), this is one document that is easy to forget, after all, you might not offer shares right away. But a shareholder’s agreement is essential if you offer shares to people, so what does this document cover?

Many people overcomplicate shares, when you get right down to it they are much simpler than many people think. The shareholder’s agreement outlines everything your businesses shareholder’s need to know this includes the level of ownership, equity, and investment amongst other key details.

The agreement also includes other important areas like the processes of transferring shares, disputes, exit strategies and any restrictions you have set up. This documentation is very important from a legal standpoint because it governs all aspects of your share process.

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Your Documentation

 

So, that’s a look at five important documents all tech industry entrepreneurs need to know about. Not all these documents need to be set up and done straight away but it’s a good idea to get them done and ready as soon as possible.

5 Ways For Business Owners To De-Stress

Owning and running a business is bound to be stressful. There are lots of responsibilities you need to take care of, from dealing with staff to staying on top of paperwork. Or, maybe your business isn’t doing as well as you’d like and you’re worrying about finances.

Alternatively, business could be booming, but you’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand! No matter what the circumstances, there’s plenty of things to worry about when you’re in charge.

Unfortunately, stressful situations will always pop up when you’re a business owner. So, what can you do to make sure you don’t succumb to the pressures of the job? Luckily for you, we have some tips. Here are five ways that business owners can de-stress.

  1. Treat yourself

Make sure to make time in your busy schedule for yourself. This could mean going for a short walk, scheduling in a 15-minute tea break every couple of hours, or even giving yourself the day off every now and again. After all, taking care of your mental health is one of the easiest ways to maintain a low stress level.

If you’re looking to fully de-stress, why not head to the spa? There you’ll find dedicated treatments like hot stone massages and facials, which are designed to lower stress. Then, complete your experience with an indulgent afternoon tea.

If you’re short on time or money, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Instead, do something simple for yourself like taking a long, relaxing bath or purchasing a neck massager. You’ll be stress-free in no time.

  1. Delegate your workload

Being a business owner can make you into a sort-of jack of all trades, especially if you don’t have any employees or are part of a small team. If there’s a job you’re having difficulty with, it’s probably bringing you more stress than it’s worth. Take a step towards a less stressful work-life and learn to delegate.

After all, there may be someone out there who will find the task easy (or even fun). Place trust in your employees and give them those tasks that you really don’t want to do. If you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time employee, then you can always outsource the work.

This is a great option from jobs like dealing with your taxes, as there are plenty of accountants out there who can help you on a freelance basis, and you can trust that they’ll do the job well.

You might be a bit wary of handing over responsibilities to others, but there are plenty of competent people out there. It’s time to trust others and let your stress melt away.

  1. Turn your phone off at the end of the day

Creating a healthy work-life balance will do wonders for your stress levels. Some people may find this step difficult – especially those who worry about emergency situations arising. However, it’s important that you create certain spaces where you’re no longer connected to work.

If you’re really struggling to pry yourself away from the work emails, why not begin by turning your phone off for a couple of hours each evening? When you’re having dinner with your partner and kids, show them that you’re fully present and step away from the technology. Once you’ve become comfortable with switching off, you’ll find it much easier to implement this step into your regular routine and can then go ahead and turn your phone off as soon as you leave the office.

If this still seems impossible, you could set up your phone so that only notifications from specific individuals will come through – those who know to only get in touch if there’s an emergency. Disconnecting from work will also show your employees that you value their wellbeing: if you send them an email at 10pm, are you expecting them to keep working all night, too?

  1. Take charge of your schedule

One of the benefits of becoming a business owner is that you’re no longer subjected to the work hours dictated by someone else. However, you may find yourself instead losing control of your workload and end up clocking in for far more than the typical 9-to-5 hours. To relieve the stress, take control of your schedule.

After all, you’re the boss! You can make the decisions that will impact your schedule. If you’re finding you’re working late into the evening as that’s when you’re most productive, why not give yourself a later start and have a lie in? Or, you may be more productive in the morning. If that’s the case, block out that time in your calendar to dedicate to powering through your to-do list, and try not to take meetings during those hours.

Likewise, there may be times in the day when you’re least productive. Give yourself back those hours and spend them taking time for yourself, rather than attempting to work and doing so at a poor pace.

  1. Learn to say no

When you’re trying to grow your business, it can be easy to agree to extra work or responsibilities, and forget about the threat of burning out. Your focus is on the business, rather than yourself. It might be that you’re taking on more customers than you originally anticipated, or taking on tasks instead of delegating responsibilities to your employees or to freelancers. However, this can be very unhealthy, and the build up of stress can actually cause issues further down the line that will impede your ability to do your job.

Attempting to keep on top of all your tasks can cause further stress, as you may not be able to complete everything to the standards that you’re happy with.

Learning to say ‘no’ every now and again can help your own stress levels as well as helping your business, too. It will give you more time to dedicate to the things you do say ‘yes’ to, so your business can flourish along with your peace of mind.

Search engine optimisation for business growth

Do you know the extent to which search engine optimisation (SEO) can bolster your business growth?

The answer’s often no, that’s not to say to that people aren’t aware of SEO as a concept, rather that it often appears on a marketing plan isolated – a box to be ticked – without any real concept of how it ties into your overall growth strategy.

In reality, SEO is a wide-reaching an exceptionally powerful part of most successful brand’s marketing approach – even on a day-to-day basis for smaller businesses such as Atlas Ceramics in Hampshire SEO is an integral part of their marketing strategy as showing in the organic results is key for their business.

With this is mind, we’ll look at what it is, how it works and the types of growth it could offer your organisation…

What is SEO?

Search engine optimisation is any activity that translates to an improvement in where your website displays on search engine results pages.

Now, there are billions of webpages in existence – but you’ll find that customers search for sites in your particular business area with a surprisingly small number of keywords or terms. For example; you make bespoke birthday cakes in London, if someone’s looking for a ‘bespoke birthday cake in London’ that’s what they’ll type into Google or another search engine.

That bad news is, you’re not the only company who’s offering this service, so Google decides which of London’s bespoke cake makers offers customers the best website experience. To do this, it has complex algorithms that looks at a variety of factors, including:

  • The age of your website (with a preference for sites that are well established)
  • How your site is designed (with a preference for information that relates to the search terms)
  • The content on your website (with a preference for lots of relevant content)
  • How many other sites link to your page (with a preference for links from high authority sites)

Now, that’s not all that impacts your rank, but given that you could write a 1000 page book on the topic… then need to update that same book the next time Google rolls out an update to its ranking methods – understanding the fundamentals is good enough if you’re not looking to change careers into SEO just yet!

Why is SEO important?

You can probably answer this question already by asking yourself how many times you’ve found the information or type of business you’re searching for on page 7 of Google.

Exactly.

In fact, although it depends somewhat on the industry you’re in and the familiarity of your brand name, around 50% of the people searching will opt for the first result that’s displayed when they search with Google. That figure drops dramatically to somewhere around 12% of people who’ll opt for the second result… with the remaining 38% distributed over the results beyond that (although rarely beyond page 2).

Hence, if you want serious traffic to your site, a good rank with search engines is almost vital.

Harnessing SEO for business growth

Let’s look at the key benefits a site that’s optimised for search engines will offer your customers:

  1. Greater traffic

The numbers above already do the talking on this point. The higher you rank the greater the numbers of people that are going to be hitting your site.

That’s not to say that you just bang a ‘buy now’ call to action on your site and hope for the best – there are a variety of reasons someone could be visiting your site and it’s only with well thought through work on creating a solid site and brand that you’re going to inspire action.

Now, there isn’t a metric that records how many people visit your site and scribble your phone number or address in their diary to contact you later – but there are a lot of analysis tools that can be used to look at how people act using your site. More traffic means more data – and data is the thing to drill down into if you want to know what to do more of for growth…

  1. Easy to use sites

It’s no coincidence that sites designed to bolster your search rank are also the sites that your customers will find the most easy to use – so designing with SEO in mind offers a double benefit.

Not only do you climb the rankings based on your site following the fundamentals that Google expects from the best sites – but you’re effectively drawing on what could be the biggest bank of data in the world – Google’s user behaviour data.

Google (and other search engines) want to display the most relevant sites – and to do so they look at the behaviour of the billions of people searching each day. When someone tells you what you need to do to rank well on Google they’re essentially taking findings from that mass of data and suggesting you apply it to your site.

Easy to use sites equal increased traffic and conversions – both of which help you grow. 

  1. Create trust

There aren’t many things that build trust quite so much as being the first result returned when someone searches for your business area online.

The assumption is generally that you “must be the authority” on whatever your business area is – and given Google’s preference for sites that have lots of great content and links from other authority pages – that’s a fair assumption.

You can’t buy trust – but you can buy SEO expertise, which in turn gives you the opportunity to put indications that you’re trustworthy in front of an increasing number of people.

  1. Overtake your competition

Unless you’re very lucky (or smart) you’re probably working in an business area where you have competition – so take a second to imagine what your business accounts would look like if you could just take a few percent of your 5 main competitor’s top line budget contribution figures and apply that to your own books.

Retirement? A Ferrari? A most prestigious postcode? Shorter days? Whatever success looks like for you, out-ranking your competitors is likely to take you a step closer – primarily because of the reasons we’ve already mentioned.

Try to imagine optimising for SEO as being an obstacle race – there are hoops to jump through and hard work to be done, but it’s important that you always remember other people are running that race too. The sooner you begin, the more likely you are to get a chance at that lion’s share of the search traffic that’s out there looking for a company like yours…

The Struggle between Being the Nice Guy Boss and an Outright Dictator

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One of the hardest things about being a boss is finding the balance between being a nice guy and being an outright dictator. Today, we discuss the concept and offer some significant tips for you!

What is a “nice guy”?

This is the idea of being an employer that is rather well liked by their employees. Someone who is considered to be approachable—someone has the ability to successfully guide their business and their employees to the next level. Sound good, right?

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However, reality is not as impressive. Humans are complex creatures—we have always been and we will always continue to be. That is the reality. As much as employers would like to have a utopian relationship with their employees, being too accessible or lenient may be taken as a form of weakness. Your nice guy boss persona might end up having the entire workforce walk all over you.

What is an outright dictator?

This is the type of boss that has no nonsense outlook in running their workforce. They often have strict rules and expect them to be obeyed to the letter even if it may not be ethical or fair. While these people enjoy a certain degree of success in getting their way, they ultimately have a rather toxic environment for employees.

Employers who cross the threshold into dictatorship can pretty much expect almost no form of loyalty in their employees. What they can expect are people who will jump ship the moment a better opportunity (even if it pays less) becomes available. Dictator bosses have employees who end up fearing then rather than respecting them.

The Struggle

While being a nice guy sounds like a good deal, it is a fairly poor business decision down the road. There must always be an air of professionalism between you (the boss) and your workers. This professionalism will protect you from being walked all over and being disrespected.

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It is truly possible for a boss to be liked but it is better to be respected than to be liked. Studies have shown that employees who like their boss but do not respect them are not as inclined to complete their tasks to the best of their ability. Those who fear their boss put in a bit too much effort and often (in their haste to complete their task), mistakes are found.

In the world of business and you are just starting out, mistakes should be avoided. While they do happen, the gravity or magnitude of that mistake can cost you more than just money.

Be a Good Boss

A good boss carries the approachableness of the nice guy and the structure of the dictator. A good boss tempers both qualities and melds them into a good combination that can be pulled out when needed. If an employee is struggling, there is no sense in being a dictator—you will not get good results that way. Being a good boss allows for empathy and flexibility! When employees feel like their needs are being heard, they work harder and they stay with you longer.

Tune in again next month as Tipit gives more tips and advice for you and your business.

8 Start-up Offices That You Need to See

In recent years, offices around the world have been bucking the trend of giving employees a traditional cubicle and creating more adventurous workspaces. And the start-ups have been following suit, taking advantage of the ‘new company, new office’ saying and transforming buildings into personalized spaces that mirror the tone of the brand.

Long gone are the days when companies such as HP and even Apple occupied their garage buildings.

Here are some of the weird and wonderful office spaces that start-ups now call home.

1. Etsy

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For a company known for offering a beautiful and eclectic selection of bits and bobs, the Etsy offices don’t disappoint. While each of the three offices has its own distinct style, they all manage to encapsulate the feel of Etsy. The New York office is also about muted tones, cosy sofas to sink into and giant vintage rugs, while Hudson’s premises is the epitome of urban industrial style, thanks to the worn wooden flooring, large open spaces and even an apothecary of natural remedies to keep employees in good health. However, the real star of the show is the Dumbo office, where bright colours reign supreme. Giant orange lamps create a warm glow, while the themed meeting rooms make you feel like you’ve been transported to another part of the world.

2. CouchSurfing

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a giant treehouse? At CouchSurfing, they’ve realised this dream with their main headquarters in San Francisco. The company’s purpose is to encourage travel by connecting hosts with those in search of a place to sleep. This promotion of a sense of adventure can be seen in the HQ office design thanks to the ample greenery, swing seats and lounging areas. CouchSurfing’s main office actually allows members of the CS community into the office, to make use of the space and get to know the people behind the computers.

3. Pionen

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Housed within a former Cold War bunker is data centre Pionen. The centre is actually a high security data facility, though is probably best known as the once-home to WikiLeaks. The facility sits 100ft deep in the rocky White Mountains of Stockholm in Sweden, behind a 16-inch steel door. This sense of security is found throughout the facility, from the dual electricity supply and back-up generators to the video surveillance and secret cable paths. The James Bond villain-esque theme is completed by plenty of dry ice, a 2600-litre fish tank and atmospheric lighting (which is actually just growing lights for the plants). All it needs now is a fluffy white cat and the picture is complete.

4. Draugiem

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In Latvia, the most popular social networking site isn’t Facebook, it’s Latvian start-up Draugiem. Based in Riga, the building now houses numerous other start-ups from productivity software to fleet management, all of which are Latvian-specific. The office itself enjoys plenty of natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide plenty of sunshine for the greenery that’s dotted throughout. Some of these plants even produce fruit. Office segways provide an alternative way to get around the office, while the rooftop astroturf and cosy chairs allow employees to relax in style with their lunch.

5. Dropbox

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‘Modern’ and ‘cool’ are the buzzwords when it comes to the Dropbox offices. Nowhere is this truer than the workspace in San Francisco. The HQ for this file hosting service was designed with rapid growth in mind. One of the architects behind the refurb comments “If cubicles are the suburbs then our approach to Dropbox HQ is downtown.” The pared back design is complemented by experimental art pieces – there’s a ping pong ball wall along one of the hallway walls and a grand piano and bespoke chandelier in one of the meeting rooms.

6. Basecamp

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Formerly known as 37signals, this web software company calls Chicago home. Previously an empty box (it was a photography studio), the designers decided to fill the space with box-like rooms. These personify Basecamp’s purpose; to sort through and organize all of your inboxes, notepads and websites. As well as the expected desk space, there’s also a miniature theatre, five ‘team rooms’ and a giant dining table attached to the kitchen. Soft wood and muted tones thoughout are enhanced by the ample natural light. Many of those who visit comment that the elegant simplicity of the office space is reminiscent of a modern hotel lobby.

7. Squarespace

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One of New York’s most prominent start-ups is Squarespace, and the office décor surely lives up to the hype. Deep within Soho, the workroom marries modernity with a monochrome colour palate, resulting in an office that practically oozes chicness. The thinking behind the spacious design was to make the engineers and designers creating customer’s websites not feel chained to their desks. There’s an abundance of locations for them to choose from including leather benches, giant pouffes (found next to the wipeboard wall), glass pods, and plush leather lounges. For a well-earned break, employees can hang out in the lobby or head up to the roof deck for excellent views of the New York skyline.

8. Quirky

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As you’d expect from a company called Quirky, the office space for this business is one of a kind. The MO of Quirky is to connect creators with investors. From the look of the office space in Manhattan, it appears the company has connected with a great designer! Exposed brick walls, visible ceiling beams and touches of concrete hint to the building’s past, while an abundance of glass makes the workplace seem open and yet enclosed all at the same time. For collaboration and hosting workshops, the Pit is an excellent space to utilize, while private pods can be used by staff looking for a moment of privacy and quiet on a call. Each meeting rooms has a theme, the upcycled tables matching functionality with intrigue.

Why Websites like Visionwiz Deserve a Lot of Credit

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Whenever you feel lost about anything, the best plan of action is to go to someone who has experience. Their wisdom can be your tool to success. Visionwiz is one of many websites, like Tipit, that have offered their wisdom at no extra cost.

What is Visionwiz?

This is a website that has quite an age under its belt. It mission has remained consistent over the many years since it’s launch and that is to provide useful tips and information regarding businesses—from creation, productivity, and the eventual launch of an business venture.

Why do websites like these deserve a lot of credit?

They offer a useful service

Imagine what things were like back then—whenever anyone started a business it was a pretty blind venture. It was either you were part of a family that already had an established business and learned the ropes from them or you had to do it all on your own.

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They part with their wisdom for FREE

There was no free user’s guide or manual for starting a business. We put the emphasis on the word “free” because those who usually offered to show you how to start your business often charged for it. Then there was the pitfall of those with major capital offering to “help” then ultimately taking your idea and mass producing it in a scale that you otherwise would not have been able to accomplish at the start.

It was a pretty vicious world. Visionwiz offered relevant and critical information made by business owners for business owners. It was a resource that was incredibly useful.

Their approach was conversational and not a lecture

Another pitfall in asking for help back then was that there was always this rift that would form between the pupil and the master. While they meant well, there are always certain new developments that business owners back then did not have to deal with (internet and social media, for example). The generational gap always played a factor.

So instead of doing a lecture, Visionwiz takes on a conversational tone to their discussions. So it feels like talking to a really wise friend rather than taking notes from a professor.

They discuss current issues and offer advice to fit the times

Sites like Visionwiz always drew from current concerns for those who were presently in the midst of creating or running their own businesses. They make sure that the information that they provide or the issues they discuss were things that were being experienced in the present. If you go through their archive, you can see how their articles have evolved with time.

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In Closing

Wisdom is a treasure that is rarely given for free. Thank goodness then for sites (like ours) and like Visionwiz that make it their mission to provide useful information regarding all the modern issues in starting a business.

So if you find such a website, be sure to show your support! See if they have a donation page—every little bit helps. After all, the longer they stay online, the more useful information you can learn from them.

7 Ways to Earn More with Affiliate Marketing

In this modern world, we live in, there are lots of different ways to earn more money working from home using affiliate marketing.  Some of the great reasons why people get involved in this kind of marketing in the first place are that the start-up money and amount of experience required is lower than a lot of other professions. 

However, although it is relatively easy to get started with affiliate marketing, it is not as easy to make a success of it. 

With this in mind, therefore, we are going to look at 7 ways in particular that you can earn more with affiliate marketing.  Although the tips below which were shared with us by the team at Serpchampion will not guarantee you immediate success, they will help you on the road to increasing your revenue. 

Focus On Your Niche

Regardless of what you are doing whether it is creating content, blogs paid advertising or straight-forward affiliate marketing, it is important to focus on your niche as much as possible.  When you focus on the actual audience you are trying to target and what they are looking for specifically, you will find it easier to promote products and services to them.

Split Testing

While many people consider split testing to be something that makes perfect common sense to do, there is still much more that neglect to do it.  The concept is if you have a specific offer or fairly generic landing page that you are looking to promote, you could start testing the offer to your target audience.  After you get some traffic and stats to your offer, it is sensible to test out a different offer or landing page with the exact same audience.

It is recommended that you do this during all your campaigns, as you never know what particular offers and landing pages will perform better in producing conversions.  When carrying out split testing though, you need to make sure you only make a single change at a time, or else you could run into the trouble of not knowing what changes altered the results.

Get Yourself A Well Designed and Professional Looking Website

Although it is ultimately the content you have on your website that is most important, the way that information is presented – be it offers, products or services – can affect how successful your business will actually be.  In order for your visitors to convert to buyers and customers, they need to trust your affiliate website and they are more likely to trust a website that looks professional and not crammed with ads and a dis-organised design. 

It won’t matter how good your content is if they can’t find it.  Therefore it is vital that you put a lot of time and effort into establishing a professional looking website that has a simple and cohesive design that will allow your visitors to find the information they want without getting a headache.

Monitor Campaigns Using Tracking

Using affiliate networks is helpful for sending out payments and finding offers.  They are also very useful when it comes to tracking how well your campaign is performing.  However, it is advised that you don’t rely on their reporting and stats alone.  That is not to say that your affiliate network may be untrustworthy, it’s just not all track as often as they should.  It is more beneficial to have your own tracking in place whether it is hosted on its own platform or you can download the software and place it on your server.  This will give you the ability to monitor and track your campaigns more directly and compare the results with those produced by your network.

Start With A Small Budget And Increase Over Time

If you are completely new to affiliate marketing, you should avoid trying to rush the process – by throwing lots of money into a campaign, hoping it will be successful.  It is wiser to start with a smaller budget each day and as you fine-tune your campaign over time, and see it becoming successful, you can increase your budget accordingly.

Request Higher Payouts

As there are so many affiliate marketers using affiliate networks to run their offers, many get lost in the crowd.  When you join a particular network you will be able to see the offers available from all the marketers on that network, along with this you will see their base payout rates that they offer to everyone.

The important word to note here is ‘base rates’, this is how much money everyone is earning.  When you start achieving high-quality leads and a high volume of sales, it is recommended that you request for higher payout on your orders.  Most ad networks have a reasonable amount of money to play with and if you are already bringing in the volume of and quality of leads, it is likely that they will have the funds to boost your rate of commission.

Create Your Own Service Or Product

Our last tip involves not being completely reliant on affiliate marketing.  It is important that you are always looking for new ways to improve your earnings and business size.  There are various other ways you can earn money outside of your efforts in affiliate marketing.  These techniques may help to inspire the creation of new services and products you can promote to different audiences.   

One of the most effective ways to increase your revenue in affiliate marketing is to see if you can create a similar service or product to one you are already promoting and effectively cut out the middleman and direct a larger share of the earnings from sales to your own business. 

There you have it, 7 key ways to earn more with affiliate marketing.  While it is true that it is not quite as simple as some ‘gurus’ and others claim it is to earn money from affiliate marketing.  However, with the right research, time and effort and by following the tips above, you could turn it into an incredibly effective source of revenue.

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