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

Blog7 - The Struggle between Being the Nice Guy Boss and an Outright Dictator

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

Blog6 - Why Websites like Visionwiz Deserve a Lot of Credit

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.

How To Keep Your Employees Motivated And Happy

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As well as for the benefit of the members of the workforce themselves, if you want your business to be a success you need to keep your staff happy and motivated.  The great thing is, keeping your workers happy doesn’t always mean giving them a raise or anything too expensive.  Often, it’s the small things, those tiny details that matter the most. 

At the heart of any successful business, you will find happy employees who want to do the very best they can for their employers.  When you make changes to improve their morale and overall job satisfaction, some of the benefits you can expect includes a notable decrease in staff turnover, less absences and increased and improved productivity.

In the following post we will look at some of the relatively simply, but extremely effective ways you can implement to ensure the members of staff employed by you are happier and more motivated. 

Listen to Your Employees

It is crucial that your employees know that you are keen to listen to them and will always take on board their suggestions, concerns and opinions.  When they are unhappy, you need to think about what you can do to fix it.   What can you do to turn their lack of motivation around before it starts having a detrimental effect on their fellow workers?

Make yourself approachable to them and let them know that they can speak to you confidentially when they need to. 

Talk To Your Employees

This isn’t particularly rocket science, but it can have a potent effect on your staff.  Simple small talk, that shows you are interested in them as individuals and people.  This could include greeting them at the start and end of the day, asking them if they are having a good day or not, how their family is and what they did at the weekend.  By taking the time to speak to them, you are showing them they matter and it helps them to have a positive attachment psychologically to your company and their job.   As a result, you will probably feel happier too.

Show Appreciation For Their Efforts And Hard Work

You try to show your employees that you appreciate the hard work they put in for your company and things they achieve on behalf of you and your brand.  It should be an ingrained part of what it means to work at your company.  When members of staff feel valued by their employers, they are not only happier at work, but more productive – in many case at least 12% more productive than unhappy members of staff.  It can be something as small and seemingly insignificant as telling them they did a good job on a report or a sale they secured, that will brighten their mood.

Value Individuality

Although a business’s success is intricately connected to teamwork, it is essential that they are valued as individuals that can have an impact as well as within their team.  The last thing any employee wants to feel is that they are just a faceless drone.  Commend individuals who achieve things for the company and identify and consider their specific needs and circumstances and always give them tasks that are within their skill-set.

Build Up Your Team

Effective teamwork can help your business in various ways, such as building up friendships and instilling a sense of belonging and responsibility towards the company.  You can achieve this by making their place of employment a fun and warm place to work and arrange staff bonding and teamwork building exercises.  Early finishes for a drink at the pub on a Friday, sports days and staff lunches are just a few examples of the kinds of events you could organise.

Create A Balanced Working Environment

A workplace that is too strict can be suffocating and depressing, whereas one that is far too easy going could decrease productivity and motivation to actually work.  Hence, it is important to find a good balance.  Give your employees chances to enjoy some fun within the office or workplace.  Consider installing a games console in the boardroom, if it is viable.  Failing that, a ping pong table in a rec room will show your employees that not only do you expect them to work hard, that you want them to be happy too.  Encourage screen breaks, so they can stay physically and mentally healthy; while boosting their productivity in the process.

Ensure The Workplace Is Clean and Hygienic

There is a lot to be said for establishing a workplace that is clean and hygienic.  Along with ensuring the offices and all areas where staff work, as well as recreational areas, are kept clean and hygienic; make sure you have a computer and data centre cleaning service on your list of priorities.  While you can encourage your staff to keep their desks, computers and other equipment clean, they will appreciate any official and professional services you are willing to pay out on their behalf.

Encourage Career Development

When a job becomes too stagnant and repetitive offering no opportunity for progress or change, even the most focused and motivated workers will soon lose enthusiasm.  Are you able to provide additional training for your staff?  Speak to them and ask them the kind of skills they would like to develop in their role and what they see as their goals in the company.  Offer them incentives to encourage them to reach targets.  When your employees know there are chances for them to improve their standing within the company and progress, they are more likely to enjoy their work more, work harder at it and less likely to jump ships to another employer.

Flexibility Is Important

Flexibility in the workplace has played an important part in revolutionising the way employers and employees work.  Gone is the 9-5 working day for many businesses.  Depending on your business, customers and clients are obviously your main priority when you plan out staff numbers and working hours.  New technology can be utilised nowadays to make it easier for employees to work from home and better balance the work and nonwork parts of their life.  Flexible or remote working will make your company more attractive to your staff.

Include Your Staff Whenever You Can

You should make it policy, when practical and applicable, to involve your workers in crucial decisions about the company.  It’s hard to find a better, more effective ego-boost for employees than when an employer values their experience, knowledge and skill that they deserve to have their opinion heard in the boardroom.


You can do this by always keeping employees updated about company decisions, whether it involves reshuffles of team structures new product launches or location moves.  It will help your employees to feel respected and that they can have an impact.  The result for you and the company, is that you may receive suggestions and ideas you had never considered before.

The 9 best ways to motivate your team

35 Unique Ways to Motivate Your Team to Be More Productive - The 9 best ways to motivate your team

It’s often said that people are the most important asset any company has – but finding a company who truly prioritises looking after their team is a different matter.

If you see heads dropping or get the feeling those Monday morning blues extend right the way through the week, you might need to think about changing the way you support you team. Do it right – and in exchange, you’re almost guaranteed to see increases in productivity…

Ask yourself if you’re doing all of the following:

  1. Encouraging creativity

Expecting a process to be adhered to is likely to stifle the creativity of your team members.

Instead of applying prescriptive paths to an end result, try giving your team a bit of creative leeway. To do so, you’re going to need to explain to them what the desired end result should look like – instead of the step-by-step on how to get there.

We’re human, so what’s produced might not be exactly what you had in mind – but you should recognise that in allowing some freedom of expression you’re drawing on skills that might surprise you. At the very least, you’ll be viewed as flexible and trusting.

  1. Set challenges

A high-jumper doesn’t get better by continuing to jump over easily achieved measurements.

There’s some risk involved with setting the bar a bit higher for your team – as there’s a chance they’ll come up short – but don’t forget that there’s a lot of learning to be had in failure.

Setting your team legitimately challenging tasks shows that they’re both valuable and trusted – and there are few better pats on the back than that. And if they miss? Be constructive – what can you do that will support them to achieve next time?

  1. Say thank you

It can be quite difficult to say thank you at times – it might feel awkward or forced, but psychologists agree there’s very little that is more motivating that getting some appreciation or acknowledgement from the boss.

Managers and leaders sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that everyone knows they’re valued, but this is far from being true. While you might see the positive impact your team has on the bigger picture – the people at the ‘coal face’ probably don’t – so feedback positivity wherever possible.

  1. Understand the individuals

It’s easy to stereotype in the workplace – and while we’re not suggesting you’re discriminating, broad strokes over what “the sales team” (or anyone else for that matter) like or dislike might be missing the mark considerably.

Rather than making any assumptions about people, take 20 minutes to sit down and find out what makes them tick.

Making little allowances for the person who’s struggling with a hectic school run or the person who wants an earlier lunch is likely to have no impact on the business – but a huge impact on a person’s motivation to express thanks through workplace dedication.

A little time invested now will return itself ten-fold further down the line.

  1. Look for people doing it right

“I spotted something you were doing earlier, please could you come to my office so I can talk to you about it.”

That’s the kind of phrase or email that sends a shiver down the spine of most employees. So, imagine when they get to your office and find they’re there to receive praise for something good you’ve witnessed?

You don’t have to switch off your critical eyes – but instead of chastising the bad, praise the good – and watch morale soar. 

  1. Create a family feel

There are few methods of motivating a team that are as effective as creating a ‘kinship’ or family feel in the workplace. And the good news is, this doesn’t require getting drunk at a wedding and falling out with one another!

Instead, fostering the spirit of ‘having each other’s back’ should be the goal similar to what Reid Brothers in Glasgow have achieved over the years, lets face it they were established in 1868 so they are doing something right! 

Like the wedding, this doesn’t mean you’re all going to get along all the time – but it does mean that you can talk frankly without risk of alienating people.

Always come back to that team bond and the workplace with feel like a safer place. People always feel more motivated if they feel secure.

  1. Celebrate small wins

While business and company accolades might be reserved for the big orders or new clients – that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate the small stuff with your team.

Perhaps you’ve hit a target for the day? Got a project signed off? Worked out a more efficient way of storing your printer cartridges?! Who cares! Focusing on the positives in the day reframes the office mood.

Knowing there’s always a positive in each day does a huge amount for team spirit.

  1. Create some competition

The idea of competing doesn’t work for everyone – but since you’ve followed tip 4 and now know what makes your team members tick – you might have recognised a competitive streak in some individuals…

This can be levered to everyone’s advantage, as putting little challenges and head-to-heads into the day can inject a bit of good natured humour and drive.

Be careful that people don’t get carried away and that the rules are clear for everyone – but assuming they are, competition and recognition can work wonders for the more extroverted in your team.

  1. Avoid boredom!

The phrase ‘the rat race’ is used a lot when people describe their boring jobs. A endless chase, reminiscent of lab-rats – just to achieve the means to keep yourself alive to start it all over again tomorrow.

Don’t underestimate the power boredom has to knock all motivation out of a person. If you get the impression people are falling into this ‘rat race’ routine it you might be the person to mix things up a little.

Allowing people their own creative input into tasks is method of breaking this monotony we’ve already covered – but be prepared to make bigger changes for people. Throw their routine out of the window, move the office, swap some roles – the slight hindrance caused in the short-term is worth it to avoid people jumping ship long-term… 

Why Website Usability Is Important For Brand Experience

web design header e1511376004242 - Why Website Usability Is Important For Brand Experience

Building a website to market your brand is an exciting task, but it’s also one that comes with its fair share of challenges as well. There is a lot of different ways you can approach designing a website isn’t there? And it’s easy to get carried away.

In today’s digital world any business hoping to make an impact will need a website to showcase their brand, but website’s today can do so much more than just display information. They offer you unmatched versatility and reach but just because you’re a creative individual doesn’t mean you can build a high-quality website.

A lot of people make mistakes when crafting their website because they simply lose sight of what their website is supposed to do. They instead focus solely on the visual aspect and while this is incredibly important there is more to a website than just what it looks like.

That might sound strange when you consider how important a consistent image and design is when it comes to a website. But you have to ask yourself how good a website will actually be if it’s unusable? A striking design might make it look nice but if you can’t use the website is it actually any good?

The answer is no! An eye-catching design that also relates to your brand identity is important, but you also need to make sure your website is usable and when we say usable we mean usable by everyone. It’s important that no matter who your target audience is that your website can be accessible to everyone.

For example, let’s take a look at the Nicholson Original London Dry Gin website, it features a striking design that relates to their brand but is also simple and easy to use. Navigating their website is easy even for someone who as never really used a computer before, for example, the menu bar at the top easily highlights the separate areas of the website.

Getting the balance between an attractive design and maximum usability can be difficult because they are very closely connected but it can be done. If you’re ever struggling you can always take inspiration from your competitors, but make sure you don’t just copy everything you see.

How Do You Achieve Maximum Usability?

Well, that is the question, isn’t it? How do you build a website that showcases your brand effectively and is usable by a wide range of people? You need to plan carefully and know your brand inside out to ensure you build the best website possible and that isn’t always easy.

In fact, it rarely ever is that’s why freelance web designers are so popular, building a website is relatively simple but building a good one isn’t. But we can help you, below we’ve outlined some tips that will help you ensure your website is both the perfect representative of your brand and easy to use.

Keep It Simple

The word simple is a strange one, isn’t it? In certain circumstances, it can be bad but when it comes to website design it usually means the opposite a simple website doesn’t mean a poor one. Let’s consider the Nicholson Original London Dry Gin website again, it might be simple but it’s still striking, and a great representative of the businesses brand isn’t it?

A simple design can still be innovative as well, it doesn’t always mean basic, but it does mean you have to think about all the aspects of your website carefully. There are a lot of variables to take into account but as a general rule, the “less is more” approach is usually a good one to take.

Across Device Functionality

The internet has changed a lot, hasn’t it? In fact, I think there’s a good chance that many people reading this aren’t using a computer you could be browsing on your tablet or your smartphone. This is something you really need to take into account when designing your website because across platform functionality is essential.

Mobile web surfing is becoming more and more popular and the highly sort after audience groups like millennials and generation Z are more likely to utilise mobile devices so if they’re your target audience you need a website that will look just as good on a smartphone as it will on a tablet.

But even if they aren’t your target audience a website that works across multiple devices is still essential for effectively promoting your brand. So, make sure you ensure that your website is easy and simple to use across all devices.

Focus On The Text

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, don’t they? And that’s true graphics, photographs and videos are incredibly important when it comes to designing a website, but the text is just as important and it’s an important factor when it comes to ensuring your site’s usability.

And I’ am not just talking about SEO (although that is important as well) it’s important that your text is clear this goes for things like headings, menus, and titles.

It’s also important that you know how to effectively write for the web you need to be descriptive and interesting but also get to the point quickly. The layout is very important as well so break up those paragraphs and use features like bullet points and lists.

Use Images Strategically

When it comes to building your website, images are very important as I previously mentioned and not just as a design tool. They also affect the usability of your website as well, so it’s important that you know how to use images and photographs strategically.

You shouldn’t just upload a stock photo and call it a day, you need to make sure the image relates to your brand and business. Does the image support or enhance the accompanying text in any way? Learning how to use images effectively can take some practice so don’t be afraid to experiment but remember the image should have a purpose beyond just looking nice. 

The Changing Face of Affiliate Marketing within the Gambling Industry

what is affiliate marketing getting started - The Changing Face of Affiliate Marketing within the Gambling Industry

Affiliate marketing has long been the go-to strategy of online gambling sites as a means of generating online traffic and custom. Normally, a hybrid deal of CPA and revenue share is often negotiated between affiliate and operator. In recent years changes in gambling habits and government legislature within the industry have changed the methods and practices of many online platforms which has substantially reduced the reliance on affiliate marketing that some operators once gauged their success upon

Pressure has recently been placed on the gambling industry to end the gambling affiliation schemes that many providers still rely on substantially. Negative publicity arose around affiliate marketing after Guardian reports suggested that tipsters were earning up to 30% commission on the losses of gaming customers.

After pay-per-click advertising within the industry dramatically increased in cost due to the competitive nature of the industry, attention was turned to affiliate marketing as a means of bringing in custom. It could be argued that the exponential growth of new demographics that the industry targeted created an endless marketplace for affiliates to discover. 

The reality is sometimes slightly different. Many affiliates often use covert tactics to lure in potential customers. Many of the tipster platforms that you see across social media often sometimes post long shot bets that can entice the most vulnerable of players. Alternatively, many choose not to reveal the detailed terms and conditions that often come into place with reduced or free online bets.

Tarnishing the good name of the industry

In recent years Affiliate marketing has gained quite a dirty name in gambling circles for this very purpose. Revenue is made by having customers that are always playing. Although affiliate marketers bring in the players they are merely a short-term fix to cover for a lack of brand or quality associated with the operator.

Many affiliates have rebranded themselves as performance marketers in an attempt to cleanse the name they are now associated with. Although affiliate marketing is still a large part of the marketing spectrum within gambling, many operators have chosen to build from the bottom and opt for the long-term approach of cementing a brand identity and implementing a solid SEO strategy.

Scott Manford, CEO of Easy Slots said: “Here at Easy Slots we found that during the short-term using external affiliate marketers was a beneficial way of creating a surge of interest around the beginning of our launch.”

“We’ve since found that affiliate marketing is often only a temporary stop gap that seems to exhaust itself after a certain period of time. We are in the process of combining our SEO strategy with an in-house affiliate marketing manager leading us to monitor both the quality of traffic that is being drawn to the site while also practicing in a way that is both ethically suitable to both the players and the industry. Learn how to gamble responsibly today.

Affiliate marketing is still very much a prominent marketing strategy within the industry but has certainly dropped off in the wake of other proven long-term strategies like SEO. As the industry continues to grow in new unchartered territories with unpredictable markets in China, Scandinavia, and Latin America who knows what will emerge from the affiliate marketing scene. Will affiliate marketing work in these culturally deferential territories. Only time will tell. 

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