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!

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.

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.

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

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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. 

11 Factors to improve website usability

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We’re told to not judge books by their covers when we’re young – and while it’s a nice sentiment, I’m afraid to tell you that the practice doesn’t stick with us through to our grown-up internet shopping days.

We’re a fussy bunch, we’ll ditch a website as quick as a flash should we struggle with the navigation, not be enamoured by their imagery or be turned off by their layout.

However, according to SM Design Studio who are a Los Angeles web design company there are factors relevant to every website and some are more ‘crucial’ than others to get right.

If you want your ecommerce site to succeed, you’re going to have to overcome the most common pitfalls that see users hitting that ‘back’ button – and there’s a lot of them – but, fortunately for you, we’ve covered the most common 11 here…

  1. Load time

The first contributing factor to the usability of your ecommerce site happens before the first image or piece of text has loaded into your user’s browser.

The speed that your store appears on screen can make a MASSIVE difference to whether or not anyone sticks around to use your site, let alone decide how easy it is to use. Cause people to wait more than 3 seconds and you’ll lose somewhere between 38% and 44% of your audience.

Do everything you practically can to bring homepage loading time down to an absolute minimum.

  1. Make your homepage right

It might sound obvious – but your homepage really needs to make it clear that people are on a site that will sell them the product they’re looking for. Product images are important – and it’s also important that they correspond to what people are coming to your site looking for.

For example, you might have the best range of bikinis this side of Rio and a great email campaign that tells people so – but if they click through and see your range of winter jackets, don’t expect to sell much swimwear.

Studies show that you’ve got roughly one-twentieth of a second to make the right impression. That amount of time doesn’t allow for the human brain to make a solid conscious thought-based decision – but we’ve learned to base these snap thoughts on the colours, structure and layout of what we see – make it right or lose people.

  1. Complex filters

Menu filters can be awesome – but there’s a very thin line between superb and annoying.

If you make a menu filter over complicated you stand a chance of narrowing customer choice too far, meaning they’re left with just a very small number of available products. While they might well have chosen these options, users can be left with a bad impression of the store if they perceive that there are too few products stocked.

There are going to be standard filter options based on your industry – so do some research and see what will work for you.

When you’re doing your research, look out for subjective filter options – and remember them so you don’t fall into the same trap. What’s ‘leisure use’ to one person might be ‘professional standard’ to someone else – so stick to hard facts when you’re narrowing people’s search.

  1. Always let users search

It’s important to give people a rip-cord they can pull before hitting back and navigating away. A constant search bar at the top of the page gives people exactly this – and probably stops them clicking elsewhere when they’re tired of the product they’re currently looking at.

Essentially, the search bar gives you a second bite at the cherry – for example:

You don’t have the jacket a customer is looking for – so their instinct is to go back to the address/search bar at the top of the page. If you can offer them a search before they get their – they’re likely to glance over your range of jeans before they leave.

  1. Show stock levels early

There’s little as frustrating as getting all the way through your shopping process – sometimes choosing multiple items – before progressing to your basket and finding out that the first item you chose is out of stock.

Stock levels should be displayed on every product page. If they’re not, you stand the chance of really irritating customers – and irritated customers don’t persevere and keep spending money with you.

  1. Great imagery

Images are all we have when we’re shopping online – and if they’re not up to scratch you can expect to lose a huge number of people – who’ll all to go on to find a site that accurately shows what they’re shopping for.

Now, it might be time consuming, but showing images of every possible colour and design is vital. People don’t buy unless they’re confident – and they’re not confident unless they can envisage exactly what they’re going to get.

  1. Lots of product content

A massive number of online stores are guilty of going way too light with their product descriptions – and, just like scrimping on pictures, it’s going to put people off.

What you essentially risk by going light with your product content is putting a hurdle in the way of the purchase – and when people get to the hurdle? They’ll either look elsewhere for an answer – or they’ll ask you. Either way, your conversion levels drops significantly.

Words and pictures – a killer combo – and absolutely key if you want to maximise your sales.

  1. Stick to cart conventions

A quick and simple tip!

Don’t be quirky with your basket – sticking to the conventions keeps people confident. It needs to be somewhere near the top right of the page and should show the basket total price and number of items alongside it.

  1. Make add to basket obvious

Quick and simple tip number 2!

It needs to be extremely obvious how a customer adds a product to their basket. Make sure buttons are prominently placed and in an eye-catching colour.

  1. Basket etiquette

Again, keeping things predictable when people are reviewing their basket and checking out is really important unless you want your customers walking away with debit cards in their hands…

Confirm every detail of the product – including:

  • A picture (in the right colour/design)
  • Size
  • Quantity

Make it easy for someone to delete and item – it might sound counterproductive but if they don’t want it you need to make it simple for them to put one thing back – rather than abandon a heaving basket.

Oh – and the next step? That needs to be as obvious as getting to the basket in the first place. ‘Proceed to payment’ in eye catching colours and prominent placing wins the day.

  1. Focus on the check-out

Virtual checkouts differ from real checkouts massively. While you’re waiting in a queue in real life you’re a captive audience for the gifts, socks or snacks the retailer wants to tempt you with. Online the story is different though – you want your customers 100% focused on what they’ve got and getting over the payment finish line.

Now is not the time to recommend more products – now is the time to make the checkout process as light and simple as possible.

 

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