24Feb2015
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Businessman in a tight office

Being patronisingly informed via a waving finger that ‘a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind’ might quite rightly send you into a tirade in which you detail the inhuman extent of your workload. Organisation can often seem like something that’ll just take up more valuable time, but the truth is, organised people do get more done. Why? Generally speaking, they are more efficient, have better time management, and work more proactively than reactively.  Sorry, but it’s true and adopting a few simple tricks to become more organised can be one of the most effective things a person in business can do.

In the words of possibly the greatest exponent of the inspired one-liner, Winston Churchill, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, so rather than committing your business to a wholly unnecessary downfall, here are a few tips to help clear the mental and physical debris.

Let’s be clear …

It’s easy to underestimate the time wasted and stress caused by an inefficient working environment. Anyone who spends an hour rifling through piles of paperwork on a desktop in the endless quest to find an important file needs to take a long hard look at themselves.  Desk space is prime real estate and therefore should be filled with only those items which you actually need. If you don’t use it daily, or at the outside weekly, it’s time to cull or file it.

Further to this, create set locations for specific materials. This doesn’t have to mean drawing black outlines of a stapler and hole punch in your desk drawer but storing items logically, simply makes retrieval that bit more straightforward. Once you’ve used it, return it.

Studies have shown 80% of what we file is never accessed again. If there isn’t a legal requirement to keep something, rather than just mindlessly hoarding paperwork, give yourself a good hard talking to and be prepared to let it go.

Let’s make a plan …

Planning ahead is a key component of remaining focused, organised and systematic. Allocating even a short amount of time at the start of a week to take a look at your business, reflecting on and prioritising those items which are of most importance and which move the company most clearly in the direction it wants to go, can be incredibly useful. It’s easy to spend the majority the time fighting proverbial fires and reacting to each transient event that comes along and losing sight of what is actually important and why.

Let’s just deal with it …

Rather than letting problems or difficult tasks fester, deal with them as soon as they crop up. Difficult discussions, tricky decisions or boring tasks will only get worse the longer you leave them, and it will do nothing for the overall organisation of your business.

Making decisions and taking action efficiently has the potential to have a major impact on keeping a business’s momentum moving quickly.

Stay Organised

Staying organised is unquestionably easier said than done. It requires determination, ongoing effort and strict regimentation. The key, however, is to remain focused and to observe how implementing small changes can have large implications for efficiency and clarity in the short and long term. Of course, no two days are the same, but try not to let hiccups derail your overall plan. Simply review, revise and move forward.

 

By Alison Curry-Taylor, Operations Director Daily Internet

22Jan2015
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Travelling in the space

These days, business changes in the blink of an eye. Change is constant and inevitable. Anticipating these changes and ensuring your business is able to adapt to meet them, is a great way to ‘future-proof’ your small business.

Learn to love Technology

From your smart watch and your tablet to the drone capturing the evening’s breaking news ; technology is pervasive. You’re no doubt using some form of tech device this very moment. Therefore, it is fundamental to know what technological solutions could and should be implemented into your business.

While it doesn’t necessarily have to involve switching your entire company to a cloud-based IT solution, ensuring that the simple things are done well is essential. Regularly updating your website, creating and managing social media profiles and carrying out targeted email marketing campaigns can all be simple ways of using technology to create human engagement with your business.

Tools such as Google Analytics, when learned and properly utilised, can unlock untold amounts of key information about how your online customers are behaving on your website, how much traffic might have been generated from marketing campaigns and where that traffic came from, etc. This kind of highly specific data can be used to streamline the processes you use and the value your website can deliver in driving your business forward.

Regularly Update your Website

Your website is your business’ store front. If poorly handled, it can drive potential new customers away  before they have got to know you at all. Making sure your website is clear, concise, easy to use and regularly updated is fundamental for making a good impression. Further to this, not only will customers be visiting your website on their desktop computers, increasingly they will be viewing what you have to offer on their smartphones or tablets. From browsing on the train to internet shopping in their coffee breaks, consumers are using downtime throughout the day to browse the net. Therefore, ensuring you have a website responsive to all devices is essential.

Keep Your finger on the pulse

It might seem like just as you’ve got to grips with one system, then  a newly updated and shinier version comes down the line. Don’t despair; even the biggest companies struggle with constantly staying ahead of the game when it comes to technological advancements. By focussing on the most immediate needs of your company and making an effort to keep up-to-date with those business trends which clearly affect you, you can mitigate the noise and keep pace more easily.

As an example, for those selling online, developing trends within the payment space might have a very real and significant impact on how many people feel secure purchasing from you. Keeping up in advancements in this space would therefore likely pay real dividends.

Customers always come first

Ultimately, it is the customers that make your business, but they can quite very easily break it too. Keeping them happy is possibly one of the most important things you should focus on, if you want to give your business longevity. The points above, such as keeping up with technology trends, keeping a website fresh, building a following through social media and streamlining payments are key in that, if they’re done well, they make a customer’s experience a pleasurable one.  That is the most important thing for any business and if achieved and perfected, can help make any businesses future-proof.

By Alison Curry-Taylor, Operations Director at Daily Internet

 

 

22Jan2015
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Cart and e-shop

Having an online ‘eShop’ has become an incredibly popular way to start a new business. Understanding how to make the very most of the tools available has the potential to make that new business a success. Because of this, we’ve teamed up with ePages on a series of online training ‘webinars’ which have been specifically designed to help you get the most out of your online shop.

The easy, step-by-step training offers a hands on approach to help get the most out of your eShop. Simply register for the live webinars, or listen to the online training guides, to help you sell smarter and boost your online business. All of the courses will be recorded, so you can learn in your own time, at your own pace.

The webinars cover everything you need to know to get your eShop up and running and provides tips on how it can be boosted to increase business.

The courses will be organised into two different categories – beginner and advanced. You’ll begin by reviewing the basics and finish up an expert in ecommerce! Each course is free of charge and will take approximately 45mins, plus an extra 15 minutes dedicated to Q&A’s.

How can you sign up?

Simply enter your details on this form and click submit. Once you have signed up, you will be contacted with information on future webinars. You’ll also be sent a reminder email one day before the course, with a direct link to join the live webinar.

16Jan2015
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Devices

Avoiding technology won’t just make it go away. Year on year we are bombarded with breaking news on technology that’s set to change the way we live and the very future of the human race.

On a little more personal scale, technology has proven to be an essential ingredient which can transform how a small business is able to operate. Whether it’s instant, global file sharing platforms, multi-device messaging or creating a new website in a matter of hours, technology is a key component to any business wanting to thrive in the current environment

Mobility

Mobile technology is universal. In fact, according to GSMA Intelligence, there are officially more gadgets in the world than there are people, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are. From smartphones to tablets and laptops, there’s definitely no escaping the mobile trend. The beauty is that you are not limited to one working space. Mobility for any business means you can operate from almost any location – whether you’re working from home, trekking up a mountainside or enjoying a hard-earned caffeine fix at your local coffee shop. Your business can travel with you and you can respond to any urgent emails, meeting requests or research on the run. In turn, this improves the customer experience you provide – gone are the days when customers had to wait weeks for a reply.

Further to this, ensuring your web presence is mobile-optimised must be at the very top of your 2015 ‘To Do’ list. Customers are increasingly intolerant of non optimised sites and don’t expect them to be firing up the desktop just to make that all important purchase from you. Again, this comes down to providing an air of professionalism and improving customer experience.

Clouds

Significant hype has surrounded cloud computing for some time. Similarly to mobile technology, cloud computing provides a way to increase business agility, whilst introducing a new cost – and time – effective measure to manage and process data. The nature of cloud computing means it’s fast – waiting for what seemed to be an eternity for an application to load is now ancient history. Applications can be up and running quickly wherever you are, on any computer. You can focus more on your business rather than the frustrations of your computing infrastructure.

 Digital

Technology has allowed small business to introduce global marketing campaigns into their budget. Digital marketing bridges the gap between your business and your customer, encouraging customer engagement and communication. More importantly, you can now tailor your marketing campaign to your specific target audience, rather than wasting money on blanket marketing. Tools, such as Google analytics, can help you drill down to the effectiveness of a particular campaign, or they can help predictions of sales or consumer patterns.

2015 is set to be another busy year for technology innovation. Making full use of the latest advancements in order to streamline processes, create agility and save cost will help your business to be professional and competitive. At first glance, the speed at which technology is shifting can seem incredibly daunting, but when innovative digital applications are used in conjunction with traditional business practices, there is the potential to elevate and expand business in the coming year.

 

By Alison Curry-Taylor,  Operations Director at Daily Internet

08Jan2015
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tax-regulation-banner-468x60_en (2)

New VAT regulations for digital products and services will apply throughout the EU from 1 January 2015. After introducing you to the law change in the previous article , we will now show you how to apply the changes to your shop.

Please note: The changes will only affect you if you sell digital products or services electronically to private consumers in other EU countries.

What do I need to do?

  • First you need to set up the new tax classes in the administration area, following these steps:
    • Create new tax classes for digital products and services
    • Create a tax area for every EU country you are selling to
    • Define the taxes for the tax areas

You can find further instructions below under How do I set up the new tax classes and areas?

  • If you already offer digital products or services in your shop, you must determine the new tax class for all these products and services. You can find out more below under, How do I set which VAT rate applies to which product?
  • If you create new digital products or services, make sure to select the correct tax class.
  • When you set prices for your products, bear in mind that the gross prices you have entered are applicable for the home country of your shop. The gross price in some other countries may be higher or lower because of the different tax rates across EU countries.

How do I set up the new tax classes and areas?

  1. In the Administration area in the main menu, select Settings and then Tax calculation.
  1. Select Customise.
  1. Confirm that you want to customise the tax matrix. 
  1. Select Tax classes.
  1. At the bottom of the table in the column ID, enter the ID ”Digital products and services“ and in the column Name the name, ”Digital products and services“.
  1. Save the changes.
  1. If you are selling eBooks in your shop, repeat steps 5 and 6 using ”eBooks“ as the ID and Name.
  1. Select Tax areas.
  1. For every EU country you are selling to, (including your own country) create a tax area. Enter at the bottom of the table in the column ID as well as in the column Name the name of the country.
  1. Save the changes.
  1. If you want to create tax areas for other countries, repeat the steps 9 and 10.
  1. Select Assignment of countries.
  1. In the table you can see the countries. For every EU country in the column Tax area select the corresponding tax area – for instance for Belgium the newly created tax area ”Belgium“.
  1. Save the changes.
  1. Select Tax matrix.
  1. In the table you can see the newly created tax areas/tax classes. The tax class, EU country, is now obsolete since you created new individual tax classes for every EU country. Now you have to insert the taxes for every EU country in the table. In the columns no VAT, standard and reduced, insert the taxes of your shop’s home country. If your shop is based in the UK for instance, enter “0”, “20” and “5” for all countries. In the columns Digital products and services, and, if applicable, eBooks, you have to enter the taxes for that particular EU country. For Digital products and services this is usually the normal VAT. You can find the VAT for eBooks in this document on page 19 (under “E-books”).
  1. Save the changes.

The new tax classes are now ready to be used in your shop.

How do I set which VAT rate applies to which product?

  1. In the administration area in the main menu, select Products then Products.
  1. The table shows an overview of all products in your online shop. Select the item number of the product you want to edit.
  1. Select the tax class for this product in the section List price, order unit, tax class under Tax class.
  1. Save the changes.

08Jan2015
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tax-regulation-banner-468x60_en (2)

From 2015, a new regulation will apply to online retailers who sell downloadable products and services in other EU countries. Retailers must pay the VAT due in the EU country in which the buyer is located.

In this guest post, Holger Linneweber from janolaw explains the changes. Our merchants have no need to worry, in the Administration area of the shop, an option for defining individual VAT rates for the different EU countries will be provided in good time. This blog explains exactly how this will work.

What is the background to the new rule?

The new rule is designed to bring about standardised framework conditions in European countries and to ensure fair taxation in e-commerce. This is because many big companies such as Apple and Amazon have benefited from lower levels of taxation by locating their head offices in countries with very low rates of VAT. This reform will end this type of tax shifting. Revenue from sales with private end customers (B2C) will be taxed in the country where the sale is made, i.e. where the customer resides.

What is the directive 2008/8/EC?

The new rule, which comes into force on 1 January 2015, is based on changes to EU directive 2008/8/EC. In future, when sellers and service providers sell their products or services, they will collect and pay over the VAT at the rate that applies in the EU country where the purchaser is based.

For example, if a customer in France decides to purchase image files from a seller in Germany, the seller in Germany must collect and pay over the VAT that applies in France.

Who is affected by the new rule/reporting obligation?

The new rule only affects companies which offer products and services to end customers (B2C) electronically. It does not apply to sales between companies (B2B). 

Which products/services are affected?

Only sellers of “non-physical” goods and services are affected, whose offers are also aimed at end consumers in EU countries. This includes:

  • Downloads
  • Streaming offers
  • Download offers
  • E-book sales
  • Hosting offers
  • Online databases
  • Fee-based members’ portals
  • Sales platforms (service providers)

The shipping of digital goods such as software or e-books on CD or DVD is not affected by the new rule.

How must the new rule be implemented?

The sellers in question can choose between two systems:

  1. A simplified system called the “Mini One Stop Shop” (MOSS) involving uniform reporting of VAT. This system is designed especially for small companies and saves the need for VAT registration in each individual EU country.

Further information can be found here: VAT Guide for Mini One Stop Shop

  1. Registration in each EU country. In this system, the country-specific sales and the associated VAT in the EU country concerned are collected and paid over directly. This is on condition that the seller registers with the relevant financial authority.

In turn, this requires an understanding of the reporting obligations for taxation of the relevant EU countries in which the sales are made. In addition to registration, this includes the rules and deadlines that apply to collecting and paying over the VAT. In the event of failure to comply with the rules, the tax laws of the country concerned apply.

What action needs to be taken?

The operators of an online shop whose offers and target group fall under the new rules must adapt the existing payment systems in their shops to the tax rates in the different EU countries. This means that the different tax rates must be both displayed and calculated. The gross price, i.e. including the applicable VAT, must be displayed to end customers (B2C) in the online shop. Due to this rule, the way that prices are calculated should also be checked. This is because if the same gross prices are used, the profit margin will vary due to different tax rates.

The following page lists the different VAT rates: VAT rates in the member states of the European Union

About the author and janolaw

Banker and business graduate Holger Linneweber works for the legal services provider janolaw AG as the marketing and sales manager, where he is mainly responsible for marketing and partner management. janolaw AG is based in the Rhine-Main area of Germany and since the year 2000 has been one of the top providers of Internet legal services. A growing number of shop owners are successfully using janolaw legal services for their business. Experienced lawyers provide immediate, authoritative answers to your questions about online trading. Long-term, legal security in E-Commerce is provided by the easy-to-use AGB Hosting-Service and the update services for eBay and Amazon. In addition to key documents for Internet shops, janolaw offers a comprehensive portfolio comprising several hundred samples for download on every subject in connection with Internet law. The range of templates is rounded off by the Contract Wizard which can be used to create individual, personalized documents and legal texts for Internet shops.

 

Contact: 

janolaw AG

Otto-Volger-Straße 3c

65843 Sulzbach/Taunus, Germany

Phone: +49(0) 6196/7722-500

Fax: +49(0) 6196/7722-507

E-mail: info@janolaw.de

Website: www.janolaw.de

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janolaw

06Jan2015
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Resolution text on typewriter

New Year’s resolutions; often an idea made after the overindulgence of the festive period, but sadly often abandoned before the end of January, right? But statistics have shown that adults who make resolutions are ten times more likely to reach their goals. Creating a new year’s plan for your business is therefore a perfect way to tie up any loose ends and take 2015 by storm. The New Year is looking to be an exciting time for entrepreneurs and small business owners; the Autumn Statement has revealed increased government recognition and support for small businesses, who are the backbone of the British economy. So, forget the cynics who say resolutions are a waste of time. If improving your business in 2015 is your goal, making – and keeping – your New Year’s resolution will give you a cause to celebrate a year from now.

Make a Plan….and Stick to It

Whether you’re hoping to expand your business, grow sales or build customer loyalty this year, having a business plan is a great way to realise your ultimate goals. Your plan doesn’t need to be a formal law-abiding document, but it should be written down. Within your plan, include where you would like to see yourself in three or five years’ time. Identify the key areas of improvement you need to make in order to reach your long term goals and more importantly, list the key action steps you need to take this year to advance yourself closer to your long term goal. Within your plan, think carefully about budgeting – if you run out of money half way in to the year, making a plan in the first place was a complete waste of time. You’ll have to stick to your allocated budget rigidly – an over spend one month could doom your business to failure, rather than success in 2015.

Get Tech Ready

If you let it, technology will be your business’ best friend.  From organising your inbox to accounting and financing, communications and data management; technology was designed to make your life easier, so embracing this one thing alone will improve efficiency and save you hours.  Make 2015 the year to become the master of your technology – to get the most out of your tech, invest your time into joining relevant courses, so you have a full understanding of how technology can streamline your business.

Customer Focus

Where would you be without your valued customers? They are the key to your business’ success, so one of the fundamental resolutions you should have is to continue innovating ways to engage with them. If you focus on building a relationship with your existing customers, without doubt they will spread the word and more customers will follow. Make Customer Service your top priority and pride yourself on delivering value and respecting each client individually. In an increasingly digital age where social media and online communication dominates, take note of what your customers are saying about you and respond to them personally.

Marketing

Marketing has changed over recent years, and the year of 2015 makes no exception. In the age of digital marketing, everything is now measurable and marketing is more accountable than ever. Social media has made it easier to market your business on a budget, whilst bringing your business and what you have to offer directly to your customers. You can also monitor how successful specific marketing campaigns have been, which can help you focus your attention on what your customers want. In 2015, pictures truly will mean a thousand words, with Instagram already topping Twitter figures. Small business can take advantage of this to help promote their products, working environment, employees or what makes their business different from the rest.

The New Year is a chance for a fresh start and make changes to better your personal and professional life. Think about your resolutions carefully and more importantly, stick to them. They could focus your ambitions and help make your business dreams a reality in 2015. Happy New Year from all of us at Daily Internet!

 

19Dec2014
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ROAD TO SUCCESS

Introduce yourself to a stranger as an entrepreneur and undoubtedly that person will share their numerous life-changing ideas and inventions. The conversation will probably end with an ‘if only’….if only I had the time, if only I had the money. What it really comes down to is that not everyone has that all important, entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurs are wired differently – constantly thinking of new ideas morning, noon and night. Everyone can come up with ideas, but it is what comes next that really counts.
Being an entrepreneur seems easy enough – flexible hours, often working from home and being the master of your own destiny. In reality, it’s one of the toughest ‘jobs’ out there. Flexible hours often mean using every given second to get tasks done and being a master of your own destiny results in never ending perfectionism; in turn, you work more hours and so the spiral continues. There’s no doubt about it, a new business needs constant nurturing – a ‘day off’ will be a distant memory from now on.

Building your own business does have unmeasurable rewards, but before jumping into turning that spontaneous idea into a business opportunity, here are five things worth considering.

Commitment
Starting your new business will take every last ounce of determination, so if you can’t commit to it fully, it’s better not to make the first step. Who knew that you could actually work 24 hours straight, running purely on caffeine and adrenaline? You will be required to ‘work’ more hours than you could imagine and you’ll always be on duty, whether you’re in the shower, supermarket or sat at your desk. You will be your own manager, accountant, salesman, delivery man and anything else your small business needs, but if you’ve got the passion and a solid idea to see it through, you’ve got all you need. The truth is – no one knows just how much commitment is required before they embark on their own business expedition, but taking that leap from full-time employment to going it alone is a sure-fire way to find out.

Choose Business Partners Sensibly
The idea of a family run business or the perfect partnership with your oldest friend may seem like a rose strewn path to success, but it can have its pitfalls. Make sure everyone knows exactly where they stand, both financially and legally before you even begin putting pen to paper. Your business will run primarily on trust and so making sure everyone is 100% open and honest from the start is essential. Trust and honesty go hand in hand with one fundamental attribute to any successful partnership – communication. You must be absolutely certain you understand each other perfectly. This may seem obvious whilst everything in your business is going from strength to strength, but if a business starts taking a turn for the worst, people can change quickly and it will put your business relationship through its paces. Ensuring you have the correct ‘right-hand-man’ will undoubtedly make sure your business makes it through the good times, as well as the bad.

Capitalise your Business
This is an absolute must. If you haven’t got resources you simply can’t start pursuing your business idea. Despite your business venture starting off small, you’ll need enough money to pay for start-up costs and certainly to maintain you and your family.

Always bare VAT and Inland Revenue in mind and never let yourself get behind. Keep suppliers close and always try to honour their debts too – you never know when you’ll need to call in a favour. Negotiate terms of payment for suppliers and customers alike and don’t be afraid to ask if they haven’t upheld this agreement. They may well keep you sweet, but if they don’t pay their dues it’s time to cross them off your Christmas card list and leave them out of your future business plans.

The key message here is – keep an eye on your finances from the word go. It is unbelievable how quickly money can come into one hand and leave the other.

You’ve guessed it – Health and Safety
We love to send-up health and safety, but it can lead to serious penalties if these obligations are not upheld. The workplace has become a minefield and so ensuring you are up to date with all legal obligations, employee relations and health and safety regulations is key.

Further to this, your employees are the life force of your business and will prove essential to making more money. Staff should be treated respectfully, paid promptly and well looked after. Waitrose and John Lewis are famous not only for their Christmas ads, but also for their employee community and satisfaction, which proves that word gets around fast – whether you’re treating them well or not. If you treat them well, they’ll go that extra mile to make sure your business is a success.

The Prize
Pursuing your business idea may not be a bed of roses to start with, but once you’ve got your new enterprise up and running smoothly you will be rewarded with unthinkable emotional pride, and hopefully a financial gain.

The success of your business is in your hands – making sure you plan carefully, finance well, choose the correct business partner, form a firm relationship with suppliers and customers and adhering to legal obligations will mean you’ll be on the road to success – you may even enjoy yourself along the way!

10Dec2014
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Productivity

Working hard does not necessarily mean you are being productive. You may well be juggling phone calls with answering emails, eating lunch at your desk to save precious seconds and burning the midnight oil, but are you actually ticking off anything on the never-ending ‘to-do’ list? Following these simple steps can help boost your productivity this week, and every other week. It may just change how you work altogether!

To do or not to do…that is the question…

It’s easy enough to jot down all the things you need to get done in the day, or the week, but it’s not so easy to stay away from the less important tasks that don’t need as much of your undivided attention. Many of us are not aware of the things we do on a day-to-day basis that destroy our productivity. To combat this, besides writing a ‘to-do’ list, also write a ‘to-don’t’ list of all the things that are not high on the agenda, such as playing around on social media, or letting the inbox take control. This will help focus your mind and prioritise what needs to be done on a weekly or daily basis and reduces the risk of distractions.

That said….

Stop planning, start doing
We can all spend a lot of time writing down what needs to be done, or organising your work space so it’s ‘just right’…or generally wasting time avoiding the things that need to be done. Obviously this eats away at precious productivity hours and has a disastrous knock on effect to your overall productivity. So, instead of planning, get on with it! The option to work on the task in the future instead of now seems comfortable but is not wise. While you keep ‘saving’ that task for tomorrow (or the next day…) it is not going to go away and one day, unfortunately, someone’s going to have to account for it – the odds are, that will be you. It is better to take the bull by the horns, stop procrastinating and tick it off your list – TODAY.

A Piece of Cake
No one likes being the last one picked for a sports team. Are you leaving one particular task standing out in the cold waiting for its name to be called up? If that’s the case, rather than trying to run before you can walk, break down daunting tasks into more manageable segments. This will help you feel as though you’re achieving something and the task will seem less intimidating. Before you know it, it’ll be done and you can move on.

Divide Up Your Time
Some of us can concentrate longer than others, but no-one can concentrate constantly all day on a single project without breaks. As well as dividing up your tasks, divide up your time in order to stay focused and productive. Try working solidly for 25 minutes focusing solely on the task in hand, and then rewarding yourself with a 5 minute pause. When you have a mountain of work to get through, this could seem impossible, but dividing your time up into more manageable chunks will keep your mind fresh and the daydreams at bay.

Everyone has certain times of the day when they are naturally more productive or creative. Whether it’s after your morning caffeine hit or late afternoon, choose what time best works for you and use it to tackle the tasks that require a lot of thought. Use the times you’re feeling less creative to clear some of the less important tasks on your ‘to-don’t’ list, such as admin or clearing the inbox.

Don’t be a Perfectionist
Is perfection actually achievable? If you keep chasing perfection, it could take longer to get the task done; therefore eating away at your designated time for the task and you will be less productive than planned. The reason being, if you are seeking perfection, you are more likely to spend more time on a single task than required, causing other responsibilities to be pushed back and fall by the way-side. Even worse, perfectionism is even higher when you don’t have anyone but yourself, as fine tuning never ends. Try to stick to your allocated time and if you hit a creative brick wall, leave the task and come back to it another time with fresh eyes. If you’re not getting anywhere the first time round, you can spend time more productively on something else.

By Alison Curry-Taylor
Operations Director Daily Internet

21Nov2014
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WEBSITE TIPS

There’s no denying it, every business needs a website. Whether it represents the core of the business or acts as a glorified businesses card, a great one can pay untold dividends and a poor one, end conversations with potential new customers before they start. 

For those who excitedly launch their new business site only to be met with relative silence, it might be worth checking these common mistakes which could just be a part of the reason the business isn’t being inundated with appreciative emails and product orders.

1. One click, two clicks, three clicks….gone
Blame it on the online environment having created an increasingly shortened attention span but if people can’t find what they are looking for within seconds and it is not clearly signposted, they’ll be scrambling for the search bar in no time. Most websites overestimate the number of clicks their customers are willing to make before they abandon you all together. Tailor your website to your core customers, make the key information easy to navigate to and also help to guide them to where you want them to go. Take control and decide what action you want them to take, whether it’s making a call, finding your address or placing an order and make sure they can get there quickly and efficiently.

2. Get Mobile
According to GSMA Intelligence, there are officially more mobile devices in the world than there are people, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are. Ignoring mobile optimisation for your website, or having it at the bottom of your ‘To Do’ list is one way to lose the attention of users. The mobile phone is the fastest growing manmade phenomenon ever, and so, making sure your website is mobile ready should be key for any business. Design your website with mobile in mind. When viewed on a mobile a well optimised site should look similar to an app and be navigable by swiping, not clicking. There should be a constant action point visible so your customers don’t have to use their detective skills to establish where to go. If you use the mobile ‘one click’ mentality first, you can apply the same theory to you website.

3. Keep Descriptions Simple
When meeting your customers face-to-face, there’s time for the lengthy description about how your products are produced or where your original idea came from, but on the web, there’s not. Not only do your customers have that increasingly short attention span, but they also have an incredibly short time frame to be reading about the finer details and would commonly rather know the key facts NOW. Try to distil your value proposition into one sentence keeping it clear and concise, avoiding over complex, jargon laden descriptions. . Also, prioritise what you are including. Many small businesses write lengthy essays but forget the simple stuff – 60% forget to include a contact number!

4. Minimal Content
Although similar to point 3, this is not about what you’re writing, but how much you’re writing. Don’t go overboard on text. Wherever possible try to include images, videos or diagrams to get the message across. We are all visual beings, so including something other than a slab of text will prove to be eye-candy for your customers. Minimal, concise content will make your website appear slick, sophisticated and support your overall company image, which will engage with your customers far better than bombarding them with a text-heavy webpage. Understanding the purpose of your homepage is also essential – it is not a place to be sharing business news or gossip, but rather a platform to first; articulate clearly who you are and what you do, ensuring a visitor feels they’ve come to the right place and two; to ensure they can navigate easily to any additional information they might want.