Business Debts – How To Budget More Effectively and Cut Costs

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Debts are not fun to experience, are they? But thankfully when it comes to our personal finances we can avoid them. Sure, we can sometimes be struck by bad luck or an emergency that means we have no choice but to go into debt to prevent a potential problem from getting worse.

But those rare occasions aside you can usually avoid debt by staying on top of your finances and budgeting. However, if you have a business then debt is likely always going to happen sooner or later especially in those early days of your business’s operation.

But that doesn’t mean you have to just put up with it even if it is considered the norm. Remember you will need to get out of debt as quickly as possible or at least be able to manage it effectively. So, how do you do that?

Managing business debt can be done by following many of the similar tips and advice that would be useful for dealing with personal debt. However, not all the advice is the same and it can’t all be done in the same way either. Dealing with business debt (even with a small business) can be much more complicated.

So, let’s break it down and examine how business owners can deal with their debts more effectively with our budgeting tips.

Cut Your Spending

This is much more difficult than it might sound in many cases and it could even take some rejigging of your businesses budgets. But usually, there will be at least one or two ways you can cut your businesses costs.

If your business is still in the early days of its conception, then you’ll need to spend money, won’t you? Those advertisements are not going to pay for themselves, are they? But you can be smart and find ways to carry out your businesses operations for a fraction of the price.

For example, instead of printing posters or flyers for your business stick to posting them around social media instead, it’s free after all. If you need to kit out your office get furniture second hand and look for deals when it comes to software programs if you need them.

Also make sure you’re not overindulging on things you don’t actually need, sure fresh fruit for breaktimes and fancy stationary might make your business very popular with your staff and customers. But if you’re struggling with debts they are a cost you could do without.

Consolidate Your Debts

This tip is actually part one of two possible paths you could take to cut debt, consolidating your debts is an effective way of reducing them because you’ll be able to pay all your creditors in simple monthly instalments.

There are a number of ways you can go about consolidating your debts but one of the most popular is to use an individual voluntary arrangement. Commonly known as an IVA these arrangements can be carried out by a wide variety of different groups such as The Debt Advisory Service but in order to work, you will need 75% of your creditors to agree to the arrangement.

There are some downsides to IVAs which may make them a poor choice for dealing with your businesses debt or you might wish to simply pay your creditors individually. If that is the case, then the next tip will likely be of interest to you.

Prioritise Your Debts

So, if consolidating your debts isn’t something you think will work for you then you should instead prioritise your debts. This might sound like obverse advice, but you’d be surprised how many business owners can make mistakes. Your repayments should be carefully structured so that debts that have the highest rates of interest or have been outstanding the longest are paid first.

It might be tempting to focus on smaller debts first, so you can get rid of them but in order to tackle debt effectively, you need to be able to prioritise payments. Interest rates can make a difficult debt unmanageable in some cases so make sure those monthly payments are made on time.

Find Away To Increase Your Profits

What business doesn’t want to increase its profit margins? If you’re finding yourself struggling with debt then you should start looking for ways to attract more customers, sure that’s easier said than done right?

Especially when the first tip was all about cutting costs, but it can be done and no one said running a business would be easy. Be smart about it though, for example expanding into a new location might increase business and attract new custom but it will certainly be adding to your debts so is it really worth risking?

Instead, focus on the small-scale by increasing your local marketing efforts and social media presence. Depending on the type of your business you could do all kinds of things to attract new customers and raise profits. Like hosting community events and offering special discounts for a limited time.

Stay on Top of Your Debts

Again, this might seem like advice that everyone who runs a business will know, by whether you’re a veteran businessman or a complete beginner staying on top of your debts can be very tricky. There is a lot the average business needs to keep track of and even if your business is only small it can be a difficult and time-consuming job to ensure everything is paid on time.

You can get so carried away with things that you can easily simply lose sight of your creditors, but they won’t forget you. To borrow a phrase from one of my earlier tips you need to prioritise your debts at all times. If these means a new plan, product or deal as to wait a bit longer then it will usually just have to wait till your business is in a stronger position.

So, that’s five tips to dealing with business debt, in many ways personal debt and business debt are very similar. But your business sinking due to debt is something everyone wants to avoid so be smart and follow our advice to ensure it never happens to you.

3 Broad Legal Issues Content Marketers Must Watch Out For

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The phenomena known as content marketing has taken the branding world by storm. It is an effective method of informative and promotional communication that aims to engage your target market through the creation, disbursal and amplification of relevant content.

The purpose of this marketing tactic is to educate a prospective customer about the niche in which he seeks information and to help him make better informed decisions.

Whatever your overall marketing objective maybe: brand awareness, lead generation, customer education etc, content marketing is a powerful tool to attain it. Unfortunately, the diverse applications of content marketing also come with a range of legal issues.

In this day and age, where user content is constantly shared or spun by others-a fine line exists between originality and copyright problems.

One has to be extremely cautious as the utilization of content marketing is primarily for business reasons and if used wrong, then could hold financial implications for your commercial venture. To evade such a situation, it is imperative to know the litigation boundaries to operate within when designing your content marketing strategy.

1.      Intellectual Property Issues

According to The Callahan Law Firm Unless you are promoting or sharing content that you created with your own resources, it is vital that you be aware of the intellectual property rights given to the content usage. No matter what the format: videos, infographics, audio, photographs, etc-there will be a framework of law that it will fall within. You and your brand team must ensure that you have the permission to use someone else’s content assets such as hashtags, logo etc. Not only that, you will avoid lawsuits if your marketing agency and your workforce are familiar with the following steps:

Publish Legal Content

Now when we give the above statement (to share legal content), what we mean is that you must distribute information that either you have created or that you have the written consent and support of the original author to disburse. Of course, you must give due credit when required as well. It is important to understand that all content has been drafted by someone and is owned by them. In order to share it on your own marketing platform, you must identify the author and make sure you touch base with him. Get his blessing to publish it and when you do, acknowledge him as the original creator. However, if you are unable to identify the author of a content piece, then the recommended route is to not share it.

Own Rights

Today’s society devours content at an incredible rate. Your target audience is probably no different and demands high quality content frequently. Of course, as a content marketer, you will have other responsibilities and not be able to churn out enough content. It is a norm to hire remote freelance writers or independent contractors to serve this need. When you draw up a contract with them, insert a clause that you own any content generated by them for your company. General copyright law requires this. Then, you can recycle any content created in different formats as you wish.

Accumulate Licences for Images

A lot of stories have circulated on the Internet where well-meaning bloggers published pictures on their sites and were slapped with unanticipated license premiums or even lawsuits for infringing on copyright law. Now, you do not want this to happen to your or to your customers. Acquire and monitor all associated licenses and permissions with any visuals that you wish to share. Remember there may be limitations to this as well and it is important that you function within those parameters.

Give Credit

To demonstrate that your content marketing practices are legal, give due credit to any content format that you republish. The majority of content creators are open to their work being re-shared, however as long as their hard work is acknowledged.

Trademarks

Have a clear branding guideline that you and your team can follow for content marketing purposes. Whenever necessary, ensure that you publish pertinent disclaimers when utilizing trademarks that belong to other players in your industry.

2.      Advertising Compliance

Content marketing is a class of advertising only as the purpose is to generate leads and sales conversions.  As such, then the laws of advertising do come into place as well.

Honesty

If you are aiming to share content with a customer segment group that is sensitive in nature, then you must take additional measures to ensure your message is honest and not misleading. These customer groups can include seniors, children or people with special needs.  Remaining ethical when marketing to such segments is of the utmost importance as is to maintain content transparency.

Actual Claims

As the Brand Manager, if you make any claims about your product, do make sure they are true. If you claim your shampoo is the number one in its category, please do your market research to substantiate this claim. We recommend that you avoid tall stories such as that! Hire an external third party if you must, to verify the marketing claims that you make.

3.      Customer Testimonials

Getting existing consumers to sing your brand’s praises is an effective content marketing strategy. it can make a powerful impact on your prospect’s decision and be the difference that pushes him over the purchase line. When engaging in such a practice, it is essential to implement the following.

Information Omission

Do not create customer testimonials that exclude vital information about your brand. Even if it is negative feedback, make sure you share the whole picture.

Sponsored Content

If you are exchanging anything in material for a customer testimonial (tickets, money), that must be disclosed. For example, if you are a restaurant owner and sponsor a food blogger to write a review for you, then you will need to share that openly.

Get your in-house legal department to provide you with the required guidelines to avoid any content marketing problems. Draft policies and checking procedures that will help you stay on top of your game and will ensure that no hassles come your way.

5 Types Of Software And Tools You Need For Your Business

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If you are looking to increase the productivity and success of your business, there are important pieces of software and tools you need to invest in that will help you do this. While some software and tools out there will help you save time, others will help you to streamline and focus your business efforts more precisely therefore helping you to make money. Furthermore, there are even some that will increase your company’s leads and sales.

As there are a wide variety of different types of software and other helpful tools out there, it can be more than a little overwhelming for you, if you are trying to work out which are right for your business. This is why we are here to help and are going to do this by putting together a list of the 5 most important pieces of software and tools that could help your business during this new year.

Accountancy Software And Tools

Never underestimate the difference investing in a high quality accountancy tool or software can have on your business. As well as helping you to save money that can then be invested elsewhere in the business, it can stop you from using too much of your precious time on something that can be dealt with, in many situations, automatically. This also saves you from lots of headaches and stress.

Many business owners consider their accountancy software to be top of the list of tools they couldn’t run their business without.

All good accountancy software should:

  • Display an overview of the finances of your business
  • Easily keep a recorded record of payments, quotes and invoices
  • Efficiently and quickly calculate your company’s taxes
  • Offer invoice generation tools
  • Reports on the company’s finances, such as cash flow, profits and losses etc.

All-In-One Style Business Dashboards

With all-in-one style business dashboards you have access to a comprehensive overview of the business. This includes such aspects as project management, finances and tracking marketing campaigns to name but a few. They are designed to enable you to enable you to keep an eye on the many different departments of your business.

If you invest in a good quality business dashboard, you will be able to monitor your entire business and will always know what marketing campaigns and other projects you have running and how the company’s finances are looking. Whenever you want. You will also be able to quickly access any important information about your business or the people that work for you, so that you are always able to make more informed decisions, faster.

To put it more succinctly – this kind of software is a great tool for managing your business, so you know exactly what is going on with each individual part of it

Customer Relationship Management or CRM software

In the past customer relationship management tools were generally only used by the sales department of a business. However, there is now a increased need for this type of software to be available for various departments, not just sales. As customers expect modern businesses to offer seamless and improved interactions, it means the CRM tool you invest in should be able to track and record all interactions with customers, whether it is via the phone or email, on the website, Twitter or even the Facebook messenger.

Web Monitoring

Most businesses should invest in some kind of web monitoring tools, and although they can be utilised in a variety of ways. Though, they are most commonly good for helping you:

  • Keeping track and updated when your business is mentioned at all online – this is perfect for presenting opportunities to you and managing customer service for your business
  • Discover potential leads and opportunities for sales – you can use them to monitor your niche keywords and look out for leads looking for services and products that are similar to the ones you offer
  • Enhance your marketing campaigns lead by an influencer by finding a social influencer
  • Obtain better understanding and knowledge about the industry you are working in and therefore, understand your audience better

Digital Marketing Tools

This is quite a big category – digital market and everything that is included under that umbrella term, from search engine optimisation and content marketing to social media marketing and management. There is a wide variety of different tools designed to be used to improve your digital marketing strategies. By investing in one or two or even a few of these, depending on your needs, you should be able to improve traffic, raise awareness of your brand and products/services, engagement with customers and ultimately generate a greater amount of leads and sales.

Human Resources Software

In a time when there are easy to use and manage human resource software platforms available such as www.hrflow.org, it does seem kind of odd that so many business owners still insist on doing things the old fashioned way. The thing is though, while it may be okay for the running of the human resources of your small company to consist of a few spreadsheets and a pile of invoices and paperwork – as you expand and try to increase your productivity, workforce and generate more sales, this is not going to cut it.

The other alternative is to have a draconian system that is only usable by select HR professionals (if you have any in your company). Modern HR software, fortunately, is often designed to be used by everyone from management through to supervisors and ground level employees.

Essentially, if you want to run a tighter ship, in terms of organising shifts, holidays, absences and performance reviews. It can be used to help your business at every step of the way, from the beginning of an employee’s journey with your company through to the time they leave.

Although this is not an incredibly exhaustive list, we hope it serves as a good starting point if you are trying to find ways to improve your business and its growth.

6 Business Growth Tips from Successful Entrepreneurs

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It’s easy to think that you know best when it comes to growing your business – but the fact is, businesses follow quite well-defined growth paths – and there are experienced people out there who know those paths better than the rest of us…

If you want to take the risk of guesswork out of your growth plans, read the following 6 tips – they’ve come straight from the mouths of some of the most knowledgeable and successful entrepreneurs of our current time – and they’re tips, rules and behaviours that are guaranteed to see you grow…

You might also want to check out this awesome post for some great pointers on starting your own business!

#1 – Richard Branson – “If you strive for perfect, the only thing you’ll achieve is failure”

Richard Branson’s business and leisure exploits are so wide and varied that he’s got more experience than most other rooms full of entrepreneurs – but that’s not because he’s a perfectionist.

In fact, he tells people to move away from trying to get things exactly right if they want their plans to succeed.

Act now, publish today, launch soon, do it this afternoon.

You might think this is reckless – but in fact, it’s the principle of dealing with reality instead of ideal world thinking. For every day that passes where your product or service is still in development, there’s another day that a rival company have under their belt.

Conversely, put your product out to pasture now and you’ll start getting feedback and performance indication by tomorrow – data that’s vital when it comes to assessing you next steps – whether that’s development, product abandonment, upping production – or anything else. Without data that relates to performance you can’t hope to grow – and without action, you can’t get that data.

#2 – Gary Veynerchuk – “Work hard, keep working hard – then when you’re done, work harder again”

Veynerchuk is one of social media’s most recognised entrepreneurs – and he’s there because his work ethic is off the scale.

Most people think you’ve got to have exceptional talent to grow a business – but the truth is actually different. People have great ideas, but are inherently lazy – if we weren’t, we’d all be multi-millionaires. The thing that separates the super-successful from the masses is a LOT of work.

If your business is going to grow, you need to work hard. Get up an hour earlier and you’ve suddenly bought yourself an extra 360 hours growing your business each year – that’s a staggering 10 extra work weeks a year (or 5 if you work as long and hard as Veynerchuk!)

Don’t procrastinate, work to a tight schedule, set yourself big targets and work until they’re achieved. Success isn’t easy.

#3 – Tim Ferris – “Subtract before you begin adding”

Ferris, the author of the highly successful 4-Hour Workweek explains that we need to break free of our ‘more is better’ mindset – and the rule applies in a host of ways for businesses.

Unless you’ve got efficiency perfectly dialled in, you’re wasting your time bringing more people onboard or rolling out more services or products.

So, you might think you’re winning because you need to take another sales person on – but what if you could squeeze your current sales person’s conversion rates so you get double the productivity out of just one person? Better situation, reduced spend – and an astronomical step up when you do take person number 2 on.

Conduct through and strict assessments of every process and look for ways to improve all the time.

#4 – Tony Robbins – “If you fall in love with your product, you’re screwed”

Robbins success is built on making other people successful – so you better believe he’s got some tips on growth that are worth their weight in gold.

His quote about avoiding falling in love with your product is essentially one about objectivity – and the people who are the most objective bunch in the world – your customers.

He suggests you fall in love with your customers and listen intently to what they want. If you become blinkered and nurture the idea that your product is fantastic (even if you’re being told otherwise) – then you’ve lost a crucial part of your business sense.

Remember who’s going to be buying your product – then learn about those people and what they want.

#5 – Warren Buffett – “Surround yourself with good people”

On the surface, Buffett’s idea sounds like the basis for a good party rather than a good business – but actually, the type of people he’s referring to might not be the people you’d end up inviting to a party at all…

By ‘good people’ – he means people who are going to hold you to account and assess your performance. You might be the boss, the company director or the leader of your team, but that doesn’t mean you’re right.

If you can encourage a working climate in which no one is afraid to speak out – no matter how harsh what they say might seem, you’re in a great place for growth.

This idea really stems from the idea that; A. We’re not very objective with our own thoughts, and; B. We have a tendency to think we’re right. If you combine those with a sense that you can’t be challenged, your team might have no option but to let you fly the plane into the mountains when it comes to growth – but they’ll be patting you on the back and agreeing with you all the way.

Do you want nice people? Or do you want effective people? Pick and nurture accordingly.

#6 – Richard Branson – “Keep a notebook, don’t ever lose an idea”

As one of the wealthiest people in the world it’s forgivable that Branson features twice on this list! Branson has commented a number of times that if he had his time again, he would go through all his notebooks and start up all the ideas that he didn’t do first time around.

So, if it’s good enough for Sir Richard Branson, it’s good enough for us mere mortals.

Keep a note book – or many – and in them, record every idea, contact, opportunity or anything else that presents itself on a day to day basis. You brain will not store everything – but a pen and paper does.

Don’t just save the good ideas either – save everything. About to launch a product? Journal about how it goes. Information is power – and when it comes to launching your next product you’ve got a full run down of what happened last time, meaning you can avoid the situation occurring again.

Big Data: 5 Ways How it is Disrupting the Gambling World

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Raw numeric data is the backbone of any industry as companies rely heavily on it to make sales volume predictions and to generate consumer insights. Colossal sets of it such as big data play a strategic role in the realm of online gaming. Microgaming was the first such wonder of the virtual gaming kind and was launched in 1994.

Fast forward 23 years later and mobile gaming by itself produced a revenue stream of $40.6 billion in 2017. The rate of innovation and invention is no longer what it was at the beginning of the twentieth century. As are modern technological norms, the gaming industry is expected to experience a growth explosion in the coming five years.

Digital betting ventures have been around for a while now and have honed their capability to gather large data brackets. Not only that, firms have begun to uncover the secrets of how to monetize such knowledge.

Tech giants such as Microsoft have foreseen the eminence of data aggregation and procured successful gaming entities such as Minecraft for $2.5 billion. By doing so, Microsoft will be able to delve into infinite quantities of customer data and drive out strategic behavioral input.

After all, gaming companies have to ascertain the probabilities of player outcomes and have to customize their gaming frameworks in order to appeal to a diverse audience of gamers. Corporations have invested heavily into the recruitment and management of talented engineers and technicians.

It is imperative for businesses to retain such qualified, competent candidates who are well-versed in the software language and local company systems that perform data mining. This, in turn, will allow a low employee turnover and save hiring costs as well as time. The underlying motivation for such practices can be credited to the pace at which big data in gambling is revolutionizing the gaming world.

Better Marketing Practices

Since the inception of the first casino, betting companies have strived to personalize their portfolio of gambling products to keep their customers captivated. Contemporary history has reflected that big data has always been a critical component of gambling entities’ business strategies.

Such commercial firms depend strongly on big data to design effective promotional campaigns that will get the right message to the right consumer at the right time in the right place. In the modern era, evolution in communication and technology has become an expected norm. With constant developments in fiber internet technology, mankind has changed the way it speaks to each other. 

The advent of computers, desktops, smart mobile phones, and tablets can be found in the hands of the youngest member of the family along with the ability to operate and interact with the gadget.

It is understandable then that our minds function in a different way than the way preceding generations did. Marketing managers have to work harder than ever to get their message across to their target market in an inspiring and stimulating manner.

The mere challenge of breaking through the vast ocean of information clutter requires each brand manager to come up with a compelling story that his audience can relate too.

The days of simply highlighting product benefits are long gone as not only do you have to capture your audience’s attention, you have to retain it as well. Technology allows gaming companies to do just that now. Inventions such as cookies have given gambling brand managers access to personalized knowledge such as what food their players like, what games appeal to them the most and what kind of patterns they utilize in their gaming operations.

When prospects are provided with incredible, customized experiences, they will keep returning to the same platform. In turn, the level of customer loyalty will ameliorate and keep the gaming company an ongoing concern for a long time to come.

Stronger Gaming Strategies

In the past few years, poker has surpassed the boundaries of traditional card play. It has become a grand sporting event that is televised on major cable channels. Virtual poker has also become a preferred source of entertainment and has witnessed a rising level of competition. As an online poker company, if you wish to bring more players to your site, you must know the best way where your customers can beat the odds. Arm them with more knowledge that will improve their winning chances and let them adapt their tactics in real time. Innovators such as Sharkscope monitor primary international poker competitions and facilitate players to evaluate players’ statistics by employing them in their own personal games.

Improvement in Operational Efficiencies

Fantasy sports is another gaming marvel that has caught the interest of players within its niche. Big data drive the portals of such companies and programs gaming dynamics as per a player’s statistics in real life. Complex algorithms have been developed and enhanced for this very purpose that scrutinize countless volumes of data (of the player’s life). By sifting through such data, the games are able to better predict which competitions will fare well with an accurate mix of talented players.

Accurate Forecasting

Big data has transformed the way betters function as they compare performance numbers of competing teams. Google assigned a large team of engineers to experiment and utilized Google Cloud DataFlow to import large volumes of data and analysed it with Google BigQuery.

With the magic of these softwares, they were able to forecast the results of fourteen out of sixteen matches of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil. Microsoft beat that with an accurate outcome prediction of fifteen out of sixteen matches.

The true potential of big data is yet to be explored and will be unleashed with the passing of time. Tech professionals have just begun exploring its features and benefits.

It does not matter whether a casino owner, a player or a gambler uses it, big data will help determine their chances for winning. It will build player confidence, increase gaming subscriptions and attract first time gamers as well.

There is no doubt that big data comes with powerful implications for not only the gambling industry, yet multiple industry verticals will be able to reap its associated benefits. 

Top Media Buying Tips for Effective Campaigns

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Media buying is the process of appraising and procuring promotional channels of communication to share a brand’s message to its target audience. The past two decades has witnessed a growth explosion in the realm of media due to an expansion in available ranges and diversity of options.

According to media agency www.promo-media.co.uk a savvy media buyer begins his search with a strong understanding of the objective of the campaign in question. Of course, he operates within the assigned budget parameters and strives for maximum exposure within those limits.

Traditional media such as print, radio, outdoor and television has served as the backdrop for advertising content since many years.

The advent of information technology and communication opened up a whole new world of media for marketers and brand managers. The scope of accessible media widened with the arrival of media options such as email marketing, social media, digital media advertisements and pay per click options.

Media buying is an exhilarating field that serves to facilitate sales and build marketing efforts from the bottom up. Of course, we believe that sharing is caring-hence, read on to learn some of our recommended top media buying tips for effective marketing campaigns.

Know Your Target Audience

Before you start placing media bids, you need to get to know your customer and have a strong understanding of his profile. No matter what your goal is, for instance if you are trying to increase your brand’s awareness or increasing your social media following, knowing your client’s persona will help you understand where to reach them and when.

The benefit of allocating your marketing dollars to digital media is that you will have instant access to market real time insights.

Start Buying Media Slowly

When starting out your journey as a media buyer, you will feel overwhelmed at the incredible number of options available! You may feel obliged to invest everywhere.

Trust us, this will not be a smart move! Join a program and begin networking with leading industrial experts. You can discuss the characteristics of each channel with them individually and get their recommendations.

Create a Budget

One tip we find very useful is to treat the client’s money with the same care as we would treat our own! You could be procuring media options for an agency, your own company or as an independent consultant.

When aware of your financial capability ahead of time, you will be able to ascertain which methodologies are the most suitable to attain your goal. You can procure advertisements on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis.

Be Patient

Media purchase is a complicated process that requires you to develop patience. It is a virtue after all! The initial performance of your campaign may make you question certain choices and encourage you to fiddle with its details (easy to do if it is a digital campaign).

Do not fall into this trap and remain rational. The campaign will require time to run its course so it can accumulate relevant data for you and generate relevant statistics. Remember to breathe, stay calm and wait for the magic to happen!

Make Strong Decisions

Apart from aspiring to maintain a Zen-like placidity as a media buyer, you should also avoid making hasty decisions. Feel free to sleep over a media option that you are contemplating and take your time considering different possible outcomes.

If you have access to previous data, dive into it and analyse it thoroughly in order to make a timely, well-informed choice. However, if you do not, then you need to refer to the previous tip about staying patient and wait till a sufficient level of data is produced. Plus, you may have to give the campaign in question some time to pick up in terms of performance and efficacy.

Be Creative

Get your creative juices flowing! Do not let your process of innovation and creation get hampered by budget restrictions or other interfering variables. The fact of the matter is that you need to know what your marketing message is before dishing out marketing dollars on media spend. After all, you have to get the right message to the right person at the right place at the right time.

Research Your Placement

When you start to look for the ideal place to insert your advertisement, feel free to shop around. There is no harm in doing your homework and comparing prices amidst the different advertising platforms available to you.

Shortlist a group of similar media outlets that appeal to your taste and match your preferences. Compare the rates against each other and see what the most optimal solution for your campaign is. Do get estimations for incoming traffic and evaluate which medium would promote lead generation and greater sales.

The quality, look and feel of the website you are considering placing your advertisement on will exert an influence on your prospect’s decision to continue researching your product or not. A higher cost website may be more effective for your campaign in the end.

Monitor the Market

You do need to stay on top of your competition! Keep a constant check on your rivals and their marketing strategies. Scrutinizing their practices will help you understand industrial benchmarks and strive to exceed them.

Plan Your Advertisement’s Aesthetics

The saying “the first impression is the last impression” is very true. Planning is an essential component of media procurement. Plan, plan and plan! Make sure that your campaign’s look and feel will captivate your target audience’s attention in a favourable manner.

We live in a multiverse of devices and have access to information at our mere fingertips. See how the advertisement will appear on a tablet, a mobile phone, and on a desktop. We advise that your campaign implement the principles of responsive design as it will allow your ad to be optimized for diverse channels.

This will not only help generate maximum traffic and exposure for your brand, it will also ensure that your company is following an integrated marketing communication plan.

How To Plan The Ultimate Corporate Event With Your Team

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Corporate events are a key element in business, however making sure that everything goes smoothly isn’t always easy. Attention to detail is essential, and organisational skills are key to managing everything seamlessly.

This comprehensive guide will take you through all the stages of planning, so whether you’ve planned countless events with your team in the past or whether this is your first time, you can be confident that you’ll have covered all the bases.

Make A Timeline

Once you know that you’re going to be responsible for planning a corporate event, the first step is to come up with a clear timeline so that you know when every stage needs to be underway and completed. With a checklist in place, you’ll be able to tick off all the tasks you’ve already accomplished, and you’ll also know what still remains to be done so that nothing is accidentally left out.

Budgeting

No matter what type of corporate event you’re planning for your team, you’ll need to ensure that you’re operating within any budgetary restraints. Overspending on the venue, catering or materials must be avoided at all costs, so make sure you determine your overall budget first before allocating the appropriate amount of funds to every aspect of the event.

Activities

Depending on the purpose of your corporate event, you will need to plan appropriate activities to suit the needs of your team. Whether you’re arranging a formal occasion in a conference hall or whether you’re organising a team building event outside the workplace, you’ll need to ensure that all of the attendees are engaged and inspired.

If you’re arranging a formal corporate event, you might want to plan in some breakout sessions, with attendees being organised into small targeted groups in order to address issues that are meaningful to attendees on a more personal level. Planning in other interactive activities like icebreakers, workshops and guest speakers will also help to give more focus and direction to the day.

Alternatively, if you’re arranging something informal for team building purposes, you need to decide on an activity that will impress and inspire. A golf day would be one example of an excellent corporate event activity, and hiring the ClubsAway golf simulator can turn any venue into a sociable, entertaining and engaging experience for all kinds of participants.

Arranging A Venue

Depending on the type of event that you’re planning, you may need to book a venue to suit your requirements. If you event is going to be held in your own workplace, this won’t be a consideration, however if you’ll be heading off-site, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve chosen a place that can accommodate the required number of delegates, which is easy to access and which fits into your specified budget.

Arranging Food And Accommodation

Depending on your venue, you may also need to arrange refreshments and accommodation for attendees. If the event will be held in a hotel, this may often be provided by the venue itself, however in other cases, liaising with catering companies and accommodation providers may be necessary.

Buffet-style refreshments frequently work well at a corporate event as it enables attendees to choose their own preferences and to accommodate their dietary requirements. Healthy and vegetarian options should be provided and light fare is often preferable to heavy meals. Asking attendees to inform you about any specific dietary requirements well before the event will ensure that everyone is catered for.

Speakers

If you’re arranging a formal corporate event with presentations and speakers, you will need to make sure that you hire a keynote speaker who can deliver a thought-provoking and motivating presentation will keep attendees engaged and enthusiastic.

There are many kinds of guest speakers to choose from, including motivational speakers, authority industry figures, published authors and celebrities, however you should rely on recommendations from others within your industry, since speakers should be able to relate to the attendees and discuss relevant issues.

Make sure that your speaker’s requirements can be met and have been arranged in advance, and don’t forget to include the costs of compensating your guest speaker and paying for their food and accommodation in your budget.

Staffing Your Event

Depending on where your event is being held, you may need to consider hiring extra staff, especially if there are exhibits to be set up and taken down. Having additional people on hand to help attendees, to arrange transportation and to replenish refreshments and beverages may be very helpful, especially if there are lots of delegates who will be attending.

Pre-Event Preparation

Although you will already have your event checklist in place, you’ll need to draw up another shorter one for the day itself just to make sure that everything will go as planned. Some of the things you may need to remember, depending on the type of event you’re arranging include:

  • Creating printed materials for distribution
  • Setting up exhibits
  • Making name tags for attendees
  • Printing a register or list of attendees
  • Obtaining any necessary insurance or permits
  • Finalising place cards and seating arrangements
  • Making last minute liaisons with any guest speakers
  • Preparing any promotional items or gift bags

Following Up

After your event, don’t forget to follow up on it to see how well it went and whether anything needs to be changed the next time you have an occasion to plan for.

Ask the attendees to complete a survey about the various elements of the event, for example the food, speakers, activities etc. Find out what they found valuable and what they learned from the experience.

Remember to thank your speakers and attendees, and then gather up all essential statistics and write up a report which outlines the goals that you had, the results you achieved and any lessons learned from the event. This will ensure that the next time you have a corporate event to plan you’ll be able to build on your previous experience to create an event that goes with a swing.

7 essential tech tools to support your small business

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If you’re a small business and offer services such as commercial cleaning in Glasgow then  you’re likely to be quickly realising that you need all the help you can get when it comes to making your business a success, espcially online.

That might mean taking on staff members, contractors or even unpaid help – but then again, sometimes just a few extra hours in the day would be the most desirable options.

There are no time machines on this list – but if you want to maximise the time you do have, we can recommend some great time and sanity saving tools!

  1. A website designer

Mention web design and you could be forgiven for thinking of complex lines of code and years of training.

In actual fact, there are quicker ways to get an online presence.

Take a look at a tool like Wix or Squarespace. They’re both ‘drag and drop’ style site designers and can see you with anything from a holding page to an online store in literally a matter of hours.

You don’t need to have the eye of a designer either, with a series of great looking templates you’ll find that dropping in your own logos and products makes a site uniquely yours with a fraction of the project management effort needed to get a traditionally coded site in place.

In the long term you might decide to look at something more flexible – but to get you out of the gates, especially when money is tight, these tools can be invaluable.

  1. A project management tool

If you’re putting a team together, whether that’s with permanent or freelance staff, having a central place to coordinate your efforts is worth its weight in gold.

Rather than hoping that everyone’s going to take great notes or read and reply to emails as diligently as you do, you might want to think about a tool like Basecamp, Trello or a similar alternative.

With tools like these you have a central ‘board’ or virtual office space to work from. You can do virtually anything you would in a real office, from having discussion areas, post to-do lists, allocate tasks, share files, invite guests to collaborate and much more.

If keeping everything in one place is becoming difficult, opt for a free trial and see what a project management tool does to your productivity.

  1. Book keeping software

It’s easy to let money management matters go to the back of your head when there are more pressing jobs at hand – but when there are some exceptionally quick and easy tools to use, you really don’t have to – especially when putting that stuff off causes headaches at tax return time (or a telling off from your accountant…)

Take a look at tools like Xero and Quickbooks, they’re modern book keeping tools that, dare I say it, actually make keeping tabs on your finances quite good fun. Both have nice looking and very usable apps with quick functions that allow you to categorise your transactions with a sweep of your finger.

You can link them with your bank accounts and online payment gateways – as well as being able to quickly scan and categorise expense receipts. You can even generate or pay invoices on the fly. It’s incredible how one app can revolutionise your business financial dealings.

  1. Collaboration tools

Although tools like Basecamp and Trello have some collaboration tools built in, you’ll find that true collaboration comes with a tool like Google’s G-Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365.

With these options you can almost entirely abandon your office space and set up online!

Setting up folders that you can share with your team means there’s no doubt where that proposal, brief or invoice is to be found – and when it comes to collaboration there’s no longer a need for emailing versions of files to one another. Instead, you can access a document, spreadsheet, presentation or much more and work on it virtually at the same time.

Then, no need for emailing attachments – just share the file and it’s with someone else in the blink of an eye. What’s more, you can message, call or video call from within the service too, meaning you don’t even have to move your chair to work next to someone else.

  1. Email marketing tools

Despite social media’s rise to the top of most people’s marketing hitlist there’s still an enormous amount that can be done with a good mailing list.

Equally, with the right tools in place you’re going to struggle with the sheer magnitude of putting a mailer out – especially with new data protection laws looming.

This is where tools like MailChimp and Get Response come in. Starting with a list of emails and a drag and drop mail composer you’ll quickly find yourself putting together something beautiful that ticks all the necessary compliance boxes. You’ll find dozens of great templates to work with if you don’t have an eye for design and a few clicks later you’ll have your mailer either sent – or scheduled to go at a time that suits you and your customers.

  1. A central social media desk

If conquering social media is on your list of things to do you’ll quickly realise there’s a lot of logistics involved – not least remembering a massive number of passwords so you can cut, paste and post across them all.

Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer takes a LOT of the effort out of your social media activity. Connect your accounts, then send your communication from the one central desk – choosing which of your feeds it’s posted to. You can even handle replies to direct customer interaction too, making it a great way to keep all your social communication in one quick and easy to use place.

  1. An online calendar

Our final suggestion is one that’s easy to use – but also easily overlooked!

Having an online calendar is essential if running a tight schedule is important to your business. Microsoft’s Outlook or Google’s Calendar provide simple interfaces and sync with your mailbox and other apps, meaning missed appointments, double booking and needing to get back to people when you’ve checked your diary is going to be a thing of the past.

How To: Create Your Own Personal Brand

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When you hear the word branding, you often think of companies. That said, individuals have a brand too. Everyone has their own personal brand — whether they know it or not.

Most people don’t even try to build a brand, yet, they somehow grow around you. We all have a digital footprint. In fact, studies show that 92% of children under the age of 2 already have a digital footprint.

The question isn’t whether or not you have a brand, it’s whether or not you want to define what it is before someone else does. What do you want people to think of when they hear your name? Is there a certain industry that you’re very knowledgeable about, or are you a jack of all trades?

Before you can tell people what your brand is, you need to figure it out for yourself. Once you have a clear idea of what you want your brand to look like, it’ll become a lot easier for you to get people onboard.

When you’re determining what your brand is, it’s important to be honest with yourself. You have to be honest and let your brand reflect who you are — flaws and all.

Branding isn’t just important for an entrepreneur who owns a business, even freelancers and employees can benefit greatly by getting their name out there.

For instance, if you’re applying for a job at a prestigious company, you’re more likely to be chosen if the unlucky soul who’s going through the sea of resumes recognizes your name.

Your brand will determine how potential employers, clients, and customers see you and is often the determining factor in the development of your career.

Don’t focus on arbitrary metrics

In the world of branding, many have tried and failed. The most common rookie mistake that most people make is focusing on useless measures of success such as Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and the like. These metrics hardly mean anything to anyone and mean even less to the development of your brand.

What really matters is value. In order to succeed, you need to provide so much value to your customers that you become a household name.

People need to think of you whenever they look at the industry you’re in. When people think about smartphones, they think of Steve Jobs. The same goes for Zuckerberg and social media. Don’t just succeed in your chosen industry, become the face of it.

Find something you’re good at

All the branding in the world can’t help you if you’re doing something that you genuinely suck at. Sure, practice makes perfect, but there are just some things that we can’t do. It’s a harsh reality but you won’t get anywhere if you sugarcoat the facts.

Forcing yourself to do something that is beyond your capabilities will only lead to personal frustration and disappointed customers.

Once you’ve found something you’re good at, take a second to make sure you enjoy doing it. You don’t have to be ecstatic about it, but working in an industry that bores you to death won’t end well.

Furthermore, don’t do things that you both hate and suck at. You’ll do an awful job, hate every moment of it, and be too demotivated to improve your skills.

When you find that perfect line of work, commit every waking moment to honing your skills. Remember, there are millions — maybe billions — of people who do the same thing you do.

Superior skills and outside-the-box thinking will help you stand out in a world crowded by professionals. This isn’t really about competition — although, competitiveness is a good motivator when it comes to perfecting your craft — it’s more about being the best version of yourself that you can be and providing stellar service to those who keep your electricity on.

Choose your platform

Now that you know exactly what you want your brand to become, you’ll need to choose a platform or two to market it on. Rather than shelling out cash for an expensive website and increasing your monthly overhead, start simple by utilizing social media.

Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are good ways to get your name out there during the early stages of your branding campaign when funding is scarce. Post relevant and useful content, engage with your followers by replying to comments and messages, and speak in a human tone — no one enjoys talking to someone who converses like a robot.

Leverage more established brands

Let’s face it, you’re practically a baby in the world of branding. The best way to learn and get noticed is by collaborating with better-established brands such as willshapools.com and leveraging their popularity. Of course, going up to random CEOs and asking them if they wanna partner with you wouldn’t go very well.

The easiest way to find brands that you can partner with is by getting in contact with old friends, classmates, or even co-workers who now own a well-known company. You could write a guest post on their company blog, integrate your software on their site, or improve their UX free-of-charge. Anything that will get you more exposure from their audience is worthwhile.

Set your goals

You can’t be sure of foot if you don’t even know where you’re going. Start by setting specific goals — both personal, and professional. Once you have a clear picture of where you want to be within a certain amount of time, it’ll be easier for you to plan the path towards that end-result.

Identifying your short-term and long-term goals will help you decide what you should spend most of your time on, as well as making other important decisions that could make or break your brand. Your priorities work like a mental compass that’ll steer you towards success.

Sell your products and services

All the time you’ve spent on branding is completely useless if you just order products from AliExpress and outsource projects to UpWork. Your personal brand represents who you are as a professional individual, don’t let your reputation be tainted by the mistakes of others. You’re marketing your skills, so sell your own products and services, not someone else’s.

The bottom line

Building a personal brand takes a huge amount of time and effort, but in the end, it’s worth it. Your brand is something that no one can take away from you. It shows who you are and what you stand for. A true brand is dynamic and ever-present. So tell us, who are you?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bitcoin

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Depending on who you speak to, Bitcoin can either be seen as the greatest currency in the world, or as a bubble that’s about to burst. Either description can be true, but some of the downfall people experience with Bitcoin can sometimes be attributed to the way they approach the industry.

Although many people have heard of Bitcoin, not everyone is sure of the inner workings, or the way trades within the industry, which can sometimes mean that many lose money as a result.

Just as there are advantages to this inventive digital currency, there can also be a series of disadvantages. While there are never any guarantees when it comes to investing in Bitcoin, knowing what the advantages and disadvantages are will allow you to find your way around the industry with more ease.

The Stability of Bitcoin

There’s no denying that Bitcoin has had to contend with a series of obstacle to retain its dominance, but there are some factors that question the stability of Bitcoin. This is because when compared to stocks and commodities, Bitcoin is seen as a newcomer. This means that the digital currency has very short track record when compared to the years of data accumulated from other commodities.

However, looking at the stability of Bitcoin from a different perspective shows that you’re dealing with a currency that has held its own in a tough financial environment. A series of businesses also have confidence in the stability and popularity of Bitcoin, as there are vendors that will now accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.

European economists have even gone on record to say that they believe there is no reason should pose a threat, although they did advise that the regulatory oversight currently in place would need to be improved.

The digital arena is constantly evolving, and with so many innovative creations being introduced daily, we never truly know what’s around the corner. This means there’s no real way of knowing Bitcoin will fare in the future, which is why it’s so important to ensure we’re keeping on top of industry news and trends involving Bitcoin, as well as other forms of digital currency.

Risk of Investment

As well as being a popular form of alternative currency, there are those who invest in Bitcoin hoping to make a profit from their initial investment. Some may even look towards Bitcoin mining, which can offer another stream of income if carried out correctly.

Unfortunately, there are some that offer investment opportunities in relation to Bitcoin but may not give investors the full story. Unaware of any risk, investors invest where they can on the assumption that they will yield a bigger return. However, Bitcoin is like any other currency, and its value can depend on several factors. It’s also worth noting that investments of any form always pose a risk.

Those looking to invest in Bitcoin should first carry out research and became familiar with the industry. The more you’re able to find out about Bitcoin, the less susceptible you will be to unsavoury online outfits. For example before buying Bitcoin you should read this review of the Top Cryptocurrency Exchanges 2018 

Bitcoin has also become very popular when hedging portfolios, ensuring investors are covered show another form of currency fail to deliver.

Like any investment, we need to be savvy in relation to Bitcoin. Trading blindly may mean that we have luck in some instances, but more often than not, will not have the desired effect. Carrying out research before you invest is the only true way to ensure that any potential loss is minimised.

Bitcoin in Business

Before the birth of the Internet, it would be common for us to have to exchange currency purchasing an items or service abroad, which was very costly at the time. As the Internet has evolved, purchasing an item from overseas is now effortless. While credit can be given to sites like PayPal, the company can be seen as a little intrusive when it comes to how finances are dealt with.

It’s easy to assume that customers who want to hide their details have something to hide, but this isn’t necessarily the case. When you consider how many data leaks they have been in recent years, it’s no surprise that people are a little more reserved when handing over their personal details.

Bitcoin allows customers to make a payment without their details being shared. This means that customer is more likely to make a purchase if they’re confident that their details aren’t at risk. Businesses that offer Bitcoin could grow a larger customer base simply by allowing customers to pay using their Bitcoin.

However, there can be drawbacks should a business choose to accept Bitcoin for payments. Whereas other forms of payment are more recognised, Bitcoin is relatively new. And while the digital currency has soared in popularity, this doesn’t mean that everyone is aware of how it works. As such, you need to ensure that if a business is looking to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment, then you may need to educate your employees as to how the currency works, otherwise there could be some confusing and frustrating transactions.

Like any form of currency, there are advantages and disadvantages when using Bitcoin, but if you’re able to understand how it works and stay on top of current trends, then there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits it has to offer.

How to make some extra money in your spare time

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If you’re not in full-time employment, or if you are and need a little extra money without that commitment of getting a part-time job where the idea of somebody else dictating where and when you have to work isn’t going to fit your current lifestyle then you could well be thinking of ways to make a little extra money for a specific purchase or just to make life that little bit easier on your wallet.

Be legal

If you’re going to start making a supplementary income then you really need to be above board as soon as you start making any money.

You should certainly inform the Inland Revenue of your actions because if you don’t you are liable to face a fine if you’ve already begun trading and they think you’re trying to dodge paying any taxes. It’s not complicated though; even completing a self-assessment is pretty straightforward and can be done online. Everything you need to know you should be able to find on the HMRC website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-up-in-business-se1

If you’re going to be working from home there are instances when you’ll need to check your home insurance for any level of cover you may need and also it’s worth investigating if you’d need to let your local council know what you’re planning if your new business idea impacts the usage of your home or property.

Use your existing skillsets

If you’ve already got a range of existing skills such as previous experience working with security monitoring service then trading on those seems to be the best place to start. It’s more than likely going to be the way you can earn the best rates of pay. So if you have any of the following why not consider putting them to work and reaping the benefits?

Graphic and website design

We all live on the Internet now and there are so many options in how to utilise your design or programming skills to earn extra cash. You can opt straight for sites like Upwork, Fiverr or Freelancer who will match you to clients who need your services. You may choose to advertise your skills direct to the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest. They’re all great ways of letting the world know you’ve got skills and are ready to use them.

There are also websites who will produce products for sale using your design work; websites such as Zazzle, Café Press, Spreadshirt or Pikistore; they all print your artwork onto various items from t-shirts to greetings cards leaving you to reap the profits.

Do you speak a second language?

With a second language under your belt why not check out websites like Gengo or One Hour Translation? There are a range of websites who are looking to pay people for translating all kinds of text and copy.

Or with the aid of a webcam and microphone you could offer private tuition. You don’t have to limit yourself to picking up that kind of work from local students anymore — if you choose to utilise the Internet then world is now your new marketplace.

Drivers

Once upon a time it meant studying and passing rigorous testing to become a taxi driver but Uber have made making a living from passenger delivery a much easier way to earn a little extra. And if you don’t like passengers all that much why not consider delivering fast-food or mail order items? There are a lot of owner-driver opportunities in those markets for someone willing to take the plunge.

Write for a living

You don’t have to be J.K. Rowling to make your millions from writing. Of course if you’ve got it in you to write a best seller than what are you waiting for? But for anyone else with a good command of the language then you can make money writing for the Internet now. You can write and sell e-books; they could be fiction or educational. It’s not the same huge commitment and risk as writing a novel because a lot of e-books can be much shorter, novellas and short story collections are great options to write and sell while you’re putting the final touches of your version of War & Peace together.

A very popular way to make extra money writing now is to write blog articles. It’s a big business for SEO, driving traffic and digital marketing and there are a whole range of places you can apply your services. You can start by applying to write for content sites but once you’re up and running you can use those articles to sell your ways to the digital marketers who really need your skills.

Baking and decorating cakes

The cupcake craze a few years back boosted the work of bakers everywhere. A few well-placed examples on social-media easily gives someone with a talent for creating amazing birthday, wedding or special occasion cakes a great platform for a perfect home business.

Get crafty

The amount of craft selling websites available have made the home-craft industry into something a lot easier than selling your wares in the local village hall on a Sunday afternoon — get on etsy or ebay, there’s an enormous world-wide market just waiting to see your creations. Link it all through Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and you’ve got yourself a mass of free advertising too!

There are so many options!

This is a massive topic, and there are a thousand other ideas to make money without even using any existing skills. There are so many more ways you can use your existing talents — from earning advertising revenue from your gaming clips on YouTube or Twitch, to offering handyman, gardening or decorating services; you could become a private tutor if you’ve already earned suitable qualifications or just a little higher up the educational ladder than someone who needs a little help.

If you’re musical you could offer your services in cafes or restaurants, playing at social gatherings or networking events. You could become a DJ!

Or for the beautiful and aesthetically pleasing of you there are modelling opportunities that aren’t based around the catwalk — why not put the kids to work? There are all kinds of catalogue and web marketing opportunities out there, and what if you aren’t so beautiful? There are agencies who are looking for those with unusual or specific appearances; so make the most of what you’ve got — whatever it is!

4 Effective Ways to Become an Autodidact

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Autodidacticism is the art of self-instruction in any field or discipline. It refers to the individualistic desire to submerge yourself willingly in a pool of knowledge and to broaden your learning horizons. So keep reading and find out how you can become an autodidact.

An autodidact seeks to sharpen his set of skills through a private and informal process of self-study where he researches, accumulates, engrosses and applies his new found insights.

An autodidact can be anyone: a seven year old girl watching Youtube videos on how to make a fairy wand for a costume party or a forty-five year old, recently single man looking up recipes on how to cook macaroni and cheese.

As a self-educator, an autodidact has full control of the structure and style of his instructive procedure. Of course, he is free to consult other experts in the avenue of his study and gain their advice if he encounters trials that he may require assistance with.

Autodidacticism takes on the utilization of multi-media instruments of erudition that can range from books, videos, hands-on learning, online courses and much more. It is not limited to one kind of learning tool.

The beauty of the Internet is that it has allowed the world to obtain real-time information its mere fingertips and equipped people with the means they need to expand their scope of knowledge. This also has popularized the concept of self-teaching.

If you have had a life long dream to learn how to play the guitar, you do not need to pay a guitar professional to direct you. All you have to do is invest in a guitar and look up a free course online.

This can be attributed to the fact that there is infinite digital information available. Remember you will have an advantage if you have a strong memory and are capable of recalling concepts. There are various ways to become a master of your chosen discipline.

Follow Your Heart

The first and foremost step in your learning journey is to identify the subject matter that you wish to become a self-taught guru in. Go crazy and choose the most random interests that you have been in love with since you were a young child. The best part about being an autodidact is that you do not have to be selective and can commit yourself to developing skills across multiple industry verticals. Casting a wide net in to the sea of knowledge will keep your fire of passion ignited. It will inspire you to venture further into the depths of its detail. After all, your motivation is the most vital guiding component in your voyage of self-mastery.

Devour with Love

After you have chosen what you wish to learn, it should be full speed ahead! Dig, dig and dig! Refer to a multitude of eclectic sources to hone your mind. Yes, the Internet is an effective, endless database of information but it is gain exposure to a human element as well. Wondering how to do that?

Expand your foundation of intended education by registering for workshops, seminars and short courses. It will serve as a great medium to network and to build your base of contacts as it may prove beneficial later down the line if you attempt to earn a livelihood from your newly acquired skills. You may find a mentor or a role model learn from. Perhaps, you can even shadow him once in a while and see what the average day in his life is like. This will give you an idea what to anticipate and help you establish realistic expectations. Finding like-minded people allow you to indulge in an exchange of information and comprehend other people’s perspectives on a similar path as you. It will help you realize that you are not alone in pursuing your passion and will keep you motivated to devour the knowledge surrounding you with a bit of love.

Virtual Sources

As we have stated that you can learn a lot from the Internet, you must be wondering what kind of sources are available. Do not worry, we will share some of our top recommendations with you.

  1. Digital Courses: The revolutionary phenomena labelled as distance learning has been around for some time now. Countless universities, colleges and schools have launched online where you can pay to become part of their classes. Accredited and renowned educational institutions such as John Hopkins, MIT and Berkeley offer online classes.
  2. Podcasts: If reading is not your thing, do not despair. In today’s day and age, we are fortunate to have a variety of tools at our hands that allow us to grow our knowledge. Utilize your listening skills and attend an audio course whilst having your lunch break simply by hearing it. You can do this anywhere: exercising, running, taking a walk or whilst cooking even.
  3. Ebooks: There is a plethora of free electronic books available online that you can print out and read whenever you have time. Similar to podcasts, you can read them whilst riding the subway to work or in the bathroom. It is completely up to you when you dedicate time as that is the flexibility you have when you are an autodidact.
  4. Online Encyclopaedias: Portals such as Wikipedia offer free access to useful articles where you can spend the whole day surfing and exploring content related to your industry of study. Make Wikipedia your browser’s home page and begin your day by spending half hour increasing your knowledge base.

Connect the Dots

We live in a complex world where everything is inter-connected. Endeavour to see the bigger picture at hand and find that common thread that links the different tools of learning that you are exposed too. Each fact that you consume will hold value.

However, how you choose to apply that knowledge in your field of study is what will make you a master of that discipline. Peter Drucker, the famous American business guru, once said that “innovation is nothing more that the re-application of existing technology.”

The Coolest Offices From Around the World

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Imagine a typical office. Is it boring and stuffy? Is it filled with grey cubicles, with harsh lighting thanks to the ceiling strips overhead? You may think that this is how all offices look, but thankfully that isn’t the case. In fact, some offices are even cool! Around the world, companies are breaking free from the mould to create workspaces that are inspiring, comfortable, and above all, fun.

Here are some of the best offices around the world:

Autodesk

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Autodesk is a software company, renowned for their work with 3D design. In fact, the designers actually used Autodesk technology to develop their designs of the office space. They wanted the office to reflect the minimalist yet futuristic nature of 3D printing, which is why you’ll find a simple colour scheme and plenty of geometric shapes throughout the building. Different teams and parts of the office are connected to one another via the community tunnels, the walls of which double as whiteboards. Meanwhile, the adorably named ‘Cozy Corridor’ is instead a place filled with quiet nooks, for those in search of a tranquil spot to get in the zone. The office is made all the more special by the company’s quest to keep things environmentally friendly, with chairs made from 100% recycled materials and many other pieces of furniture sourced from local suppliers.

Airbnb

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Each Airbnb office around the world has its own unique vibe, and nowhere is this more true than at the company’s international headquarters in Dublin. Airbnb is a global platform that allows individuals to rent out spare rooms or even entire homes to travellers. The décor of their HQ pays homage to the company’s purpose, with each meeting room offering a completely different style. Local staff provided the finishing touches to the décor, putting a personal stamp on their work environment.  In terms of desks, the design follows a ‘neighbourhood’ concept, with 29 separate (and yet connected) work areas designed to give employees a bit of privacy. Alternatively, teams can gather in the central space and work collaboratively. The ample choice of seating means staff can socialize and engage with members of different teams.

Pixar

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For those of you who have been living under a rock, Pixar is a film studio that specializes in computer animation. The team at Pixar are responsible for creative classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. With so much creativity involved in their day-to-day work, the top dogs at the company decided that the office should be a place of inspiration. In reality, it’s much more than that! The Pixar office in California is made up of a lap pool, beautiful gardens and open plan steel frame buildings that look more like aircraft hangers than office spaces. When do I start?

WeWork

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WeWork offices are co-working spaces, designed for companies and individuals to come together and be inspired by their surroundings. The company has work spaces in the UK, US and China. Shanghai’s office sits within what was previously a series of laneway houses. The building’s past is honoured in design features throughout. Visitors will also be impressed by the play of light and shadows, and the way such an open space can somehow feel enclosed and private. In honour of the local community, motifs from the streets of Shanghai are displayed within, while the wallpaper in each meeting room gives a nod to traditional Chinese games that are popular in the area.

Urban Outfitters

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The company was previously spread across Philadelphia in six different buildings, but can now be found on one giant campus in the city, which was once a navy shipyard. If you’ve visited an Urban Outfitters store then the office interior will seem familiar. It boasts the same mixture of the old and the new, meeting in a pared back, open and airy design. However, that doesn’t mean it feels empty. Instead, bursts of colour give the place a homely feel, and can be found everywhere from the giant sofas and the office chairs, to the spacious canteen. Since moving to the new premises, Urban Outfitters have reported an increase in staff morale and a decrease in the amount of sick leave being taken. It’s also lowered the staff turnover by 11%. Evidently, it’s a place that employees are happy to

Selgas Cano

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As an architecture firm, Selgas Cano decided that their office should be an example of their expertise. And their office in Madrid, Spain, surely delivers. It’s sleek and futuristic, and in direct contrast with the surrounding nature. The north-facing wall comprises a 20mm thick curved acrylic window, while the opaque south-facing wall is made of layers of fiber-glass and polyester, offering employees shade, and a touch of privacy from the outside world. At one end of the building, a hinged mechanism allows for the wall to be lifted, giving the office a natural ventilation system. Due to its size, the office has limited space for employees, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s cramped. Instead, employees enjoy giant desks, and control of their own lighting.

Cisco-Meraki

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Bright colours and open spaces are in great abundance at the Cisco-Meraki office in San Francisco. The company is a world leader in cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. When the company moves offices in 2013, they began by asking employees what they enjoyed about their current workspace, and any requests they had for the future office. Taking on-board their feedback, Cisco-Meraki moved into a spacious, hangar-sized complex, with meeting rooms ranging from formal and fancy to relaxed and homely. Yurts, cabanas and phone rooms found within the building offer employees a moment respite from the lively atmosphere, while giant chalkboards and corkboards promote collaboration. To get from space to space, staff are welcome to walk, or hop onto one of the company unicycles and pedal. Colour plays an important role in the Cisco-Meraki office, working as a space separator, as there are few walls.

Types Of Video Marketing You Should Be Considering In 2018

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Why Video Marketing?

The trends for online marketing show video as one of the biggest in growth through 2017 and in 2018 it’s only going to get bigger.

Here are some figures that will help you see why:

  • Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more. (via slideshare.net) this has also been confirmed by obe agency we have spoke to Think Zap who offer web design in Glasgow.
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. (via insivia.com)
  • The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. (via mistmedia.com)

If those three reasons alone don’t help you see why you should already be using video then maybe you should be handing your marketing strategies over to someone else.

For the rest of you here are some ideas to why else you should be considering video marketing and also how you could be doing it.

SEO

If you create your video to capture the hearts of its viewers, or make them laugh, cry or feel anything in the slightest that they want to share with their friends/colleagues/others then your video just bought you some backlinks. Not to be scoffed at backlinks are important in search engine ranking and many companies will pay a premium for this. A viral video can provide these by the thousand if you get it right.

Video also demands that your website visitors will have to stay on your site to watch them; no skimming through boring content trying to find the information they need, and the longer any visitor stays on your site the more relevant google thinks it is and scores it higher again in that all important ranking.

By linking back to yourself after hosting your new video not only on your website but on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else you can think of not only are you creating more backlinks but you’re encouraging traffic to your website for anyone interested in a) what you’re saying or selling, and b) if there are any more great videos and content to enjoy if they click through.

Conversions

Your videos need to drive customers to buy from you. You don’t have to beg them, you don’t even have to ask; if your video is informative, trustworthy and shows the benefits of what you’re selling then that should be enough to make it happen.

Your first reason to make a video is to inform so why not make a video tutorial? Show your customers exactly how to use your product. Or show your product in action highlighting some of the benefits they might not have thought of for themselves? Educate them on how your product will save them time or money, or how it will add to the quality of life they wish for.

Show prospective customers how your previous customers have benefitted from your product or service. They’ll believe them a lot more than they’ll believe you. You have a reason to sell – profit; your customers however are only bigging you up because they want to, not because they have to. Testimonials have become a huge part of online marketing and brand confidence over the past few years, so it makes sense to move it forward into a video heavy marketplace where chunks of text are going to be replaced by any other easier method as trends continue in this manner.

Broadcast your Q&As. Why not create a video question and answer session? Gather information or questions from prospective customers via social media or from your website and if you have an email address or social media profile for them either tag or link them in or invite them to watch. For even more chance of views and conversions do it live. Live video feeds on Facebook receive ten times more comments than regular video posts. Do it live and get a bigger response. It’s all about building awareness and confidence that leads to sales.

Methods of Video Marketing

Demonstration videos

We’ve touched on this already but it’s the number one in getting your product or service out there. How you do it is up to you. There are ways of making a boring product more interesting; it can be as simple as how you present yourself and your company instead of how you present the product. If it’s something a customer already understands and knows about then how you sell it to them can be the difference in them buying from you and not your competitor. Make it fun, make it snappy, make it cool; just make it different from the competition in a way that makes a good impression with your customers.

Vblogging

Vblogging or vlogging is generally thought of as young teens on YouTube doing crazy things or teaching us how to put on our make-up and style our hair. These next-gen gurus are often gaining hundreds and thousands of views just by gathering a following. What would you give to garner that kind of interest for your business?

You don’t have to sell to the teenage masses though, there are plenty of other users out there well over the age of twenty who will want to see what you can offer them and also how, where and why – and if your target audience is the teens we mentioned, then you already know that this is their chosen media so what better place to get involved.

Again, don’t just drop it on your website and hope for the best – get it out there on as many platforms as you can. Email market to let your existing customers know where and when they can view new items; it’s easier to sell more to your existing customers than it is to sell to new ones after all so don’t let that database go to waste either.

Product Testing, Services and Reviews

What a great way to tell your customers about your fantastic product simply by reviewing it. But what about a way to drive traffic to your website? Why not review other peoples products? Ones that have a similar customer base to yours? That way you can mention your product or service in the review and how to find it. It’s all about driving traffic to where you want it and converting it into a sale. Reviews are a great way to jump on someone else’s customers, ones with plenty of existing interest and already making those relevant searches.

Crowdfunding

Initially viewed as online begging for startups and charities Crowdfunding is now viewed as an acceptable way to gather capital for existing business by letting their clients and customers get in on the ground level. Offering special rates, bonuses and exclusives are the lure but ultimately your video shown on there is still simply good marketing. You’re telling your customers about your product and you’re getting them to buy it. Job done.

Expert Interviews

Finding an expert in your field of sales or even a celebrity if you’re lucky enough to know one can help you reach out easier to a new market or broaden the awareness of your product. You could end up in the results for searches containing your expert’s name or speciality that in turn could boost traffic to your website. You will also gain brand confidence from your viewers by association. Asking the right questions you can lead the expert to giving a great review whether they were planning to or not.

Once more – do it live on social media and boost those figures even higher.

Event Videos

If you’re looking for ways to tap into a specific market covering an event by documenting it, reviewing it or previewing it can get you into searches less related to your own specific product or service, and give you access to all those new prospective customers.

By choosing an event relative to your trade or area of expertise then you’re already selling to people you know are interested in what you have to offer.

And if there isn’t an event you can cover – you can always put one on yourself!

Web Design & UX Trends To Keen An Eye On 2018

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Time is a-flying! We are well into 2018 and web design trends are beginning to pick up. It is natural that designs of the virtual world will evolve faster than their conventional print counterparts. Development patterns change in the blink of an eye.

What was trending in the year 2017 may not be as popular today. Web designers such as Internet Creation a leading Edinburgh web design company have come a long way as they have not only kept ahead of the technological advancements that take place but have managed to innovate as well. In today’s day and age, most companies have a digital footprint that spans across versatile mediums. Websites have progressed from being static informative tools to powerful marketing instruments. Wondering what lies in store for 2018? Read on!

Bold Typography

In the war of readership where clutter reigns, bold fonts and visual formats will stand up to capture your attention. Spicier, juicier text will make play to be bolder and abstract in nature. The concept of symmetry may be tossed out in favour of arbitrary, random assignment of header text. Traditional design boundaries will be pushed as graphic artists experiment and create new industrial benchmarks.

Animation

The phenomena of animation facilitates user interaction as it makes interfaces easier to comprehend. It imparts intricate information quickly and effectively whilst maintaining a notable level of viewer interest. By increasing the dynamism of the brand through its flow and movement, the brand has a stronger probability of gaining top of the mind recall in the prospect’s mind.

A logo is the first touch point of your brand’s visual identity. Applying animation to this medium will allow entities to embellish their brand even further. GIFs (graphic interchange format) are an entertaining, amusing form of animation utilized to express emotions or statements that are loved by users and will see a come-back this year as well.

Ground breaking Layouts

With inventive design facilitation programs, such as the CSS Grid released in 2017, developers and designers can exert a strong degree of control on the placement of page variables. 75% of internet engagers use CSS Grid backed browsers that allow web artists to ascend to new heights of imagination that can be translated in to effective execution.  Whilst a design revolution may be taking place, web creators will still retain an element of adaptability for such designs that will work on older editions of browsers.

Saturated Gradients

Multi-coloured gradients are making their mark in the design realm since 2017 and will continue to do so this year as well. With vivid, modern tones, gradients create a clear and soft aesthetic appearance that appeals to all viewers.

Artificial Intelligence

Communicative user interfaces such as voice and chatbots were all the rage last year. They were not powered by artificial intelligence at that time. However, technology is transitional force that is continually evolving. In 2018, AI may drive the development of new chatbots and voice user interfaces.

Not only that, artificial intelligence could augment levels of designer productivity. How, you may ask? There is a lot of menial legwork and labor involved in design projects that could be managed effectively with the assistance of an AI robot.

They could save designers twenty percent of the overall time allocated for a project by addressing such duties. With programs such as Adobe Scene Stitch and the announcement of Sensei, corporations are endeavouring to improve the work lives of designers and leave them free to dedicate their energies to more intellectual, creative tasks.

Companies and brands have access to real time insights into their consumers as they visit their websites and can gather intel digitally. With a variety of statistical tools at their disposal virtually, they now own the means to perform multi-dimensional analysis on customers and truly gain a picture of what motivates to them visit their websites.

Entities can identify what time a viewer visited a page, how much time was spent on it, where and when he came from as well. Triangulating these sundry data points allows companies to create accurate consumer profiles and to predict what he may be seeking whilst searching.

If artificial intelligence driven programs are designed to do the legwork, designers will be more effective in designing effectual landing pages and be able to understand what visuals are the most attention grabbing.

Total Minimalism

One way to break through the never-ending sea of clutter is to invoke the power of minimalism. Designers have been disputing text-intensive sites since the beginning and are now taking it to the next level by incorporating only those elements that are absolutely essential. This saves the viewer time and gives him the required information in an effective, quick manner.

Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile web browsing made history in the year 2017 as it was utilized more than desktop browsing. Google will also rank websites based on mobile web usage, not only its desktop counterpart. This will obviously be a critical design variable as the device of web utilization has to be factored in by web artists. Of course, it will be a challenge for designers as they will aim to push boundaries this year and create new design milestones across a sector of mediums.   

Sustainable design

As the world moves towards strengthening sources of renewable energy, the design industry seeks to contribute in whatever way it can. The world wide web utilizes approximately ten percent of global energy and is a mounting figure. Tech giants such as Google, Apple and Facebook have employed renewable energy to energize their data centers.

Designers can help out by guiding viewers to their desired information as quickly as possible and creating personalized experiences. They can also pitch in by hosting their portfolio of products and services via renewable energy. By deploying sustainable design tactics, artists can facilitate and direct the world towards eco-friendlier resources.

This school of thought is gaining global momentum with events such as the SustainableUX, a free digital conference, which exhibits speakers who are experienced and equipped to impart such knowledge. It holds a record of past talks as well and are available to designers whenever they wish to study them.

You need to work on your personal brand – here’s how to do it

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What does your personal brand say about you?

Don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t have one, everyone does – and even an absence of any information that would build into being a personal brand can speak volumes.

Your personal brand is more than just a custom logo design! and If you’re launching a startup there’s every possibility that customers, influencers, and investors are going to be looking a little deeper into who you are, so if you want them to see the right kind of information, you should consider how your current online persona lines up next to these questions:

Who are you trying to appeal to?

We might be talking about your ‘personal brand’ here but don’t be confused, what we’re really looking at is a nuanced piece of the process in which you sell your product or service to people.

Your personal brand is the context that you put around that sales process – essentially pre-empting an important customer question:

“Can I trust this person?”

Now, talk to any old-school sales person and they’ll tell you that a person makes a judgement about whether or not they’re going to do business with you in the first 10 seconds of meeting you – but times are changing – now, a potential customer is likely to know whether or not they’d do business with you 2 weeks before they meet you.

And the answer to that question will be significantly different depending on the person who’s looking – so it’s important to understand that you can’t appeal to everyone.

Hence, you’re going to want to think about who you’re trying to appeal to. Define your audience and understand what makes them tick. You’re not fundamentally changing yourself by adapting to what they want to see, you’re just putting an appropriate context around your sales message.

What do you stand for?

Now you’ve identified the audience you’re looking to appeal to and understand what they’re looking for you need to work on the underlying principles that are going to give you reference points to work from.

A good way to get some understanding of what these should be is to look at other people who are successful in your field. What are they doing? Does it sit well with what you think you should be doing? How do they communicate their values?

Is this person hardworking? Are they successful? Do they support their customers? Whatever it is that gives you the indication that they’re ticking mental boxes for the potential customers that are looking at them note it down – and be very aware that you don’t know anything solidly about them, what you’re noting is just the front line image that they’re portraying.

When you see how easily an image is created, think about what activity you can do to establish yourself in the same light. Start with the principles you want to communicate then consider how a customer will come to the conclusion that you embody those traits.

Are you an authority in your area?

It’s unlikely that anybody expects you to have conducted PhD level research into your chosen business area – but they will expect you to have your finger on the pulse of your industry and what’s happening – and the very best way you can do this is to share knowledge.

There are a variety of ways you can this, so consider the following:

  • How are you going to transmit knowledge? Which platforms do the people you want to engage with use. Think about email marketing, social media sharing and personal blogging.
  • Where is your knowledge going to come from? Do you have enough information stored in your brain to keep audiences happy – or do you need to be sharing information that’s up to moment and from external sources?
  • Do you have any inroads into knowledge that’s otherwise inaccessible for the masses?
  • Is looking for and sharing knowledge a part of your day?

You may or may not have a way with words – and it’s fine either way, if you struggle getting your thoughts down into clear and concise manner you might want to talk to someone about managing your output on your behalf.

Does your social media reflect appropriately?

All this talk of values, principles can leave you social media looking a little contrived if you’re not careful.

If you’re only sharing information that signals you’re the most virtuous person on the planet then people might question whether or not you’re a real person behind the image. With this in mind you should endeavour to make your social media your own.

Got friends and family you care about – associate with them. Been on a great holiday? Share the pictures – no one’s even going to mind pictures of your food or your cat.

The most important thing to remember when you’re using your social media personally is whether or not what you’re doing collides with the principles that you want to underpin your personal brand. Ask yourself the question each time you post and you won’t go far wrong.

Are you a person as well as a brand?

Be wary of using your online presence as just nothing more than an advertisement for who you want to be. If it’s going to stand up to scrutiny then you’ll need to communicate like a real human-being!

What that means to you will depend on how you’re transmitting value. Are people liking, sharing or commenting on what you’re posting? If so you might want to take some time to thank them, reply to their comments or follow what they’re doing in return.

The influencers that are out there making the biggest impact are the ones who occupy a position of authority in their chosen subject but remain accessible. You won’t go far wrong to consider social media a traditional ‘social gathering’ – mingle, chat, show interest, make connections, listen to people’s opinions. It’s this kind of engagement that has people coming back for more and valuing what you have to say.

No one wants to engage with the person who’s standing there doing nothing but talking about themselves.

The 10 best apps for small business owners in the UK

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If your smartphone barely breaks out of the cycle of checking social media, the news and your email – then you’re not alone, usage statistics show that this is more common than you might expect.

However, if you’re a small business owner, manager or decision maker, you could be missing out.

We’ll run you through 10 of the best smartphone apps for small business available in the UK right now – and tell you a bit about how they might change your smartphone world…

  • Evernote

Although well established, Evernote has never lost it’s place as an absolute must for anyone who’s taking it more than their brain can reasonably remember!

The app allows you to make notes, photos, to-dos and much more – then save it quickly to your phone or device – with it instantly available across all your other synced devices – as well as anywhere you can access a connected web browser.

Evernote also has some really smart tools that make going back to your info simple too – with a great categorisation system that means you’ll never be left wondering where a note is again. The clipping tool that saves websites as images is a huge time saver too – snipping notes down to just the essentials – cutting out any adverts or other distractions.

  • Paypal

The PayPal system is really popular with small businesses and freelancer contractors – especially given how quickly and easily funds can be requested and sent.

When combined with your small business website, the app gives you a chance to glance real time information about how your e-commerce site is performing – and lets you quickly juggle money between accounts.

  • QuickBooks

If you want a full view of your finances, QuickBooks is the answer.

The app allows you to do a huge number of financial tasks for your small business – and depending on your level of requirement – you can go from self-employed tasks, all the way through to small business level, allowing you to manage payroll and much more.

Quickbooks is also great at logging expenses – with a camera function that allows you to snap your receipts and add them to your calculations quickly. You’re also able to connect your bank and online payment accounts too, meaning every penny that goes through your business is quickly and easily allocated and catagorised – with reports that your accountant will love.

  • Pages Manager

Lets say you have a business page on Facebook where you promote the latest range of Atlas Ceramics range of grouts then Pages Manager will take away a lot of the frustration that business users often attribute to the standard Facebook app.

Pages Manager allows you to access numerous business pages if you have them, switching quickly between them. When you’re in, you can look at all the activity taking place on the page, from advertisement management – to the responses you send to messages and comments made on your page.

Facebook is quickly developing toward being a CRM style piece of software that sits behind your page and lets you manage your business with the maximum effect. Pages managers let you – and others, take full advantage of this functionality – meaning your social followers are never left wanting.

  • Basecamp

If you’ve ever had a headache that relates to how your team communicates then Basecamp could be the painkiller you’re looking for!

The latest incarnation of the tool, Basecamp 3, is a dream to use – and allows an online space where you can create project, allocate roles within those projects, share ideas, have discussions, set tasks, collaborate selectively with guests – and much more.

A paid subscription runs a little more expensive than most of the other apps on this list – but the time, effort and frustrated communication that it saves would probably leave you happy to pay double!

  • Dropbox

Dropbox is a superb and extremely simple to use application that lets you share files quickly and easily wherever you are.

While file sharing might not be anything new, Dropbox does it so seamlessly you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s not just a native part of your device or operating system’s function. Access your files anywhere you have an internet connection – and quickly share files and folders with anyone in just a couple of clicks. An amazing time saver.

  • Headspace

Although Headspace isn’t about business directly, it’s a sure-fire way to improve your personal business performance.

Some of the most successful managers, CEOs and business owners say that their habit of reflective thinking, mindfulness or meditation is one of the most key parts of their on-going ability to perform – and Headspace is at the top of the game.

With guided breathing exercises that take just 10 minutes a day to do, you’ll be amazed at how your motivation, mood, productivity and general business performance improves if you’re willing to give your busy brain a few minutes too cool off each day.

  • Trello

Although similar to Basecamp, Trello is arguably a more simple concept – working as a note-board of sorts, with digital sticky notes divided up in a sections or projects. Click on each and it opens up, allowing you to keep tasks, to-dos, notes, files and much more on each one.

Trello’s most basic functions are excellent – and free to use. Ideal for collaborating with your team or others!

  • Skype for Business

When asked, most business executives say they’re just as happy (if not happier – based on some city’s traffic levels!) to meet via video call – rather than in person.

Skype is the original video messaging service – with stable connections and almost unlimited call participants – no matter where you are in the world. If you’d prefer to have your meeting from the comfort of your own desk (or home!) – then Skype is well worth giving a go.

  • Hootsuite

Whether you’re managing your company or personal brand, it’s really useful to have a tool that posts information across all your social media pages from one control panel.

Hootsuite does exactly this – and more.

Whether you’re using it from your app or on a desktop – you can integrate all your social media accounts and post to them all at the same time. What’s more, you can go well ahead into the future and schedule huge chunks of social media activity. Your business partners might think you’re sitting at your desk doing nothing but social media work – but the truth is, Hootsuite takes all the effort out of the job!

Five Legal Mistakes Tech Start-Ups Need To Know About!

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Start-up businesses are a risky venture, but even the biggest, worldwide business we know today once started out as a small start-up. That means you can do it! But the early life and development of your business is going to be difficult in most cases, but you can make it easier.

While making mistakes is always going to be a risk and you shouldn’t be afraid of making some small-scale ones, there are some mistakes you’ll want to avoid at all costs. These are more serious legal mistakes and the frightening thing about them is that they are easier to make than you probably think.

Below I’ve outlined four easy mistakes start-ups can make without even realising it, and according to one of he leading lawyers in Glasgow, some of these mistakes carry important legal ramifications, while others will simply help you protect your business and products. Let’s take a look at five easy to make mistakes that any entrepreneur needs to know how to avoid.

Omitting Your Legal Requirements

Let’s start with one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make, it might sound a little odd but one of the easiest mistakes to make when you’re developing your start-up business is to not pay any attention to any legal considerations or to not give them the focus you should.

This doesn’t mean you’re breaking the law or doing anything illegal, but it does mean you’re cutting corners. For example, you could rush contracts or put off important legal jobs that you should really be focusing on.

Many entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of doing things like this to save time and money but while it might do that in the short-term in the long-term it’s just going to lead to more problems. So, make sure you give the legal matters of your business the time they deserve. 

Not Protecting Intellectual Property

Many start-ups, especially those working in technology, have valuable intellectual property and it can take many different forms. Despite the importance of their work, many start-ups won’t properly invest in getting their intellectual property protected.

You can protect your intellectual property in a wide variety of ways with some of the most common being things like patents, trademarks and of course copyright. There’s some leeway but these IP rights effectively give you the right to stop other people from copying your designs/ products.

Your start-up could come with an amazing piece of technology or design but if you don’t ensure it’s protected then legally someone else could come along and make it their own. Of course, you can’t trademark or patent everything these sorts of IP protections won’t cover everything so make sure you actually have a solid product, design or service of some kind in place before applying for protection.

Not Getting Non-Disclosure Agreements

Keeping your intellectual property safe requires more than just things like copyrights and trademarks. Those are perfect for when your product/ service is ready but in the early days, while you’re still in the development stages you’re going to need something else.

When you’re still juggling ideas, and coming with plans you are going to need a non-disclosure agreement. Commonly referred to as NDA’s these legal agreements will help you prevent other people from sharing any information about what you’re developing.

An entrepreneur can come with some amazing ideas and plans, that could literally change the world in extreme cases. But if you don’t ensure the people you work with sign a non-disclosure agreement they could easily share that information with others.

Not Setting Up Contracts

This one might seem unthinkable to the experienced entrepreneur but in your early days it’s easier than you think to forget about how important setting up contracts are. This is especially true for very small start-ups, and let’s be honest most start-ups are going to be small at first.

But no matter what size your business is you should get contracts set-up quickly, whether you have one employee or one hundred. Your contracts will protect you and your employees and help ensure they are all covered legally.

Contracts are also very important when it comes to setting up other agreements like for shareholders, to give just one example. No matter how excited you are to get your business off the ground never forget about the importance of a legally binding contract, a handshake is no substitute.

Not Ensuring Your Website Is Protected

Unless your new start-up business is in a very niche market you’re going to need a website, any serious business today will have one. But while you might be have the brains for business and have an amazing product on your hands you might not know how to keep your website safe and secure.

Your website will need a lot of things to make sure it’s of high-quality but we’re just focusing on the legal requirements for now. And for your website to be legally protected you will need an in-depth, high-quality terms of use agreement and a privacy policy.

The terms of use agreement is pretty self-explanatory, the privacy policy, on the other hand, is a professional legal statement that outlines what your business will do with any personal data it collects. Your privacy policy should cover both users and customers and will need to outline if any data is going to be sold to third parties as well.

It will also need to cover the use of cookies and outline how you protect any data. While it might seem like a good idea to just download a template for your privacy policy and terms of use agreement it’s important that you create your own from scratch, because they’ll need to be personalised for your site/ business.

So, that’s a look at five easy to make mistakes all entrepreneurs will want to avoid to ensure they don’t face any legal consequences. Remember many of these mistakes can be avoided by getting professional assistance and advice, one all too common mistake entrepreneurs can make is they try to do everything on their own.

Entrepreneurs Who Overcame Dyslexia

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There have been more entrepreneurs overcome the problems of dyslexia to make not only a very healthy and wealthy lifestyle for themselves but also to have added attributes throughout the world which we would all like to have achieved and stand proud of.

It may come as a surprise to hear some of the names on the list; big players in all industries achieving way above what was ever expected of them personally or of anyone else in their own individual fields.

Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, Henry Ford of Ford Motors, Tommy Hilfiger, Peter Stringfellow, Ted Turner the founder of CNN, Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard, John Reed chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, Jamie Oliver the celebrity chef… the list goes on and on and on, and these are just some of those that you will have heard of that have succeeded in overcoming barriers to learning with great success. 

The CEO list of the less well-known business giants is just as impressive and ever growing too. A recent survey has suggested up to 35% of the worlds most prominent and successful entrepreneurs are affected by this reading disorder.

Here are the success stories of five of the more famous names, how they arrived at their achievements and an insight to some of the challenges they faced.

Sir Richard Branson

Branson has done as much as anyone to highlight that dyslexia doesn’t have to hold you back. Now the 212th richest person in the world his Virgin Group is running three hundred companies under its umbrella brand.

He struggled through school and left early at fifteen-years-old. He cited his reason as being a hopeless case, that nobody had heard of the condition in those days and that he was always bottom of the class. What he soon learned was that business was soon to become his calling; it just made sense to him from the different way he would look at things. He has spoken of his dyslexia being a big part of what helped him achieve so much, the ability to see things clearer because of the way he needed to simplify things to see them properly.

He has talked about it on his own website; “I see my condition as a gift, not a disability. It has helped me learn the art of delegation, focus my skills and work with incredible people.”

One of the more famous lines from his past was when his old headmaster told him he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. It’s nice to see he ended up on the better side of those options!

Dame Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick opened her first Body Shop in 1976. She had seven hundred stores by 1991.

When she founded the Body Shop she had no business experience but a drive simply to make an income. She described her livelihood as her goal stating that we shouldn’t obsess about making everything we do into a means to make money but to create an honourable livelihood from taking our own skills and using them to earn a living from them, that it would then provide you a sense of freedom and balance to live your life the way you want.

With this in mind and the ethics of running a business being about responsibility, the public good and not some private greed, about training, education and support, what followed was the growth of her brand from strength to strength, helping her collect countless awards along the way for being one of the most renowned businesswomen of her time as well as a philanthropist.

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito,” she said.

Lord Alan Sugar

The British entrepreneur is now worth £1.15bn and hailed as the ninety-fifth richest man in the UK.

His business empire started in 1968 founding the company Amstrad, based on his initials and the word trading, with his first ventures being in import/export and wholesale. The real growth began when he started to specialise in consumer electronics – starting with audio equipment and soon moving into personal computing.

In 1980 Amstrad was introduced on the stock market. Each year it doubled in value until it peaked at £1.2bn in the late 1980s.

Since then he has become a media personality with his own television show ‘The Apprentice’, he is a politician, a political advisor, a previous part owner and chairman of Tottenham Hotspur football club, he owns his own private charter airline and countless other business ventures.

In 2016 he was hammered by the masses of Twitter and the press for his misspelling of the word Halloween as ‘Holowein’ in one of his tweets; an obvious kickback from his disorder where letters and words often appear in the wrong order. In the grand scheme of things it shouldn’t bother him too much. It certainly hasn’t affected his earning capacity…

Ingvar Kamprad

Kamprad founded the Swedish furniture chain Ikea. According to Forbes he is currently worth $46.8bn.

He began by selling matches as a child, then selling fish, Christmas tree decorations, seeds, ballpoint pens and eventually after selling replicas of his uncle’s kitchen table he grew that idea into selling other types of furniture.

One point of interest was that Kamprad didn’t just succeed despite suffering from dyslexia but he used it to help him understand and overcome a part of the business he struggled with. Initially as a mail order business each piece was identified with a number that Kamprad had problems remembering. Instead of delegating that part of the process to another member of staff he decided to organise his product list with a unique naming system that he could remember. The larger items were titled with Swedish place names, chairs and desks were given men’s names, and garden furniture was named after various Swedish islands. These were all familiar things to him and the associations he could make made remembering the stock a much more simple process. Certainly that was one solution that came from understanding the disorder and working with it instead of against it.

Theo Paphitis

Dragon’s Den regular and former Millwall Football Club Chairman Paphitis made his fortune of £286 million by starting as a filing clerk with a London insurance broker.

He saw his strength in retail and selling while working in finance, mortgages and property through the 1980s. However, it was when he bought out the bankrupt Ryman stationery chain and went to work rebuilding it into the highly successful outlet it is today that he made not only his mark, but also his millions.

Talking about dyslexia Paphitis has spoken out about his challenges saying he was labelled lazy at school and separated from his ‘intelligent’ friends by his teachers. Just like Branson he spoke about how it wasn’t understood as well as it is today when he was a child, that the support sufferers can now receive wasn’t so easily available back then.

He is now a regular supporter of the group Dyslexia Action where advanced research into the disorder is being carried out. His donations are partly responsible for the continuing work they achieve through their exploration.

He has three sons, who also suffer from the condition, as it is widely accepted that dyslexia is a hereditary condition.