Watch Your Back If You Strike Out On Your Own

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Whether you’re making your way out there as a freelancer or starting your own business, there’s plenty of benefit to striking out on your own. Greater freedom, the ability to use your skills to their full effect without being hobbled by employers, not to mention the full reward for your hard work. But if you want to make it on your own, you need to be self-sufficient. You need to be responsible not only for giving your work 100% of your effort to truly succeed, but you have to protect yourself from the risks of working for yourself. No-one else is going to do it.

You need your own smarts

When you work for yourself, it should be obvious you have a greater range of responsibilities than you would otherwise. Being good at what you do isn’t quite enough. You need to build a broad base of knowledge in several different areas. Time management and organization. Marketing. Accounting. Customer relationship management. Branding, whether for a business or as an individual. You’re in charge of both finding projects and work, as well as making sure that the results of said work are properly utilized. If you’re not ready to take responsibility for the full spectrum of tasks, you’re going to leave critical parts of running a business or working for yourself up to luck.

You need your own protections

You might not have been fully aware, but your past employers had a bunch of protections in place to keep the business free or at least insulated for certain kinds of risks. Now’s the time to start putting those protections in place. You need to ask and find the answers to questions like what is intellectual property? What is public liability insurance? What is business interruption protection? These are the protections that will make sure that others can’t steal a brand you’ve worked hard to build, that your business can survive any damage accidentally caused by the business, and that you can keep yourself afloat when circumstances make it impossible to run the business temporarily. Without putting these protections in place, there are too many risks around every corner.

You need your own standards

This is where even the savviest of entrepreneurs and freelancers can find themselves in most danger. You want to keep customers happy and to welcome as many of them as possible. However, not all clients are easy to deal with. Toxic clients come in many shapes, but the most dangerous are those who make demands on how you do your work. If you don’t have services pre-defined and priced fairly, you will find those clients who attempt to set prices for you and who ever ask for more without being willing to pay for it. You can get sucked into a spiral of doing work for ungrateful, disrespectful people who aren’t even monetarily worth the time you spend working for them. It’s important to set your own standards and be willing to say ‘no’ to those who want you to work outside them.

If the above points have scared you off working for yourself, then you’re not truly ready for it. There’s no burying your head in the sand here. If you can’t take care of yourself as a freelancer or business owner, you set yourself up for disaster.

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The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Zine

There has surely been a point in all our lives where we really wanted to get something off our chest. And not just to one or two people, but to as many people as possible. It’s surely why Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have done so well over the past decade. It’s certainly why blogs became such a big thing in the early 2000s (and onwards!). But these platforms, while not exactly dropping in popularity, seem to have become very saturated – and people are beginning to look towards new methods of connecting with others.

Of course, there are plenty of uses for social media and blogging that go beyond personal use and creativity. Businesses use these platforms to great extents. But there are a lot of business owners out there who are looking for a new and exciting way of connecting to their most loyal customers, as well as turning eyes to their brand that may never have looked their way previously.

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So it’s pretty clear that Tweets and Facebook status updates aren’t always enough. Sure, you could look into starting your own website or writing for a blog. Those are definitely great ways to connect with an audience. But zines – smaller-scale versions of magazines – are becoming more popular these days. They’re a unique way to get your creations out there, as well as getting word about your brand. Check out this guide to getting started.

Pick the subject

Zines are generally noted for being centred quite closely on one specific subject. Of course, this is true of most publications. Magazines, for example, are largely based around one medium such as fashion or music. But with a zine, you have less room to meander. Magazines will generally cover a bunch of subjects, albeit ones related in some way to their “main” subject. You have to pick a topic you love enough to focus on for 12-24 pages.

So what’s it going to be? Business? Punk rock? Horror movies? Bizarro fiction? A mix of all four? See if you can find a niche or a new approach to a widely-covered subject.

Gauge interest

The next step is to see how far a reach you think this zine could have. This is also a good way of gauging what kind of things people would like to see in such a publication. As you’re going to be doing something very small-scale (at least at first), the best people to speak to are your friends. If you have any online followers, you may want to speak to them, too.

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Go online and see if you can find any information about other zines in your area. While zines have gained popularity in the age of social media (oddly enough), they’re still not exactly ubiquitous. The chances are high that you’re the only one making a zine in your area, let alone a zine of your particular subject! Having said that, you should be considering the potential for an expanded audience in the future.

Create content

What kind of content are you going to have? News stories? Opinions and think pieces? Poems and short stories? Artwork? Many contemporary zines employ a mixture of all of these things. Decide what you want to fill your zine with, then get to creating as much content as you can. You should aim to create enough content to fill several issues of a zine, then comb through it all and pick the best stuff.

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For this stage, you’ll also need to have worked out whether or not you’re going it alone. If you are then that could be a pretty heavy workload. But you could look into getting submissions for the next zine if you so wish. Alternatively, you can accept submissions from the beginning during the “gauging interest” phase. You could also choose to work as part of a team, bringing a friend or two on board. If your zine is geared towards business interests or you’re looking to promote your brand, then you might want to consider working with copywriting experts. Remember that this isn’t going to be a big publication (physical size-wise), so take care not to invite too many cooks into the kitchen!

Adding goodies

A lot of zines just come as-is, with no supplementary material or gifts. Whether or not you want to continue this trend is, of course, up to you. But there are a few zines out there who take a route akin to that of magazines. They’ll come with small items relevant to the subject material.

If you’re making a music zine, then this kind of thing can definitely work in your favour. Let’s say you’re doing a zine about the local music scene. (Not a bad idea – you already have a guaranteed audience, i.e. the local music scene!) You could include some CDs with the zine that includes music from local unsigned bands. Producing a bunch of CDs will be a lot cheaper than you think, and getting the music shouldn’t be too difficult if the bands have recorded material. (You are, of course, going to want to focus on unsigned bands if you don’t want to get into legal trouble!) DVDs are also an option if you want to include footage of business seminars.

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Heading to print

As the circulation of your zine is going to be pretty small, getting it printed should be quick and inexpensive. It is here, of course, that you’ll need to decide just how many you’re going to print. Is there a magic formula that will help you work out without error just how many you’ll need? Unfortunately, no. It will depend to a great extent how many people you’ve already planned to send it to. You may want to consider printing that number of copies and then an additional third of that number. Again, that’s not a formula everyone works with – you’ll have to work it out yourself as you go along!

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Don’t feel pressured to print too many. Remember: as long as you have the original documents, you can always make more copies. So while it’s good to have some spare in case you have unexpected interest, don’t go ahead and print a thousand copies. It might end up costing more than the eventual readership will justify! Once you’ve printed the copies you need, either hand them to your readers in person or send them by mail to people who are out of immediate reach.

If you’re producing zines as part of your business strategy, then sending them out to subscribers is a good idea. This can also work as incentive to subscribe to your business’s mailing list! You should also consider bringing a bunch of copies along with you when you have events to attend. If you produce something particularly eye-catching and bring them to a trade show as a giveaway, for example, then you could attract more people to your stall than with the usual gimmicky giveaways other businesses use!

Getting the word out

Okay, by distributing your zine you’re already technically “getting the word out”. But what I’m referring to here, specifically, is letting more people know about your zine. In other words, we’re talking about marketing!

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Of course, much of the ethos of a zine involves small readerships and limited advertising. But that doesn’t mean you should keep its presence hidden completely. Start up a website and a Twitter account for your publication. These things can help bring the mood of your zine onto the Internet. It will also help you catch the attention of passers-by, especially friends of friends!

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Unlock the Full Potential of Your Website

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So you’ve realized that having a social media presence isn’t enough; you need a full-blown website in order to promote your business in the right way. But so many people are still squandering the potential that a website can bring to them and their business. It isn’t something you should create quickly and cheaply and then leave hanging around limply on the Internet like stale bait on a hook.

You need to make sure your website is realizing its full potential; websites can do so much for your business, and it’s time that you dedicate a little more tender loving care to it. Here’s what you need to do to really strengthen it.

Improve your content

You don’t want any old fluff on your website’s blog. And if your website doesn’t have a blog, then you’re probably making a pretty big mistake. A lot of business owners underestimate the potential of a blog when it comes to marketing. Don’t allow your blog to be a place where pretty much any old post that loosely relates to your subject is uploaded. With that in mind, you also shouldn’t be too insular with your subject matter. You want to give people a good reason to read every word. Hire some really good writers to create exciting content for your blog. Share the wisdom of your business with others. Give your opinion on certain things occurring in the industry.

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Advance your development skills

The more skilled you and your employees are when it comes to web development, the easier it will be for your website to reach its fullest potential. A lot of business websites these days are a little too simple and basic. Yes, simplicity was definitely underrated for a long time, but many businesses seem to have gone way too far into the other direction of sheer minimalism. Check out some modern HTML guides to ensure you’re doing everything you can to clean up and improve the code that’s keeping your website up.

Switch to more reliable CMS

So what content management system are you using? This has a big effect on the delivery of your content, as well as how its presented on your website. A lot of people try to take really cheap alternatives to the big names, not only because they want to save money but also because they’re convinced something on the periphery may work better. (Like the hipsters who spent years trying to convince us that Zunes were really better than iPods!) It’s time to be honest: CMSs like WordPress and Magento are the most popular out there for a good reason.

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Boost your marketing campaign

What good is such a website if no-one can see it? Now is not the time to take on a “build it and they will come” attitude. Yes, you should put focus on building a great website before marketing; but once your masterpiece is finished and you’re ready for people to check it out, you should really be willing to go all in when it comes to digital marketing! If people aren’t visiting it, then your website will never reach its fullest potential. Just make sure you have a host that can handle all the traffic!

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Don’t Let Your Team Fall Behind, Keep Those Projects On Track!

A lot of people presume that setting up a business is the hard part, but often what comes after that – running a business – is actually more difficult. No one said that running a business would be easy, but a lot of entrepreneurs aren’t prepared for just how complex it can be to successfully run a business.

One area that, for one reason or another, a lot of entrepreneurs seem to struggle with is keeping on top of projects and ensuring that the company is on track to meet deadlines. As individuals, most entrepreneurs are highly skilled at time management and ensuring that all deadlines are met, but knowing how to ensure that their team works just as well is a whole other ball game and something that a lot of business owners struggle with.

If you’re struggling to ensure that your team meets deadlines and stays on track with projects, here’s some things to consider doing.

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Training your team to organise their workflow

To help ensure that each and every team member is on top of their work and up to date with projects, it’s a good idea to train your employees to organise their workflow in a more productive way. There are plenty of ways that you can help your team members to be more organised in terms of their workflow. From encouraging them to use to-do lists or to-do list apps to investing in software that allows you to assign each team member certain tasks along with a deadline date, there’s plenty of ways that you can help your team improve when it comes to organisation. Studies have shown that employees tend to work more productively when they have a set list of tasks to complete, as it helps them to focus and gives them more drive to complete their tasks on time.

Get some assistance

If you find that you are struggling to manage the entire team alone and ensure that everyone is as up to date with projects as they should be, it could be worth getting some assistance. A lot of entrepreneurs find that investing in interim HR can be incredibly helpful in these kinds of situations, making it easier to keep track of what’s being done by each team member. If you’re not sure whether getting assistance would help you, have a chat with a specialist company to learn more about what they offer so that you can decide if it might be beneficial getting some extra help.

Use incentives

Do you already use incentives in your office? If the answer is no, then now could be the time to start. If you want to help boost productivity within your team of employees and ensure that all projects get completed on time, using incentives could be the way to do that. The fact is that when there’s an incentive on offer, such as a gift voucher for a local restaurant, a bottle of champagne, or an extra half a day of holiday, your team are more likely to work harder because they want to get the incentive on offer. Hence why the use of incentives can be incredibly useful when it comes to encouraging your team to work harder.

If you are smart about it, you can ensure that your team stays on track at all times when it comes to projects, meeting all deadlines.

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Here’s How to Set Up a Business in Just a Few Hours

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Setting up a business can seem like a complicated and time-consuming task. Much of the time it is, and there’s no question that you always have to put in some hard work. But getting the actual business set up and running actually doesn’t take much. You can have everything you need sorted out within a day, and even do it all in just a few short hours. With the right idea, you might even be making money much sooner than you would have hoped. If you’re thinking of setting up a business, here’s how you could have it done by teatime.

Find Your Quick Idea

You need to start with a business idea that you can set up quickly. There are clearly some types of business that you won’t be able to start within a day. If you need to develop a prototype for a product and test it out, it could be years before it’s ready to go on the market. Other concepts can be launched in no time at all, though. For example, you might be able to start selling products using dropshipping or offering a service like graphic design right away. Before you start setting up a new business, think about the feasibility of starting it in a matter of a few hours.

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Get Familiar with the Official Stuff

One of the most important parts of starting a business is making sure you follow the law. You don’t have to register your business right away, but you only have a limited amount of time to do it once you start trading. Many people start off by registering as self-employed, especially if they’re running a small business on their own. But you should take a look at other business models, such as registering as a limited company. You also need to know how and when to file your taxes, and how much you have to pay. If you’re working as an employed person, you need to factor that in. And if you’re going to earn over a certain amount from your business, you will need to pay VAT.

Choose the Right Website Tools

Getting set up online is an essential element of running any modern business. Plus, your quick business idea is likely to be an online one or one where an online presence is going to help you. While being on social media and certain third-party sites will be useful, your own website is also important. Choosing the right tools will help you get your site set up straight away, without too much hassle. It’s a good idea to choose a hosting service that has the tools you need, like the Wizz Hosting free website builder. Although you can pay someone to build you a website, it will take a lot longer. If you can select a template and build the site yourself, you can be ready in no time.

Put Your Product or Service Together

Of course, you’re going to need to make sure you have your products or services put together. If you’re going to be selling physical products, you need to get your supply chain set up. Do you need to order your first lot of stock or choose dropshippers to fulfil your orders? Even if you’re selling a service, you need to come up some copy to sell it and think about what exactly it is you’re going to do. It’s a good idea to spend some time looking at similar businesses for ideas.

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Set Up a Bank Account

A business bank account is a good thing to start with right away. While you can start by using your personal account, you need to be careful to keep your business finances separate from your personal ones. You need to keep a good record of your money going in and out for the business, so it’s easier to separate everything when you do get a business account. If you make an appointment with your chosen bank, you can open an account quickly.

Sort Out Accounts

Being disciplined about your accounts is important from the beginning. If you start off keeping good accounts, you should be able to continue doing it. However, eventually you might want to get an accountant to help you. When you first start your business, you might find that an organised spreadsheet is enough to help you track your income and outgoings. You don’t necessarily need any accounting software.

If you’re smart about it, you can get your business set up in just a few hours. But once you begin, you need to start putting in some hard work.

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The Sharp Side Of Success

No one starts an enterprise without hoping for success. What would be the point? When we put time and effort into starting a business, we want it to go all the way. It’s the aim of the game. But, many of us spend so much time dreaming about success that we don’t consider what it could actually mean. With success comes a lot of work, and a lot of additional considerations. In fact, you could go as far as to argue that the real struggle starts once you’ve ‘made it’. Here are a few reasons why success may not be as sunny as you think it’s going to be.

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YOU AREN’T READY

This point doesn’t apply to everyone. Many businesses spend years getting to the point where they’re established and successful. But, there are a few that skyrocket to popularity. Sometimes, they have the right formula for immediate success. Other times, they fluke their way into the right time and place. Whatever the reason for premature success, it’s not as ideal as you may think. We’ve all heard the saying ‘don’t run before you can walk,’ and it’s relevant here. There’s good reason why the majority of businesses take a while to get off the ground – they aren’t ready beforehand! When your enterprise is a slow burner, you have time to iron out kinks and improve things as you go. If you shoot to popularity, you may find yourself in deep water, unable to swim. This is a sure way to failure. And, it’s a lot harder to rise out of the ashes than to build something slowly. In short; be wary of going too far, too soon. Taking things slow isn’t always a bad thing.

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THE EXTRA WORK

The extra workload in itself may come as no surprise. More customers = more work. Go figure. But, there is a lot of extra work that you may not have taken into account. Not only do you need to produce more, but you also need to work on protecting your business in the big bad world. Depending on how large your company grows, you’ll need to consider protecting yourself. If you make enough money, people could soon start trying to get some out of you. Lawsuits and liability claims may well start crawling from the woodwork. Your best bet is to employ solicitors as soon as possible. That way, they can work hard to protect your money and reputation. Plus, they’ll be there to fight for you if the need arises.

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WHAT ABOUT THE ACCOUNTS?

Success brings money. That’s the whole point, right? But, that money can become another cause for concern. When things are starting out, it’s easy enough to keep track of yourself. But, there’s no way you can continue to do that if things go well. Instead, you’ll need to hire an accountant. It can be hard to hand over the reins, but it’s a step you need to take. Otherwise, things could get out of hand.

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First-Timer Freelancer Fundamentals

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A lot of people don’t like working for someone else. Having to work hard to make a small amount, while someone else makes loads is never fun. In the past, this was a trap that was almost inescapable for most people. But, with the help of the Internet, it’s much easier than ever to become a freelancer. This means working for yourself. And, it means that all of the money you make is yours; not someone else’s. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the fundamental considerations every freelancer has to make. So, now, you just have to do the legwork.

  • A place to work

First things first, you need a place to work. Of course, you probably won’t be wasting any expense on an office. This will cost far too much for most freelancers that are just starting out. But, it’s still important to have a good place to work. Your surroundings and environment are very important to your concentration. It’s easy to become distracted when you’re amongst your normal spaces. Instead, you should have a separate space. One that can be used solely for work. If you don’t have space for this; it could be worth finding a local library that is happy to accommodate. If you ignore this area; it’s easy for your work to go down hill. Working from home is hard enough for most people.

  • Finances

As a freelancer, you are in complete control of your own finances. The government won’t touch your money before it reaches you. Instead, you will declare your own taxes and expenses. Different types of freelancer will have to worry about different sorts of taxes. For example, a building contractor may be able to save money on their taxes but would have to remain IR35 compliant in the process. If they fail to do this; it could result in massive fines and even prison time. So, freelancers like this need to use a handy IR35 calculator to make sure they handle things correctly. Along with this, it helps for freelancers to use tools like QuickBooks to handle their accounting. This will ensure that your invoices, taxes, and other financial work is mostly handled for you.

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  • Computer hardware

Most of the work that freelancers do will involve computers in some way. Even if you work in some sort of field job; you will probably have to handle emails and accounting. And, to do this, you need to have a computer that will stand the test of time. Thankfully, most places give small business owners tax relief on purchases of things like computers. This enables you to get a better computer for your money, which will last you for much longer. The money that you can get back is usually around 20%. Most modern laptops in the mid-range are good enough for you to work on. If you’re a content creator, though, you might need something with a dedicated GPU and high-resolution screen.

  • Computer software

Along with your computer, you’ll need some software. Most people won’t need much more than word processing and other office software. And, nowadays, there’s no need to pay for this sort of software. Instead, if you make an account with a company like Google; you can use all of the software you’ll need for free. You’ll have to do it in-browser. But, this makes it much cheaper to run your company. If you make content like images or video; you might have to invest in some software from companies like Adobe or Autodesk. Thankfully, nowadays, most of these companies offer their software on a subscription basis. This is much easier than paying for this all at once. The software you use is a big part of your business. So, if you have to invest in this area; it’s worth doing it.

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  • A business address and phone number

One of the hardest things to gain as a freelancer is the trust of your customers. So, it’s important that you work hard to ensure customers have no reason not to trust you. Of course, this will start with the way that you talk to and treat your customers. This isn’t the limit, though. To be trusted as a business it’s important that the details you give to customers are professional. For a start, your email address has to be on the same domain as your website. Then, you should think about the physical address and phone number you give out. Thankfully, there are services out there that can give you a business number that can be used like a mobile number. This enables you to give customers a professional looking number, without having to pay for the expenses of an office. Companies like this will often also have a mail redirection address, which can make it look like your business is located elsewhere. These sorts of services are great for most businesses. And, they don’t cost a fortune to get set up.

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  • The services you use

Getting work as a freelancer can be incredibly difficult. At the start, no one will know your name. So, you will find it hard to get work based on word of mouth. As you get more work, this will change. But, until then, you have to find some ways to get work as often as possible. Thankfully, websites like Freelancer.com and Upwork.com can assist computer-related professionals in getting work. So, they’re great for people who make things like websites or videos. This won’t suit everyone, though. So, you might need something a little more specialised. There are loads of sites like this, too. For example, a chef might want to use a site like Chefs Hub to get their work. Or, a construction worker might use a local trade site to catch wind of jobs that are going. The services you use to find jobs could have a huge impact on your success. So, it’s worth making sure you do as much as you can here.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what needs to be done as a first-time freelancer. Most people in this position will leave it too late to consider a lot of these things. But, this is a big mistake. Ignoring the important aspects of your work could result in huge problems in the future. Some of which are reversible; some of which simply aren’t. Don’t worry, though; it’s easy to get things done right, once you know how to.

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Growing Your Business From Local To Global

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It’s hard enough to create a successful business on a small, local level, but taking that business to a global level and still achieving success is an entirely different story. Maybe you’re running a small store on the high street or maybe your small team is operating its business from a tiny office as part of a huge, overwhelming complex. Whatever the case, it’s easy for a local business to feel small against its huge competitors. If you’re struggling to step up your game and grow your business to that global scale, here’s some advice which might help.

Be confident about your brand.

The key to stepping out of the local playing field and entering the internal ring with big corporate players is understanding how to define your company. If somebody asks you what makes your business different to all your competitors within the same industry, you need to have a clear, sharp and defined answer. If you don’t have that, then your business can’t yet hope to stand out from the crowd or being anything more than ‘that local business’ offering a certain product or service on a small scale.

Customers care about the brand voice in a competitive business environment. They see the same businesses offering the same products over and over again, which means there’s an over-saturated market and far too many options for your potential target market. People can choose whoever they want for whatever product they want, so you need to give them reason to choose your business over competitors offering similar things if you really want to step out into the competitive business world and climb the ladder within your respective industry.

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Physical growth.

Whilst physical marketing has almost died out in a digital world, there is still a lot to be said for understanding your target market in certain locations. If you look at your business’ statistics, you will still see clear trends and spikes in popularity with regards to certain locations. Your business model might simply be more popular in certain towns or cities than others, and the key to growing your organisation from a small firm which is ‘getting by’ to a global empire is to harness the power of those places in which your products and services are garnering the most attention and success from your target market.

You could work with a services office broker like London Offices, for example, to help find your company a new office in a location better suited to your business. The best way to understand your potential customers for areas in which seem your company seems to have delivered more goods or services is to move to that area. To grow into a successful organisation, as mentioned throughout this article, you need to be using a strong clientbase as the foundation for a successful marketing platform. You need to be building from the ground up in a place which seems to be attracting lots of interest for your business and using those intrigued and loyal customers to help spread the net and build a more successful following through word of mouth.

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Do the research.

Going international requires a certain mentality, and your business needs to do its research if it wants to be reaching customers from all manner of towns, cities and countries foreign to your headquarters. Going global is a complex process, and you need to understand the difference in your target market within different regions along with competitors within new territories and the way to market your business within new territories in order to stand out. Payment solutions need to be available for all manner of customers from all manner of countries, and your brand needs to be a little wider in scope and accessibility in order to broaden your target market on an international level.

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3 Useful Plugins for Your WordPress Website to Make Life Easy for You and Your Visitors

If you’ve been considering using WordPress to create a web presence for your personal projects or more commonly, to start an online business, you’re not alone. You’ll be joining the millions of people and businesses across the globe who have chosen to use one of the most popular and easy to use platforms available today.

Using this content management tool (CMS for short) gives you endless possibilities for simple website creation. No matter what you need: a basic blog, a simple one page website or an all singing and dancing online store with a blog to share endless articles everyday, WordPress can handle it.

But having a beautiful WordPress design doesn’t mean you’ll have a website that works well. If people visit you online and have difficulty navigating their way around, they’ll disappear quicker than you can say ‘freebie’. According to a study conducted by Microsoft, our attention spans are now down to eight seconds. In other words, make it easy for your visitors or annoy them. How do you do that? By making use of plugins, of which there are many.

Plugins will increase the functionality of your website ten-fold. There are also some you definitely shouldn’t go without because they’ll make your life easy too. Some are free and some will cost money. Let’s now take a look at three of the most useful plugins to install on your new WordPress website.

Wpforms

You visit a website, love what you see and you have a quick question you want to ask but, where’s the email address? Where’s the contact form? Argh! Forget it.

That’s the last kind of response you want from someone who’s interested in doing business with you. If they can’t find a way to get in touch effortlessly, they’re likely to leave and find another business to buy from.

The wpforms plugin is the easy way to install a contact form and it’s mobile responsive too. It’s a paid plugin with prices starting from $39/year. Fortunately, they also have a lite version which you can get for free at WordPress.org. This version has only the basic features but may be enough for your needs.

Ultimate FAQ

What if your visitors are super busy. They’re pushed for time and don’t want to send a message and then wait around for a response. They could just be plain lazy but either way, they want answers and they want them now.

No problem. Ultimate FAQ is here to save the day (and potentially your business from losing money). The beauty of this useful plugin is that not only can you list out a series of questions for your visitors to search through, you can even collect questions from them. But that isn’t the best part.

They can suggest an answer to their question and if you feel it’s a good answer, you can approve it. In other words, they do the work for you.

The cost for this plugin is $30 with 6 months support but again, they have a free version which doesn’t include premium features.

Jetpack

This plugin packs a punch and gives you access to an array of features. You can keep your site safe from malware and hackers, keep spammers away and back up your content. The features you get depend on whether you go for the free or paid version.

It can, in fact, form an integral part of your WordPress design too if you don’t wish to pay for a designer. You can choose from 165 professional themes to create whatever look you want and they come with customisation options too.

Mention Jetpack to most WordPress site owners and you’ll probably find a good majority of them wouldn’t go without it. If you want to make your life easy, join them for free. If you want more features, take up a paid membership starting from $3.50 per month or $39 per year.

There are thousands of plugins available and you’ll no doubt decide or even need to install many more. While it’s tempting to install plugin after plugin, do be careful. Some plugins can conflict with certain themes and if you install too many at one time, they could slow your website down. A slow website mixed with impatient visitors will equate to zero or a lot less business for you.

Also, ensure that you update your plugins regularly or let Jetpack do it for you, and keep an eye out for plugins that are no longer updated by the developer. The longer they go without an update, the more important it becomes to consider removing them. Outdated plugins are like secret gateways for hackers.

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Important Client Visiting Soon? Here’s How To REALLY Impress Them!

When you have clients that like to spend lots of money with your company, you want to do your best to impress them and keep them interested in your products and services. That’s because they naturally provide a lucrative source of income for your business.

You want to ensure that your relationship with them never sours and only ever flourishes. You’ve no doubt given your client the right impression of your company the first time they met you and used your products and services. But, when they next come to visit, how can you keep them impressed with your brand always at the forefront of their minds? Here are a few ideas to give you some inspiration:

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Give your office a spring clean

The last thing you want to do is invite your client to visit you when your office is in a state of disarray! That’s why it makes sense to have the office professionally cleaned before your important customer comes to visit you!

You should also ensure that your employees tidy up their workstation and get rid of any unsightly mess such as loose paperwork strewn across their desks.You may also wish to consider some ideas to improve the looks of your office, such as getting some new plants or framed pictures installed.

Have a plan of action ready

Another important thing to do is have a timetable of what you wish to do with your client during the day. For example, you may want to have a morning meeting with them, breaking up for lunch and then a tour of your production facilities or demonstration of your new products and services. Once you’re done, you could arrange to meet with them for dinner to strengthen your social bonds with your client.

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Arrange to have them picked up and dropped off at their hotel

Is your client visiting you from another part of the country or, indeed, overseas? If so, it would be a kindness to arrange their transportation to and from your premises. Now here’s where you can REALLY wow them: you could have an executive chauffeur drive them around!

Believe it or not, the costs of hiring a limousine or executive transport aren’t that much higher than say booking a similar service through a local taxi firm. It will give your client a sense of status and importance. Plus, it shows them that you are not afraid of treating them well and that you value their business.

Don’t be late

One of the bugbears of any customer visiting a supplier or partner organization is waiting around for the people they have to meet! Punctuality is crucial with both people you meet for the first time and existing clients. With that in mind, don’t be late for your important client meeting!

Be prepared

Last, but not least, you should ensure that you prepare well in advance for their visit. Have all the necessary agenda items available at your disposal. Make sure your technology is working (i.e. computers, Wi-Fi, projectors) and that you have staff available to explain things of a technical nature that you can’t.

Good luck!

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