20160426154606 business plan 720x380 - Do I Need A Business Plan?

Do I Need A Business Plan?

Do I Need A Business Plan?

Business plans are very useful, but do you need one? With many things getting faster and faster including setting up a business some entrepreneurs both old and new find the whole process of a business plan to be a bit of a slog. But does that mean you shouldn’t bother with one?

Opinion is pretty split while many people do agree that business plans are very useful it can’t be denied that they are very time-consuming. The length and complexity of formal business plans as led to the rise of shorter, simpler versions.

So, while planning your business is very important (in fact it’s critical) does the old-fashioned formal business plan still have a place in today’s more rapidly involved business world? I’d argue that it does but that doesn’t mean your business needs one.

There are a lot of variables you really need to consider, if your business is in a more complex field like technology then a formal business plan would seem like a very valuable asset. However, if you are only building a small business in a less complicated field then a business plan might not be needed right?

Well, that’s for you to decide but before you make your decision let’s take a look at the pros and cons in more detail.

The Advantages of A Business Plan

Business plans come in many forms but the one you’ll most commonly see is the traditional formal business plan, these documents are very long and complex. But while they are time-consuming to create they do offer businesses many advantages. Let’s take a look at some of them in more detail.

It’s A Valuable Strategic Tool

A plan is always going to come in useful, there’s a reason why people usually plan something out before they do it isn’t there? And when you consider how complex building a business is a business plan just seems like common sense doesn’t it?

With a formal business plan, you’ll be able to better plan out your businesses strategy and you’ll always have something to refer back to. Many start-ups struggle when it comes to building an effective business strategy and formal plan can be a big help. 

You’ll Learn More About Your Market

Marketing is the key to success especially for start-ups and a formal business plan will help give you an insight into your main demographics before you have even started setting up your business. Of course, you’ll still have to ensure you work on your marketing, but a formal business plan will be sure to help give you a head start.

It’s Great For More Complex Industries

One of the main perks of a business plan is that it gives you a guide to your day to day operations this includes a detailed outline of who is responsible for what, the director’s details, your business structure and much more.

While this is undoubtedly useful for any business it can’t be denied that businesses in more complex industries like technology will find it more useful. Having a way to more quickly check your business strategy and see who is responsible for what will be very helpful in more complicated and competitive industries.

It Helps With Legal Issues

A start-up business will be tasked with a lot of legal issues when setting themselves up and a formal business plan will help you ensure all the legal issues are dealt with. And according to Jones Whyte who are not only trusted conveyancing solicitors but also work with many local startups, forgetting even a small step could cause big problems down the line and with a formal business plan you can keep track of everything you need to do to set-up your business.

The Disadvantages of A Business Plan

So, now we’ve taken a look at the advantages let’s look at the flip side of the coin and see why some people think writing a business plan is a waste of time.

They Are Time Consuming

One of the drawbacks of a formal business plan is that they are very time consuming to create sometimes they can even take months to draw up. You could create your business plan alongside setting up your business of course, but it will add more to your workload. However, some entrepreneurs have set-up a business later one once their business as already been established to help guide them.

It Can Stifle Growth

In a rather ironic twist of fate, some entrepreneurs have found business plans to be very stifling, rather than help nurture growth you and your partners might feel like you have no flexibility because of your business plan.

There’s also the risk that having a business plan could make you a little too rigid, after all, isn’t it important that entrepreneurs know how to act fast? It is, and this is especially true in the early days of your business’s operation.

Getting too caught up in your business plan is a real issue and one every entrepreneur should be aware of. In certain industries like technology, for example, acting fast and knowing when to take a risk can pay off so you don’t want to risk a business plan making you to inflexible. 

They Might Not Really Be Needed Yet

The above statement really goes against everything you might have heard about a business plan, but it’s true that you might not really need a business plan just yet. The yet is the key part of that sentence because you will likely need some form of plan eventually.

But if you have a good idea of what you want your business to do then why write a plan? You could simply create a small document or PowerPoint instead to act as a guide and then build a more detailed plane once your business is established.

So, Do I Need A Business Plan?

It can’t be denied that there are a number of benefits to having a business plan it can help guide your business and will be useful for dealing with those notoriously tricky legal issues. However, a traditional formal business plan can usually wait unless you have the time to properly commit to writing it. I would advise having some form of a business plan, but you can usually wait till your business is more established and developed till you tackle the big formal one.

The Impact of Workplace Environment on Employee Productivity

OneWorkPlace Photo%C2%A9BruceDamonte 15 - The Impact of Workplace Environment on Employee Productivity

When your workers typically aren’t productive, it’s no news that you shed cash. Many companies think that employee productivity is the single duty of the employee. While there are many areas that an employee can improve on to enhance their productivity in the workplace such as obtaining more rest, consuming morning meal, and the likes, there are likewise roles you have to play as an employer to increase your workers’ productivity.

Hence, regardless of your business, you should never push under the rug matters relating to the health and productivity of your staff members. Producing a favourable job environment can aid workers to improve efficiency and drive your organisation to prosper.

What variables influence employee efficiency?

Several variables can impact an employee’s efficiency and productivity in the workplace. A few of those aspects consist of workplace hygiene, temperature level, lights, and sound. So what especially makes your staff members more or much less productive?

Following research by the American Society of Interior Designers, physical workplace design is among the leading three aspects that influence an employee’s efficiency and love of the job. Furthermore, research by the Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management uncovered the following about workplace productivity:

  • Lights are the crucial element that impacts the productivity of workers.
  • Temperature level has a higher impact on female staff members than on male staff members.
  • Male workers are immensely influenced by workplace furnishings.
  • All forms of lighting are essential to make the most of employee productivity.
  • Spatial organisation of workplace furnishings is essential to productivity.

Below are some of the best ways to raise employee productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Workplace hygiene

If your team suspect your lack of interest in the workplace hygiene, they may lose interest and turn their attention elsewhere. You could see your personnel turnover rise which is something no company desires to see if this goes on for long enough.

Take the initiative to motivate a healthy workplace hygienic set of values; incentivising cleanliness and making sure people recognise the significance of maintaining the workplace in high order. You could also check into using a cleaning agency, a dedicated office cleaner and a pest control services based in Carlisle to take on those larger tasks and make sure dust does not accumulate in overlooked spaces.

Workplace lights

Staff members find that being close to windows encourage them to feel more concentrated and comfortable. Maintaining bright lights in the workplace helps to produce a more joyful state of mind and assists with productivity. Furthermore, if your workplace is either too cold or warm, your staff members will find themselves sidetracked.

Workplace morale

You want your firm to assist staff members to develop their uniqueness and feel valued. Producing a favourable job environment that urges workers to build networks and give their all makes it possible to generate a feeling of belonging.

Workers who feel valued and pleased in their professions are more productive than those who never fairly strike their stride. As a research study by the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick discovered, miserable workers are 10 percent much less productive than other staff members.

Noise levels

Noise is typically one of the most significant interruptions in the workplace, and it can also be among the most significant reasons your workers usually aren’t productive. Some people function much better when there’s noise, while other staff members perform much better when it’s hushed. Strive to develop a room in your workplace where workers can go when they require a peaceful area to function.

Sorts of furnishings

Make sure your workplace furnishings are comfy, mainly if you have staff members that rest for lengthy periods. Doing this can aid to make your workers feel more loosened up and much less stressed out, therefore supporting them to be more productive.

Colleague interaction

By developing a welcoming environment, your staff members will feel more involved, which inevitably results in higher levels of productivity. A few of the modifications are quicker to adopt than others, but making an initiative not only makes your staff members better, but it can also aid to raise your profits.


The following are more things you can do to develop a sustainable workplace culture.

Produce opportunities for employees to advance.

Only a handful of career-minded specialists intend to remain in the same setting for life, especially if they possess extra abilities. If inspired staff members get the feeling that they’re in a dead-end task, they’re bound to feel stuck and get irritated, causing heartache and reduced productivity.

In comparison, developing possibilities for staff members to breakthrough tends to urge positivity, leading to much less turnover and far better productivity. While an internal advancement/promotion is the ideal instance of employee development, a promo isn’t the only way to spread out positivity.

Consistently dish out feedback.

If you use workers responses only throughout their yearly evaluations, you’re missing out on many possibilities to enhance efficiency, motivate development, and construct a favourable workplace. Rather than holding back comments, urge supervisors to give comments frequently, mainly when it’s appropriate to an existing problem. While unfavourable responses are unavoidable periodically, aim to concentrate on overall outcomes, and strive always to do better.

Along the same lines, bear in mind that workers enjoy obtaining acknowledgement for their successes, but they do not consistently require intricate benefits. Rather than handing out rewards for work well done, put in the time to provide thoughtful, favourable responses and acknowledge your workers openly.

Maintain an open door policy.

If you have ever worked in a business where the employer was mainly unnoticeable and continued to be behind shut doors for much of the day, then you know this can be a big turn off for staff members. As an increasing number of millennial get in the workplace, they progressively demand openness. While they do not often anticipate in-person meetings with the CEO, they nonetheless want open lines of interaction with stakeholders.

You can motivate openness and interaction by developing an open-door policy for people throughout your company power structure. Applying this method can also aid in developing a dependable and favourable workplace you’re pursuing.

Establish healthy workspaces.

In your quest for a productive workplace, you must be ready to do more than encourage positive emotions. You must be willing to make your workers feel excellent and contribute their best to the company. You should likewise see to it they feel healthy and balanced.

In the workplace, you can satisfy this objective by establishing healthy and balanced offices. This initiative can consist of every little thing from permitting workers to pick furnishings and tools they prefer to keeping a comfy temperature level and utilising appropriate illumination.

branding 668x430 668x380 - The 6 best strategies for sustainable business growth

The 6 best strategies for sustainable business growth

If you’ve got a startup venture off the ground you probably thought you were past the tough bit of owning a business – but then there’s the need to grow your business!

Growth isn’t easy – if it were, we’d all be at the helm of billion pound organisations.

That said, with some solid foundations in place you’re likely to find growing your operations far easier. We’ll look at what those foundations are and how they can be used as part of a sustainable growth strategy…

  1. Work with solid principles

When it comes to running a business you’re either going to forge your own path or get swept in various different directions with the changing needs of your business, your finances, customer requirements and so forth.

While some business agility is a good thing, if you want to create sustainable growth you’re going to need a roadmap – and not just one that charts your projections and goals.

Instead, think about doubling-down on the principles that underpin exactly what it is that you do. Maybe offering exceptional content is the thing that make your business who you are? If so, create more, delve into what people are looking for and answer their needs. Maybe the materials you use are ethically sourced? Shout about it, get accreditations that rubber stamp what you’re doing or write a book about how other people can follow in your footsteps.

Passionate principles are contagious – pursue them and watch customers become passionate about what you’re doing too.

  1. Create a solid and powerful brand

There are many local and small companies doing branding really well, for example, Atlas Ceramics – but they’re only doing the same fundamentals that you can also do with your brand.

Let’s take Apple as an example:

When you see that symbol you know what to expect from the product or material it’s attached to; simplicity, exceptional usability, style, innovation – to name just a few. It’s well documented that Apple have done this by sticking to their solid principles and using them as checkmarks against which EVERYTHING they do is measured.

Have you ever seen an Apple product that doesn’t tick all of the above boxes? Unlikely – and you can do the same with your brand. Consider the most important principles at the core of your business and make sure they’re communicated in everything you do – not least your actions.

  1. Find people you can rely on

When you’re recruiting or looking for partnership companies, you might put experience and knowledge at the top of your list – and to some degree that’s understandable. However, when it comes to having the right people to help you grow your business, there could be a better way.

Next time you’re talking to a job candidate or subcontracting company, talk to them about the service you want to deliver – and about the values you’ve built your business on. When you find people that respond to your questions with the passion that you have for those subjects – those people are likely to fit in well to the environment you’ll need to grow in the right direction.

That’s not to say that should ignore experience completely – but understand that it’s a lot easier to teach skills than it is to reshape a person’s attitude.

  1. Hold on tight to your current customers

When you talk about growth in business most people envisage some kind of graph with an upward arrow and ‘sales’ somewhere on the page. Selling more of your product is one idea – but there’s another that’s easier to deliver:

Retain your current customers.

When it comes to easy business wins, it makes absolute sense to make your current customers feel valued and loved – thus repeating the repeat business rewards of doing so – than it is to go out and find more people who’ll order with you.

Instead of focusing your salespeople on getting more business from new sources, consider an incentive that encourages them to cement and maximise the relationships you have with your current customers.

  1. Build around your current products

If you’ve got a solid brand and a great team who are keeping your customers onboard, it might be time to think about diversifying your product somewhat.

Now, which direction you move in is totally up to you – but we can almost guarantee that there’s scope for taking your brand somewhere new and doing another service or product just as well as you are your current business focus.

Let’s carry on with the Apple example:

Were Apple to create an office chair – would it sell?

You’re absolutely right it would, by the truckload – because the principles of design and function that Apple has become synonymous with would give office workers the world over the impression that their aching back was about to be gone forever.

Understand what people expect from your brand – and which products that it would give you a head-start with were you to expand your offering.

  1. Be ready to truly lead

There are a lot of distinctions between someone who just manages and someone who truly leads – not least the impact that the two approaches have on your company’s ability to grow.

You’re one mind – and while you might have some great ideas, there’s a chance that you employ people who get a very real understanding of what your particular coalface is like every day they show up.

If you want to know what your customers want – do less guessing and more listening to the people who are talking to them each day. There’s an old adage about the customer being king – and frankly, it’s wrong. If you make your team the most important thing in your business, your customers will feel that automatically, owing to the new levels of expertise, support and care they receive at the hands of a valued group of people.

Unfortunately for you, being a decision maker and empowering your team means you’re going to have to start taking a lot less credit when things go well – and potentially supporting them by absorbing the flak when things don’t go to plan – but that’s all part of being a leader and having a team that’ll help your business grow.

Will online media be the death of printed news 720x380 - Will online media be the death of printed news?

Will online media be the death of printed news?

Last year, the Independent surrendered to the weight of its ever-shrinking print readership and turned off the printers for good, trusting the future of the publication with its online audience.

In the past, newspapers were known to hold companies and indeed governments to account. Today, their numbers are vastly depleted. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of the jobs within the news industry have disappeared in the last 15 years.

There’s been a steady decline of 2% for print newspapers for a rather long time, so what has changed? What has caused the breakneck speed of print publications losing their readers? What one thing has grown so exponentially in the past 15 years to become an intrinsic part of everyone’s life? It’s the internet, and online subscriptions such as https://proefabonnementkrant.com/telegraaf/of course.


Where’s the evidence?

The effects of the internet on printed publications can be further seen when we look to other pieces of evidence. You see, it isn’t just the rich world newspapers that have suffered the change. Across the western world, newspapers and magazines alike have felt the shift towards online media.

Celebrity gossip mags like Hello and Closer have seen their readership fall and fall, while music reviewing mag NME has also suffered the changing winds. Meanwhile, in the developing world, where a steady internet connection is more a luxury than an expected right, the newspaper still reigns supreme over digital news. In fact, readership figures for print publications in India are booming.


The Effects of Advertising

Most revenue generated by a magazine comes from its advertising. This is especially true for the free dailies, who rely solely on advertising revenues to finance their business.

For the publishers, this only doubles the pressure. They no longer have to focus on holding onto their readership for dear life, they’ve also got to worry about financing their efforts.

But the advertisers are too busy chasing readers out to the door. According to the Pew Research Center, this is an inevitable truth for the news industry. In 2005, advertising revenues generated by printed papers in the US topped $50bn.

Ten years later, figures had fallen to $20bn. In contrast, the revenues created from newspaper websites grew from $2bn to $3.5bn. It’s a sharp decrease for print and a small victory for the web, but the numbers are indeed there.

So why have advertisers chosen to throw in their lot with digital media? The first reason that springs to mind is consumer matching. For an advertiser, the internet is bursting with information about customers.

That’s because everything we do on the internet is recorded. Google will kindly track your browser history for you, recording the sites that you’ve visited, how often you’ve done so and how long you’ve spent on each site per session.

Creating user profiles on news websites (and indeed other sites) provides data about your age, your location and perhaps your interests. Advertisers are then able to collate all of this data to find out:

  1. The demographics of the people who normally purchase their products.
  2. Where to find more of these people so they can be tempted to buy their products.

Web users have become so accustomed to this personalised form of advertising that it’s almost expected. For an advertiser, this is the holy grail. They no longer need to place expensive adverts in newspapers and presume their efforts are making a difference. Now, sellers and buyers can be brought together, and every checkout completion can be traced.


What do the readers want?

Simply put, they want to the news and they want it now. The internet is full of real-time action. You can stream videos live, update people on your location and fight with strangers in 140 characters or less. With everything being so readily available at everyone’s fingertips, it stands to reason that the news should follow suit.

No longer are we waiting for days to find out about a sign being stolen for the village hall or that there was an accident on the motorway last week. Everything is available as it’s happening. In turn, this has led to an increase in journalism.

Well, sort of. Now, everyone with a keyboard can share the news. It causes a lot of slander and bias to leak into reporting, but newspapers are often associated with political parties or owned by conglomerates, so the bias is hardly something new.

Readers also want their news for free. Millennials in particular, it seems, have grown accustomed to having access to so much information, that they no longer deem the news worthy of being paid for. Some printed publications have cottoned onto this trend, and have changed their business model to centre around the free dailies.

These have remained popular, with 22 million copies distributed worldwide and read by 45 million people every day. However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for these print papers, with a string of lawsuits filed against them in Europe. Covering everything from littering concerns to the right for the Metro to be distributed through public transport, the attack on print is ceaseless.


What is the future of news reporting?

Although print newspapers are on the decline, it is hard to imagine that they will disappear completely. Some believe it’s simply impossible, with the likes of John S. Carroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times reporting “Newspapers are doing the reporting. George and Yahoo! Aren’t those people putting reporters on the street in any number.

Blogs can’t afford it.” Simply put, the decline in newspapers means a decline in reliable and researched news. Although newspapers may suffer from a dwindling readership, it is other mediums of news reporting that rely on these companies for their facts and figures. So how do we finance the people putting in the hard graft? “It is the fundamental problem facing the industry” says newspaper analyst, Moreton. Hopefully we will have an answer soon.

The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino 720x380 - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Starting a new business or entering a new industry can create many issues that perhaps were not thought of initially. Most new businesses will begin with a business plan that they believe possesses the Midas touch and see profits instantly soar through the roof.

As any industry veterans know, the business plan gets thrown out the window and it’s often a game of calculated trial and error on the steps you take to success. Today we are going to take a deeper look into the online gambling industry and look into a market that is often greeted by authorities as being an unwelcomed necessity, an advocate of addiction, and by the public, a general misunderstood area.

For operators, the online gambling scene is a competition for web traffic and players and this is a merry dance that can be won through a number of different ‘proven’ strategies. Some of the main marketing methods of the industry are embedded in a finely tuned SEO strategy, pay-per-click advertising and the use of affiliate marketing.

To gain a greater insight into the industry and some of the pressures faced by an unknown name in the gambling world, we spoke to Scott Manford, CEO of Easy Slots “When we initially decided to start an online platform we were heavily invested in our SEO strategy being the main driving force for our web-traffic and marketing technique. That is still very much the case but we have needed to make necessary tweaks along the way.”

“At this moment in time we seemed to have found an SEO and marketing strategy that suits both our requirements and matches nicely with the ever-changing Google algorithms. In respect of this we have also engaged in methods such as pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing. I have a number of years’ experience working across both land-based and online casinos and wanted to take the next step and build a platform that brought together the best of both worlds.” Click here to view his website.

It’s perhaps only with time, experience and error that you can come across the correct ingredients that will aid your success. Outlined below are just a few of the ingredients that can be used and manipulated within the online gambling industry. It explains both some of their pros and cons and real life industry expectations of each.


Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Affiliate marketing is one way of externally generating customers and the resulting traffic to your platform. This operates as a branch effect where a business will have an army of affiliates who will each go out in search of drawing in new customers to the brand. What’s it in for you? You have more customers who are going to be depositing more money onto your site. What’s in it for them? Often the case with affiliate partnerships there’s always some sort of hybrid deal in place that is based on revenue share and something else. However affiliate customer generation can often be temperamental and the quality of the traffic is never guaranteed.



Pay Per Click - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

For anyone who didn’t know, the online gambling industry is met with fierce competition and the volatility of the first page rankings of google for popular keyword terms is often a situation that needs to be monitored constantly. Pay per click is a fast way to shortcut this and pay your way to the top which is a good method to use by the big names in the industry.



SEO - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Search Engine Optimisation is often something that many people overlook because they see it as an intangible expenditure. However, SEO is vital to success in the online gambling industry. Where the first two methods could be argued to be short-term stop gaps for success, SEO can create a lot more stabilised and considered method of marketing. It allows you to create an understanding of your place in the market through intense keyword analysis and research. 

While all three of these marketing strategies have proven to be successful in securing some first-class rankings in the gambling industry they are not exhaustive. To succeed in the gambling industry and the specific niches that exist within it careful consideration must be placed into the keywords you want to rank for and the quality of traffic you want to drive to your site. With Google algorithms constantly changing the market is just as volatile as the 5 reel slot games that exist within the platforms that house them.



How to start your own online business 720x380 - How to start your own online business

How to start your own online business

Setting up a business for yourself has never been easier. This is all thanks to the internet and the introduction of ecommerce and online stores. Some people use it as a way to make sure extra money on the side, along with their current employment. Others may decide that they want to put all their time and effort into running that one business.

No matter what path you are taking, one thing is for sure, you are going to need to set everything up ready to start selling. This may not be the easiest of things to do, particularly if you are not too tech aware, but there are some simple steps to follow in order to have your own online business.

Here to help, we have put together our very own guide to how to start your own online business, and in no time at all be selling and hopefully making some money too.


Figure out who you want your market to be

Figure out - How to start your own online business
Before you can even start to set up your online business, you need to know who you are trying to target. What will your target market want? What do they need? How can you reach them? These are all questions that you are going to need to think about. The better that you know the market, then the more success that you will have when it comes to marketing your products or services.

Some budding entrepreneurs might worry that they are entering a crowded marketplace, but if there are plenty of other businesses all offering the same type of thing, then it is clearly a good market. All you need to remember is that you have to stand out.


Pick your domain name and register it

Pick your - How to start your own online business
A domain name is a unique address, a space on the internet. Just like a patent or a trademark it is all yours. There are ae variety of online domain name registration companies where you can purchase your domain name of choice. You may even be lucky enough to find a company that will also help you with hosting packages. But it is important that you ensure that this is legitimate otherwise you may be left with a domain name that isn’t even yours!

But what name to go with? Some will choice their own name, if their online store will be personal to them. Others will have a domain name that will be reflective of what they can offer. These are often better than trying to think of something that sounds nice, but that gives no clue to what you can offer as a company.


Find somewhere to host your website

Find somewhere - How to start your own online business
As we have already covered, some domain registration companies will offer free hosting, but there are also those that don’t. A hosting service will give you a rented space on their server, which will be to run your website. There are a variety of things to think about when choosing a hosting site for your store.  You will need to think about storage capacity, whether you get a domain based email, is the server secure and how often do they have any downtime.

You will also want to make sure that you have access to customer support, as there are likely to be times when things go wrong and you are going to need help.


Start to design your online store

Start to design - How to start your own online business
One of the things that those setting up an online store will be anxious about is designing their website. If you are feeling creative, or you have access to website building tools, you might want to do this yourself.  However, if you are really not sure on where to start, or what will be best for your own vision for an online store, then it is a good idea to hire a website designer to help you, such as Think Zap who are some of the best web design agencies in Glasgow . They can advise you on the things to think about, the areas to focus on and what will make for the very best website.


Figure out how you will accept payments

Figure out how - How to start your own online business
People want to pay online, this is a simple fact. So, this means that you need to make sure that you have a method to accept online payments. There are a few different ways that you can accept payments and process transactions and the main thing to think about is that they are secure. PayPal has to be the most commonplace online payment option, and this is for good reason. It is easy to use, well recognized and a place that plenty of people trust.


Get yourself some traffic

Get yourself - How to start your own online business
Once your website is up and running, the time has come to think about how you are going to get people to visit it. After all, there is no point designing an amazing website if there is no-one to see it. You are going to need to think about how best to get traffic to your store and then hopefully buying from you.

It is a good idea to register with all the major search engines as a starting point, as at least this will get you on their radar. Next you need to think about things such as social media advertising, direct mailing and maybe setting up a blog to add in a touch of keyword rich content.


Keep an eye on how you are doing

Keep an - How to start your own online business
One of the key factors to a successful online store is one that can be improved and change. You need to keep a track of how your online store is performing. Things to consider include, what are the most popular pages? Where is your traffic coming from? What are the most popular keywords? This information is going to prove vital for the continual success of your online store as well as how you can improve your conversions and draw in more and more customers.

Setting up an online store might not be something that comes naturally to you, but it is definitely something that you should persevere with. After all that hard work and effort, to make your first sale and send out your first order, there really is no better feeling than that!


grow your business online infograph dragonsearch 1 - How to start your own online business

Infographic by: www.asianentrepreneur.com


Apples New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ 720x380 - Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

Apple is always leading innovation and they’ve certainly transformed their image in the last decade. What was once seen as a second-rate Microsoft and a struggling hardware and software company is now arguably the trendiest tech company around.

Apple might be getting headlines now because of their new iPhone models but the iPhone 8 and X aren’t the only impressive new offerings from Apple. Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California have been in development for a long time but they finally opened earlier this year and they hosted their first event just a few days ago.

Originally known as the Apple Campus 2 plans for development started in 2006 but due to a number of setbacks and development issues planning permission wasn’t granted to 2013. The former CEO of Apple Steve Jobs worked on the project a lot before his death and an auditorium was named after him on the new site as a memorial.

With an estimated total cost of 5 billion dollars, the new Apple Park, which is made up of various stone and metal buildings is one of the largest tech offices in the world. It covers 175 acres and can accommodate more than 12,000 people. With numerous amazing features to talk about let’s start by taking a more detailed look at the building’s amazing design.


The Spaceship Campus

The Spaceship Campus - Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

The Apple Park has been dubbed a range of different names over its development but one that as stuck is the Spaceship Campus. The new Apple HQ as a rather quirky circular design that from a distance makes it look like a landing flying saucer.

The designs and plans for the new Apple Park certainly stick true to Apple’s innovative and space-aged approach to design. But it’s not all sleek styles and shapes, the Apple Park is run on 100% renewable energy and as the world’s largest solar-powered farm as well.

There are also large outdoor areas that were designed to reflect Steve Job’s love for walking and nature. There are over 9000 trees of many different types and both an inner and outer courtyard, which together cover more than 50 acres.

The Apple Park is certainly futuristic but it has plenty of natural touches as well, it’s an interesting blend of ultra-modern and traditional. One thing’s for sure the Apple Park would certainly be an amazing place to work.

It’s one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, the roof’s solar panel system alone can power 17 megawatts of power.    

The environmentally friendly approach Apple have taken to their new HQ building certainly shows the growing importance green energy and environmental safety as. But while the Apple Park is certainly an amazing blend of the old and the new what everyone is really wondering is what’s inside the building. So, let’s find out, shall we?


Inside The Apple Park

Inside The Apple Park - Apple’s New HQ – The Ultimate Business HQ

The Apple Park is certainly an impressive sight to behold to give you an idea of its size it’s larger than the Pentagon and bigger lengthwise than the Empire State Building. So, there’s a lot of space inside The Apple Park and the question remains what’s inside? Tech companies have an amazing reputation when it comes to offices design so how does Apple measure up?

The full details on the interior of the Apple Park are not all known yet, after all, it only held its first event a few days ago on the 12th September. But from what we do know about there are certainly some amazing rooms inside.

But before we talk about those one thing that is undeniably cool about the Apple Park is its transportation network. A subterranean bus station is in operation which transports people to the main hub of the park, that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Inside the Apple Park, there’s plenty to see there are reportedly seven different cafes with the biggest being three stories high and with a seating capacity of 3000. The Steve Job’s auditorium is another landmark which is actually underground and can fit 1000 people.

If you want to get a look at the interior of the auditorium you can see it during the press release event for the new iPhone models. There is also a Wellness Centre with a gym, laundry service, shower facilities, changing rooms and much more.

Other highlights include jogging trails and bike paths so there’s plenty of ways to stay fit and green while traversing the park.  Apple has even provided 1000 bikes for staff to use and perhaps the best feature for anyone reading is the Visitors Centre. So, you don’t have to be an employee of Apple to see the Apple Park, well some of it anyway.

The Visitors Centre alone reportedly cost $80 million to build and features a café, information centre, Apple Store and an observation deck that will give you a view of the whole Apple Park. So, if you want to get a taste of the Apple Park head down to the Visitors Centre.    


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Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

When it comes to making a splash in the world of business, many will look towards creating a website. It’s easy to assume that we only need to make sure that it’s eye-catching and easy to navigate, but there can be a series of factor to consider such as hosting!

Companies such as Siteground, who for me are ranked the best web host offer various plans for business of all sizes, however, there are also plenty alternatives which also offer free hosting, but sometimes free that isn’t the best option, especially for your business where you website is a critical tool!

Running a website will often require access to a server. This is because of the number of files that need to be held to operate a website. How much you pay can depend on the kind of service you’re looking for.

Those who are new to the world of business may be tempted by some of the free hosting options available, but is this advisable?


Free Web Hosting is Ideal If You’re Starting Out

Free Web Hosting - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

Whether you are creating a long term business or you’re looking to make money online fast, there are a series of tools available nowadays that allow businesses to create an eye-catching website with very little effort, so all that’s required is some hosting space. If you’re new to the world of creating websites, then using a free hosting account can make for the ideal stomping ground when learning how websites work.


What’s The Long-Term Goal of Your Business?

Whats The - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

To ascertain as to whether free web hosting is for you, you need to consider what you want from your business. While free hosting may seem like a viable option initially, there are many factors to consider. For example, how many people will be visiting the website on a daily basis? Free hosting plans normally have limited bandwidth, so going beyond this could mean that some visitors are faced with a blank screen.

Being aware of the long-term goals allows you to get the right kind of web hosting solution in place first time. In some instances, free hosting may work for you. However, if you’re looking at a busy website, you should look towards paid options.

Just because you may have to pay for your hosting solution doesn’t mean that you will spending a lot. Most providers offer a vast selection of plans that meet both the demands of your business as well as your budget.


Support Is One Of the Most Important Factors

Support Is - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

While companies that offer free hosting plans will offer some form of support, it’s often the case that you could be waiting a couple of days for a response. To some, this may not seem like too long a wait, but you have to put it into context.

Even if your website only has 100 visitors a day, this is 200 visitors who are not able to browse your website, which in turn means they haven’t been able to purchase your product or service. This highlights that although the web hosting is free, it’s cost us more in loss of sales.


Your Business Website Could be Displaying Other Ads

Your Business - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

While there is nothing wrong with placing ads on your website, it helps if they have some relevance to the market you operate in. While not true for all providers, there will be some who place adverts on your website because the hosting is free. The business is simply making its money back with advertising, but this isn’t going to appease customers who may feel such ads are distracting.

Opting for a paid hosting solution ensures that you have full freedom of your website, and that there are never intrusive ads distracting visitors.


There Can Be Domain Name Limitations

There Can - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

The domain name is one of the most important aspects of a website. For a business to thrive online, it should look to have the same domain name as the company, that can be advertised clearly.

Depending on the platform you choose, you may find that the domains on offer are weak, and don’t conform to the identity of your company.

Opting for paid hosting not only introduces you to a robust and reliable platform to host your website, but some also offer a domain search tool, and you can normally register the domain for a small fee.

While this will cost more, it will give the website and the brand more value moving forward. People are more likely to click on an independent domain as opposed to one connected to a hosting company.


Paid Hosting Means Less Hassle Moving Forward

Paid Hosting - Should I Choose Free Web Hosting for My Business Website?

Many people will look toward free hosting as they feel their website won’t use much data, and in some respects, this is true. However, when dealing with a business website, it’s vital that we look at the bigger picture.

For example, those starting a business will probably have plans for expansion in the future. This can mean more visitors to the website, as well as the website getting bigger. If you’re currently on a free hosting plan, then you may find you need to upgrade to meet the online demands of your website, but this could end up costing you more than it should if you’re choosing to stick with a certain provider.

Looking at your options beforehand allows you to plan for the short-term, while ensuring there are cost-effective options available should you look to expand in the future. This means that you only have to update the hosting, and not look to transfer your website over to another server.

While there is no issue in using free hosting, you need to look at what options are available before signing up. If the company is merely looking to offer you a trial run, and offer some competitive prices, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it out. However, if you feel that the paid options offered by the company are a little excessive, it could be more cost-effective to shop around and opt for something more within your price range.

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Startup Capital and You – Funding via Personal Loans

There are many of us who can be dissuaded from starting a business, simply because they believe that huge outlay of capital is needed. However, there are many ways in which we can fund and grow a business, and this doesn’t always mean taking out expensive business loans.


Why Use a Personal Loan?

Why Use - Startup Capital and You - Funding via Personal Loans

If you’re the owner of a large empire, then it makes sense that a business loan will be required. A business that has managed to sustain an untarnished reputation and a healthy profit will normally have access to a range of funding options at some competitive rates, you can apply easily on this website.

However, those who are yet to open their doors to customers may find that although there are business loans available, they can be difficult to obtain, or expensive if a loan is approved.

This can be due to the fact that a business that is yet to have a record of its dealings is open to more prodding, purely due to the risk being taken by the lender.

Business loans allow those with a business to borrow a large sum of money upfront, but this can be ill-advised sometimes.

Consider this, you have just invested a large sum of cash into renting two properties for an annual term in order to sell your wares. However, your items aren’t gaining much traction, or it becomes clear that the premises aren’t as situated as we first thought. This can mean that the business can be over before it’s hand chance to shine.

However, breaking down your business model into more manageable chunks allows us to make plans that don’t require as much expenditure. An example of this can be a trial run with a specific product. If you don’t invest as much it’s easier to recoup from, which means that the worst-case scenario is that you break even.

A personal loan may give you less than a business loan would, but it can be much cheaper during the startup process. It also allows you to break down your business into smaller projects, which means that more focus is being invested into each aspect of the business.


How a Personal Loan Helps with Marketing

How a Personal - Startup Capital and You - Funding via Personal Loans

Let’s make no bones about it, there are plenty of companies out there who will state that give you unbelievable results when it comes to marketing, but these can come with a high price point. If we were given access to a business loan at the start of our business journey, it would be easy to assume that such costs are a representation of the market as a whole.

Having less to work with means that we’re making the necessary enquiries as to how well a marketing company can serve us. This doesn’t necessarily mean the service will be cheaper as a whole, but it does mean that we’re making the right moves for a successful marketing campaign.

Even if the company did transpire to be uninspiring, you could at least be assured that you haven’t overspent and there are still other avenues available.


There is Less Risk Associated With a Personal Loan

There is Less - Startup Capital and You - Funding via Personal Loans

When looking at business loans, it will often be the case that if you’re still to start trading, then you’re in for a difficult ride. There is nothing underhand here, but your business is treated as a separate entity. The best way to look at this is by assessing your own financial situation.

If you had not taken any credit out in any form, your credit report would effectively be a blank page. This means that lenders could see you as a potential risk, simply because there is nothing to build a profile on. This means that although credit could be offered, it may be more expensive than those with a more solid credit history.

The same ethos is applied to a business loan. If a business is yet to trade, then it can be difficult to ascertain its reputation, which means finance can be more costly. It can also mean that you may have to use assets as collateral.

However, as it’s more likely that you will have built up a personal credit history, then access to credit is much easier. Many personal loans for smaller amounts will be unsecured, so you don’t have the worry of your assets being at risk looming over you.


Using a Personal Loan in the Right Way

Using a Personal - Startup Capital and You - Funding via Personal Loans

While there are many pros in taking out a personal loan in relation to your startup, you still need to ensure that you’re in a position to repay the debt. With this in mind, you should look to ensure that you are fully aware of any interest rates, how long the loan will run for and that you’ve applied for the right amount.

Working out your finances beforehand means that you can plan for any shortfalls, without placing yourself in financial hardship.

It’s important that we apply for the right amount first time, as making a series of loan applications can be seen as over borrowing, which will raise red flags with some lenders. Should you need more capital moving forward, then it can wise to treat each investment as a project. So rather than applying for everything you need in one swoop, you should break down the business model into separate projects, and look to build it up in this manner.

Of course, there will come a time when further expansion will require a business loan, but there’s very little reason to opt for loans that are just too much for a startup to contend with, when you can carry out a little research and build your company in a more productive manner.



napkin finance loan e1506908323392 - Startup Capital and You - Funding via Personal Loans

Infographic by: www.napkinfinance.com


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3 powerful ways to hack your customer’s brain

Now, until we’ve got our phones embedded in our brains (which is still a couple of years away) actually hacking a customer’s brain is going be tricky – but fortunately, as humans, we’re only aware of a small percent of what drives us to make our daily decisions – meaning a smart business can lever some advantage if they know what makes us tick behind the scenes.

If you’re keen on making your business as appealing as possible to a person’s subconscious, you can take the next 10 years to obtain a psychology Ph.D. – or apply some of the following tricks and techniques…

  1. Reward good behaviour

Rewarding good behaviour might sound strange, after all, you’re not setting out rules that you want a person to abide by – but generally speaking, people seek direction and feel good if they’re recognised for taking that direction.

Here’s an example – your website has form that a person can complete to subscribe to your mailing list. Keep that in the dropdown menu beneath the ‘resources’ tab and you’ll only get the occasional person who’s really keen on your business signing up. On the other hand, if you have a pop-up that displays after a person’s been on your site for 30 seconds offering 10% off their first order if they sign up to your newsletter – your subscriptions are going to go through the roof.

Your visitors know what to do, and they get a reward if they do it.


Why does it work?

This stems from people’s desire to comply. A long time ago, complying with what was happening around you meant the difference between being accepted by a society or tribe – or being rejected and perishing shortly after.

While it might sound far-fetched to think behaviour from 120,000 years ago can still influence our lives – you’ve got to realise that the will to survive is the primary reason we’re the most successful species on the planet, this drive shapes virtually all our decisions at a base level – it’s virtually hardwired into our brains.


Other examples

  • A free gift for placing an order
  • A discount for completing a customer satisfaction survey
  • Reward/loyalty points for continuing to shop with you
  • Access to premium content in exchange for personal data

We see these things all around us – but we don’t always realise what these companies are doing. Think about what you want from your customer – and give them reasons to comply with your wishes.


  1. Appear trustworthy

Now, it might sound suspicious to suggest your brand ‘appears’ trustworthy – rather than simply being trustworthy – but there’s a big difference. You could be the smartest, most experienced and trust-worthy industry player there is, but if you don’t know how to let your customers know, you’re at the bottom of the pile when they’re looking for advice.

Wait? You’re not looking to give advice? You just want people to buy your products or services? Well, that’s falling at the first hurdle! The first step to appearing trustworthy is making people realise you’re not just in it for yourself. Sure, you’re a business, but you want to offer people the right advice – help them spend their money in the most rewarding way for them.

So how do you appear trustworthy? There’s a few routes to success…

  • Always be there: Being present, whether that’s in email, social media feeds or on their doormat, a company who’s always there feels established, experienced and reliable.
  • Offer some balanced opinions: Don’t always be shouting about how good your product is, instead, talking about what it’s right for, what it’s not ideal for, other products on the market. Just shouting about how good you are can feel insincere.
  • Update frequently: Don’t fall into the trap of having a website that never sees an update, when people visit, they like to think you’re there – behind the scenes keeping on top of a blog or news area.

A trustworthy face

Trust isn’t just built with words – having a ‘face’ for your business also helps a great deal. Now, that may or may not be your face or even one of your employees, often, businesses will choose a friendly and trustworthy looking face from a stock image site to represent them.

There’s a huge amount of science behind faces – and they’re often one of the biggest factors when we often make split-second decisions about a person’s character. Having a trustworthy face on your site can be another brick in the trustworthiness wall!

  1. Limit customer choices

Making decisions is often stressful – even small decisions can take a toll on our mood. So, what happens when you’re faced with 300 hundred similar products? Some people will choose the first one they see – but others will want to analyse all 300 before coming to a balanced conclusion.

For people like that (and there’s a lot of them!) it pays to reduce their possible choices. Businesses often think this is counter-productive, but actually it can be the difference between a customer wanting to work with a company or not. And the impulse buyers? They’ll still buy.

One of the most common pieces of praise bestowed on a company is “They made it really simple for me” – what people don’t realise is that they’re missing a big part of the sentence – “They made it really simple for me to spend my money” – and that’s what businesses really like to hear.


What can you do?

Stock 6 similar products? Reduce it to 3. Offer 8 different service level packages? Cut it down to 4. There’s no need to actually reduce what you offer – you can always put together custom products and pricing if a customer needs something that’s outside of your limited options.

Retail outlets see a much larger ‘bounce’ rate the more they stock. Now, there is a balance to be struck – but if you’re seeing a lot of people browsing and not many people buying – it might be because they’re overwhelmed.