How to Reduce the Start-Up Costs for Your Small Business

Anyone who is starting up a new business rarely has a plethora of money that they are willing to throw around. After all, that’s why people start businesses, to sell a product or service in return for profit. As you grow your business, you will have access to more financial resources which you can use to pay for upgrades, but when you start out, you need the bare minimum.

Lowering your start-up costs will help reduce the stress and financial burden as you embark on your new journey as an entrepreneur. Here are some of the ways that you can do it.

Work from a coworking space

Office rental is a considerable expense when starting a small business. There really isn’t any reason that you need to rent out an entire office, especially at the beginning. There is always the option to do so further down the line as you scale up and add more staff. Coworking spaces are a fantastic option, allowing you to rent out the desks you require to work from at a fraction of the cost of renting your own office.

On top of that, you can find a coworking space Glasgow which has conference/presentation rooms, lounges and terraces and cafes for you and your staff to use. You can use your coworking space for your business address for as long as you need to.

Outsource

Outsourcing is the best way to save money on staffing costs when you start a new business. Hiring full-time, salaried employees is a huge expense, and often not necessary when you first start your business. Identify what your specific needs are, and find freelancers and contractors who you can outsource the work to. You can find a variety of freelancers on platforms like Upwork, who specialize in different areas, meaning you can choose the perfect fit.

Outsourcing is an excellent option for accounting and finance, marketing, social media, IT and even customer service. You will only need to pay them for the hours they work, meaning you’ll save on staffing costs, plus you aren’t required to offer benefits/health packages, which are another added expense.

Once your business grows big enough, then you may want to consider hiring full-time, permanent staff, but it’s not a required expense when you first start-up.

Do as much as you can

Taking care of as much as you possibly can yourself will save you tons of money when you first start your business. Balance is key, and you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with tasks and end up burning out. That said, learning a bit about invoicing, doing accounts, digital marketing, and basic design will help you out as a business owner. Having basic knowledge in all of these areas will allow you to do many general tasks, at least in the beginning. Some of these tasks include scheduling and posting on social media, writing content for your onsite blog, sending invoices to clients, paying invoices for freelancers, and creating graphics for your social feeds.

There are tons of online resources where you can learn these skills for free, or close to it, with platforms like Udemy or simply by watching YouTube tutorials.

A Quick to Touching Up Your Old Website Content

So, you wrote a great article a few years back, but now it’s kind of outdated, what should you do?

The answer is there are lots of things you can do to spruce up your old content, and you might well find that they give it a whole new lease of life. Anything you have on your website has the potential to be an asset, so why not go back and give your old content the touch up it needs?

Update  

You might have an old piece of content that used to rank well but has gradually dropped down the rankings until it’s not getting any traffic anymore. If this is the case, then the page needs updating, and it can return to its former glory.

The world changes very quickly, so it’s normal that the information in your old blogs can become outdated. It doesn’t take long to update the old information and add new sections to spruce up your old content, and it can make a big difference to your rankings.

Reformat

You might have some old content where the information is excellent, but you didn’t quite nail the layout and format of the page. Just because a page isn’t getting traffic doesn’t mean that the information is not valuable, so it’s a good suggestion to go back and see if you can format it in a more friendly way.

This might mean breaking up texts with images, adding lists, or fixing some headings, all of which can help give your page the extra boost it needs to have a second lease of life.

Video

If your old content didn’t include any video, then this gives you an excellent opportunity to add something new to the page. Videos are a great way of connecting to your visitors and can help give your pages the boost they need in the rankings.

There are some great videographers out there who can help you craft the right message and turn your old content into high-performing, customer converting, newly repurposed content.

Follow Up Series

If you have an old piece of content that you particularly enjoyed, then a great option is to do a follow-up series. This allows you to expand on the original article and extend the story to your audience.

You can then go back to the original content and insert the links to the follow-up articles, keeping your audience engaged with your website for longer.

Keep Sharing

When you write an article on your website, it shouldn’t have just one “grand opening” and then get forgotten in some corner on your website. You can use your social platforms and email lists to keep sharing your articles and keep people engaged with your great content.

Make sure you’re sharing your articles more than once across all your platforms. If the information is still useful, then keep sharing it.

Now that you’ve touched up your old content, you’ve got a great reason to get sharing it.

How to Make Your Computer Last Longer

It is likely you spent a considerable amount of money on your computer. Yet, small and large mistakes could be damaging the technology each day and shortening its lifespan. 

If you want to ensure your device works like a well-oiled machine throughout the years, you must aim to preserve its health, which can prevent you from replacing the technology in the near future. Read these top tips on how to make your computer last longer.

Keep Your PC Clean

Dust and dirt can take its toll on your computer, as they can clog up its gears and limit the technology’s functioning. It is, therefore, important to regularly clean dust and debris from your computer to prevent it from reaching its inner components. 

For example, you can use canned air to eradicate dirt from the fans, which can otherwise cause the device to overheat. You also must clean the monitor with a screen cleaner and ensure you never eat food or consume drinks over the PC.

Avoid Regularly Switching Your PC On and Off

While it is essential to turn your computer off when not in use to save on utility costs, you must avoid regularly switching the technology on and off. While it is fine to turn the PC off once per day, you must avoid turning it on and off multiple times throughout the day. 

If you do so, you could place great stress on the internal components that are attempting to regulate the system’s temperature. Ultimately, it can cause your PC’s hardware to both contract and expand. So, don’t switch off your PC when taking a lunch break or heading into a meeting. If you are conscious of rising energy bills, browse the market for cheap business gas suppliers.

Buy a Surge Protector

Voltage spikes can lead to the frying of your hard drive and can often occur during storms. To prevent your computer from frying unnecessarily, you should invest in a surge protector. You also will need to replace the surge protector following a direct lightning strike, which will have caused your home or business’s power to go off during a storm.

Don’t Move Your PC Too Much

Regardless of whether you have a desktop computer or a laptop, you must avoid moving it more than necessary. Always aim to be gentle when moving the technology from one location to another; otherwise, you could damage or cause a shift in the internal components. Also, if you need to pick up a laptop, ensure you hold it by the base and not the screen.

Invest in RAM and Hard Drive Space

If you paid a small sum for your PC or laptop, it’s likely it came with limited memory and hard drive space. To ensure your computer runs faster and, in turn, lasts longer, you must invest in a computer that offers an exceptional RAM (random access memory) and hard drive, which can take some of the stress and pressure off your computer.

2 Steps to Better Website Performance

In a world where updates are instant, delivery takes place on the same day, and customer service is only ever a few clicks away, visitors to your website will not stand for it being slow. If your pages take more than a few seconds to load or if your media takes too long to buffer, they’ll leave your site without a second thought.

If your site’s visitors are looking for a service specifically in your market, when they leave your website, they’ll head straight to your competitors. Not only could you miss out on clicks in this instance, but you could also miss out on potential customers.

To ensure that your business’s days of missing out are behind it, you have to resolve to better your website performance. To see how this can be achieved, read on.

Train your employees

The internet moves forward at a frantic pace, and if your employees can’t keep up with it, neither can your company website. It’s essential then that you invest in staff training regularly. By doing so, tech fluency around your office will become the norm, the day’s top trends will continuously be adhered to, and most importantly, your website’s performance will remain optimized no matter who is tasked with working on it and fixing its faults.

One specific type of training that you should certainly consider investing in is a graduate scheme. By offering internships to the tech workers of tomorrow, you’ll ready your business’s website for the future in the best way possible. This is because this type of employee will have grown up with internet technology at the forefront of everything they’ve been exposed to. This kind of knowledge will prove unrivaled as you seek to better your website performance going forward.

Align yourself with external experts

In addition to ensuring your internal team has the tools they need to better your website performance, you’re going to need a number of external experts by your side as well. Without this kind of assistance, you’ll find it hard to devote the necessary time, effort, and resources to your website optimization, especially when you have so many other areas of your business to be focusing on.

In this instance, there are two experts in particular that you should consider turning to:1. A website auditing service, such as DMG—by having an audit conducted for your website, you will be able to see where it’s failing, why it’s so unpopular, and why it’s languishing so far down in Google’s search rankings2. A website monitoring service, such as Pingmeter—this kind of service will keep a constant eye on your website to ensure that it remains live at all times, notifying you instantly should it deem something to have gone wrong with your site’s performance

If you want to better your website performance, then your employees need to become well-versed in fixing faults as and when they happen, and you need strong external forces backing you up. Taking the above advice and putting it into practice, then, is essential.

How to Make Your Retail Store More Efficient

Efficiency is one of the best words in business. It means you have mastered the art of the supply chain and are wasting the least amount of materials and products as possible. When your company is efficient, you have less to sell at a discount, can provide excellent service and stock for your stockists, and of course, recoup as much money as possible. Improving the efficiency within your supply chain, however, is not quite so straightforward. Supplier to supplier, or business to business, can become quite convoluted. You might personally only work with one supplier and one stockist, but do you know who supplies that company?

Knowing who you work with and improving the efficiency along the entire chain is how you will save on costs and reduce risk all at the same time. At the same time, implementing the right tools can help increase your sales and reduce the processing time at the core of your operations.

It isn’t easy to work as a middleman in the supply chain, but with these tips, you can make the entire process easier and more efficient.

Carefully Vet Your Suppliers

Transparency is the name of the game, and it is only when you know where every aspect of your product has come from and where it was made can you mitigate risk from the source. In some cases, the risk involved could be in a faulty product that has not passed all safety tests. In others, it could be a risk to the lives of workers along the supply chain, as was the case with the Rana Plaza Disaster in 2013, where suppliers illegally built warehouses to such an unsustainable level they collapsed in less than 90 seconds.

In short, know who your suppliers’ suppliers are, and vet them to ensure the safety of the product and those working there. Customers and businesses alike are becoming more demanding when it comes to where their products came from, and doing this can help you discover inefficiencies in the supply chain that can be easily rectified.

Improve Collaboration with Your Supplier and Buyer

A great way to reduce processing times and improve B2B operations is to operate an easy to use portal where your customers can self-serve information online. The Omnia product suite from www.weaveability.com offers a range of digital transformation solutions that provide a truly personalised customer experience. In this digital age, both businesses and consumers expect to easily purchase from and communicate with suppliers online. With the power of Omnia, you can customise the experience for every type of customer without any additional integration or hardware. You can also enable real-time communication thanks to instant access with your master data.

Use Data Management in Your Favor

Another great way to improve the efficiency of your company is to use your own numbers in your favor. One of the biggest wastes for any supplier or retailer is buying too much stock that then goes wasted. This stock will either be held up in storage, or it will need to be sold on at a loss. By using your data to find the sweet spot of supply vs. demand, you will be able to provide enough product to your customers without overdoing it.

5 Easy Personal Branding Techniques for Beginners

Image reference: https://www.pexels.com/photo/turned-on-gray-laptop-computer-1449081/

Like it or not, we live in a world where the cleverest marketing strategy attracts the best customers whether your product/service is the best or not. Popular brands are powerful, and, in the end, they get to take the bigger slice of pie.  

Similarly, in the world of business, a well-developed personal brand matters more than the level of quality one is able to deliver. The personal brand defines your work experience, your capacity to solve problems in your field of work and talks about how you communicate with customers. 

While it sounds a bit far-fetched, there are studies that show people who managed to put together great personal brands tend to get the best projects and earn more than the average Joe. And this doesn’t happen because they are smarter or more knowledgeable. It happens because they understood the power of branding and learned how to apply it in their professional life.  

Still, the concept of personal branding is a work in progress. As a result, it’s difficult to find high-quality and actionable advice that fits your particular situation. This is why we put together a guide with some of the most efficient personal branding techniques that are easy to understand and apply.

#1: Surround Yourself with the Right People

There is a quote usually attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, that says “you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”. 

While the quote is highly debatable, there are some truths to it. Basically, what the author is trying to convey, is that we are influenced by the people with which we get in contact on a daily basis. However, we are also influenced by the people we follow on social media, by the books we read, and videos we watch.

So, take the quote and transform it according to your needs. If you have the possibility, get in touch with specialists in your field and establish a connection. They can be your co-workers, your managers, or even people you met at a conference. You don’t have to be friends with them or even spend every single day talking; you just need a way to communicate your thoughts and get feedback.

Furthermore, make sure your social media feed is loaded with publications and posts from authority content creators in your field. People love getting messages, shares, and comments on their posts, so it will be easier to find a connection.

The idea is that you absorb the information and type of behavior you see every day. So, to become a highly regarded professional with a strong personal brand, you should surround yourself with people who are already established as such. 

#2: Continuously Improve Your Skills

The fuel that drives a strong brand is represented by your willingness to improve yourself. Just like a product or service grows by implementing customer feedback (positive and negative), you also need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

Furthermore, a professional who is open to the idea of improvement sends a strong message to their clients or employers. It shows you are ready to grow without someone pushing you from behind.

The good news is that you have a plethora of resources and materials at your disposal. For instance, if you want to improve your business management skills, you can take a leadership and management course online or you can buy the book that’s most recommended by specialists in the area. The same goes for every new skill you want to master.

In the end, in an ever-changing business environment, it’s important to upgrade your knowledge and set of skills.

#3: Find Your Uniqueness

Your uniqueness is your very own advantage in building a strong personal brand! It’s the element that attracts the right type of customers and the force that gets you where you want to be. 

So, if you’re not sure what makes your brand unique, have a look at your activity. Read the feedback you received from clients or analyze behavior reports received for annual evaluations at work. 

You don’t need something that’s Earth-shattering and paradigm-changing! You only need to identify that element that makes people remark you as a professional. It can be anything from “high-quality work at a fast pace” to “unlimited access to high-end resources”.

#4: Find your True Voice

Unless you’re a Steve Jobs type of person, it can be extremely difficult to find your voice from the very beginning. But that’s normal; we are not all geniuses and we don’t have to be.

So, when you first start, your personal brand will be a mixture of elements you learn from the people you admire and follow (see point #1). But, as you learn and grow, your voice has to change. You need to be on a quest for authenticity so, in the end, you’ll get to identify your uniqueness. 

The voice of your brand must represent your true aspirations and opinions in life. Also, make sure to stay true to your brand, even when the times aren’t as favorable. This shows integrity, a quality that’s highly valued in today’s business environment.

#5: Create a Toolkit for your Brand

The main purpose of a strong personal brand is visibility. You invest time, money, and energy in a wide range of activities to make sure the right clients or employers take notice. However, some tools are more effective than others when it comes to creating the right type of visibility.

To this aspect, we created a short list with the tools that are bound to produce the most positive impact:

Your Website 

In today’s day and age, if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, make sure your site or page (it can also be a LinkedIn profile) is up to date and running. Also, include information about things such as:
• Professional achievements
• Projects you are passionate about
• Awards and nominations
• Affiliations with interesting people and projects
• Certifications & Academic degrees
• Publications and participation to conferences

Social Media Presence

Yes, a web page and a social media profile are two different things. And you need both to increase your visibility!

We recommend selecting the channel that is most likely to get your post in front of possible customers (LinkedIn, a blogging platform, or another professional network). It’s important to stay active and develop an authentic style that speaks about your level of professionalism and dedication.

Speaking Engagements

Should you ever have the opportunity to participate as a guest speaker at a conference, make sure to RSVP yes! This type of events gather all sorts of people from your field of interest and are an amazing opportunity to increase brand visibility.

An Emailing List

While most commercial brands would kill for a well-developed emailing list, many personal brands seem to ignore the opportunity of building one. Studies show that email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to increase brand visibility, and this applies to personal brands as well.

Sure, you have to be delicate with the process and avoid becoming a nuisance, but it helps to stay on your clients’ mind. This way, when they need the services you offer, you’ll be the first to call.

Written Materials

A book, articles in an authority publication (online or offline), a PDF you send with newsletters, any type of written materials can improve brand visibility. Even more, if you are a published author in your field of activity, it strengthens your position in the eyes of customers.

Wrap Up

In the end, it’s important to get involved and be present in your field of interest. It may take some time, but every step you take is a brick for your professional future. A strong personal brand can’t be built overnight and it has its own challenges, but with the right tools and inspiration, you will succeed

Oli Kang

Oli is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses.com.au

https://www.courses.com.au
https://www.linkedin.com/company/courses-com-au
https://www.facebook.com/courses.com.au

Happy New Year 2019

We are excited to step into 2019, which will be an exciting year for all of our customers. Hitsteps is working toward integration with a session replay recording service Reactflow which is currently under development and we at Hitsteps are monitoring the development and providing help wherever necessary.

Additionally we are working toward integration with iOS Numeric app which allows you to view your dashboard statistics on your mobile phone and Apple Watch.

Hitsteps growth did not stop in 2018 and there is no sign of slow downs! we are looking forward to 2019 and upcoming partnerships and integrations.

Wish you a happy new year from everyone at Hitsteps

Crypto Black Friday

Hitsteps is participating with CoinGate for Black Friday Promotion. You can purchase your licenses from November 30 to December 2 by choosing CoinGate as payment processor and enrol to be selected a Winner. Cost of license must be more than $50 which we recommend you to purchase licenses as yearly to be able have more chance to be selected as a winner.

How Your Website Statistics Ultimately Determine the Value of Your Site

Keeping good statistics about your website is an absolute necessity. It helps you recognize trends and identify areas where you are underperforming so that you can make the right decisions to help you grow. Yet keeping good statistics has another purpose: it helps determine the value of your business.


Image: Pixabay

Someday you may want to sell your site or your online business, and having access to quality data on how it is doing will prove to be invaluable later on when the day does come to move on.

Here’s how your statistics impact the value of your business

The 2.5 rule

The general rule of thumb when determining the value of a business is that it is worth 2.5 times its yearly revenue. So, when you go sell the business, or even to just determine what it is worth, you’ll need reliable revenue numbers. If you go to an investor expecting them to take your word about how much the site makes, you can expect to be laughed out of the room. However, if you go with data to back up your claims, that’s a different story.  

Growth projections

A business that is growing is worth more than one that is not. If you can demonstrate to investors that the arrow for your business is pointing up and that it is likely to continue to do so, you are more likely to get a better valuation. And there is nothing like month-by-month data to be able to demonstrate this trend. Plus, if there are months where things didn’t go well, you can more easily explain them away, conveying more clearly the overall health of the business.

Records keeping

Another thing that helps determine the value of a website or online business is its records. Investors want to know that what they are seeing is all there is to see, and they also want to make sure that they are entering a safe venture that won’t run into accounting or legal problems down the road. Having the numbers about how your website performs will help clear up these doubts and encourage investor confidence.

Market Research

One of the best things that comes from website statistics is the insight you can gain about your market. You can learn valuable demographic information about your audience, and you can also learn how they ended up on your site and then what they do once they get there.

This impacts your business’ value in two ways: first, it helps identify potential risks. Maybe you are overly dependent on one group. If this is the case, having a plan in place to diversify your market will show investors you’re serious about risk management, helping add to the company’s value. And second, having this information about the market helps point out areas of focus for the new owners. They will be able to see more clearly how the website will grow, and this will make them more likely to give a higher valuation.

All in all, website statistics play a critical role in determining the value of your site. If you aren’t collecting data now, you’re setting yourself up for a lower valuation and for some potential disappointment down the road.

About the author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, a brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He helps clients get the best deal for their websites and other internet companies, and always advocates for strong data and records management, as it helps secure a higher valuation.

Enhanced Chat Reports

Have you ever received an email from your visitors and you wish that you could instantly see which pages they look at period to sending email to you, so that you can understand the problem from their point of view and answer their question more efficiently? Hitsteps is here to help you!

Hitsteps contact form visitor views analytics is no longer limited to our WordPress plugin and now has been extended to our live chat support system.

This change has been applied to all of our customers account and now you will receive an email report with visitor full detail, each time a visitor have conversation with you via our chat system.

Keep up the good support for your website!

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